Sometimes Good Sh!t HappensJun 01, 2022 09:00AM ● By Michael Capuzzo
Maggie Barnes, Mountain Home’s humor columnist, was looking for a good laugh in the fall of 2021, when the sky and the news were bleak, and found it in a bottle of wine. It was a fine cab-merlot blend with the label: “Sh!tshow, A Fine Wine for the Times.”
Maggie won a prestigious Keystone Media Award from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for her hilarious story about how Grovedale Winery in Wyalusing came up with a popular “line of wines that spoke to the times,” giving people “a way to laugh, when you really want to cry.” Sh!tshow’s “trio of red, white, and rosé wines, all dry,” are “a perfect consolation for the next time something in your life falls apart,” Maggie wrote. The wine came out of the bottle in 2020, but the label applied equally to 2021, and 2022 looks promising for the blend.
The old chestnut “laughter is the best medicine” comes from the Bible. (Actually, it’s “A merry heart does good, like medicine,” Proverbs 17:22). Even Nietzsche, who said God was dead, agreed. So take it from me and read “Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut,” along with Maggie’s other musings, which won first place for columns in the state. Prove to yourself you can grin like a fool without drinking.
New York poet Frank O’Hara once wrote: “In times of crises, we must all decide again and again whom we love. And give credit where it’s due.” And that’s what Mountain Home did last year. Gayle Morrow cherished the natural rhythms of the end of summer—“September will soon concede to October, which in turn gives way to November...The mullein stalks are dry and brown, the bee balm’s flowers are just a memory, and the goldenrod has gone to seed. See you all next year, with or without a calendar”—and won second place for outdoor columns.
Photographer Linda Stager was struck by the cold, snowy November dusk of Main Street in Wellsboro “and the warm, lighted, inviting businesses we were passing, reminding us of holidays and gatherings ahead.” Her picture won first place for feature photos, one of two prizes for Linda. Outdoor writer Pat Kelly, his trout fishing interrupted by two homeless men, traveled from annoyance and fear to bringing food to one man along the creek shortly before Christmas, showing his children what was really important in life and love. He won first place for sports feature.
Don Knaus’s parents met on the factory floor of the Corning glass plant in Wellsboro during World War II, when the plant turned out most of America’s Christmas bulbs. Don won a feature story prize for his recounting of how one of those machines that lit the world has gloriously returned to town.
Carol Myers Cacchione, whose mother, the late Mary Myers, also wrote for this magazine, took first place for a stirring personality profile of Brian Stahler, her Shakespeare-quoting English teacher at Wellsboro Area High School who shaped so many lives, including that of my wife, Teresa Banik Capuzzo, Mountain Home’s publisher.
Michael Kulbacki took a remarkable New Year’s Eve photograph, which won a news event photo award, of his family standing outside a Buffalo area hospital praying toward a window where his grandmother Judy Smentkiewicz lay dying of covid—until a judge ordered the ivermectin that saved her life.
Teresa and I, who co-founded this magazine seventeen years and some 200 journalism prizes ago, toast these talented creators and our thousands of readers. Instead of Grovedale’s “Sh!tshow,” we’ll raise a glass of their popular new fine dry red “for the times” called “Grat!tude.”