Author: thecolumnrule


June 10, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III       When you are young, family history seems ancient. You are full of growth and vigor, the future beckoning, and you barely hear perhaps just every third word about Uncle Jim, who came from Europe in steerage or Great-Grandma Sophie, who eked out a […]


June 2, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III       Older folks like me have become our grandpas and grandmas in complaining that the “good, old days” are long gone, that things were always better back when. Well,  of course they were not, at least not always. Advances in medicine, social understanding and […]


May 26, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      In my childhood village of Spring Valley,  not far from New York City but at the time country enough to be “upstate,” there was a protective rhythm.      My father had grown up there. My grandfather arrived as a young man, and this […]


May 19, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      As a creature of habit, and because you take joy in very simple pleasure, my morning routine, as with others, includes a newspaper pick-up and coffee, for me from five distinct shops during the week that also offer commonality. It’s always an early start […]


 May 12, 2024 Arthur H. Gunther III The world did not, cannot, will not exist without mothers. They bring life and add to the soul that is within; they nurture; they suffer; they are a mix of joy and tears, fears and hope; they are the flowers that reappear in spring after harsh winter. […]


May 6, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      A few decades back, small diners in my part of the world in lower New York State  were known for affordable, tasty, homemade food served by owners and their staff who were family, especially for the regular customers. The diners were homes away from home. And […]


  April 28, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Rock walls in old farmers’ fields were playgrounds for kids in my youth, a challenge to balance yourself longer than your mate, and in that way not unlike any youthful contest. Were it an urban one, perhaps it would be roller-skating races on concrete […]


SPOT OF LIGHT AT THE EDWARD HOPPER HOUSE, Nyack, N.Y./gunther April 21, 2024 By Arthur Henry Gunther III      In artists’ places – houses, apartments, studios, benches in nature – there are what the fine Irish call “Seelie fairies,” those who bring kind emotion and nature’s beauty to the scene, much like the […]


THE CONCKLIN FARM, Pomona/gunther April 14, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      If our lives are just part of the story, with other existence before and more to come after present time, then somewhere, some time, some of us were farmers or perhaps will be.       In my own living, there […]


  April 7, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      An old saying, full of truth as always, proclaims that there’s no such thing as women’s work on a farm. There’s just work. Or women’s work is never done. Though March 8, International Women’s Day, has gone, whatever women do, and that’s everything, […]


March 31, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      This is not an Easter story, nor one of  Passover, Ramadan or any religion except that of humanity.       Way back when I was taking photos for the former Rockland Journal-News in Nyack, N.Y., I was assigned to cover pre-schoolers putting together spring […]


March 24, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III         Living in a small village of about 5,000 some decades ago, there was enough rural land not yet swallowed by post-war growth that neighbors still had chickens. Roosters were alarm clocks for school children, and henhouses were welcome play spots despite never-ending […]


March 17, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      You cannot have the Irish without tea. When the person holds a cup, it is the soul that comes to visit, both to nourish and to be nourished. Every sadness, every joy, every birth, every passing, every harvest, every leaving home of a once […]


March 10, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III (From an earlier essay, when a grandson was much younger.) Had a conversation with a young fellow at a train station in chilly, windy weather when the topic turned to hiccups since that was what the 3.5-year-old was using for punctuation in what otherwise was rapid-fire language. […]


March 3, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      We all have rhythm – in the way we talk, walk, move. There is rhythm in the workplace – keyboards, factory machines, assembly lines, construction crews. There is rhythm in religious services, certainly in music. And then there was rhythm in Morse Code, International […]


February 25, 2024 By Arthur H.Gunther III      In another time, in another Rockland County, N.Y., when the rural season was year-round save for perhaps eight weeks as summer vacationers tarried, barns stood proud as do tall majestic oaks and redwoods and pines. They proclaimed hard work, land cleared for grazing, farming, dairy.  […]


February 18, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      A gift – a find from the Tappan Zee Thrift Shop in little Piermont, N.Y. – brought renewed life to a small book on art and painting by Winston Churchill, himself an artist beyond British prime minister, statesman and author of very serious and […]


February 11, 2024      Silence is the pull-over spot in life, that second which becomes a moment and then even an hour or so when you idle and say nothing, perhaps do nothing but stare, let yourself drift away. No one else is needed; you are self-sufficient, with  strength, confidence, respect, reliability, even survival. […]


