Searching Cyrillic documents for Cichon ancestors

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

I’ve recently come across two great Polish websites to do Polish genealogy research– to find stuff not on ancestry or familysearch.

Broken down by provinces, http://www.geneteka.genealodzy.pl/ has a lot of easily searchable information. It almost acts as an index for http://metryki.genbaza.pl/, which has scanned thousands of Polish church records.

I’ve found what I can on the first, and now I’m staring at Polish documents written in Russian.

That first line is CICHON in Cyrillic.

The next line is Jan Cichon… The final line is Jan Cichon in Roman letters.

I just keep looking for Чехойнь until I go blind or find my great grandfather, whichever comes first.

Get your dupa dyngusing: Making the most of Easter Monday in Buffalo

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY- I have had dozens of people ask me what to do and where to go to make the most of Dyngus Day… So I collaborated with a few Polish princes, and came up with a pretty good list of ideas to get your dupa dyngusing:

Everybody is Polish on Dyngus Day, and those of us who are already Polish, are even more Polish!
Everybody is Polish on Dyngus Day, and those of us who are already Polish, are even more Polish!

DYNGUS MORNING (10a-Noon): Start early. The first Dyngus parties in WNY begin at 10am. The Polish Villa 2 (1085 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga) is known for its “Bloody Mary Breakfast” with live polka music.

NOON: Join me as I emcee the kielbasa contest at the Broadway Market…. If you are looking for other family friendly activities, try the Kid’s Smingus Dyngus Day Party at St. Casimir’s Church Social Hall (1388 Clinton Street) or attending Dyngus Day Mass at Corpus Christi Church (199 Clark Street). No kids? Begin Polish tavern hoping in the Polonia District with a stop at the famed R&L Lounge (23 Mills Street) where you can grab a plate of pierogi and a bottle of Polish beer…or Genny Cream Ale!

EARLY AFTERNOON (1-4p): Explore Kaisertown…the fast growing Dyngus area of Buffalo. Experience live polka music at Ray’s Lounge (2070 Clinton Street) and at the Firehouse Bar & Grill (2141 Clinton Street). In walking distance of both venues is Porky’s Tavern (2028 Clinton Street), a wonderfully restored “shot & a beer” gin mill. Just down Clinton Street you’ll find Potts Banquet Hall (41S. Rossler at Clinton) featuring live polkas with John Stevens Doubleshot Band.

PRE-PARADE (3-5p): Head back to the Polonia District, park at the Broadway Market and hit the pre-parade parties at Corpus Christ Athletic Club (165 Sears Street), the Adam Mickiewicz Library (612 Fillmore Ave.) or the Pussy Willow Park Party Tent (Memorial Drive @ Peckham Street). Make sure while you’re there, you head over to the St Mark concession area, and pick up a sausage and support a great parish school. You might also want to stop by the Polish Cadets (927 Grant Street) in Black Rock which will feature live polka music in its legendary upstairs hall.

DYNGUS DAY PARADE (5p): The highlight of the Dyngus Day Buffalo experience. Best places to watch the parade are in front of any Dyngus Day Party venue. For a family friendly spot, grab a curb near the Broadway Market or St. Stanislaus Church on Fillmore. The rowdiest and wettest location to experience the parade is near Arty’s Grill on Peckham Street across from the Pussy Willow Park Party Tent. For a full parade map visit DyngusDay.com

POST-PARADE POLONIA: (6p-8p): Staying in the Old Neighborhood? Head over to the St. Stanislaus Church Social Center (Fillmore @ Peckham) for live polka music and Polish food prepared and served by Nuns.

POST-PARADE SUBURBS: (6p-8p): On Dyngus Day, Buffalo is transformed into the largest polka music festival in the world…and you’ll find some of the greatest bands in America at large, suburban festival halls. The Leonard Post VFW (2450 Walden Ave, Cheektowaga) features Lenny Gomulka & the Chicago Push, Polish Falcons (445 Columbia Ave, Depew) features Phocus and the Millennium Hotel (2040 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga) features Freeze Dried.

