Sean Kirst, The Buffalo News - Page 8 of 9
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Sean Kirst

Sean Kirst is a columnist for The Buffalo News. Raised in Dunkirk, he has been an Upstate journalist for more than 40 years.


This is a true story. Happening right now. High technology of the 21st century. My iPhone calendar says I had an appointment, at 4 p.m. today, with Kathleen. I must have put it in there. I'm sure I did. Yet I have no clue, zero, who this Kathleen might be, or what this is about. Seriously. I have thought about it so much that my head hurts. I have thought about it so mu…

This has been a relatively quiet year for Aloysius Nachreiner. Five years ago, when he turned 65, his phone wouldn’t stop ringing. He heard from USA Today and The New York Times. He’d always seen himself as a regular guy who worked at a Buffalo box factory, even if the second hand on a clock at the Sisters of Charity Hospital turned him into a symbol for a generation: …

You wake up and do everything in the same way you always do it. You load up the old percolator on the stove and you get the coffee going. You let the dog out, then feed the cat so the dog, while outside, can’t try to steal the food. You fire up the laptop and get working on a piece due very early. Even as you’re working, you know this is a morning not quite like any m…

Jim Overfield laughed when he heard the comparison. Today is Parade Day in Cleveland. Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered to say farewell to an epic sports curse that some observers see as traveling eastbound on Lake Erie, headed straight to Buffalo. Jim is happy for the Ohio city. He knows how good all of this must feel. A part of him is always a Buffalo guy, an…

LeBron James wept on the court Sunday at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. His Cleveland Cavaliers had just upended the Golden State Warriors for the third straight time. The comeback gave the Cavaliers their first National Basketball Association championship. It brought a major sports championship to Cleveland for the first time in 52 years. James, a native of Akron, wiped hi…

After my parents died within two years of each other in the 1980s, the old American flag they’d fly on the front porch passed down to me. They were part of the World War II generation in Buffalo, and they endured some terrible loss during the war. For them, the flag was a statement of consolation, of belief. I bring it out now, as they did, at times of honor or remembran…

No flags will be brought to half-staff, and a toast built around "chocolate rolls" is not the stuff of a state funeral. Still, the people who gather Sunday for a 4 p.m. memorial service at the Busti Church of God in Jamestown, the people brought together by respect for an extraordinary life, hardly need elaborate trappings to reach a fundamental understanding: They will…

Larry Reilly Sr. takes everything in stride. He remained seated in his favorite recliner Monday in his small Syracuse home, even as his living room filled up with reporters, even as U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer walked past the small American flags rustling in Reilly’s garden, then stepped into the house and reached down to shake the old veteran’s hand. “I’m doing …

I’d waited a long time for a chance to ask Ringo Starr this question. I’d first heard the story more than a decade ago, from people of accomplishment and authority. Still, I remembered the basic point seemed so improbable I had trouble completely processing it, at first: In 1971, not long after the breakup of the most famous rock band in history, there were serious ho…

A wooden screen door, slamming. That is what several friends remembered when I mentioned the ritual. It was part of the music of their Upstate childhoods: They recalled long slow days in the summer, how they’d be in the kitchen or even upstairs in their house and they’d know their mother and father had come home by the familiar and welcoming sound of the screen, by th…

When Christina Feldman and her brother Michael were small children, they grew accustomed to the unusual way their father, Bernie Feldman, said farewell. Always, while dropping them at school or waving as they ran off to play, he would call out to them: “Goodbye. Remember. Choose to be happy!” Christina and Michael, now both in their 20s, laughed last week at the memo…

To our presidential candidates: Hello from upstate New York. In this cold April, you’re crisscrossing our cities and counties. That will only accelerate during the next five or six days as five of you – Republicans Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump and Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders – try to lock up a big stack of New York delegates. For o…

DUNKIRK – Nine hundred jobs in Dunkirk. Gov. Andrew Cuomo kept repeating those words this morning, almost as a chant, and a packed house in the Dunkirk High School auditorium rose and clapped and cheered. If you grew up in Dunkirk – where a restless Lake Erie sent gray waves crashing Thursday against the breakwall – it was fair to describe the moment as surreal. …

Syracuse, April 2003 - This is still one of the best quotes about fan loyalty that I've ever heard, and it comes -- as you might expect -- from Western New York. Not quite 13 years ago, days before the Bills played against the Giants in their first Super Bowl, my newspaper in Syracuse sent me to Buffalo. The mission: capturing the community mood. All of this was para…