A blog about a life awakened and rejuvenated around Western New York.

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Meteorological Bullshit aside, it appears we’ll be in store for a scorcher (which in these parts is anything under 99°F. As far as I’ve heard, it’s never broken the century mark – I could be wrong lending to Walliological Bullshit all its own). Eight in the morning (EST) and the coolness of night is slowly making a hasty retreat.

I work in a tin box. A pre-fab addition to a series of pre-fab additions, that has major difficulty keeping the cold out in the winter, and goes a long way emulating a 400° oven when there’s steam. With the moisture levels and the heat, it’s obvious there will be steam. And as we were taught in school, class: “It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity”!

So, did I dress accordingly? Of course not. Safety dictates “long-sleeved” pants and steel toe boots. Not the sexiest attire. Liberties were taken, wearing the thinnest of T-shirts I could muster (that didn’t have mustard blotted on it – I can be a bit of a slob sometimes! 😉  ). Once the beads of sweat form, it won’t quite matter any longer, will it?

So the game plan: pace myself. And stay hydrated (lay off the coffee dunderhead, you’ll dehydrate). Should a spray or splash of water find my face, I will welcome it appreciatively.

Normally, I bristle at getting wet… but all’s fair in love and steam!

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I was going along, swimmingly. I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle sans limp from a gimpy left leg. My first sciatic nerve flare up had put me on my back to stew over my fate, and hope that my gait was unnoticeable. But, there lingered that tell-tale thump as my foot contacted the earth. I looked good; sounded like a Clydesdale.

Thankfully, I had worked out most of the kinks before the day. Rest and meds, stretches and patience. (Lots of patience. No one likes an impatient patient!)

Mission accomplished. Which is why I can’t get too upset that my nerve and back went AWOL this morning. More rest, more pain suppressants, more stretching, more of being a patient.

Day-by-day is my self-prescribed dosage. If I feel better tomorrow, then I’m headed in the right direction. If I don’t, this bastard’s going into dry-dock until ALL the barnacles are scraped off. Whatever the outcome, there’s no way I admit that this ship has sailed.

Hand me the remote control!


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Willpower better kick in soon. I’m sick of nickle and diming this health regimen I had committed to. I wanted to lose weight for the wedding. My biggest fear was turning into Burgess Meredith (Penguin, from TV BATMAN). A roly-poly beach ball next to a svelte bride, just didn’t appeal. Between injuries and ailments (and a scare or two) I fell miserably short on both counts.

So today is the first day of the rest of my week. I am kick-starting my resolve. And my diet needs to be quelled into submission. This time, it’s not to fit into a suit for the most important day of my daughter’s young life. This time, it’s for the most important day of the rest of my life. Today. Right now. Warm up the equipment.

Walt’s got a lot of work to do!

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Buffalo and the surrounding areas of Western New York is a trove of many wonderful treasures. No less brilliant of them all is the KLEINHANS MUSIC HALL.

This palace of musical wonder is considered one of the most acoustically perfect music halls in the world. The home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO – to be featured in a future H,T&E segment) this Music Hall has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and has been acclaimed by the likes of Jascha Heifetz, Artur Rubenstein and Serge Koussevitzsky.

It has also housed many renown Musical Directors, among them Michael Tilson Thomas, Semyon Bychkov, Maximiano Valdes and currently JoAnn Falletta (Another to be featured in a “Being For The Benefit of…” piece). Pops Conductors have included Doc Severinsen and the late Marvin Hamlisch.

For the full scoop on KLEINHANS MUSIC HALL, Click the link provided.

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I cook dogs and burgers any day of the week. And with an “empty nest”, my wife and I can enjoy them when we want. They never make the day special. They just make us well fed. Shopping spree sales seduce shoppers to spend whenever the yen to do so hits. Still not making for a memorable day. A day off to cut the lawn and become broccoli (vegetate) is not the allure.

The end of May brings us to more pressing thoughts (or at least it ought to). Memorial Day is an abused celebration for most of the wrong reasons. Remembering the fallen heroes of our armed forces should be the sole reason; recollections and dedicating honor to those who are most deserving. A chance to decorate (a throwback to the original holiday, Decoration Day) lives offered up and spent in service of freedom and liberty.