DYNGUS DAY FINALE: (8p): If you never experienced Dyngus Day with the band Those Idiots, than you NEVER experienced Dyngus Day in Buffalo. This year the band will be the headlining act at the Pussy Willow Park Party Tent in the Polonia District. After the Those Idiots Show, stop at the G&T Inn (58 Memorial Drive) to hear Geno, the World’s Only Polka Singing Bartender

DON’T LET THE PARTY END: (10p-3a): Come back to where we began in the morning. The Polish Villa 2 features live polka music with the Piakowski Brothers at 10pm. Historically, the party ends earlyTuesday morning as musicians who have played all day end up at the Villa to finally unwind. It’s a who’s who of polka greats with the occasional jam session breaking out.

CAN’T PARTY ON DYNGUS DAY? (Wednesday-Sunday). You’ll find Dyngus Parties with live polka music every day of the week between April 23rd and April 27th. The best post-Dyngus party? Catch live polka music with Tony Blazonczyk at Potts Banquets on Saturday, April 26th at 6pm.

Of course– keep Dyngus Day safe and select someone as a designated driver.

Giant responsibility: Herbeck feels the weight of generations with recognition

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – This one will be a little different on Friday.

Buffalo News Investigative Reporters Lou Michel (left) and Dan Herbeck (right) are being honored by the Buffalo History Museum as "Giants of Buffalo" for their work in journalism with the Buffalo News. Together, they wrote "American Terrorist," the biography of Niagara County native and admitted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh his role in the 1995 bombing in an exclusive jailhouse interview with Michel. (Buffalo News photos)
Buffalo News Investigative Reporters Lou Michel (left) and Dan Herbeck (right) are being honored by the Buffalo History Museum as “Giants of Buffalo” for their work in journalism with the Buffalo News. Together, they wrote “American Terrorist,” the biography of Niagara County native and admitted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh his role in the 1995 bombing in an exclusive jailhouse interview with Michel.
(Buffalo News photos)

Audiences at the “Giants of Buffalo” series at the Buffalo History Museum have been treated to spectacular trips down memory lane.

Danny Neaverth, Sandy Beach, Stan Roberts, Shane Brother Shane, and Joey Reynolds gave a glimpse of what it was like inside what was “the most happening spot” in Western New York 50 years ago– WKBW Radio.

Irv Weinstein, Rick Azar, and Tom Jolls shared their unlikely formula for success in television news, what it meant for them personally, and how it almost certainly couldn’t happen the same way now.

This Friday, when he and Lou Michel take to the stage, Dan Herbeck wants people to understand that when he’s talking about working hard at chasing good stories– and telling those stories in meaningful and relevant ways– he isn’t talking about some bygone “glory days” era of journalism.

“Professional journalists are still needed,” says Herbeck. Maybe now more than ever. What passes for “news” in many circles in 2014 is actually blogging and talking about news that was unearthed through the grind-it-out determination of a journalist–probably a print journalist– somewhere else along the way.

Because readers don’t have to buy a physical newspaper anymore, Herbeck is concerned that people don’t value the work that goes into putting a story a few clicks away. “People have the false impression that ‘it’s easy to get news,” says the 36 year Buffalo News veteran. “It’s not easy to get news. There are people at the front end (of those clicks), people who work hard to get a story.”

Herbeck says he learned and expanded his story-telling skills as he watched and worked with dozens of other story tellers. He wrote a book with Michel, but the veteran scribe says he spent even more time working side-by-side with longtime News reporter Mike Beebe. “It got to a point where we could read each others’ thoughts,” says Herbeck of Beebe, who retired in 2010 after three decades with the Buffalo News.

It’s Beebe and other dogged newspaper men like Gene Warner and Lee Coppola who Herbeck will have on his mind as he is honored as a “giant” in journalism. “They’ve scrambled and scratched and stumbled their way to good stories over the years. I take it as a real honor that they picked us to do this,” says the semi-retired journalist, taking a break from the weeks-long pursuit of another story. “I feel like we’re representing the hundreds and hundreds of newspaper reporters over the last 200 years here in Buffalo.”

Along with Lou Michel, Dan Herbeck says he stands honored and ready to represent “the likes of Mark Twain and beyond.”

giantsjournalism

Four Buffalo-themed Valentine’s Day cards

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – Cards designed by Steve Cichon, whose heart is always filled with Buffalove even when it’s the other kinda love.

