a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Friday, June 28, 2013

Monongahela Cemetery turns 150 with music

MONONGAHELA, Pa. – You don't often get a chance see a band performing in a graveyard.

And not every city has one as beautiful as historic Monongahela Cemetery, which celebrated it's 150th anniversary today with a performance by Too Many Tubas.

The band based in Finleyville and made up of musicians from across Southwestern Pennsylvania performs "Gettysburg" under the direction of Rich Pantaleo, a former music teacher in the Ringgold School District.

Oddly enough, the cemetery is holding a picnic tomorrow to honor the past when families actually packed lunches and spent the day in the cemetery off Route 88 in Monongahela.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This photo sparks a memory of a great family physician

             (Photo from the Kenneth Weight collection at Charleroi AREA Historical Society, Inc.)

By Scott Beveridge

CHARLEROI, Pa. – It wasn't the cool 1964 Mercury Comet that leaped from this old photograph taken decades ago in the town where I was born, but, rather, the top name on the door of the building in the background.

This address at 520 McKean Ave. in Charleroi, Pa., was the practice of our beloved family physician, Dr. Eugene E. Costa, the guy who welcomed me into this world at the local hospital's deliver room in 1956.

I remember him fondly, though, for his blunt bedside manner.

A typical office visit would begin with my complaining about pain in my joints.

He usually replied with the question, "How much coffee are you drinking?"

"Probably too much," I'd reply.

He'd tell me to cut back on the caffeine before asking if I was still smoking cigarettes.

"No, I gave them up in 1980."

Then he'd inform me that I was eating too much rich food.


"Well," I remember his saying next. "You are fatter than you were the last time you were here. You have the hives again."

He was right. He always was right. He gave me an injection of something and a prescription and in a few days I was myself again.

The last time I visited Dr. Costa was in the mid 1990s, when the health-care industry really began its so-called "revolution" long before Obamacare would become a dirty word among this president's advisaries.

He told me back then my health-care provider no longer accepted him as a participant in my plan and I'd have to seek out an insurance "approved" physician. Maybe it was something about his age. I'm not sure.

"So you are retiring?" I asked, disappointed at his announcement.

"You retire from a job. You don't retire from a profession," he said.

He kept his office open for several more years before hanging up his white coat.

And, for the next decade, it seemed as if everyone I knew was complaining about rude, overworked staffs at their doctors' offices and being treated there as if they were part of a cattle call hurried through the necessary steps to get a diagnosis or a prescription refill.

Dr. Costa was the kind of physician who knew and seemed to care about his patients, and they didn't have to first show proof of medical insurance before reaching his exam room. His fee was affordable.

 I miss him.