A chance to renew my fervor for a project I began last Memorial Day. I named it, “Of Honor and Remembrance”.   The purpose of this site is to simply honor and remember the military men and women who have passed on. It started as I said, last May when I took my handful of flags to plant at my father’s grave and the neighboring “heroes” who lacked that honor (or someone to present it). I was overwhelmed by the number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines (from many different conflicts – some decorated with Silver and Bronze Stars and many Purple Heart recipients) who had been neglected by time and age. Marker stones almost completely covered with mud and grass, nearly obliterated. I began the monumental task of cleaning and clearing the obstructions so these people would be remembered.

The “Honor” part is in accumulating the names and service designations, as well as their Death Dates to post on the “Of Honor and Remembrance” blog. Currently, I am working on the fact gathering at local Buffalo area cemeteries and trying to determine what form the tributes will take. But until these are completed, I will continue to honor and remember the fallen pillars of our Free Nation.

If there are service men and women whom you would like to add to the Honor Roll, send an e-mail to the address found at “Of Honor and Remembrance”. Send all the information as it appears on the marker or headstone and the cemetery (city and state) and I will be glad to include it. This is a monumental undertaking and I have been overwhelmed but the sheer number of names I have accumulated from a small corner of two local burial places. But it remains to be done… to in some small way, Honor and Remember in the hopes of reclaiming the Memorial of what should be a decorated day!

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All plans and preparations were completed and the celebration to the union of two young people made for each other is winding down. Two days after the nuptials, the Mother and Father of the Bride take time adjusting to the facts as they have been presented to us. Our daughter is a married woman.

Now that part isn’t so hard to swallow per se, the kids were engaged for 18 months before the big day. We had time to adjust. Hearing the echo in the “cavernous room” left vacant, haunts memories of her well lived life so far. We haven’t decided the disposition of this space. We’re giving it time.  Maybe our Andrea will assume her sister’s room. The lack of adequate closet space (my wife’s bane since we bought the place) could be remedied here. Maybe a “Man space” for… (not an option she says as I type).

Lost in contemplative thought and I hear the sound of car tires on the stone approach to the house. A frantic ring of the doorbell summons Janice and me to the door, post haste. There stands the young newlyweds.

“Don’t you have your key?” my wife inquires.

“I don’t really live here anymore” my daughter quips.

A stabbing truth in the reality of this past weekend.

“Maybe so” we say, “but this will always be your home. You two are always welcome!” I complete the thought.

“Thanks, Dad” I hear from the man responsible for my daughter now. A calming hand on the shoulder of my despair. I think we’re easing back to normalcy.

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It was a blur. From start to finish, the day went by in the bat of an eye. A strategic move, bringing home base to a central hotel to make the travel from hotel to Glen Falls Park to Church (St. Gregory the Great R.C. Church, Williamsville, NY) and to a reception at the Hearthstone Manor (Depew, NY), a smooth undertaking. Despite traffic and construction, I think it went off without a hitch. A blurry hitch-less piece of work.

It had been a year and a half in the making. I was “invited” for a cup of coffee by my oldest daughter’s boyfriend of three years, Ryan. He needed to ask me something. Now, I’ve never been on a turnip truck, so falling off of one wasn’t an option. I knew the question. And I knew my answer.

And as I said, we had 18 months to prepare. But it came so quickly (and was over so soon) that I didn’t get a chance to enjoy it completely. But I guess I have plenty of time for that (God willing). My family had expanded by one, the son I hadn’t had until now. A sportsman and a sports fan. A Dave Matthews, Zac Brown fan (and as we found out, John Mayer… not so much) But we have one major thing in common that goes a long way in making this connection work.

We both love my daughter, Melissa very much. And now it’s his turn to take care of her in the way she’s become accustomed. In a very simple way, but fully and completely. Not a bad proposition, since he’s had a running start at it.

Now I can sit back and catch my breath for a while. I have another daughter that will take my breath away in due time. Keep the oxygen handy. NEXT… !