PERCOLATING LOVE

roll up the rim

WINTER LOVE

plowed-and-salted

PASSIONATE LOVE

flutie

BIG LOVE

fuccillo-huge

This post originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

The unfairly maligned drive-thru– It’s worse inside, baby

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – The notion that you always get jobbed in the drive-thru is now thoroughly ingrained in our culture.

drivethru

Joe Pesci has one stupid rant about a drive-thru in a movie 25 years ago, and it’s now become fact for a large segment of Americans. “They always $%# you in the drive-thru!,” he said about 87 times in Lethal Weapon II back in 1989.

With all due respect to Mr. Pesci, the fact is– in 2014– the drive-thru is always better.

Why? Because the incompetence you imagine as you sit in your car pales in comparison to the incompetence you actually see unfold inside.

It’s always a rough adventure. If I am choosing drive-thru food, it’s probably a busy, jam-packed, semi-homicidal, annoying day already. To watch the circus it takes to get my order made, in the bag, and handed to me, usually just makes it worse.

That isn’t to say that all fast food workers are terrible. Quite the opposite. If it weren’t for the 20% who work their tails off and do 90% of the work, the fast food industry would collapse. The other 80%, however, put on a moron ballet so perfect in its incompetence and imperfection that Baryshnikov couldn’t compete.

Let’s look at the facts. Getting baseline acceptable service at a fast food joint is a 50/50 proposition at best. In your car, at least you’re listening to your own music, relaxing in your own seat, in control of your own surroundings.

Inside the store, there’s a pretty good chance you are watching at least one employee doing some facet of his/her job poorly, and ruining the whole flow for fellow employees and customers.

Also inside, add into the equation the loud-mouthed jerk in line, who won’t shut up about how utterly shocked he is by the shoddy work going on, and that it’s an outrage. It’s as if the last time this guy got a burger was at some gleaming Arnold’s-like drive-in. It’s also pretty clear that this jackhole has never worked hard at anything other than acting indignant.

While fly-away hairs stick to the poor manager’s worry-and-hardwork moistened forehead, and every other customer in line tries to avoid eye contact with this guy who is yelling –UNBELIEVABLE– over and over again; some conniving opportunistic disease with legs cuts in line, acting like she’s done nothing wrong. She’s also ready to tell you that your were standing in line wrong, if you are looking to pick a fight.

All this, or you can sit in the car and wonder what the hell is taking so long– but at least listening to your favorite book on tape.

Either way, the chances are pretty high that your anger will turn to rage when you find the wrong items in the bag. Maybe you should just start carrying a big bag of apples in the car.

This post originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

Terribly Wonderful 50s Clip Art

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – One of the great things about doing research and looking through old newspapers is finding interesting things to put into collections.

flyingnewspaper

I look for patterns so I can put things together, and make it an interesting group. Such is the case with clip art.

Nowadays, you can have full-color beautiful photos and detailed artwork printed in most newspapers. In the time before even sharp photos were able to be replicated in newsprint, ads often relied on clip art style drawings to help get their messages across. These days, of course, clip art is best known for (annoying) memes on Facebook.

Here are some of the pieces of art I’ve clipped from Buffalo area newspapers from the late 40’s to the mid 60’s.

If any of these inspire a Buffalo-themed meme (or any meme, I guess–), I’d love to see it!

 

bus cameraman car-music checking-account checkout
garbage mixing-drugs nurses party sneeze

If you use any of these to create a meme, please email, tweet, or Facebook me a copy so I can share it (if it’s not terrible.)

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

The Anatomy of a Viral Post… Was it Worth It?

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

If you do anything online, some part of you hopes it goes viral, right?

One week ago, at this very moment, I was sitting at my desk, looking around at my mountains of stuff, trying to find something to write about for my Tuesday post for Trending Buffalo, when my eyes locked in on a pile of 1991 newspapers I’d been meaning to go through.

radioshackad-218x300I wrote about a Radio Shack ad that was just about right on top of the pile. Virtually all the technology in the ad for “America’s Technology Store” had been replaced in my life by my iPhone. So I allow words to vomit-forth from my fat fingers onto keyboard for a half hour or so, and I have a blog post.

A couple of days later, I got an email from the Huffington Post. They “want to sign me up as a writer,” and they like my Radio Shack blog, and want to repost it on their website. “All they need is a brief bio and a photo” to get the ball rolling. I was intrigued, but I also speak the language of modern media. They wanted my work for free in exchange for internet fame. OK.

