Niagara Gazette

November 2, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: 'Hour' take on tonight's time change

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Malingerers — Happy Irony Day, and how will you celebrate? We call it Irony Day because it gives us an extra hour in exchange for the prospect of foul weather and lunch-hour sunsets.

Daylight Savings Time concludes tonight — actually, 2 a.m. Sunday. Turn your clock back, if you need to, some now slip into reverse automatically, we hear. There’s an extra hour’s sleep, except for nightshift workers (how DOES that work, anybody know?) If on time, overnight Amtrak trains will stop in their tracks to let time catch up. It’s crazy.

While seemingly new-fangled, the idea actually started with Ben Franklin, according to some reliable sources. He thought there was something wrong with the notion that the sun rose before he did, although then, every community had its own time. When railroads began truly uniting the states, the feds implemented Standard Time in 1883.

(For the record, Buffalo and Niagara Falls were on the western edge of Eastern Time. Anything to the west, including the acreage now occupied by Ralph Wilson Stadium, was on Central Time. Grand Island, it didn’t matter, anybody who lived here then obviously didn’t give a hang WHAT time it was).

As the days dwindle down (great song lyric) we exploit the remaining light as if it were going out of style (which, actually, it is). Wednesday, for example, we sized up the sunshine and just took off for a late-afternoon ride discovering, among other things, that Hibbard’s, the ice cream palace in Lewiston, had put a finger to the wind decided to re-open for a few days.

Hibbard’s last cone; even at today’s pump numbers, priceless.

We’ve tended in recent years to make Irony Day a holy day of obligation, to pile into the car (it does get 40 mpg, 60 Canadian) and head west to watch the sun set at a decent hour for the final time until next March 9 (we looked it up). Last year we came home with an ornate birdbath and 100 pounds of birdseed we’d won in a drawing in Angola.

(We are not, however, heading to National Bison Day observances in Rapid City, S.D., also today. That’s another time zone, we’re still traumatized by the fact that Cary Grant was shot there in “North by Northwest,” and who needs 100 lbs. of buffalo chips)?

Actually, we feel we’ve already gained an hour this week. Overnight work has allegedly ceased on our South Bridge, and the rush to beat the 8 p.m. closure is over.

So come visit. Any time.

Polly and Doug E-mail pollyndoug@hotmail.com