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This is a hardly an entertaining, motivational, or uplifting New Year’s Day (or post-New Year’s) Valley Pike, but unfortunately, it could be a common one.

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Civil War enthusiasts undoubtedly recall the Battle of Cross Keys, a Confederate victory during Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862. Well, I am craving the Rattle of Lost Keys.

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Many years ago, I got a chance to see what I thought was an incredible talent with an aluminum bat in his hand.

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STEPHENS CITY — It is not quite to the point of the fictional Scarlet Pimpernel — that is, “You see him here; you see him there; those Frenchies see him everywhere ...”

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Winchester may be a Civil War town, but the historical community can count its lucky stars for the French & Indian War Foundation, which has presented a variety of colonial topics that, without its presence, would not have been told. Or at least to the depths they have been.

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I did it again Monday, stayed up too late when I knew — knew — that a good night in the sack almost guaranteed a bounce to my step the day following. With the crud I have meandering through parts of my body and radiation taking a toll, l know that sleep is one of the better antidotes en rout…

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As the headline suggests, I will try to squeeze three topics into this column — with high hopes of linking them thematically. For example, how to connect our dog’s exploits (or lack thereof over the weekend) with the rather serious issue of my physical condition. Tough, huh?

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I sense sometimes that when people see I am writing a column — AN-oth-ah column — about our beasties, they say to themselves, “Oh, so that clown O’Connor doesn’t have anything to really write about this week.”

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The Class of 1969, from what we understand, has big plans — quite a shindig, blowout, hoedown, call it what you will — for its 50th reunion Sept 13-15. Of all the ’69 grads, there is one who is most excited to attend.

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SAN DIEGO — During our recent trip to "Cali" (the native abbreviation for California), we did all the standard things — which meant that, despite our earnest efforts we stood out as tourists, albeit not quite as obvious as a sore thumb.

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THE LEFT COAST — If it’s July, it must be Vacation Time for the O’Connors, which also means a column or three dedicated to our meanderings. A goodly number of folks inform me they enjoy these travel pieces, so I keep on doing them.

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BEDFORD — On July 17, 1944, the telegrams began pouring into the cramped little Western Union office pigeonholed in the back of Green’s Drugstore. All Betty Teass, the young woman who operated the machine, had to see was a Bedford name and the word “sympathy” in the first sentence of the tel…