Later that afternoon, just before starting to make a pan of gołąbki (Polish cabbage rolls), I quickly scrawled the following bio: Steve Cichon is a writer, historian, and “retired” radio newsman in Buffalo, NY. He has worn self-tie bow ties since the ’80s, written three books, and has turned his borderline unhealthy obsession with Buffalo’s pop culture history into a career. More from Steve at BuffaloStories.com.

Along with that, I sent a photo my wife took of me while we were having breakfast at the Lake Effect Diner one Sunday morning a few months ago.

Then it was back to boiling cabbage, browning onion, and mixing raw ground beef with my fingers. By the time I got the pigs-in-a-blanket in the oven, a friend had seen my blog post on Huffington and posted it on Facebook, tagging me.

By the time I went to bed, it had been shared by over 1,000 people on Huffington’s Facebook page.

Early the next morning, I got several texts and Facebook messages that the Today Show was teasing a story about my blog. They wound up doing a lengthy segment, using my Radio Shack image, a few of my one-liners, and my math. They used my story, didn’t add anything to it,and didn’t give me any credit.

It's really something to wake up hearing Al Roker using your jokes on the Today Show.
It’s really something to wake up hearing Al Roker using your jokes on the Today Show.

My friends got mad, but as I wrote on Facebook, “I’m glad people are offended for me, I guess because as a long time radio/TV producer, you get used to other people presenting your work. To be honest:: If I was reading this on the radio… I probably would have credited the Huffington Post, too. Maybe the author— but maybe not. I’m really not too broken up about it… or broken up at all, really. But its nice to see friends have your back, you know?”

The story of a viral blog, unattributed, made its way around the Buffalo News newsroom, and reporter Jill Terreri talked to me that day for a piece in “Off Main Street.” The headline on the few paragraphs she wrote was, “The Man Behind the Story.” Sharing that in social media the next day was another chance for my friends to enjoy my new found “fame.”

The Today show wasn’t the only place to “borrow” the story. Google images shows hundreds of instances where websites have posted the 1991 Radio Shack ad.

So now, here I sit… having fed the media a viral post wondering, was it worth it?

The upside is, between nationally read and syndicated websites, national television, and social media, there is no doubt that millions have seen my work.

Downside? Immediately, anyone would notice the trolls. Hundreds of nasty things written about me and my writing, some of them emailed directly to me so I couldn’t miss them. But that’s life on the internet.

The real downside is, while I wrote it, it’s no longer my work. It’s now in the public domain. I made that 1991 Buffalo News Radio Shack ad image with my cellphone here in my office early last Tuesday morning. Now, though, it will be floating around the internet forever, my contribution stripped. And don’t think the payment was on the front end. I was not paid for writing that blog at any point. Hundreds of websites, millions of clicks, making money– but none for the original creative force.

No attribution bothers me more than no cash, but neither one will ever keep me up at night. Honestly, I knew what I was signing up for in turning my piece over to Huffington. Not that it would air on the Today Show, but that I was basically handing off rights to my writing so that more people could enjoy it.

This isn’t about sour grapes, or railing against modern media. I’m really not complaining. I know the game, and I play it. It’s actually benefical for me to say that I’ve written a viral blog post, that I’ve written for the Huffington Post, and that my work has appeared on the Today Show.

It’s been kind of fun watching it unfold. But it’s also kind of sad knowing, when producers do little more than cut and paste, that some guy writing a blog in Buffalo is actually producing segments for network television at the same time.

So, anyway, I was thinking…. I wonder if Viral Nova would want this one?

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

13 things inside the mind of a 18-year old Buffalonian in 2014

Yesterday I was speaking to a class of high school kids, mostly seniors. One of the reasons I’m a successful public speaker has nothing to do with public speaking, per se. It’s my firm belief that no matter who the person or people are, we are equals.
18 year olds probably don’t remember people tossing quarters into the basket at the Black Rock and Ogden toll booths. They don’t even remember the toll booths being there.
18 year olds probably don’t remember people tossing quarters into the basket at the Black Rock and Ogden toll booths. They don’t even remember the toll booths being there.

Whether you’re a wealthy and powerful leader, or a kid trying not to doze off in 3rd period, we’re all on the journey of life together and we all have the opportunity to impact one another’s lives. I try to connect with people through shared experiences and perspectives… and, well, that hit a bit of a wall talking at Pioneer.

