NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

Survey Says : Windsor Feud Marks Successful 15th Anniversary

Posted on March 7, 2018

Host Jerry Wistrom quizzes team contestants from St. Gabriel School and Windsor Federal Savings.

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


Maplecraft/Northwest Park team left to right – sporting a woodman’s hat is Carol Engelmann joined by Jen Flier and Charles Corey (dressed as a maple syrup bucket.)


An evening of fun and fundraising marked the 15th anniversary of the Windsor Feud held Saturday, March 3 at the Windsor, Connecticut town hall. Based on the popular television game show, Family Feud, teams from area businesses and civic groups participated in the friendly competition organized by the Windsor Chamber of Commerce with team Hampton Inn named the 2018 champs.


Through pledges, the event raises money for numerous WCofC community, education and business programs. According to Jane Garibay, executive director of the WCofC, as of March 7 a tally showed the event had raised $7,000.


“Still rallying up,” added Garibay.



Inside the town hall, council chambers was transformed into a realistic replica of the T.V. show. Garibay said – on a volunteer basis and motivated purely by the enjoyment of the task and assisting with the event – the set was designed and built by Gary Dowgewicz with help from Bill Karlon and his wife Allyssa.


Competing teams turned out dressed in creative costumes. That included a faux U.S. Olympic Curling Team. which proceeded to offer a comical demonstration of how the sport works (the actual U.S. team won a gold medal in the recent winter Olympics.)

Paula Pierce playing in the Fast Money round.



Ten teams competed in the Windsor Feud which ran from from 5:30 p.m.- 9 p.m – Windsor Federal Savings, St. Gabriel School, Kiwanis, Diamond Club Coaches, Union Street Tavern, WCofC, Hampton Inn, Hollywood Suites, Maplecraft Foods/Northwest Park. Teams taking home trophies were: Smartest – Hampton Inn; Richest -St. Gabriel School: Best theme – Hollywood Suites: Honorable Mentions – Maplecraft/NorthwestPark & Kiwanis Club.


Jerry Wistrom, who has served as host since the first Windsor Feud, was praised for displaying wit and charm in performing his duties. He noted the event keeps getting better every year.


For those who may not be familiar with the game, 100 people are are surveyed with various queries and the feud players are later asked to guess the most frequent answers. The more correct responses given by contestants, the more corresponding points are earned by their team. Whichever team wins the most points then sends two contestants to the Fast Money round.


“It’s harder than it looks,” said Father John Melnick of the St. Gabriel’s School team.


Survey number one asked players to “name something for which people want quick relief.” The top response – headache – followed by heartburn, stomachache, back pain, debt, toothache and a cold. Another survey wanted to know about,”Something that Ireland is famous for.” Among the things that popped into the minds of feud competitors: shamrocks/clover, whiskey, leprechauns, the Blarney Stone, potatoes and the color green.


Jane Garibay and Paula Pierce of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce interview Father John Melnick from the St. Gabriel School team during a break in the competition.


The local community cable station WIN-TV broadcast the Windsor Feud and it also streamed on – some players took the chance to say hello to family and friends watching from as far away as Colorado and Florida. The fun was not limited to the on-camera answers but extended to a full house in the audience where some were grooving to the piped-in sounds of Earth, Wind & Fire, during the breaks when new teams took to the podiums.


It was during those breaks that Garibay and WCofC member Paula Pierce accepted phone-in pledges and interviewed contestants. During an interview with Father John Melnick, St. Gabriel school’s designation as a Blue Ribbon school was cited.


Seven of the ten teams raised more than $400. The amounts above $400 will be donated to charities of their choice.


Go to  to learn more about WCofC events and activities.

A Second Chance at Love? Send Lavender & White Roses

Posted on February 14, 2018

What is the “language of roses?”


By Jacqueline Bennett


Romance & roses go hand-in-hand, especially on Valentine’s Day when thoughts turn to matters of the heart.


The “alluring” scents, textures and colors of roses have made them the most popular flowers, notes Typically red roses are associated with love. However, there are all kinds of love, and as it turns out different color roses convey different messages, as do the number of roses selected. 



The old Frank Sinatra standard tells of love being “lovelier” the second time around, “just as wonderful with both feet on the ground.” If you have a second chance at love, you may want to consider sending a bouquet of lavender & white roses. In the language of roses says, lavender and white roses represent second chances. 


Burgundy roses are said to symbolize beauty, white ~ purity & spiritual love, yellow ~ friendship, coral ~ desire, orange ~ fascination, pink ~ admiration, and lavender on it own ~ love at first sight. Combinations of colors have added meanings. For example, the second chance lavender & white mix or yellow & red ~ love that has blossomed from friendship. 


Love by the numbers goes on to say, translates into: one ~ my one and only; two ~ we are a couple; three ~’I love you’; six ~ ‘I miss you’; twelve ~ true love; thirteen ~ secret admirer; and OMG! fifty – unconditional love.