February 4, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      It used to be that the smog from coal furnaces and smokestack industry defined cities, along with dark alleys and film noir scenes, but with the urban renaissance, things now are much more in vibrant color rather than black and white. There has always been […]


January 28, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      We are all possessive – of things, people, places, memories, even coffee cups. Java tastes different in a vessel not of favorite fancy. It’s like being with pleasurable company, but not the same crowd – something is missing, though the brew is appreciated.   […]


January 14, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There aren’t many moments perhaps when you put on a fall jacket, even in winter or spring or the occasional cool summer morning that you do not think of when another such covering  was borrowed.      That jacket may be long gone as […]


January 7, 2024 By Arthur H. Gunther III There is snow, and there is snow. All relative to where you live and how each storm compares to the previous one. Like life. In my region of the globe, what we used to call “upstate New York” until the downstate from Battery Park on up […]


December 31, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      With the new year – 2024! – upon us and the hope that humanism will again push aside the withering worldwide, nationwide, even at points local, we turn to the artists everywhere, heralded and largely undiscovered who have ties to souls gone, here, in […]


(Gunther photo) December 17, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III       Early ice is relative in this part of the world – Harriman State Park, about 25 miles from the ever-hot glow of Times Square. Climate change has moved up the date, and we would normally have snow by this time, so […]


December 10, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Gunther photo There probably isn’t a unflattering photograph, sketch, watercolor, pastel or oil painting of the Nyack, N.Y., birthplace home of Edward Hopper, the American artist. Until at least the one that accompanies this essay.      And not because I took it. I […]


December 3, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      December 3, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Newspapers are – were – inimitable in our existence for my father and grandfather and seemingly the world, from donut-dunkers on diner stools to Gotham subway straphangers to the lady at home in […]


‘ILLUMINATION AT THE DOOR’/ gunther November 12, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      This is a “mad-as-hell” painting. Forget the style, the competence of the artist. Just – please – look at the doorway to what is your usual, time-honored, cherished, musty-scented, treasure trove of a corner bookshop. Or one in the […]


October 29, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There is – can be – a moment lying in an old iron bed of the very early 1900s, mattress high off the wooden floor, fall morning after a sneaked-in summer-style night, when a whiff of the autumn chase comes to say hello. It […]


October 22, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Back in ancient history but certainly relevant to today’s school kids, at least half the morning instruction in the lower/middle grades was given less attention because all you could think about was lunch. The other half was spent in standard day-dreaming.      Take-to-school […]


October 15, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      My brother and I, raised in the 1940s-’50s country village of Spring Valley, N.Y., and our father before that in the 1930s, had many, sometimes mostly, Jewish classmates and friends. Their parents were the local merchants, teachers, physicians, lawyers, garagemen. The Valley was also […]

A CONCKLIN LEGACY/ More than Family History

October 7, 2023   By Arthur H. Gunther III      Family genealogy collections and books are cherished histories that connect the dots in ancestral lines and prove reference for future generations. We should know where we come from.      But when someone researches and toils for a very long time – a […]


October 2, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      If we are fortunate, and not all are, we are anchored by early, good memories that literally define life, provide confident reference to the past and offer reassurance with a laugh or two.      For me, recognizable life – my awareness – began […]


‘HER’/gunther (acrylic on linen) September 24, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Form is the substance of life, whether it be our homes, places we visit, the food we eat, the beauty we admire and that which we do not; it is our bodies, perhaps our souls.      Admiration, indifference, no […]


‘TWO WINDOWS’/gunther September 17, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      In a day’s time, you can sit in a room in thought that is idling like your 1955 English Ford in neutral, the constant turn of the engine pistons reassuring that you can just molt a bit. We all need to be […]


September 11, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There is rhythm to our lives, and when it is seriously interrupted, the beat rarely returns to the same music.  And, so it was with September 11, 2001.      When 9/11 hit in terroristic horror 22 years ago, I was at the former […]


Sept. 5, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther      This is crazy time in America in ways political, economic, health-wise, socially, though if you subscribe to the thought that things happen for a reason, maybe eventually we will learn why. But Labor Day is supposed to be free of deep thinking, so I guess […]

AWAITING SEASONAL ‘LOVE’ August 27, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III A peach in season is like long-sought-after love that suddenly makes connection.  The heavens appear, but as in many a novel and short story, consumption does you in, spoils you for the ordinary. You can love no more past this time. Until the […]


