Buffalo N.Y.

hi de hi de hi de ho

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 1983, At twenty four years old, I’m on a plane home from Western New York, after having visited some relatives.

I can’t shake the feeling that I recognize that old black guy in front of me as a famous musician. “Duke Ellington?” I wonder. “Count Basie?”

At least one of them’s dead.

There’s a middle-aged couple next to him. The wife asks him, “Are you Cab Calloway?”

My anxiety attack is no more. I heave a sigh of relief.

I overhear Calloway say softly, “That handsome young gentleman back there won’t have to go crazy now.”

Each week Rochelle Wisoff~Fields leads us in Friday Fictioneers, as we write a story based upon a photo prompt.

This week’s photo was supplied by Lucy Fridkin.


ha ha lydia!

This past weekend, for Independence Day, my father’s relatives got together in Hilldale, Pennsylvania, as they have ever since 1961.     My cousin Vinnie, originally from Buffalo, New York but now living outside Raleigh, North Carolina, was there.    He and I, as always, got into one of our more seriously obnoxious moods, rehashing several incidents from our long-ago past.    Ever since we were kids, he and I have shared quite a long series of misadventures every time we’ve gotten together.    Over the course of our lifetimes, we’ve accumulated quite a supply of inside jokes and catch phrases.    Long ago a girlfriend of his claimed that we speak our own language entirely.     We spent the entire past weekend reminding each other of things like the time I side-swiped a school bus on the way to the beach, my polka-dotted jammies, and Lydia and Delfina, the eccentric sisters who, for decades, owned a most unusual candy store on Farrell Street in Hilldale.        Lydia and Delfina are entirely impossible even to try to explain to someone who never met them.    Their store was quite a one-of-a-kind fantasy land, in a world entirely its own.   Even the very best of writers couldn’t possibly even so much as try to invent characters of their ilk.    Vinnie and I did quite an admirable job of revisiting their world and relating all their rollicking misadventures.       Since Vinnie and I have known each other for our entire lives, and our escapades have been in New York, Pennsylvania and Canada, we did quite a significant amount of very intense laughing about all these bygone things, people and circumstances.     Anything that happens anywhere near us inevitably turns, by definition, into fodder for something inexplicably humorous.









Two weekends ago, on Veteran’s Day,  I went to the first annual fund raising banquet for the local Catholic radio station, WJMJ, where I am a volunteer.    I really like being involved wtih them because it’s so important to keep the Catholic media alive in Obama’s America.   Unfortunately most states don’t have a Catholic radio station.   That includes even New York although this station was originally based in Buffalo.   Tickets were twenty five dollars each.    It was at St. Anthony of Padua Church at St. Barbara’s Parish in Exeter.    Predictably, all the regulars showed up & many of them were from St. Monica’s including Fr. Leo McKernan, who’s part of the station’s staff.    It’s owned by Ed & Carol Ann Niewinski.   Fr. Paul McDonnell, O.S.J., was the principal celebrant at 4:00 Mass.    After Mass we all went next door for a reception.   Immediately at the end of Mass Ed turned to me & asked me to go next door & to help take the money for the tickets.    The food was exceptionally good.   It was catered by a local company, Arcaro & Genell, in Old Forge.    The guest speaker was Fred Berretta, who was a passenger on Captain Chesley (Sully )Sullenberger’s U.S. Airways flight 1549, the flight that has been named the Miracle on the Hudson.   Berretta gave a very impressive speech & asked people to read the book he’s written about the ill~fated trip.