Traditionally, men send women red rose(s) on Valentine’s Day. How far have we evolved in the 21st Century when it comes to women sending men roses? Flower Etiquette by Ode a la Rose suggests colors other than softer pastel shades, which are seen as feminine. Instead pick blue, brown, or burgundy. Nonetheless, it seems color selection should be a personal judgement call. Send him roses adds Flower Etiquette, if he already knows of your affections or, if you want to reveal your affections. Again – a personal judgement call.


Now that you have been schooled in the language of roses, what message will you send today?

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? … WALK

Posted on February 8, 2018

Our New England winters can pose a challenge to walking outdoors but if all else fails walk in place indoors. Once the snow removal folks arrive and the walkways get cleared, I like to get outside in the fresh air. (Check with a physician before embarking on a routine of physical activity.)

By: Jacqueline Bennett


How can you mend a broken heart? … WALK.


Walking is at the top of the American Heart Association’s recommendations to get and keep the ticker pumping. It is that time of year again, American Heart Month, and once again I am joining the call to get moving.


Let me reiterate from previous articles I’ve written an astounding fact; according to the AHA, “… 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle.”


That brings us to the famous Humpty Dumpty quote from Lewis Carroll’s The Looking Glass, “The question is, which is to be master – that’s all.” Literary scholars have debated its meaning for years so I’ll apply it in this case to mean  ~ which is to be master over your life? Will it be you by taking action to help yourself ?


Granted, it’s not always easy. There can be challenges, even obstacles to tackle, but do not give up ~ keep trying. And pat yourself on the back, literally pat yourself on the back, for each success no matter how small or large. Since walking is credited with lifting moods, perhaps its benefits can go beyond the physical, also helping to mend broken hearts of the romantic type.



Here’s a reminder bullet list of recommendations from heart health experts:

  • Walking can help maintain a healthy weight and can help prevent & manage conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type II diabetes. It can help strengthen bones, lift moods and improve balance and coordination.
  • Heart healthy eating ~ lean chicken and fish and limited lean red meat, whole grains, low fat dairy, skip the salt and enjoy plenty of vegetables and fruits
  • Take off some weight ~ if your weight is an issue, it is said that even dropping ten pounds can make a difference
  • Get moving ~ don’t limit physical activity to walking
  • Stress management ~ truly, try not to sweat the small stuff ~ and avoid blood pressure spikes
  • Count your blessings ~ keep a gratitude journal ~ the power of positive thinking can help you help yourself
  • Quit smoking ~ after all the years of information about how detrimental smoking can be, it is amazing to me that this still needs to noted.


Always check with a physician before starting a routine of physical activity. And as I’ve said before ~ forgive yourself. If you miss a day or fall off the heart healthy wagon, pick yourself up and keep going. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, you do not need “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men” to put you back on track. All you need to do that, is yourself.

Destination: The Lion’s Den – A Ratskeller with Winter Appeal As Snow Swirls

Posted on January 24, 2018

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


Listening near the tavern bar one cold December day, tales could be heard of the ratskeller below. 

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett The Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA.


“The Lion’s Den” in Stockbridge, Massachusetts is listed as one of New England’s coziest winter bars in an article  from “Yankee Magazine.” Located beneath the Red Lion Inn,  “The Den”, as it has been dubbed, can be reached through an exterior entrance and one inside the inn’s Widow Bingham’s Tavern.


During a luncheon at Widow Bingham’s Tavern, I overheard some staff express perplexity when a server described “The Den” as a ratskeller, sometimes spelled rathskeller. It is a term at the same time intriguing and off-putting. Any word that contains “rat” is cause for apprehension.


The term has its origin in 15th Century Germany, according to what I will call bar-scholars. It apparently combines the concept of wine cellars with, well …. The oldest one cited is Bremen Ratskeller, dating to 1405.


So, what the heck is a ratskeller? Quite simply it is a basement tavern. Early on they were found beneath, or nearby city halls. Guess politics could always be cause for a stiff drink. 


It was during the 1800’s that ratskellers made their way into the American vernacular. Visualize the fictional ‘Sam Malone’  pouring drinks as customers make their way down the stairs into ‘Cheers’, which was based on a real bar in Boston – the Bull & Finch, renamed Cheers after the television series reached iconic status.


Ratskellers seemingly became popular on American college campuses during the 1950’s “beatnik” era and into the 1960’s era of social revolution. Given their typically dark and reclusive aura, that fits, hideaways of sorts for folks planning to change the world. Even my Alma mater, the Univeristy of Connecticut, is included in a list of college campuses that had ratskellers during this socially and culturally turbulent period. (The “Sons of Liberty” often met in taverns to orchestrate the American Revolution, albeit they were above ground.)


Ratskellers are far from extinct and can still be found throughout the world. That brings us back to “The Lion’s Den” tucked beneath this New England inn made famous by a Norman Rockwell depiction of Christmas along Main Street in Stockbridge, a quaint town nestled in the beautiful Berkshires.


Yankee Mag makes note of the “half-flight down”, 80-year old pub’s promise of live entertainment 365 days a year, brick-red tin ceiling and rosy lighting. Add to that a key element for me, a fireplace. “The Den’s” promises too, “never a cover charge.” And thanks to the food served here, such as the ultimate chicken pot pie comfort food, it is a 2015 Open Table Diner’s Choice Winner.