    August 20, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III From time to time but never often enough, there come among us in a world of ego, greed, power, selfishness, those extraordinary individuals who give from the core of their being because their principal god is the goodness of humanity. Such a person was Bert […]


August 13, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There comes a day when you see a certain face, on a relative, friend or former acquaintance, and you realize time has passed, that age has added lines, that days of happiness, difficulty, excitement, boredom and the sometime ordinariness of living have left telltale […]


August 6, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III WASHINGTON, D.C. – These are not the best of days for America’s capital and Capitol, indeed the seat of democracy worldwide. A thrice-indicted fellow who should never have been president, special interests, the money lobbies, overwhelming bureaucracy and way too many rules and regulations pervert this […]


July 30, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Exceptional people have always been, but today’s busyness and the strains and demands of growth can hide these folk. Two such individuals from another time come to mind in my area of Rockland County, N.Y.      One is Sterling Theis, who was the […]


July 23, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. – Naturalist John Muir.      From the earliest days living in a semi-rural New York county not far from Gotham but a great distance from that life, dirt paths crossed […]


July 16, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There was a recent social media short of the type that would have made a full feature story back when we were not losing two newspapers a week. It was about a fellow in Massachusetts who passed away in his early 90s, just months […]


By Arthur H. Gunther III      These are the dog days of August even though it is not the seventh month. The world seems on fire, with temperatures in many places soaring above 110, almost biblical in prediction. The science says “progress,” from the discovery of fire into the Industrial Age, the Automotive […]


July 2, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Recently, in my suburban, now partially urban/suburban part of “upstate New York,” just 20 miles from the Big City, a local police department marveled at cows moseying on once-rural roads and grazing on a development house lawn. But why not? They were there first. […]


June 25, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      What’s in a face?      One of the good moments provided by the yin and the yang of the Internet and social media is the republishing or first-time showing of photographs made by the brilliant documentarians who worked with the Farm Security Administration […]


June 18, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Every profession has its “holy mission,” its reason for being. The brother/sisterhood involved are family that get the work done, almost always in net pride. We can all complain in the daily task about bosses, work loads, unfairness, but this is in family too, […]


June 11, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      This is school graduation time – high school, college – and across the nation, across the globe, those who are fortunate to have had chances at learning are moving on to other moments, all relative to who they are, where they live, what advantages […]


COINCIDENCE? June 4, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There is every coincidence in life, whether by the gods, by seemingly directed unconscious thoughts, perhaps just by the mere of it all. But it happens.      You are reading a story about, say, a new dam in 1930s’ Colorado, and that […]


GIFT OF THE FALLEN Memorial Day Weekend By Arthur H. Gunther The writer is a retired newspaperman who can be reached via This essay is adapted from a first version.


May 21, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      These essays are usually written in stillness, a completely quiet time when the spring birds are tuning up in early morning or the coffee pot is percolating its gathering scent in a colder moment.      Stillness is a gift that insulates you from […]


May 14, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      These essays are usually written in stillness, a completely quiet time when the spring birds are tuning up in early morning or the coffee pot is percolating its gathering scent in a colder moment.      Stillness is a gift that insulates you from […]


GOLDMINE By Arthur H. Gunther III      An artist’s painting is in the eye of the beholder, but the language is from the maker, and though the viewer may know some of the words, even sentences, the full narrative is the creator’s. The viewer can miss all of that for lack of interest […]


April 30, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Would that there be equality for all, that every little kid would have a Friday afternoon dream spot, a haven where after school he/she/they could leave the present and get lost in a mixture of the past, future and fantasy.      Such chill […]


April 24, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Time was when the family used to visit old Cape Cod for a summer two weeks, but as children morphed into adults with their own kids, and as the years and the money-elite changed too much of that New England landscape from a largely […]


April 16, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      As a newspaper photographer, my images ranged from publicity to fires to politics to sports and other subjects. Now as a painter, I work in abstract, realism, abstract realism and primitive. In photographs and canvas I have tried to depict the essence of people, […]


Updated electrical code  can prevent fatal fires April 9, 2023  By Arthur H. Gunther III      Remember your mom’s warning not to stick paper clips in electrical outlets? Saved lives. Today it seems some, hopefully few, in government in effect tell kids and adults to plug anything into a circuit. Not by intent […]


