Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 27, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Amish vegetables and experiences on the Island

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Gropers — Driving Pennsylvania two-lanes last Saturday at twilight, we stopped at an Amish produce stand. It was on the honor system. Since the Amish eschew electric power, and untended candles pose the hazard of conflagration, it was so dim we could hardly locate the payment can, let alone try to weigh the tomatoes.

Hoping we had left our fair share, we opened the homebound hatchback, forgetful that we had propped a sack of paperbacks against it. The bag tipped over, vomiting the volumes, one by one, onto the gravel of the Amish driveway, giving new meaning to the phrase “dirty books.” As the Amishman drove by we swear we could heard him snicker over the clop of hooves and jingle of reins. The veggies, for the record, were delicious.

About 72 hours later, we got even closer to the Amish experience. Doug had just safely navigated the Biblical deluge which had washed away the Niagara Power’s attempt at a season-ending baseball game to find Polly sitting in the garage, as we do many nights when the days are long. Two decades earlier we had sat in this very spot and, by helping him count the seconds between flash and boom, essentially cured a grandson of fear of storms.

“That was the worst thunder I ever heard,” Polly said this time. “Our lights may be out.”

One switch-flip confirmed her suspicion, igniting a strategic debate about the electrically-operated garage door. We had a release to let it down, but with our limited musculature, could we ever raise it again? As natural light faded, we tabled the motion and sat back to watch the increased pedestrian traffic as neighbors near and far hit the streets to investigate and socialize.

With the rain over, we saddled up the car that regurgitates romance novels and soon discovered that a power line had fallen onto an East River lawn, twitching and spitting sparks like a dyspeptic dragon. We left this to the authorities, drove far enough to identify the boundaries of the outage (the parking lot of a nearby bar-pizzeria was jammed with patrons who may have been in the dark even before the lights went out), cell-phoned family, located candles and settled in to wait it out.

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Columns
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  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Wegmans call warns of bad fruit I was humming to myself the other day, getting ready for work on a lovely summer morning, when I decided to check my messages on the house phone. I hit the play button and heard a message from Wegmans warning me about some fruit that I had bought at their store. As quick as that, a message with the scary potential to change my life or the life of someone I love.

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  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: More pastors, a new church and more of everything Before I go further back in time, I want to just go back to last week where I took my own advice and spent a couple of hours at the Como, where I enjoyed one of their traditional "parade of bowls and plates of great salads, pasta and meat dishes" and listened to longtime friends of Tom Darro roast him with humor, accolades and best wishes. And best of all no one who came to the microphone mentioned garbage totes or carts. It was a welcome relief.

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