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My View: Hurricanes remind us there's no place like home

By Norb Rug

As I watch the devastation from hurricanes, forest fires and volcanoes this year I realize that Buffalo is ideally situated. We don’t suffer the mudslides, tornadoes, avalanches, massive flooding and earthquakes that the rest of the country seems to go through.

Just how many times must you lose your car, your house, your furniture and all your personal possessions and go right back to the same exact spot to rebuild before you realize the weather gods are telling you to move?

I may get a bit of water in my basement during a heavy rain but I am fortunate that it never gets over a few inches deep. I put my washer and dryer on pallets, my furnace and water heater are on a concrete pad and they all stay high and dry.

The water I get doesn’t even compare to floods, having storm surges or a tsunami flood my home up to the second-story windows. I’m glad I don’t live in a coastal area or on a flood plain.

I can’t imagine returning to the place your home used to be to find a tornado had sucked it up, leaving a pile of kindling behind and taking everything else with it.

Norbert Rug.

I like watching this extreme weather on TV but I don’t want to see it out my window. Every time I watch something like this, I thank my lucky stars that I live in the greater Buffalo area. I feel sorry for the people that are forced to live in these disaster-prone areas due to economic reasons, but I think, after being battered several times, even those people would find a way to move. And as usual, I will donate to various disaster relief charities, hoping that my measly donation will make someone’s life just a little better.

The winters aren’t all that bad in Buffalo except for the Blizzard of ’77. Mention that to someone older than 40 who lived here then and I can guarantee they have a tale or two to tell.

I was working at Buffalo Milkbone on Fougeron Street at the time and my trip on Thursday, the day before “The Storm of the Century” officially hit, it took me four hours to commute from home, a trip I could usually make in under an hour. After work, I fought my way back home and hunkered down.

Sure Buffalo winters can get cold, they can get windy and they can get snowy but most of that is gone by late March. The snow piles have melted, even in the parking lots, the salt is washed off your car and the flowers are blooming.

I didn’t mind bundling up and going out to clear up my walks and driveway in the winter, I actually enjoyed it. In fact I would snowblow my place and a few neighbors’ driveways. Then I would head up and down my block cleaning my neighbor’s sidewalks. When they were out shoveling, they would do the same thing for me. It was just a neighborly thing to do.

Buffalo may be cold and snowy, but like ex-mayor Jimmy Griffin said, “Stay inside, grab a six-pack, and watch a good football game.”

One thing that I do like about living in Western New York is that when I get out of work and drive back home, my house is exactly where I left it.

Norb Rug is a writer from Lockport who doesn't mind shoveling snow.

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