April 2, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III The daily birth of a newspaper is a wondrous thing, with news, commentary, photographs, the who, what, where, when, why and how of information light and heavy and everywhere in between. Each edition is from sweat and muscle and emotion held back in required detachment. It […]


March 26, 2023  By Arthur H. Gunther III      In a world of super haba-daba lattes, designer donuts at $4.50 and your name written on the coffee container that you must pick up at another counter, it was reaffirming when this morning I reached for the salt shaker.  It was plain Joe, plain […]


March 19, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There is indisputable evidence that despite each older generation claiming  the young are going to hell in a hand basket, the truth is otherwise. Always has been.       Greed is in every generation. Some bad politicians are as well. Some “leaders” fail. Some […]


March 12, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III In a very simple time when things were still complicated for grown-ups of course, country children of the 1940s and ’50s found diversion in rustling through the woods, playing hide and seek with other kids and going on small errands with dad or mom. Absent the […]


‘OFF THE SOUTH MOUNTAIN’/gunther March 6, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      On an early morning run in the Northeast, about 6, before the suburban/urban beings start their engines and rev up for the endless trips to shopping strips, the time is mine, and I relish the nearly empty roads and the […]


February 26, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      The daughter of a Rockland Journal-News colleague from long ago when the community newspaper still existed at 53 Hudson Ave., Nyack, N.Y., recently sent me an unidentified photograph of her as a very young child, taken in the newsroom. Her mother is gone now, […]


February 19, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There was always anticipation in the 1939 Dodge my father drove to the ferries at Weehawken to begin our rare visits to New York City. A country boy living just 18 miles away, a walk in the fields was the usual day, not shivering […]


February 12, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There is mystery in Gotham, the generic word for any city, ancient or modern. Tall buildings dwarfing others, alleyways in daylight darkness, corners in street lamp shadow, anonymous individuals plugged into crowds on sidewalks almost never left untrod. Urban life is its own mojo, […]


February 5, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      James Joyce, the writer who had to leave Dublin to narrate its soul, is remembered for more than classic works like “Dubliner” and Ulysses.” His story and character quotes are almost unbelievable pull-outs from the recesses of our minds.      “Shut your eyes […]


January 29, 2023  By Arthur H. Gunther III      Despite the rotation, a doorknob has stillness. You may have gone on a trip, and the handle has not been turned. You will do so, and the great feeling of home will hit, no matter how fine the journey has been. Maybe this isn’t […]


By Arthur H. Gunther III      “Unfinished Story,” the title of this painting inspired by an old doorway on Piermont Avenue in the Hudson River village, speaks for itself. We all have unfinished stories.      When I spotted the doorway in Piermont, N.Y., once a railroad town, then a factory town and […]


January 15, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      For someone like my grandfather Arthur Sr., the Information Age began in his 20s with a flood of great daily New York City newspapers like The World, the New York Times and the New York Daily News. He also had a crystal radio set, […]


January 9, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There is this thing about a woman in the early morning holding her hands around a warm, even mildly hot cup of java or tea. In conversation or not, there is an anchor, and whatever her thoughts, the tether’s for a reason.      […]


January 1, 2023 By Arthur H. Gunther III      This is the traditional make-resolutions day, the get-fit, renew-yourself makeover start. Sometimes some of us actually do that. I’m still compiling a list from the January Ones of long ago.      Most of us have good intentions. We do want to improve, to […]


     December 25, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther IV      For some years, my son Arthur IV, a writer too, has offered a holiday story published in this space. Reprinted here is one of my favorites from some years back – AHG III.      Franklin was a man of routine. Perhaps such […]


December 18, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There’s this thing about radiators. Not long ago they were old-fashioned but are now in vogue with home renovators overpaying scrap dealers. They are unheard of in many parts of the nation that don’t need central heating. And they were once a best […]


December 9, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      Your younger sibling should not pass before you do, though my brother Craig William Gunther always appeared as the older one. He was handsome with blond hair and blue eyes, a different look in a family of brown tops and eyes. He was […]


December 4, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      More or less at 6:15 a.m., an older fellow moves across Western Highway in Blauvelt, N.Y., to a small grocery where contractors, refuse collectors, DPW workers and other musicians in the band that keeps daily life moving gather for the quick morning coffee, […]


November 27, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      You walked out the door not as a different person but with an added layer, as if you had visited a kindly elder who told you what you did not know. You had more chops.      That was often the experience in […]


