Thank you, Million Man: Montclair

As Henry David Thoreau said in a letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, in 1843, “Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up.”

Thanksgiving was that kind of wake up day filled with the surprise of a golden sunshine as I drove into my parking lot to find but one parking spot left at 10 a.m. I wondered what's going on. The wind had a mind of it's own and I saw frantic hands waving a welcome. I saw Rich Mernock and his son Scottie up from University of Florida surrounded by others and wondered what they were doing carrying trays into my house. A warm and exuberant hello and “We’re Million Dollar Montclair Men delivering turkey and all the trappings...and we're going to get more."

I couldn’t believe it. The joy on the faces of the men exuded the anticipation and excitement of Santa’s helpers. The magic was evident as the scent of yesterday warmed my forgotten memories.

Collectively speaking, I would like to reach out and speak for all of us who were recipients of a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner. Thank you President Brendan Gill, The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and The Montclair Democratic County Committee and the Million Man: of Montclair - you really outdid yourselves.


The writer is an author and the vice president emeritus of First Montclair House Tenants Association.

Clarity for the Montclair deer situation

I would like to clarify a few points that I believe Jaimie Julia Winters did not state correctly in her article a few weeks ago about the Montclair deer.

First I would like to begin by saying Theresa Trapp, treasurer for the Hilltop Conservancy, is pro hunt.
Theresa Trap aligns her agenda with the Division of Fish and Wildlife. They both promote hunting and would never agree to any non-lethal solutions, because they know non-lethal would work.

Saddle River Mayor and Council are pro hunt too. They did everything to hinder the non-lethal application to the state. They were never going to approve a non-lethal solution.

Illegal hunting began in Saddle River in 2014 and sooner. A councilman stated the friends of another councilman were not hunting enough.The purpose of a humane, non-lethal deer program is a reduction in deer breeding rates. Deer are baited throughout New Jersey to continually breed earlier and produce more fawns for sport hunting.

Hunting itself is used to increase deer for recreational hunting. Bow hunting is ineffective and inflicts high wounding rates. Deer die from massive hemorrhage or infection.

Hunting sets in motion a cascade of events that ensnares townships in perpetual killing programs.

Hunting programs are not cheaper. In Essex County, it cost the county about $1.7 million for police overtime and other associated expenses since 2008.

Townships can push hard for non-lethal deer conflict management with the state, and not succumb to the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s pro-hunting agenda and other pro-hunting organizations.

Saddle Brook


He will weep no more
When I was in junior high and high school, I really enjoyed the first run episodes of “The Honeymooners.” Jackie Gleason’s character Ralph Kramden and Art Carney’s character Ed Norton played off each other perfectly.

To me, Carney was Ed Norton until I saw a whole different man play a sad alcoholic with a heart of gold in a “Twilight Zone” Christmas episode, “Night of the Meek.” Years later I recorded a rerun. Thankfully I still have it now on DVD.

I’d like to tell the readers that never saw the episode all about it, especially the children.

It’s obvious that Mr. Carney’s character, Mr. Corwin, lived the later part of his life under various levels of alcohol intoxication. While wearing an old rental Santa suit he showed up for work as a department store Santa Claus. When a pushy lady falsely complained about him, his boss Mr. Dundee fired him on the spot. (I’m not going to quote parts of what Mr. Corwin said to him quite articulately.)
“I find of late that I have very little choice in the matter of expressing emotion. I can either drink or I can weep. I find drinking is so much more subtle. But as for my insubordination, I was not rude to that woman. Someone should remind her that Christmas is more than barging up and down store aisles pushing people out of the way. Someone has to tell her that Christmas is another thing, richer, finer, truer and it should come with patience and love, charity and compassion. That’s what i would have told her id you had given me a chance.”

Then a little later he said “All I know is that I’m an aging purposeless relic of another time and I live in a shabby rooming house filled with hungry children and shabby people like me.”

When he left and while walking home he entered an ally that is a short cut. He heard sleigh bells. Behind him a cat knocked a large burlap sack, filled with empty tin cans off of a trash bin. As he began to walk he again heard bells and turned towards the sound. He saw the sack on the pavement with not cans but gifts spilling out.

Rejuvenated, he lifted that huge sack, flung it over his shoulder and with purpose n his step began yelling “Merry Christmas everybody” over and over again. Then he entered a store front door into a place similar to the Salvation Army’s meeting room and began asking people, one by one, what they want for Christmas. He was in his glory. Miraculously the sack yielded exactly each item requested.
Then the store manager, Mr. Dundee, and Police Officer Flynn came in to see why Mr. Corwin has these items. They took Corwin to the police station. As Mr. Dundee reached into the sack to see what he believed Corwin stole from the department store, the sack was again fill with empty cans. They had to let Corwin go.

Back in his neighborhood he reached into the sack to give fun gifts to all of his neighbors children. When the sack was finally empty ad the children were elated, Mr. Corwin’s heart was full.

When he entered the ally, he actually saw Santa’s sled and reindeer parked there. Then the ally was bathed in bright light and a young elf appeared saying, “We’ve been waiting quite awhile for you Santa Claus. We’ve got a year of hard work ahead of us to get ready for next Christmas. Are you ready?”

Corwin, I mean Santa Claus, quickly mounted the sled and off they went. Officer Flynn and Mr. Dundee were just leaving the precinct when they too heard sleigh bells. They look up just in time to see Santa Claus leave. Shocked Flynn said, Thank God for miracles.”

Just recapping this story was making me feel really good. I hope Montclair's children read this and even look for the “Twilight Zone” episode on T.V. reruns. I really do, I feel it’s truly heartwarming. Merry Christmas to all that celebrate it, Happy Holidays to others, and may we all have a very happy and healthy 2019 and beyond.