Run Across New York

Be part of a once in a lifetime chance to run across New York State. Many races have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic so this might be your one chance to compete this year with thousands of other runners from across New York State. I have joined my son and other members of a team called “Fredonia.” We’re diverse by age and geographic location but we’re of one mind to enjoy running and walking across New York State for the good of others. We’re part of the “One NY Virtual Challenge – Race Across New York.” Each participant receives some swag too and in my case be part of a team too. You can elect to register by yourself, join a team or create your own.

According to the website, “OneNY is donating 100% of all donations and a portion of the proceeds from the 500k & 1000k challenges to COVID-19 Relief.” Join us!

Essential Workers – owed so much by so many

This wonderful video tribute to the heroes of New York came from Governor Cuomo’s nightly email. Andrew Cuomo has been a phenomenal leader who has inspired others to give of themselves. New York is a beacon of freedom and and goodwill in the midst of this pandemic.

Socially distanced but spiritually connected

Everytime I listen to New York States Governor Andrew Cuomo I come away relaxed. He’s a leader in a time of crisis. New York is a big state and I’m a long way from the New York City which is the epicenter of this crisis. Yet, I feel a connection to friends and relatives who live there. I am connected to many people around our country and around the world. In the past week I have found myself thinking of Assisi, Italy where I’ve spent ten or eleven days in the past couple of years. I remember the shopkeepers and our hosts at Casa Papa Giovanni and the Hotel Posta Panoramic where I stayed in May 2019. I have thought often of the shopkeeper where I purchased olive oil and wine to ship home to family. All these people are in my thoughts and prayers.

I have thought of our hosts in Rome at the Casa Tra Nois. How are they? Are they sick? Have they died from this pandemic? What about the pilgrims that I was with the past two years? Are they sick? Are they well? Are they frightened as I am? As horrible as all of this is, it is a reminder that we are all connected. We are one. We are not separate as we might imagine or as some power brokers would tell us.

Governor Cuomo reminded us that we are, “socially distanced but spiritually connected.” Indeed we are. It doesn’t matter what we believe, whether atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jew, liberal, conservative or whatever we are spiritually connected and in times like this we feel, think and pray for each other. May we continue to send positive energy to each other and our world. Namaste, Shalom, Salaam, Pax, Pace, Peace.

A snowy evening

Last night my wife left for an overnight with our daughter. The mission for them is Christmas shopping. Whenever I ask my wife what she’d like for Christmas, the answer is, “don’t buy me any clothes,” or “I don’t need anything.” Truth of the matter is neither of us really needs anything. We’ve got our health, a warm home, employment, our children and twenty-five years of wonderful memories. Nonetheless, Christmas won’t be complete without gifts. Each day of our lives is Christmas. Each day we give of ourselves and sometimes the gifts are only a kind word, but it is still a gift.

With Diane gone I was left to find my own meal and since it was Friday night and I had business in nearby Ellicottville, New York I decided to stop by my favorite eatery there, Tips Up Cafe. I know the owner and he makes the best strip steak I’ve ever tasted. Tips Up was packed last night even though the weather outside was wintry. I love coming to Ellicottville. It’s such a lovely village and as you can see from the picture it’s decorated with lots of lights for the holidays.

Ellicottville is home to Holiday Valley, one of the largest ski areas in New York State and even though the rest of the country is in a steep recession Ellicottville is doing well with all the snow we’ve received thus far. A couple of weeks ago the snow totals for Ellicottville had exceeded 71 inches. We’ve added to that in recent days and then too the resorts make snow. Last night after dinner I drove with a friend to an area just below the slopes. The skiing had finished for the evening and the trails looked surreal as lights shined through both man made and earth made snow. It was a chillingly beautiful sight.  My ride home was exciting too as I made my way slowly along Route 242 which was snow covered and not plowed well. The dense snowfall made it difficult to see. My visibility was limited to just much less than a tenth of a mile in spots. Still there is something mystically beautiful about snowfalls.

Times like these always remind me of the words of Robert Frost.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

Lady of the Genesee

I began my day driving to nearby Olean to the Verizon Wireless store. I was returning one phone and exchanging it for another. When I finished it was 10:40 am and I thought with luck I can get to Mt. Irenaeus at least in time for communion.  I did better than that, I got there in time for the Gospel. The chapel was packed today with nearly 60 people, many who had come to celebrate a wedding, some to visit Fr. Dan Hurley, OFM who is aging and ageless. Hurles as he is affectionately known is 88 years old and still going strong. His eyesight is failing but not his vision, his heart nor his appeal to family and friends. Following Mass and a sumptuous bruch I made my way up through the Genesee River Valley to one of my other favorite spots in Western New York. I got to the Abbey of the Genesee in time for Vespers and Benediction. I love the adoration of the Eucharist, it is one of my favorite liturgical ceremonies and combined with vespers it was a beautiful way to spend part of my afternoon.  I used the camera of my new Blackberry Curve to take this lovely picture of Our Lady of the Genesee. I often stop to pray near this statue and today’s weather combined to make a beautiful picture. As I sat near the statue I thought of the Magnificat we’d just prayed as Vespers ended.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good thing
and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
to remember his promise of mercy,
The promise made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Gus Macker Tournament

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This weekend our family spent much of the weekend in Hornell, New York at the annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. Our son Devin has competed in many of these events over the past ten to twelve years. This weekend Devin’s team finished third in the Top Mens Division. His teammates included Jeff Haskell, Jason Luther and Bob Gibbs. This video taken from the second game on Saturday features Devin and his teammates along with our neighbor Ben Kopp who was on the opposing team. In fact this game featured neighbors and relatives playing against each other. This weekend was a lot of fun watching lots of talented players compete.
I took the video with my Canon ZR200 camera and edited it on Ubuntu 7.10 using Kino. Kino works well with