Niagara Gazette

October 5, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Four slices of Island life

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Browsers — Recently we enjoyed a night of theater called “Buffalo Rising” at Road Less Traveled on the Mainland, eight playlets defining the town in less than two hours. In that vein, here are four little slices of life here in paradise.


REASSESS THIS: Amid much gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts, the town reassessed us all in February. Our assessment — that is, our bungalow’s taxable value — doubled. On grievance day, we fought it and failed. The town insisted our actual taxes would go down.

School taxes are due mid-month and this week, while sorting through documents for today’s Rotary Shred-a-Thon (11 a.m. -2 p.m., behind the Key Bank at Whitehaven and Grand Island Boulevard), we exhumed last year’s bill. Our taxes are, indeed, lower. For every four dollars we paid last year, this year we’re paying three.

Truth in government. Where have we gone wrong?


NOT AS ADVERTISED: Conversely, there’s the big new poster in Tops seeming to offer a dollar back on any two dollars’ worth of fresh produce in a co-promotion with Independent Health.

Take it with a grain of salt. We called IHA, our insurer for many years, which told us that the program applies to only certain types of insurance, for which there is an extra rider, at a fee.

In short, there’s no such thing as a free bunch.


KING OF THE ROAD: Sign in front of Certified Auto Brokers near the Roundabout – “Trailers for Sale or Rent.” Hard to drive by that without humming, “Rooms to let, fifty cents,” continuing Roger Miller’s 1964 tribute to troubadours. As it happens, there IS a relatively inexpensive inn almost next door. No pool, no pets.


HAPPY MEAL: As Doug reached over the crowd for his bag of fries at McDonald’s Tuesday, so did a little towhead, maybe 4, in her father’s arms, reflexively grabbing at it with her free hand.

“You can’t eat all those,” Doug told her. “Your hair will get even curlier!”

“It sure is curly,” Dad responded, as she buried her head in his shoulder.

“And her sister’s even curlier,” added a lad about 6, holding Dad’s hand.

About a week earlier, Polly had almost been knocked over by two rambunctious lads in a Mainland ice cream line, and when Doug blurted out, “Whoa,” he was about challenged to a fight by a father telling him, in no uncertain terms, that their conduct was none of his business.

The little comedy at Mickey D’s restored his soul. It’s not often he comes out of that place with a smile on his face.

So come visit. Ain’t got no cigarettes ...




Polly and Doug e-mail