Keep in mind that an underground pub does require one to navigate stairs despite having lifted a pint or two. With a hint of clandestine, clearly this ratskeller creates an atmosphere that makes it an appealing destination while outdoors snow swirls amidst the howl of winter winds.


Tavern bar.


Listening near the tavern bar to tales of the ratskeller below: The Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn, 30 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262  413-298-5545


Why A Cheating Spouse May Be Less Upsetting Than a Rude Waitress

Posted on January 2, 2018

My New Years Day region-beta paradox cure ~ a find of seasonally decorated  fireplace matches.

By Jacqueline Bennett


The pleasure of my New Year’s Day luncheon out at a favorite restaurant yesterday was dampened by a rude waitress. Although the matter was tended to by the manager, the waitress’ rudeness was still bothering me this morning. I think sometimes we do ‘sweat the small stuff’ because it can represent more, offending our basic sensibilities of right and wrong. Nevertheless, I have other important things to ponder, and in the scheme of things this circumstance was small. So I took to the Internet for refresher tips on getting over small upsets.


Along the way, I came across a theory that was new to me called region-beta paradox. My degree is in a different area, but I began as a psychology major at UConn and the field remains fascinating to me. Thus I ended up reading five articles on this theory, including “The Peculiar Longevity of Things Not So Bad,” by the developers of the hypothesis, T.D.Gilbert et al. There’s a lot to the theory.


The crux however of region-beta paradox is that more intense upsets likely trigger the mind/body response to recovery, processes that reduce stress. Whereas less intense upsets do not. As such, we may find ourselves still fuming days, weeks later, over spilled milk.


Now we have a theoretical explanation. What’s to be done to get over small upsets?


In a Huff Post healthy living piece titled, “How To Stop Agonizing Over The Little Things (Because They Are Inevitable),” written by Kate Bratskeir, she states, “Many of us allow one sour moment to spoil what would have been a perfectly sweet day.” She goes on to suggest the following coping strategies.


  • Just.Stop.Thinking.About.It
  • Focus on your breathing ~ which can be done anywhere, anytime
  • Be mindful (my interpretation ~ take in your moments, surroundings ~ keep yourself in the here & now)
  • Do some positive visualization ~ maybe think about a favorite ski slope or beach

Here’s a biggie in my book ~

  • Document Your Wins ~ however minor, keep track of things that go well on any given day
  • Keep an overall balance sheet of wins and losses (my approach ~ from making a green light to a winning scratch-off lottery ticket of any amount, to having a door held open, to a friendly hello from a stranger * And may I add, “Pay It Forward.”


My win yesterday was finding the last box of seasonally decorated fireplace matches while shopping after lunch. Small – but no less a win. I plan to think about my win.

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Posted on December 25, 2017

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett A White Christmas in Connecticut – photo taken about 5 a.m. Christmas morning 2017.

By: Jacqueline Bennett


I watched “White Christmas” starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney three times this season on the AMC channel. I never tire of it. Oh that Vermont lodge! The train ride to New England. The late night scene with Bing and Rosemary by the fire -“when I get weary and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep.” The scene when the retired general arrives in uniform. Of course the story culiminates with the singing of “White Christmas”, and at last – the beautiful snowfall! Oh, old Hollywood – thank you for this classic.


Sending Merry Christmas wishes to the readers of newsandviewsjb! “May your days be merry and all your Christmases be white.”

Mom’s Recipe Box: Kathleen Shares “Grandpa Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce”

Posted on December 24, 2017







Courtesy photo: Her great-niece Kathleen, has shared “Grandpa Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce” and it has been added to Mom’s Recipe Box.




In Time For the Holidays – “Grandpa Franks’s Spaghetti Sauce” from Kathleen


It has been awhile since I’ve made an addition to  “Mom’s Recipe Box” and this is one I know my mother would love. It comes from Kathleen Pope, who is married to my second cousin Brad on my dad’s side  (my cousin Betty-Jane’s son). Thus Kathleen is Mom’s great-niece. As I’ve said before, Mom was all about family. She adored hearing about what was going on with each family member. Looking forward to every new recipe, I know Mom would have been so pleased to learn about Kathleen’s blog “The Fresh Cooky” 


Kathleen noted that years back her grandfather had, at different times, owned several Italian restaurants in the Denver, Colorado area. Here’s a bit of what she wrote on her post about “Grandpa’s Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce, ” “Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I’m sharing one of our treasured family recipes. Ohh are you in for a treat….” She went on to say that she grew up on this “robust” red sauce which her mother often made.  To read the post


After the turkey and all the fixings are gobbled up on Christmas Day, and leftovers have been turned into turkey sandwiches or turkey soup, it will be time for a change. Seems like a perfect chance to try this special recipe.  Thanks Kathleen! – Jackie


Kathleen has shared …


For the complete recipe click on this link.

… a treasured family recipe            


Grandpa Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce














Mom’s Recipe Box began on as a temporary weekly series each Friday, and is now published occasionally, adding to the Cecelia G. Bennett Collection.