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By Kathleen Gurbacki Sometimes my kitchen smells soooo good. Especially when I have a brown sugar cake in the oven. Melanie, if you are reading this, I know you agree with me. She and I always enjoyed this recipe.  But, sometimes, my kitchen stinks. It is for a good cause though. The bucket under the sink is a catch-all for fruit and vegetable peelings. When it gets ful…

By Pratibha Bansal There are people who have deeply influenced me, unbeknownst to them, at critical points in my life. Robert Wilmers, whom I knew for 25 years, was one of them. I am a pain specialist in the Kensington-Eggert area. Over the years, my patients told stories about the innovative education at the Westminster Community Charter School for grades K-8. I dec…

By Bob O’Connor   Since we all age at exactly the same rate, why is it that some of us do so gracefully, while others … not so much? When I was a very young man, I was told several times that I resembled Bruce Springsteen. Four or five decades later, the Boss still looks good and I look like David Crosby. Old Dave did a mountain of drugs and nearly died of a diseased li…

By Peter Smith The Indian man laughed out loud, and insisted on giving me a $20 bill for being his guide. I had been out to the University at Buffalo and was coming back on the bus. He had just installed his son as a graduate student. We got chatting and I asked him if he would like me to give him a short tour of downtown Buffalo. At the end of my selection of pla…

By Charles A. Deacon As I was growing up, I can’t remember celebrating many New Year’s Eves. But I do remember two things happening on New Year's Days. The first event was when Edith Beal and Alice Belcher, distant cousins, joined us for dinner at noon. Edith, a widow, did the cooking for the two of them. She was short and very heavy. Alice, tall and thin, served as …

By Jacqueline Galdenzi Twenty months ago I floated the idea of an extended family vacation to my siblings. I had learned of an all inclusive villa rental in Costa Rica that sounded amazing. After numerous emails, fifteen of us were serious about the idea. We ranged in age from 24-69; three of my siblings and assorted nieces, nephews and their spouses. This had the poten…

By Judith Geer I heard an interview recently with former local TV news anchor Susan Banks who quoted her long-time broadcast partner the late Irv Weinstein.  She said he always wanted the names of people he was reporting on because, he told her, “Names make the story.”  That journalist instinct to retrieve the names – and to get them right – shows his respect for the in…

By Khimm Graham To welcome in the New Year and expel the evil spirits of the midnight hour, we used to clang pots with wooden spoons, and throw confetti in the air. Kids like us stayed up with inebriated adults dancing till dawn, silver dollars in our pockets, and pickled herring on our breathe. All for luck, all for one, and no one was ever arrested. I never spent a s…

By Frank J. Dinan Sixty years ago, I was a young chemistry major looking for a liberal arts elective to finish my graduation requirements. An Introduction to Anthropology course looked good, so I signed up for it. Decades later, I remember that course, long after many others have faded away. Little did I know that I was to meet one of the most memorable characters of my…

Opinion

By Lori Duvall-Jackson “So, sixty. So what?” was the caption on a friend’s post, as she cannon-balled into a pool.  This made me smile for a number of reasons-  I have known Min for fifty years and remember us doing the same thing as kids at camp.  We both reached our milestone birthday in the same year and month, and my sentiment is the same as hers, though sadly I w…

By Joan Wickett The tragedy of poverty rests not only on the unemployed and the homeless. It is a legacy handed down to the children, the innocent victims. I was recently made aware of the reality of this through the stories of an elementary teacher. Her class is not what you would expect of a second grade, but in many ways it is typical of so many. Their stories are…

By Mitch Flynn The funny thing about pinochle is that you’re never really playing with a full deck. It’s four cards short of the standard 52. That doesn’t mean it’s bridge for idiots – “bridge lite” might be more accurate. In any case, it calls for attention and memory but it’s leavened with enough luck to keep it interesting. It’s a fun game to play with friends. …

By Joseph V. Curatolo The horrors of war. You can never fully understand it unless you’ve lived through it. But if you talk to people who have survived war, it’s easy to see why most of the world wants to come to the United States. Fortunately, I’ve never suffered through it, but I did learn from people who have. It seems that terror lingers even decades after it end…

By Marilyn Lamb Everyone can look at a calendar and find the months of March, June, September and December and see when spring, summer, fall and winter begin. I don’t need to look at a calendar to see that a new season has arrived, I visually see the seasons changing in a more natural way. I grew up in the ’50s living in Marilla and there were many small farms whose …

By Susan Clements Mrs. MacGamwell had one foot through the door when a small voice piped up. “Did you bring your banana cake?” I asked. She handed a foil-covered pan to my mother and ushered her three, snowsuit-clad girls into the kitchen. Fifty years later, I still remember the menu for the annual Christmas potluck and caroling party. I imagine all the members of th…