Niagara Gazette

April 26, 2014

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: A roaring good time on Monday

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Minglers — If you’re looking to come visit Monday, forget it, nobody’s home. (Aside to burglars: Don’t even think of plying your trade here, everyone has either an infallible alarm system or a nasty dog or both.)

Anyway, what amounts to our social calendar opens Monday with Lions Club spaghetti dinner at what is now the Byblos Resort on our Eastern Shore. (We’re also going to have to learn how to pronounce it, it’s our first visit since Holiday Inn went out and the new folks from the Middle East took over. To the best of our knowledge, it has no relationship to the Byblos Restaurant in Getzville.)

Uh, we digress (that’s why they pay us the big bucks.) We have a particularly active Lions Club, with its dedication to vision impairment and roster of exotic officers, such as Tail-Twister (sergeant-at-arms, we believe). The Lions put the service in “service club,” none bigger than the July spectacular, entertaining up to a thousand Mainlanders at the Special Kids Picnic at the Launch Club, another of our down-to-earth entities that’s nowhere near as grandiose as it sounds.

Volunteers and donations keep the Picnic soaring but costs do accumulate and this is where they raise most of them. The Lions Spaghetti Dinner has been a fixture over here for 45 years. We’ve been here 47 and have made most of them, the only sad thing being the number of pals our age we used to take who’ve since been called to a higher place. (Pause for brief sniffle.)

Again, with the aid of donations, they’re able to keep the cost to $7 (that’d be $5 plus tax and tip in a restaurant), $4 for children 5 to 12 (they wouldn’t make much money on our 11-year-old grandson Clark, but they could sell additional tickets just to watch him put it away). If you’re of age and consider it bad form to consume spaghetti without red wine, the bar is open around the corner.

We know of few such events that match this one for outreach. The Lions actively solicit sight-based foundations to make discreet presentations on braille techniques as well as counseling for folks in need of visual aids — up to and including surgery — and lacking the personal finances to fund them.

Expect, too, to see a demonstration from those who created and maintain our unique Miracle League baseball field, designed for folks — youngsters, mostly — with mobility challenges.

You can’t beat it, really, and it’s a tossup as to the main attractions, the sustenance or the sociability. Takeout, too, from 5 to 8 p.m., but why would you miss the gossip?

Come visit. As the Lions say, we’ll keep an eye out for you …

Polly and DougE-mail