Last Wednesday morning I woke up to a phone call. It was my mother. She doesn’t call often. I figured she forgot something at home and wanted me to drop it off on my way to work. I was still a little groggy when I answered. She said that I should find another way to work because the bridges would probably close. There was an ice jam and the river was flooding.
Parts of Susquehanna Avenue were already flooded, but I made it over the bridge before it was closed.
Nevertheless, the river was high enough for me to be worried. I worked the whole day but I was thinking about the river. I was remembering that day in September 2011 when my mother was similarly panicked. The flood decimated our town. My house had a full basement of water and mud. Some lost everything. Some never came back. Watching my friends and neighbors with U-hauls was very unsettling.
I called my mom on one of my breaks at work and asked her if there was any update. She said the situation hadn’t improved. The river went up and the bridges were closed. She wanted me to park my car by my cousin’s house — it’s on a little bit higher ground — in the chance that the river did go up significantly overnight. As I walked back to my house after parking the car, I asked my father point blank if he thought we had anything to worry about. He said no. Lo and behold, less than an hour later the jam broke in West Pittston.
As I walked to my car Thursday morning I looked at the freely flowing river. The past 24 hours had felt like a dream. We dodged a big bullet.
So many volunteers and first responders lost a lot of sleep to ensure that our little town would be safe. Every step of the way communication with the public about changes in the river was top notch.
Occasionally I am filled with an overwhelming pride for this community. West Pittston is unique. I’m proud of it. It’s the only home I’ve ever known. I love West Pittston for its heart. I love it for its resilience. Thank you to all the volunteers, to the first responders, to the neighbors who just called to check on other friends or neighbors to make sure they were alright. The way we presented ourselves in the face of another potential disaster is truly what West Pittston is all about.
Here’s what else is happening around town this week.
Corpus Christi Parish news
Corpus Christi Parish will celebrate the Sacrament of First Reconciliation at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, in Holy Redeemer Church. The Sacrament of First Eucharist will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 5, in Immaculate Conception Church.
All boys and girls in second grade and older who are students in a Catholic school or are attending religious education classes in the parish are eligible to receive these sacraments.
Family Mass and Donut Sunday will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 4. Boys and girls in third grade are welcome to participate as lectors, gift bearers, heavenly hosts and ushers or take part in a skit.
If your child would like to participate, please contact Lisa Falzone at 570-237-2739 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Sara Konopka at 570-498-9304 or email@example.com; or MaryAnn Oliveri at 570-357-1778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following Mass, all are welcome in the church hall for coffee and donuts.
The parish youth group presents Living Stations on Good Friday evening. Participation is open to boys and girls of all ages. There are both speaking and nonspeaking parts.
If you are interested in participating in Living Stations, you must contact Jule Anne Klepadlo at 570-430-1470 or email@example.com.
The 2018 parish calendars can be found in the vestibules of the churches.
Corpus Christi Church is looking for donations of any non-perishable foods to fill the food pantry shelves for the spring. Canned fruits, vegetables and beans are especially needed. Donations may be left in the vestibules of the churches.
The parish’s Soup Ministry thanks all who make the soup, those who bake the breads, rolls, etc. and those who deliver to homebound parishioners. Without your help, this ministry could not exist. The group will be making soup at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, and Friday, Feb. 9. All are welcome.
Saturday, Feb. 10, the group will be delivering soup to parishioners who are homebound and those residing in nursing homes. If you can help deliver, please contact Joyce at 570-654 -2753 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know of an elderly person who no longer gets out, please call the rectory so the church can see if they would like to be on the First Friday list to receive communion, monthly soup delivery or a holiday gift.
Save the date — Corpus Christi’s annual car show will be held Sunday, May 27. Rain date is Monday, May 28.
Trinity Episcopal news
Trinity Episcopal Church will hold noon prayer every Wednesday in the lower level chapel during winter months.
Shrove Tuesday pancake supper will be held from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13. See any parishioner or call the church office at 570-654-3261 for tickets.
West Pittston First United Methodist Church news
West Pittston First United Methodist Church will hold Sunday worship at 10 a.m.
Children and youth Sunday school is at 10:15 a.m.
West Pittston Library announces the following upcoming events:
Movie Mania — 1 p.m. Saturdays during February. Spend those cold winter weekend afternoons at your cozy local library enjoying a movie. Movies are: “Beauty and the Beast” animated, Feb. 3; “Beauty and the Beast” live action, Feb. 10; “LEGO Movie,” Feb. 17 and “LEGOBatman,” Feb. 24. Popcorn for the whole family to enjoy will be featured.
Sew Your Own Monogrammed Felt Banner — 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5. Work on your hand sewing skills while creating a wonderful monogrammed felt banner for your home or to give as a gift. Participants will cut out felt letters and use a running stitch to connect them to a banner attached to a dowel rod. If you are feeling ambitious, add buttons or sew your own creation of flowers, leaves or dinosaurs to personalize your banner even more. Cost is $5.
Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, in the borough building.
Recycling containers at the Public Works Building on Delaware Avenue are open to the public Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon.
Curbside collection of recyclables remains the first and third Thursday of each month. The Public Works Department asks residents to place recyclables in front of their homes Wednesday evening prior to recycling collection Thursday morning.
See you around town.
John Bubul writes about West Pittston every week. Email email@example.com or call 570-301-2187 by Monday.