Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down!

I'm not entirely sure why, but I was saddened to see this picture on the local page of the Buffalo News today. This obscure little tower stood at the corner of Quaker and Transit in Orchard Park, right next to Bob O' Links golf course. One insignificant old creaky tower in the middle of No Where, Western New York. It's an odd landmark that's just burned into my long term memory, like many others in the area. I have memories of it going back just about as far as my memory goes. My father used to take us out that way regularly, and as kids my sister and I were fascinated with it. It had a distinctive tilt even 20 or 30 years ago, frankly I'm amazed it stood as long as it did. We would marvel at it's ability to defy gravity. We'd be all excited every time we started to get close to see if it was still standing. And every time it was! I was surprised to see it standing still when we ventured down to Orchard Park last month for a birthday party. Most of the other places I have in my long term memory like that are gone, or at least forever changed. There was a barn at 5 Corners, the woods back behind that barn, Smoke's Creek, just to name a few. The barn is now a Wendy's, some of the woods is now apartments, Smoke's Creek is till there, though it's slowly being changed. That stupid tower looked like it was going to stand forever. It was one of those odd things that really beat the odds, and some big storms over the years.

It's tied into a bunch of ancient memories I have of when I was a kid. It was always there when that part of the world was a big part of my life. I have no idea what it was ever used for (water I've always assumed), or why it was left standing for so long, I bet there's a good story there someplace. Oddly this also only the second time I've wanted to tell my father about something since he died 9 years ago.


Daily I think of things to tell or more often ask my dad and he died four years ago. When I started my job at the firm where I now work they have an automatic retirement plan that puts as sum equal to 5% of my salary (not out of my salary but additional money - I love corporate American even if I am bored to death at work) in a group of mutual funds. We can choose between 30 or 40 funds. I spent all day thinking I must ask dad what funds to choose - he was brilliant at that and he was a CPA. I was at home before I realized that it was about three and a half years too late.

I'm glad that dad and mom who is still alive raised kids who were smart enough to make their own decisions - not necessarily the right ones, but we were also big enough to face the music when we chose the wrong ones. So I picked some funds after reading the prosepectsus (prospecti ?). Now if I can manage to keep a low profile for the next four and a half years I'll be vested.

I do remember that tower, I remember a lot of stuff from WNY. It amazes me how easy it is for me to drive around up there even though we moved away before I learned to drive.

I think it may be time for another trip up north. It is too damn hot in Florida and I really enjoyed skidding through the snowy parking lot of Annunciation church in the rental car while waiting for my pizza to be ready at Santora's. I'm not so sure that Thomas Wolfe fella was right, you can go home again.