When a 16 year old asks you about your greatest experiences in journalism, and as you start to talk, you realize this kid was in first grade when Hurricane Katrina struck, so there’s an impromptu explanation of why that story was important, and then why I covered it, and then my story, then—… to hell with it. “I met Katy Perry before she was a big star.” (Actually, I wish that I would have thought to share that story.)

No matter how or why you are speaking in front of people, if you want to convey your message directly and thoroughly, you have to keep your audience in mind. Why is any of this relevant? I’ll be teaching a class of mostly college freshmen starting in a week-and-a-half. They are basically the same kids I was talking to yesterday.

I have to learn pretty quickly to limit my pop culture and current events references to the last 8 to 10 years or so. Thinking about that, and that “incoming college freshman” list that Beloit college puts together every year, I started to think about the local pop culture touch stones for my students. I’m probably missing a lot, but here’s the list off the top of my head.

Get ready to feel old.

13 things inside the mind of a 18 year old Buffalonian

1.) Byron Brown has been mayor for as long as they can remember. He became mayor when they were in fifth grade.

2.) The Bills have never been to the playoffs. They were 3 for Home Run Throwback. Not only do they not know Jim Kelly as a player, they don’t know Doug Flutie. They might not even remember Drew Bledsoe. They were 8 when he left.

3.) Niagara Falls, USA has always had a casino, and never had a mall or festival of lights.

4.) Unless they were on the roads a lot before the age of 11, most probably have no idea that there were once tolls at Ogden and Black Rock on the 190. And they’ve never seen anyone throw quarters into an exact change toll booth.

5.) Bon-Ton has always been Bon-Ton and Macy’s has been Macy’s since they were 10– so maybe they remember Kaufmann’s. They might know the name AM&As, but only because some old person in their family calls Bon-Ton “AM&As” for some reason.

6.) They’ve never been asked “smoking or non?” at a restaurant in New York State. Smoking was banned in restaurants 11 years ago here.

7.) They remember the old days when the Sabres played at “HSBC Arena,” but don’t remember any other names or buildings. The Bills have always played at “Ralph Wilson Stadium,” never Rich.

8.) 103.3 has always been the Edge, 102.5 has always been Star, 104.1 has never been Oldies 104.

9.) They have never seen an Irv Weinstein newscast, but probably don’t remember the Empire Sports Network, either.

10.) There has always been a Tim Hortons on every corner, and they’ve always served sandwiches and/or ice cream.

11.) They’ve always been able to read the Buffalo News online.

12.) There was another Governor Cuomo?

13.) Just about every ride at Darien Lake has always been there.

At the risk of sounding old and cranky, I really do have underwear older than these kids.

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

Everything from 1991 Radio Shack ad I now do with my phone

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Some people like to spend $3 on a cup of coffee. While that sounds like a gamble I probably wouldn’t take, I’ll always like to gamble– especially as little as three bucks– on what I might be able to dig up on Buffalo and Western New York, our collective past, and what it means for our future.

I recently came across a big pile of Buffalo News front sections from 1991, every day for the first three months of the year… collected as the First Gulf War unfolded. $3. I probably could have chiseled the guy down a buck, but I happily paid to see what else was in those papers.

There’s plenty about a run up to the first Superbowl appearance ever for the Bills, and mixed in with the disappointment is an air of hope and expectation for what is to come. Harumph. There are also some great local ads commemorating and/or coat-tailing on the Bills success.

We’ll get to those someday, but today, something much simpler. The back page of the front section on Saturday, February 16, 1991 was 4/5ths covered with a Radio Shack ad.

There are 15 electronic gimzo type items on this page, being sold from America’s Technology Store. 13 of the 15 you now always have in your pocket.

radioshackbnmasthead

radioshackad

So here’s the list of what I’ve replaced with my iPhone.

  • All weather personal stereo, $11.88. I now use my iPhone with an Otter Box
  • AM/FM clock radio, $13.88. iPhone.
  • In-Ear Stereo Phones, $7.88. Came with iPhone.
  • Microthin calculator, $4.88. Swipe up on iPhone.
  • Tandy 1000 TL/3, $1599. I actually owned a Tandy 1000, and I used it for games and word processing. I now do most of both of those things on my phone.
  • VHS Camcorder, $799. iPhone.
  • Mobile Cellular Telephone, $199. Obvs.
  • Mobile CB, $49.95. Ad says “You’ll never drive ‘alone’ again!” iPhone.
  • 20-Memory Speed-Dial phone, $29.95.
  • Deluxe Portable CD Player, $159.95. 80 minutes of music, or 80 hours of music? iPhone.
  • 10-Channel Desktop Scanner, $99.55. I still have a scanner, but I have a scanner app, too. iPhone.
  • Easiest-to-Use Phone Answerer, $49.95. iPhone voicemail.
  • Handheld Cassette Tape Recorder, $29.95. I use the Voice Memo app almost daily.
  • BONUS REPLACEMENT: It’s not an item for sale, but at the bottom of the ad, you’re instructed to ‘check your phone book for the Radio Shack Store nearest you.’  Do you even know how to use a phone book?

