Publisher emeritus Jim Flood reflects on an old friend.


Al Hedgecock was one of the best known and best liked people in central Delaware before his death a decade ago, and in his memory the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce holds an annual memorial golf tournament. The ninth annual tournament, at Maple Dale Country Club, was last Thursday and it was my pleasure to play in it.

The four-man team I was on didn’t win anything but it was a grand day and we enjoyed ourselves.

The course record was in no danger from the time we started. When I mentioned later to son Jim who was on the team, his reaction left no doubt that certainly we could not have challenged the course. (Did he mean that we really weren’t that good?)

My teammates were Dennis Klima, Terry Murphy and Sam Magrone, good companions all.

When I did play more often, many years ago, it was at times with Al, who was known for his unusual style of play.

For one thing, he waggled his club vigorously, and himself as well, for a minute or two before finally hitting the ball. And he had such a pronounced slice that he always played for it, meaning that he aimed to the left in the expectation that the ball would curve around and land to the right.

When the expected slice did not develop, he was inclined to complain aloud about “that dratted straight ball!”

The 15 four-person teams competed with handicaps based on an average of their usual scores, and in this slingshot format the winning team included Brian Stetina, Chris Wilson, Chad Reed and John Arthur. Coming in second were Andy West, Tonda Parks, Brad Allen and John Allen. In third place were Bettie Campbell, Kevin Yingling, Ray Wallace and Jeff Wark.

Low gross honors went to Carl Kaplan, Scott Koenig, Mike Georqules and Russ Larson.

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Anent (a very old word) the above, golf tournaments locally and elsewhere have become a popular and pleasant way to raise funds. But, with the economy as it is, and with more golf courses in the immediate vicinity, golf tournaments don’t attract as many participants as they used to.

For the Al Hedgecock tournament, for example, it used to be that the number of players was closer to 100. Other tournaments at nearby courses have seen similar drop-offs. It’s a sign of the times.

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In politics, as in other events with contestants, there naturally are always winners and losers. We are still very much aware of the recent political races in Delaware, meaning the primaries involving both of the major political parties.

The election getting so much reaction right now is the one between Christine O’Donnell, whose only two political contests resulted in losses, and U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, who had never lost an election, including the ones for the last nine two-year terms in the House of Representatives.

In political struggles there are, regrettably, instances of mean and unfair personal attacks, and Mike Castle did not deserve to suffer them in this latest election. He is an eminently decent man who did his work conscientiously and quietly. He was approachable and fair.

He deserves the thanks of the citizens of the state for his record, which does not mean one has to agree with all the decisions he made.

And while Michele Rollins did not win in her first bid for elective office, she has a record of unselfish civic contributions to be proud of and did her best in her campaign effort.

In politics, as in many of life’s endeavors, timing is everything. Some candidates benefited from it in the primary elections and some didn’t.

All of the losers, as well as the winners, deserve our thanks for running for office. I do fear, though, that if the level of personal attacks stays where it is in some contests, more and more decent citizens who could contribute positively to our government will decide that it’s not worth the hassle.

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If you watch the “Jeopardy!” television show, you have to be impressed at the broad knowledge of Roger Craig, a current contestant from Newark in our fair state.

He not only knows details from many different areas, but is not afraid to take chances in the amounts he wagers.

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You have probably heard the honking of Canada geese lately. I figure they are the hardy birds from the far north, coming south to graze in the just harvested cornfields. In my mind I distinguish them from the lazy bunch of Canada geese, the ones who stay here in the south year round.

If you want to see a really big batch of these birds, check the marshy area between the Dover Mall and Route 13. The lazy geese hang out there.

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As part of a funeral package, a man handling the transaction agreed to provide a seven-word notice in the local paper for a frugal woman who was making the arrangements for her recently deceased husband.

She was asked what she would like to say. She thought about it for a while and finally said “Caleb is dead.”

The undertaker reminded her that she had paid for seven words.

The woman pondered a bit more and then said with a very serious expression, “Caleb is dead. Pickup truck for sale.”