Niagara Gazette

September 28, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Ripping good time for the Rotary Club

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Pack Rats — Shreddy, set, go! After today’s Taste of Grand Island (it’s not too late to eat, but it may be too late to park), we gear up for Destruction Day, next Saturday, Oct. 5, behind Key Bank at Grand Island Boulevard and Whitehaven.

Between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., we’re all invited to bring up our unwanted papers, particularly if they contain personal information, and have the Rotary Club reduce them to mulch. The cost is $10 per “banker box,” whatever that is. All proceeds fund Rotarian causes, which are never called into question.

As we read some five daily newspapers and a dozen magazines, our clutter piles up at Blizzard of ‘77 proportions, although there’s seldom anything there we couldn’t share. But one thing that’s going right on top of the pile is a letter we received in July attacking us for a column on grammar. All these big issues, and a misplaced modifier sends an anonymous reader into a snit.

We say “anonymous” because it had a return address that turned out to be phony, a “cc” line to folks who told us they never received a copy, and claimed that our work was the laughingstock of one local high school English department. We polled the department; most said, somewhat apologetically, “we never heard of you.” By the time we wearied of sleuthing, we had three new correspondents, all electronic, fortunately, or we’d have more for the Rotary shredders.

We’d be glad to share the insulting text with you (e-mail, and we’ll send it along) but Saturday out it goes, an sad exemplar of angry, creative energy that could have been so well channeled elsewhere. Next, expired coupons, credit solicitations, drafts of columns that never quite made it, theatrical notes we couldn’t find before writing the review but discovered the day after it was filed and the photo copy of Doug’s birth certificate, which nobody would believe anyway.

No, it is NOT chiseled in stone.


HAPPY RETURNS: On the other hand, Doug shuffled off last Thursday with three grocery bags full of old Gazettes and Tonawanda Newses, plus a half-bale of catalogues, to drop in one of those yellow-and-gold recycling dumpsters.

He did not relish the task, having damaged a shoulder during recreational pursuits (you never heard of full-contact golf?) He figured he could somehow or other rappel them up to the slot with his surviving shoulder and somehow shove them in.

Somebody up there liked him, evidently, for as he opened the door, up drove two young men with what looked like a carload of textbooks. He begged their assistance.

Say what you will about today’s younger generation, they not only did the job, they reacted as if they’d been honored to be asked. Civility is alive and well. Thanks, guys, we needed that.

Come visit. Drop something off.

E-mail Polly and Doug at

Polly and Doug E-mail