Once more into the breech on the banks of Lake Riley

Once more into the breech on the banks of Lake Riley
battle close

On the shores of Lake Riley, Cobb’s Hill 7/25/16

Something is always afoot near the Butterfly Garden at the Norris Avenue entrance to Cobb’s Hill. Last night, out of a van jumped Alex White.

1981-chess new

1981 Brighton vs. Webster. Democrat and Chronicle caption; “Dave Kramer of Brighton concentrates on his next move. He lost.”  see “Introductions”

alex strikes

Et tu, Brutus?

Still smarting from defeat at the hands of his Webster team 35 years ago, I challenged Pawn Alex to a duel.

I strike back

Take that for your co-conspirator at Webster, Gunther, who beat me 35 years ago!

Like Brutus, White struck me unawares, still in my street clothes. But not as green as White imagined, I delivered a near lethal checkmate.

alex in defeat

Alex slumped on the bench. Time for a new caption.

As the Pawn slumped on the bench, it was time for a new caption.

Actually, what I was seeing last night was a gathering of modern day warriors. As explained by business owner, activist and Webster chess coach Alex White (who you’ve met before), the group, Gladica, meets regularly to practice their medieval martial arts. Gladica is part of the Society of Creative Anachronism, a national organization which promotes all things medieval.


“I liked how Lord Alex put down that serf rebellion with one blow.” (Lord Robert with leg up). “Kramer choked just like he did 35 years ago.” (Novice Ray sitting) Law and order restored, Alex rests in back.

On the banks of Lake Riley, they formed two teams for a melee. Dressed in a mix of armor pieces both historic and modern, the teams practiced tactics for upcoming tournaments. The goal is to maneuver to gain the advantage of two people fighting just one. In the picture below, Eric in blue has been isolated. Given the rules, Eric must re-engage by getting next to Bob in green and white. Before Eric can re-engage, Bob has a small window for a kill.

battle far

Across the lake, another group of modern day warriors, Daeorhir Battle Gamers, were playing an outdoor version of Dungeons and Dragons. As one member said, you can either play D & D at home and get fat, or enjoy the outdoors and exercise at Cobb’s Hill.

other group

Daeorhir Battle Gamers (l-r) Dylan Haas, Christian Hill, Dan Levy, Richard Hewett


(R) Mark Abbot, (M) Pete Erickson, (L) Lee Sengbusch. Lee also practices with African Rhythms in Brockport

frank 1


In between the warriors, the Cobb’s Hill Drum Circle (a Meet Up group) was enjoying the lively evening. The Drum Circle meets on Monday’s and draws between 3 – 15 people. The musicians said they would rather beat their drums than each other’s heads.

Further down were the softball players. As I am an umpire, I located the most important man on the field, Frank in blue. Frank was captured carrying out the most important task that evening in all of Cobb’s Hill. Dusting off home plate.

frank dusting

Frank readying to dust off home plate

I share Alex sentiments when he says Cobb’s Hill is a tremendous resource for the Upper Monroe Neighborhood and beyond.


Flowering Upper Monroe

Ultimate spring fever at Cobb’s Hill

On a mound at Cobb’s Hill! And how the City of Rochester handles its loose leaves.

Cobb’s Hill welcomes the Ninth Cobb’s Hill Cyclocross

Diehards and the Cobb’s Hill Tennis Courts

Back to normalcy at Cobb’s Hill basketball

Rochester’s own street ball Rucker League

The 8th Annual Festival of Softball: After 800 Innings the “Tribute to Noah” nears $100,000

That Championship Season thirty five years later

The Cobb’s Hill tragedy of an “invisible man” ten years later

On the 22nd of October, 1844 on top of Cobb’s Hill

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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