Finding refuge from the storm at a diner - The Buffalo News

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Finding refuge from the storm at a diner

As morning headed to afternoon and the snow began to fall more thickly, Jan Smolinski’s husband kidded about her canceled morning flight to Florida see their daughter.

“I’m here in sunny North Tonawanda enjoying the weather,” said Pete Smolinski as the couple sat with friends at Granny’s Restaurant on Oliver Street.

They’d stopped for breakfast after Lenten mass at St. Jude’s and Pete Smolinski, a retired assistant fire chief, couldn’t resist another quip about his wife’s day so far: “Figured that would be more pleasurable than going to Florida, walking the beach and picking up fish,” he said. “We have a built-in vacation home, but can’t use it.”

Jan Smolinski, who had just finished Belgian waffles with berries, had a merry look in spite of the glum news about staying home in the snow. This winter reminded her of the longer, colder winters of her childhood. “We got snow in October and it lasted till March.”

She was prepared for this. The airline called with news of the flight cancellation Tuesday afternoon and told her then there was no chance it would be reinstated. With luck she would be on her way to see her daughter and son in law in West Palm Beach by tomorrow morning. “They’ve been calling us regularly and asking us the temperature, just to throw it to us,” said Pete.

It was time to go. As the couple got up to leave, Pete wondered about whether to plow their driveway right away or wait for the rest of the snow to fall. Jan wanted to go home, print her boarding pass and “hope I don’t get an email saying they’re canceling tomorrow.”

She watched as her husband scraped the blanket of snow off the car and more flakes fell from the sky in fat clumps. She could think of at least one upside to getting a couple of inches in the hour they spent at breakfast. “It’s nice seeing the snow come down,” she said. “Anything is better than hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.”


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