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By Joseph Xavier Martin Never look a gift horse in the mouth. The meaning of that phrase came to mind one day when we were standing in line at a bakery-cafe, waiting to order a coffee and bagel. With each purchase, the company records your expenditure and frequently offers you a bagel, pastry, coffee or some other food product as a reward for being a good customer. In t…

By Marie Bindeman “You travel with five other women?” is the most common question I receive when attempting to explain the “travel club.” Yes, it’s true, I do travel with five other women. As my fellow librarians began to retire, we talked of our future and the joys of travel. Single friends noted how difficult it is to find travel partners, while the married among u…

By Dennis Priore A little over a year ago, if you had asked me what Honor Flight was, I don’t think I could have given you a very good answer. I had read in The Buffalo News and seen coverage on TV (and then shortly thereafter forgot) about the all-volunteer group that sends primarily World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., for the day to honor them and give them the…

By Erin M. Cole  As a native Buffalonian, it was a dream to return home after traveling the world and contributing to the greater good in other people’s countries. First, in the U.S. Army, by forcing the Iraqis out of Kuwait in 1991. Then, during the late ’90s, helping Russia establish a manufacturing base and spreading U.S.-funded small business support services acr…

By Wendy Schreiner A recent trip down Transit Road in Depew led my eyes to a gutted-out building. No! It was my old hangout – Regal Roller Rink. Back in the early 1980s, I lived to roller skate – forward, backward, round and round, nonstop. Our grade school would give out free passes to skate on Sunday afternoons. These were the good old days and literally brought re…

By Kevin J. McCue I was gazing out the window on a gray winter day when I saw a crimson red cardinal perched on the lower branches of a pine tree. His color was dazzling and so striking, it brought to mind one person: my dear old Aunt Betty. Aunt Betty, where do I begin? Her real name was Gertrude, but she preferred Betty. To everyone who knew her in our family, s…

By Michele Diefenbach I think the time has finally arrived. It is time to face the fact that I really am getting old. My mind still thinks I am in my 20s, but my body and the world are forcing me to come to grips with the reality that the AARP card in the mail addressed to me was no mistake. The realization of my advancing age has crept up on me. I’ve noticed that wh…

By Mitch Flynn “Remind me again: Why are we doing this?” “This” was a 200-mile, one-day bike ride across the length and width of Erie and Niagara counties. “We” were a trio of two-wheel warriors from planet spandex (helmets, wraparound sunglasses, serious expressions, funny shoes – you get the not-pretty picture). But “why” – the only one of the “5 Ws” with more than…

By Judith Geer A recent letter writer lamented plans to use life-size cutouts and an artificial archway along the historic Michigan Street corridor. The writer questioned the inclusion of these modern accoutrements, implying that such placements just to appeal to the tourist trade would interject an atmosphere of inauthenticity, thereby blunting the full significance of…

By Sarah T. Schwab My dad had a Hollywood crush on actress Karen Allen. One of his favorite films was “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I grew up watching her character, Marion Ravenwood, on our small-screen TV, often while sitting on the living room floor playing with my Barbie dolls. Her natural beauty was apparent: those big eyes, that glowing smile. But it was her coura…

By Al Greene “What’s Pong?” My 10-year-old grandson and I were discussing technology and it naturally led to video games. “It’s a game Gramps used to play,” I explained. “That’s a funny name for a game,” Austin said. “How many characters were there?” “Well,” I began, knowing what was coming next would be more difficult than trying to explain the birds and th…

By Ray Geaney “Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” – Agnes Sligh Turnbull The day I got my puppy was one of the happiest of my childhood. Two years later, when I was 7 and my Uncle Jack put him down, was the saddest. He didn’t have a choice. My dog dashed onto the street in front of our suburban home in Cork, Ireland, and a speeding vehicle crushed…

By Mary Nicotera Being of Italian-Irish descent and born under the sign of Scorpio, I wear passion and emotion on my sleeve. Consequently, many things in life make my heart swell and bring a tear to my eye. Among those I cherish the most is that feeling I get when I walk into my mentor classroom. The 6- and 7-year-old kids welcome me with a hearty “Miss Mary! Miss Ma…

By Pat Webdale It was a great birthday. I am loved. I can tell you that. I was really looking forward to this birthday – my 75th. I wasn’t thinking about getting things, but rather that my whole life had been a gift to me. I felt like a matriarch. Wife, mother of six, grandmother of 10, great-grandmother. I had a good family of origin and a large extended family. Mos…

By Tom Moscato Our sissy pink Jeep twists, jerks and heaves over the mountainous sun-baked desert terrain. Suddenly, we launch into space. Dropping like a rock, we bounce and screech to a sickening dead stop dangling on the edge of a boulder. Strangling against our seat belts, our bodies sear in the radiating heat from the desert floor below. Scottsdale, Ariz., is the p…