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

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Buffalo weather is right on schedule. It’s cold, it’s hot. It rains like a son-of-a-bitch or sprinkles in misty precipitation. They tell me there’s this thing called “the sun”,¬† but I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of it in so long, I have come to doubt its existence. I will offer some resistance and wait to see what the weekend brings.

But still there’s this mood it dumps on me that needs more shaking than an upside down Etch-a-Sketch on its last leg. I steer clear of windows, for the effect the view has on me. I listen to KZOK-HS2 out of Seattle. Great rock, no talk and none of the insipid local weather/traffic headaches with which to deal. Even the Weather Channel app on my phone depicts the grayness in the wallpaper representing the Buffalo sky. And they’re being optimistic.

I’ve heard folk say, “Well, a good thing about the rain is… you don’t have to shovel it!” (Nyuk-nyuk) Tell that to your friends in New Orleans next time you have too much time on your hands.

And you know, it’s not even so much about the rain. I can take a sun shower ten ways to Sunday. I’m a colorful guy and my palette is usually full. Muted shades of gray leave little to my imagination. The rain is just a reminder.

Forecasts call for improvements (I know this shit isn’t gonna last forever). It’s just that it’s caught me on a few bad days (although I question if this is a chicken and egg thing). So I’ll string it out and shout when the sun peeks out and I start to sweat. And you can bet I’ll piss and moan when the heat returns and burns my sorry rump.

But, there’s a big advantage to the sunshine. You don’t have to shovel it!

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Respects paid, and flowers laid into the soil to toil under the sun’s diligent efforts. A quiet stroll through the grounds of Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, NY. Taking root near where my parents (Mom and Dad, Grandmother and Grandfather) lay in repose, they already are looking colorfully splendid in the cool afternoon daylight. The silence (near-by road noise, not withstanding) makes this a very cerebral place. Thoughts and heart pangs shared in an almost telepathic state. I rue the fact that it is too late to share my achievements in person. But they know. I can feel it. Our connection has stayed strong.

On my way out I stop briefly to re-establish my place to resume the Service project I began a summer ago. I never made it out as planned. Tracking back, I spotted three markers that look untouched. Extracting pad and pen, I begin to record facts engraved in granite and stone, some the lone evidence that these unselfish souls once existed.


Gold Star Service Banner

I remained working on Section 25 until I had every last man noted and accounted. More awards and another Purple Heart recipient. I even came across a designated Gold Star Mother; she will be included in the tribute! Three men who fought in the Spanish-American War. So much history buried in mystery here. I assume the role of detective, scratching out clues to solve these very divergent puzzles. I must look strange on my hands and knees, clawing and carving sections of sod overgrowing the flat slabs. Moving from grave to grave, with the hopes of saving some pride and sense of dignity for those who have given me the ability to do so. It remains the very least I can do.

Tomorrow is a big day. I will return in love and out of respect for these extraordinary individuals who have served the whole of us.

Thank you for your service.

“Hang Tough”

And “say a prayer for our guys and gals over there!” (Thanks Bob Curran)

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American Falls - Niagara Falls

American Falls – Niagara Falls

Her call is loud and thundering, a torrent of water across the precipice here and over the “Horseshoe” (the Canadian side of Niagara Falls). Feeding Lake Ontario with the flow Lake Erie sends her, an unending cycle of life.

Nik_Wallenda_Niagara_Falls_2012Legendary and fabled, from barrel to a high-wire cable (Nik Wallenda‘s trek across the cavernous gorge) she has seen her share of daredevils and whack-jobs looking for the fame of a name in defiance. Triumphs unfortunately, are very few.

But the view (especially at night when the lights perform in unison to offer more beauty, if that was possible) is awe inspiring. If you are desiring adventure at the hands of Mother Nature, there is plenty to see and feel (you catch a good spray on a decent day) at the hands of Niagara Falls. One of the true wonders of the world, and the honeymooning isn’t bad either!

Visit this link NIAGARA FALLS , to find out more.

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It became a decent day to complete the chore of planting the remainder of the flowers in the various beds around the house. Frail and small in proportion to their soon to be abundant color and size. It is pleasing to the eyes.

Gardening relaxes me, much as it quelled my mother’s nerves back in the day. When she had her small spade in hand, she was transported to a more serene place and time. Those mindful adventures helped her. They probably kept her alive longer, with all the ailments she tended to keep private.

So, I come by my love of dirt naturally. And like I said, gardening relaxes me. Which I think is why when my writing partner, Marie Elena Good (from Maumee, Ohio) and I decided to branch out from “Across the Lake” the idea of a verbal garden appealed to me greatly. It was a thought I had held sequestered in the dark recesses of my mind (sometimes a very scary place) which was just waiting for the right time and place. A poetry place with a whole plot full of other like poetic minds planting seed. Seeds of thought that grow into “works of worded wonder”. The best of the best grows into “Beautiful Blooms”. All from a little spark of an idea; a nudge into rhyme. POETIC BLOOMINGS – the name of the place.

It is truly a joint effort. A communal garden. It eases my mind. While my botanical flowers take root and grow, I’ll watch them sprout until the poetry breaks ground and blooms.

Gardening relaxes me.

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Delayed by a wedding and some inclement weather, a tradition of planting flowers at the graves of our parents and grandparents finally took place today. Still a chance of rain (it did) we decided to undertake the task.

Arriving, at my parent’s plot I was disheartened. The flag I had placed to honor my father’s service, had been stolen. It has happened before, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. But my faith in human nature had taken another hit. We had planted the flowers (half-hearted, I sadly admit) before moving onto the next memorial.

The rain’s intensity kicked into high gear and we decided to resume at a later date.

I don’t know what possesses people to be so crass and callous of the feelings of others. I mean, sure boiled down – it’s a cloth stapled to a stick. But there is meaning in all of it. A banner defended by many lives lost and placed in honor of one such life. My pride in my father’s dedication and the service of other like souls buried here doesn’t change for lack of said flag. I just pray that whoever¬† removed the flag will come to learn its importance in the hearts of many. It is because of that flag and the brave souls who defend it, that even these kind of people have the “right” to be morons.

It’s just a shame they don’t understand.

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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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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.