Summer Tour: Birthday Bash


Earlier this summer I did a series of posts on our family tour of several Cedar Fair Parks.  That family vacation was bounded by two other non-Cedar Fair events. The first was Liberty Con, which I have posted about.  The second is my Mother’s birthday bash.

Mom is celebrating a significant birthday mile stone today, and since we couldn’t all get together with her today, we decided to celebrate by getting together during the summer just outside of Buffalo. So her three children, all spouses and grandchildren, along with my dad’s sole surviving sibling and some of her children and grandchildren (my cousins), gathered on a Thursday-Saturday.

My foursome started the day in Mid-Pennsylvania and came up the Route 15/I-99 corridor. We happened to be passing through when mom and my sister were still getting ready to leave the Corning area. Work had caught my sister with a question, so she went up to Coopers Plains to assist, even though it wasn’t absolutely required.


And thus our paths crossed, as we met them for the above picture, then went to Dunkin’ Donuts in Gang Mills before heading on up to Buffalo via similar GPS-guided routes.

The three out-of-towner families stayed at the same Holiday-Inn Express (note: we liked all the Holiday Inn Expresses we stayed at — weren’t impressed by Days Inns), and the management got all our rooms on the same floor across and next to each other for easier confabbing.

Thursday evening was a time of settling in for the children/siblings and playing of board games. We had supper at a local famous Buffalo wing place

Duff's Famous Wings

— Duff’s Famous Wings.  After all, how could we travel all this way to Buffalo and not have some “authentic” Buffalo wings. The eldest grandson went for the hottest of wings, while me and the youngest grandchild took mild, which was quite good.

Friday morning we went back and forth between several options. Rain had fallen, and was threatening, so we opted not to do a naval ship tour thing, since we didn’t want to get caught in the rain for the outside elements.  Which was probably just as well. It would have taken more time and energy than we probably wanted to spend.

Instead we toured the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. Buffalo was the site of the Pan-American exposition in 1901, and President William McKinley was shot there. As VP, Roosevelt came to town, was assured McKinley was recovering, left, and when McKinley actually passed, rushed back to Buffalo, where he was sworn is as president.

The Inaugural site was in the home of the prominent citizen who hosted Roosevelt on both his visit, and in whose study he was sworn in. Since our family has always been fascinated by Teddy Roosevelt, it was a natural pick for us.

The exhibit had a lot of footage on the Pan-American Exhibition, which was rather interesting to get the flavor of the time, and their view of the future, some almost science fiction quality.

It also included historical narration of the assassination and inauguration, and an interactive screen where one played at making presidential decisions that became headlines in a hypothetical newspaper.


We did lunch at the food court of the Galleria Mall, which was quite an active place.


But the real capstone of the reunion was when we got together with all the cousins for dinner at the Olive Tree.  It was a family run Greek-American Restaurant with wonderful color and flavor.  We got to chat a long time with my Aunt Olive, Cousin Roger and his family, and Roger presented us all with copies of audio disks that his father, my Uncle Bill, had recorded back in the 1960s of my Grandfather Lightfoot reminiscing about his life on the farm and on the railroad.

The big Buffalo, or whatever it is, that everyone is posed next to at the top of this column is a very colorful mascot outside the Olive Tree. We were all leaving when I mentioned I needed to get a picture of it, and so we all came over and had our group shot.

So now, here is a collage of pictures of the dinner:


#229: Tell Me the Old, Old Story


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)



Tell me the old, old story Of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story simply, As to a little child,

For I am weak and weary, And helpless and defiled.


Tell me the old, old story, Tell me the old, old story,

Tell me the old, old story Of Jesus and His love.


Tell me the story slowly, That I may take it in –

That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.

Tell me the story often, For I forget so soon;

The early dew of morning Hass passed away at noon.



Tell me the story softly, With earnest tones and grave,

Remember, I’m the sinner Whom Jesus came to save.

Tell me the story always, If you would really be,

In any time of trouble, A comforter to me.



Tell me the same old story When you have cause to fear

That this world’s empty glory Is costing me too dear.

Yes, and when that world’s glory Is dawning on my soul,

Tell me the old, old story: “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”


Yellow Submarine in Progress


I don’t think this will have any spoilers. Daughter got out the “Yellow Submarine” movie. Watching it right now. Surreal. Seems to be more a showcase for their songs than anything with a plot.

But surreal can certainly entertain. Now, if I only knew their music more, I might find some of it more comprehensible.  Or perhaps not.

Fitness Update: Rest


Another short fitness blog. Last week was a week of rest: my sleep tracker indicates my average sleep was longer than it has been in months.

But this week I get an assessment and a 6-week plan to help meet my next goals — whatever those are.

So hopefully next week I will have a workout plan.

#228: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


My faith has found a resting place –

Not in device nor creed:

I trust the Everliving One –

His wounds for me shall plead.


I need no other argument,

I need no other plea;

It is enough that Jesus died,

And that He died for me.


Enough for me that Jesus saves –

This ends my fear and doubt;

A sinful soul I come to Him –

He’ll never cast me out.



My heart is leaning on the Word –

The written Word of God:

Salvation by my Savior’s name –

Salvation thru His blood.



My great Physician heals the sick,

The lost He came to save;

For me His precious blood He shed,

For me His life He gave.


The Age of Words


It was almost a year ago that I put a note into my possible post topics file about this. Still not sure I have enough to say, coherently, for a significant length post, but I’ll cobble what I do have.

My original note was to post about “people not letting me read their shirts”.

Since that time, especially in the past month or so, I have been observing how many of the shirts that people wear for leisure have something written on them. A lot of it is advertising a brand, or an event, or a social group. Some of it is social commentary, or in-your-face statements about the other person, you and life.

But all of this really emphasizes that we are a very literate-focused culture. I’m not saying that any of this is really literary — good grammar, precise prose, poetic diction and skilled use of metaphor — but everyone can read in one form or another, to use the tech of our day.

Words are every where. Sure, artwork is wrapped within it, but the written word, in the social media and graphic arts, has taken our culture over. The number of shirts, to get back to my original musing, that don’t have something written on them, is much smaller than those that do.

One would think that all these words meant something to the people that put them on, that since they are advertising or proclaiming social commentary, that they would want people to be able to read what is written. Yet my experience is that most people don’t pay attention to how their words are displayed, or ever give thought to whether anyone else can read what is said.

Most of the time people tend to occlude at least part of what is there, so someone like me, who is captive to reading everything he sees, has to make guesses about what is said, or seem to gawk and be impolite to read the statements, invade someone else’s personal space to do so.

If everyone would be considerate, says the totally impractical side of me, they would make sure I can read their shirts whenever they go by, or I go by.

So, what do the rest of you think? Are you a slave to reading everything you see? How do people’s shirts and clothing slogans affect or attract your attention?

A Blast of the Past #114: Mark Twain


If you grow up in the Southern Tier of New York, especially anywhere near Elmira, you you the importance of Elmira to the life of Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain. Back during Twains Sequicentennial in 1985, in fact, Hannibal, MO had a real imbroglio, while Elmira put on a celebration that far outshone the one further west to become the premier celebration.

Our visit back, of course, was in 2009, but we had to give the kids a look at the Eastern history of Mark Twain.