You’d have spent $3054.82 in 1991 to buy all the stuff in this ad that you can now do with your phone. That amount is roughly equivalent to about $5100 in 2012 dollars.

The only two items on the page that my phone really can’t replace:

  • Tiny Dual-Superhet Radar Detector, $79.95. But when is the last time you heard the term “fuzzbuster” anyway?
  • 3-Way speaker with massive 15″ Woofer, $149.95.

It’s nothing new, but it’s a great example of the technology of only two decades ago now replaced by the 3.95 ounce bundle of plastic, glass, and processors in our pockets.


This post originally appeared on TrendingBuffalo.com, and was picked up by the Huffington Post. It also filled a segment on NBC’s Today Show, and has served as inspiration and a resource for dozens of print and web articles around the world.

A reflection on Al Roker using my jokes and other things that happened with this post can be read here:  The Anatomy of a Viral Post… Was it Worth It?

Winter Makes Us Who We Are

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Some of us ski, some of us snowmobile, but most of us dislike Buffalo’s winter weather, and have absolutely no use for it at all. Period.

Hertel Avenue, January 6, 2014.
Hertel Avenue, January 6, 2014.

Sure, that first snow fall is cute, and it’s nice to have a little right before Christmas, but that’s it for snow. And the cold is almost entirely useless.

Yet here we are, living in a place where we don’t really like the weather 5 months out of the year, and we wouldn’t leave for anything.

All of us spend from November to April with a dry cough, a low-grade sinus infection, and chapped, cracked hands and lips.

The cold, colorless landscape can wear on our moods. Prolonged cold and snow can wear on our bodies as we clear our driveways and windshields, and can wear on cars as they try to chug through, too. Even our heartless, soulless machines need an occasional jump or a push to get themselves going when it’s like this.

But that’s how winter makes us who we are.

We’re ready with the knowledge of rocking a car– wheels straight– before a gut-busting almighty shove, and standing by with a pair of jumper cables, ready to hook the black cable to some bare metal in the engine block of the car with the dead battery. We don’t have this arcane knowledge just for ourselves, but also to help bring brightness to someone else’s cold, gray day. We don’t even question that it’s everyone’s responsibility to get everyone else out of the ditch and on to where they are going.

If you don’t have jumper cables, maybe you have supply of cough drops, tea bags and tissues your desk drawer. They are ready, of course, for when your month-long almost cold turns the corner to full-blown sick. They are also there, however,  as an apothecary for friends and co-workers, ready to soothe their aches with a little understanding and help get through not only the day, but the howling, frigid winter with which we all grapple.

Maybe after a lifetimes’ worth of clearing the neighborhood’s sidewalks, the next generation is now clearing yours. We all understand that winter is a group effort in Western New York, and that understanding permeates who we are year ’round.

A Buffalo winter is not like a tornado or a hurricane. There’s no hoping and praying that it skips us. We know it’s coming, and we know it’s going to be long, and we know it’s going to be rough at times. But the thing that’s different about a Buffalo winter– is not only how we deal with it, but how we all help each other through it.

People fortunate enough to head south during the winter months know the feeling of having red, chilled cheeks walking on a plane, and sunny warmth on your face as you disembark.

As good as 80 might feel in Miami today, it couldn’t beat a 52 degree day at the end of January, when you walk outside, feel thoroughly warmed, and smile at the neighbor with whom you were shoveling the side walk only a few days earlier.

Sure, it’s only January, and there is more gray, thick winter to come, but our shared experience, our love for our city, and our love for one another, keep us moving in anticipation of when we can change the sound of howling wind for the sounds of birds chirping in the lush green trees, and change the taste of chapstick for the tastes of our favorite ice cream and hot dog stands.

Stay warm.

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com