Niagara Gazette

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February 9, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Cleaning up from commercial job

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Super-Bowlers — Doug endured the worst moment of his 64-year journalism career (we miscalculated last week), about 8 a.m. on a Friday 15 years ago, on the I-390 entrance near Letchworth State Park.

The previous night he’d reviewed the musical “Pippin” at Niagara University. Brother Augustine, the director, had granted him access to the preview because there’d been a death in our family and we had to make it to Harrisburg, Pa., a grueling drive, by 1 p.m. Friday for the services. The review would run the following day.

Everyone had been terrific, an easy review to write except that Doug couldn’t find the unique words to describe the wondrous skills of the narrator, or Leading Player, as the script dictates. He wrote the review with a hole it in, into which he’d insert a rave notice when better rested.

We awoke with the chickens, to learn there’d been a flood along our route and we’d have to recalculate, in those pre-GPS days. Dazed but dutiful, Doug faxed in the review (this WAS a long time ago) and we were squinting into the sunrise by 6:15.

We had a plan as precise as D-Day — quick breakfast here, change drivers there — and were ahead of schedule as we looped onto the Interstate.

“Oh, @#$%,” Doug exhaled, a torrent of trash talk. “What’s the matter?” Polly yelped, “Are we low on gas?” Doug sighed. “That I could fix,” he said. “But I forgot to write about Carmen Floyd.”

There was no way of making this right. In perhaps the finest performance of her life so far, Carmen Floyd would go unmentioned, as if beneath commentary.

We called “Bro” on return, gushing regrets, and wrote Carmen a note. “Didn’t bother her at all,” Bro said. “She says it’s no big deal.” Sure.

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