Peace of the City

A few months back I purchased some surplus iPads from a local school district. I had intended to use them in an after-school program where I am a volunteer. When I discovered that I didn’t need them because we already had enough computers I laid them off to the side. A little over a month ago a young woman I had met at Mass at Mount Irenaeus announced on social media that she had been hired to teach at Peace of the City in Buffalo, New York. I asked if she could use these extra iPads. She thanked me and said, “Yes.” Soon thereafter I received a call from their business official who told me where I could bring the tablet computers. I drove to the city and followed the directions of my GPS. I took a reluctant tour of a neighborhood on the west side of Buffalo that not too many non-residents have seen. Eventually I got to the site which is the site of a former Catholic school. I knocked at the door and soon a staff member came to let me in. I dropped off the iPads and a Chromebook and had a short visit with the business manager and quickly left the neighborhood. As I drove away I thought of the children and how each day they came to this school and what an oasis of learning it must be in one of Buffalo’s less lovely neighborhoods. I thought of how little choice they had of their lot in life. Soon after my visit I got a nice thank you from their teacher, Emma on Facebook and then a note from the school too. What I didn’t expect to happen was the lovely note that came in today’s mail from Emma and a few of the students who had gone out of their way to craft lovely cards of their own creation. That really touched my heart and made me want to do more. Thank you to Emma and the children of Peace of the City who are truly a blessing in my life. Peace.


Yesterday marked the 27th anniversary of our wedding. Like most couple who mark such milestones we remember what we once looked like and the people who were at our wedding. Some of that number is gone from us now and so we remember them perhaps more vividly. Others like our own children, the very fruit, of our union and who have been and continue to be the focus of our lives seem to have with us since the beginning. That cannot be but it seems that way.

We spent an overnight in Buffalo, New York. Traveling a short 50 miles from our home doesn’t seem like much of a trip yet it provided us with a memorable overnight in the Queen City. We had great accommodations at the Embassy Suites there. A short trip to Niagara Falls last night after a great dinner at our hotel.

This morning we rose early to watch our daughter, Dara compete in the  Buffalo Marathon. She actually competed in the half-marathon. A thirteen mile run in no mean accomplishment and she did it in two hours and two minutes. We were very happy for her. Following the race and checking out of our hotel we traveled across the border to Ft. Erie and then up the Niagara Parkway past the Falls and on to Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON.   Niagara-on-the-Lake was mobbed today and so we only tarried long enough for a couple of tarts and juice. On our return trip on the Parkway we decided to pull off and enjoy the peaceful backdrop of the Niagara River.

There is something about the peaceful and contemplative setting of still waters. Whether I find myself along the Cooper River in South Carolina or the still waters of the Niagara along the Canadian border I return renewed and refreshed.

“he leads me beside the still waters.”

No news

This summer I’ve been enjoying almost no news. Almost without thinking I’ve been avoiding the news. Tonight my mother told me a tragic story of a couple of Buffalo, New York firefighters who lost their lives today trying save other. That’s a real tragedy and my heart goes out to those families but save for stories like that I’ve been living with less and less news and it’s been enjoyable. I didn’t set out to do this either, it just happened. I’d been avoiding news and television in general and that goes back almost five years now, but I still enjoyed reading the news. Lately the news has been so negative with the health care debate and the birthers questioning President Obama’s citizenship that I’ve just avoided it.

Some might argue that I’m escaping from life. I’m escaping the corporate news shows with their programming and a reality that I don’t care to be a part of. I like reality, but it’s the un-reality of the news that turns me off. Instead I’ve turned them off and I’m healthier for it. Please pray for the Buffalo Firefighters and their families.