Niagara Gazette

November 17, 2012

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Talking turkeys and giving thanks

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Gratitude Groupies — The season seems to have arrived exceptionally early this year. It’s time to give thanks — or, perhaps, not.

THANKS: To Colton. We don’t even know your last name and have never been able to catch up with you ever since the frightful afternoon that Doug got home only to discover he’d left his wallet in his shopping cart at Tops, u-turned back, wheelied through the roundabout, and learned that a cart attendant named Colton had retrieved it, turned it in to customer service and gone off shift. Colton, if you were eating at our place, you’d be served first.

NO THANKS: To the big guy in the pickup truck who cut us off at the left turn into HSBC (uh, First Niagara, old habits die hard), zipped into a parking place and foot-raced Doug to the ATM. If you needed the money that badly, we could have loaned it to you ourselves, thanks to Colton.

THANKS: To Corey McGowan and Terry Klaaren, whose organization of the pioneering Taste of Grand Island, showcasing the vast and exquisite Plaza mural, satisfied palates, treated the eye and, generally speaking, just made us all proud. “Thanks” seems hardly enough, but we do have a few tickets left over.

NO THANKS: To the law unto itself known as the Thruway Authority, for the spontaneous and capricious night-time bridge closings, and for shuttering the local E-Z Pass Walk-In center while leaving three open in New York City. On the other hand ...

THANKS: To the E-Z Pass telephone operators, who have patiently walked us through several complicated changes in without a hint of irritation or condescension. It works.

NO THANKS: To another hurry-up driver, almost hitting us head-on at the tight and dangerous curve on Red Jacket near East Park. It had a vanity plate involving real estate, easy to remember by folks who might some time need such services.

THANKS: To Sandy, for missing us ...

NO THANKS: To our leaves, gifts that keep on giving, ‘though millions on the East Coast would surely swap for this annoyance.

THANKS: For the blessings of a coach such as Dean Santorio. During last May’s baseball playoff, Dean substituted a second stringer whose Dad had just died, an act of wise compassion we’ll never forget. And then the Vikings won, but it our hearts they’d scored a victory long before the game ended.

NO THANKS: Well, there’s no villain here except time, but it’s just a darned shame that our Little Old Pie Ladies have called it a career.

THANKS: To every reader who shares an opinion or a yarn.

Come visit. We’re sure to have leftovers.

Polly and Doug email