November 20, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There is a hot-metal printer’s expression – “running out of sorts” – which means the typesetting supply of a particular letter, punctuation, character, etc., is low. In civilian terms, if we don’t feel 100 percent, we are out of sorts. An apt comment […]


November 15, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      These virus-changed days have many office workers toiling at home in PJs, unlike the cubicles of 2020 and, blessedly before that regimented isolation, the large open room filled with desks, in turn overflowing with individual collections of paper, coffee cups, stick-it notes, Rolodexes […]


By Arthur H. Gunther III      A long-ago story, Election Day 2022 relevant.       In spring 1960, the General Organization of Spring Valley High School (N.Y.) held its presidential election for the next school year. There were two candidates, both capable of filling the student government office. One was more popular […]


October 30, 2022_  By Arthur H.Gunther III      Our America, at times wonderful to the point of tears – emotional, caring, giving – is also in its citizens’ fear as mean as can be – from want, loss, uncertainty in great and challenging change. We then fall back on  the temptation that […]


October 23, 2022 By Arthur H.Gunther III      A face is the door to someone’s being, the eyes the hallway to the soul. It can be a journey never forgotten.      As a photographer – I was on staff for a newspaper – while the job ends, the skills do not […]


October 17, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      America needs a good story, from sea to shining sea, in the hustings, in the gothams, on the farms, in the mountains and valleys, in the panhandle and among the poor, the rich, the in-between, the Republican, the Democrat, the independent, among all […]


October 9, 2022  By Arthur H. Gunther III      There is no workplace rhythm – this necessary, life-sustaining tempo, this melody, this song – without the interplay of people. Bosses, the ordinary grunts, specialists, the guys and gals who do the job, or who do the job better than others, the slackers, […]


October 2, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      A fall ride in early evening on a wooded parkland drive when the quiet is uninterrupted, when the moon is full and car lights seem unnecessary, when the engine purrs in low revolution, when the conversation between two is also at momentary idle, […]


September 18, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      In a September-near-fall when colored leaves drop in nostalgic scent, some of us can forget the crazy world of war, death, climate, challenged democracy. Some don’t have the luxury since they are caught up in what is not working, what is frightening.    […]


September 11, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III There is rhythm to our lives, and when it is seriously interrupted, the beat changes forever. And so it was with September 11, 2001. When  9/11 hit in terroristic horror 21 years ago, I was in the West Nyack newsroom of the former Rockland Journal-News, […]


September 4, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III On this Labor Day of late sleeping, barbecues, beach trips and general laziness for many but the same-old, same-old for those who are not “honored” but must toil, a memory trip back 123 years ago recalls a man, Hugh Bonner, who created an example of […]


August 28, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      There are in this life moments when you need a cupcake. Down day, low energy or maybe you just want to celebrate breathing. Back in the day, my father, who did the grocery shopping in a two-worker family, usually bought a weekly supply […]


  August 21, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III      For many decades, from the very first automobiles, when horse-drawn wagons and carriages were still about, there was a right-turn path at a stoplight intersection in a little hamlet not far from me. It seemed to offend no one; I can recall […]


By Arthur H. Gunther III     With recent early-morning temperatures hitting numbers not seen in months and with – hopefully – no more awful heat waves in sight, our house furnaces and boilers will soon be ready to kick in. For me, the change involves more than a turn of the thermostat […]


August 7, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III The rule of thumb is that the dog days of August are to be endured, that autumn will bring relief along with the wondrous color of falling leaves. But all this is hooey if August is also June and July, September too. At least in […]


July 31, 2022 By Arthur H.Gunther III      The Irish lady from North County Dublin looked less than chipper, unusual for this get-it-done woman with a sharp sense of right and wrong and a non-nonsense approach to living. She was in the later years, not “old” yet by her definition but past […]


By Arthur H. Gunther III      If you are fortunate before you grow up, you’ll get to spend a few years with a patient, somewhat quiet, a bit odd grandfather like I did, who had a knack for fixing almost anything with a pocketknife or a squirt of oil from the old-style […]


July 17, 2022 By Arthur H. Gunther III Doors have a way of fitting in, just like long-gone Uncle Jack in town for a comfy visit. He gets that way fast. Or people who initially stand out and are somehow morphed into the crowd, hopefully adding to the whole. It’s as if the […]