From Labor Day to Memorial Day I reside in Naples, Florida. Over the past ten years it has steadily become my home and sanctuary. And while Wil Durant warned me of my coming ossification, I can’t help but appreciate the salubrious effect Naples has on me. The past few years certainly rank as one of the most productive [and most enjoyable] periods of my life, and I am convinced it would not have been possible without the redoubt that Naples provides.
In a few weeks we’ll be heading back to WNY for the summer. It is a time to reconnect with some great friends, engage in some new opportunities, and, most importantly, spend irreplaceable time with my kids and grandkids. But the downside of heading back ‘home’ is the inevitable disruption of the curative equilibrium that Naples provides me.
I have a felicitous list of friends that I am really looking forward to seeing again, but I have an almost inexhaustible list of people I have no desire to chance upon. Old animosities in WNY have a way of metastasizing in what is otherwise a great place to raise a family [and spend the summer].
The best and worst characteristic about WNY is that everyone is from here. At its best, it is like a rock. You get to raise a family surrounded by childhood friends and a gaggle of relatives and extended family that you can trace back generations. At its worst, it’s an accumulation of petty deviseness that comes from a lifetime of living. Sometimes its hard to keep track of who wronged who. My advice – “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.”
I was thinking of putting together a list of people that I really don’t want to run into while I’m home, but they already know who they are [and the feeling, I’m certain, is mutual]. So, if I do chance upon you over the next few months, just give me the finger to remind me I’m your number one fan. And you can, like me, take comfort in the fact that I’ll soon be returning to my presidio.
And for those of you that are looking forward to another great Buffalo summer, I can’t wait to share it with you. The summers seem to be getting better every year, and I value the time I spend with you more than ever. See you soon.