Justin Murphy

Justin Murphy is a graduate of the Master's program in magazine, newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University. Born in Rochester, N.Y., he did his undergraduate work in linguistics at the University of Chicago and taught historical linguistics at Vilnius University in Lithuania. He also has an interest in baseball history, and writes for www.seamheads.com and the Society for American Baseball Research. Murphy currently covers county government for The Citizen in Auburn, N.Y.

This is Our Freedom
All That Lingers
A Gift Given


CANADA! Photo by: Bruce Strong

It started with strawberry rhubarb pie and ended with Canada and piglets‚ such are adventures with Bruce Strong.

Windows into ...

Justin and Jerry look through photos.  Photo by: Juliette Lynch

Full disclosure: Juliette and I are having way more fun with Jerry than journalists should ever expect to have with a story. He's witty, wise, reflective and incredibly easy to work with.

A few days ago, he chopped us off some fresh rhubarb from a patch of plants growing around his old house, and we (er, Juliette) was only too happy to return the favor with a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie.

Being Connected

Jerry looks at the buds forming on his trees. Photo by: Juliette Lynch

I have never seen buds grow. I have never nurtured a plant from a seedling to a tree. I have never harvested my own peaches or cherries. I have never tasted fresh horseradish dug from my own garden. But Jerry has.

He says being connected to the earth through gardening and growing and taking care of the forest centers him, and that in turn gives me a sense of who he is. It is too easy, he says, to get disconnected from one's soul, to forget to stop and watch a bud turn into a flower, to listen for a cricket as it sings a tune in the tall grass.

Introducing ...

Photo by: Juliette Lynch

Thursday was the fourth visit Juliette and I made to Jerry's house, but the first time we've met his son, Chewekah (chew-EE-kuh).

The younger Middleton is 30 years old and lives in a cabin he built himself a few hundred yards from his dad's. Jerry wanted to find a Native American name for his son, and liked the sound of Chewekah, a creek in Washington‚ when he heard it mentioned.

Tree Talk

Photo by: Juliette Lynch

To get to Chesaw from Republic, you take Route 20 to Wauconda, hang a right at the Spaghetti Saloon and continue on until you see a black bear lumbering across the road. What?!? Anyway, that's how Juliette and I got to Jerry's house Tuesday. We think we deserve a prize for being the first team to spot a bear.