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Category Archives: Faith

Keep On Telling The Family Stories

 

Here's to family stories that are passed from one generation to the next.

Here’s to family stories that are passed from one generation to the next. Here are the children of Mary McMahon Mattimore. These 5 have produced 23 children and countless grandchildren. I lost count. Plus we have great grandchildren now to add to the numbers.

 

There is something comforting in hearing the same stories over and over. I mean, we all rolled our eyes when we were teens but now I just sit back and relish and smile at hearing them. In our family, there are a few “classics.” It all started with John McMahon. As a young lad, he left Ireland for the United States of America; an unfriendly place for the Irish. No one was hiring the Irish. From Ellis island to working on the Erie canal and onto Buffalo to find work. He lost his best friend to illness along the way and searched for a place to settle. John endured and walked to Ellicottville, NY where the Irish were being hired. He found love and 7 children later (those who lived) -one is my grandmother Mary McMahon Mattimore. Folks, if you think driving to Ellicottville is a big deal try walking it in 1800’s.

Baseball stories abound around the table. Michael Mattimore was a ball player and my dad received a letter to try out for the Boston Red Soxs. Yes, we have the letter framed.  Jane McMahon dated a professional baseball player named  Tris Speaker –until religion got in the way. He was a Mason, she a Catholic. No mixed marriages back them. Cousin Kay Daly married baseball legend Ray Chapman (shortstop for the Cleveland Indians remains the only major league baseball player to die from an injury while playing) and had his baby after he was killed by the Yankee pitch. Unfortunately the baby did not survive. Aunt Kate who lived with the Mattimore family on McCamley Street growing up in South Buffalo was a “softie.” The sister of our grandmother who never married lived with her family and helped with the children. When the kids would walk home for lunch while attending Holy Family School, she would let them stay home and not return to school. Stories of the handsome men in their uniforms, women and their recipes and songs song kept our dinner table warm. I’m just scratching the surface here with our family stories. Share the stories. Someday your kids will ask again “wait, what was that story you use to tell?”

 

Mattimore Family Singers

 

 

Sing Me Something Irish

My dad wasn't going to sing this song when his daughters were growing up but now since we are older "what the heck."

My dad wasn’t going to sing this song when his daughters were growing up since our mother would not allow those kind of songs sung, but now since we are older “what the heck.”

Folks, if you are lucky to grow up with loving father of Irish decent, you no doubt heard him sing the songs “Danny Boy” and “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” countless times. But there are a lot of Irish songs and ballads out there that I have never heard. So, I decided to ask my dad to sing me an Irish song that I don’t know…he joked that my mom would never allow it. Oh what the heck dad – go ahead- let me hear just one. Here we go – The Lady in Red song by my dad – Dr. Joseph Mattimore.

The actually words to the “Lady on Red’ – my dad was pretty close.

‘Twas a cold winter’s evening,
The guests were all leaving,
O’Leary was closing the bar,
When he turned round and said
To the lady in red,
“Get out, you can’t stay where you are!”

She shed a sad tear in her bucket of beer
As she thought of the cold night ahead,
When a gentleman dapper stepped out of the crapper
And these are the words that he said:

“Her mother never told her
The things a young girl should know,
About the ways of college men
And how they come and go.
Age has taken her beauty,
Sin has left its sad scar,
But remember your sisters and mothers, boys,
And let her sleep under the bar.

Our Lady of Seneca Street

Our Lady of Seneca Street can be found at 847 Seneca Street.

Our Lady of Seneca Street can be found at 847 Seneca Street.

You can see how playwright Tom Dudzick let his imagination go wild over a simple shrine dedicated to the Blessed Mother on Seneca Street in Buffalo. He wrote and directed a play called “Miracle On South Division Street” that is showing now at the Kavinoky Theatre at D’Youville College. The play is clever and well acted but a bit of the “kick in the pants” to devote Catholics and traditional Polish Mothers out there. But I also certainly got the message that we are not always who we think we are, we are all more alike than we think, and mothers cannot control the lives of their children. It was done with humor and creativity. The true story is one of a barber named Joe Battaglia who in the 1950’s saw a vision of the Blessed Mother outside his window and was so moved he vowed to build her a shrine. The shrine was well maintained by Battaglia until his death. In the 1980’s the City of Buffalo purchased the shrine with the intention to tear it down. Fortunately a group of preservationists bought the shrine and is now maintained by those who are interested in continuing the shrine that Battaglia built. You can see how Dudzick made up a doozie story based on the statue not looking like a traditional Blessed mother with a modern day look to her in her clothes, hair and crown. I need to thank Dudzick for creating the play or I would not have been inspired to drive down Seneca Street and see for myself the actual shrine in which the play is based. RIP Mr. Battaglia and thank you for your devotion and conviction and for making Seneca Street a little more scenic.

How interesting that directly behind the shrine is the parking lot that the City of Buffalo owns. NOw you know where to go if you are looking for emergency parking in the snow.

How interesting that directly behind the shrine is the parking lot that the City of Buffalo owns. Now you know where to go if you are looking for emergency parking in the snow.

Thankful

One year anniversary for Evan Jr. who works diligently  to gain clients.

First annual appreciation night for Evan Jr. who works diligently to gain clients.

Thanksgiving baskets wrapped in a cloth tablecloth.

Thanksgiving baskets wrapped in a cloth tablecloth.

This basket includes a prayer.

This basket includes a prayer.

Aww Thanksgiving. The gratitude that fills your heart. I hope that this will not be a mushy post; but I may not be able to help it. This week, we watched our son entertain his first clients. Watching him work so industriously and try so hard filled us with pride. At work , I was stunned by the generosity of co-workers. The baskets that were delivered today were unique and brimming with joy. They all included turkeys, vegetables, pies, cranberry sauce, dressing, rolls and gravy. But some baskets were topped with pans to cook your turkeys, some with fresh flowers, some with prayers, others with turkey salt and pepper shakers and others wrapped with table clothes. Fifty seven baskets were collected each assembled with love and creativity. It was a huge emotional life to witness the giving spirit. We are not alone. We are each others brothers and sisters. Watching the volunteers take each basket to deliver to a family in need displayed the human spirit at it’s best. Thank you to you Lord for the gift of life, for having another Thanksgiving to share with my mom and dad. You know, every year just gets a little more sweeter. Amen.

 

 

Do what you love.

Fr. Brady prepares for the 4 o'clock vigil mass at Fox Run in OP

Fr. Brady prepares for the 4 o’clock vigil mass at Fox Run in OP

Do what you love and you will live your life with joy!! At age 95, Fr. Brady is doing just that. I have gotten acquainted with Fr. Brady at Fox Run in Orchard Park where he offers confessions and presides over the 4 0’clock vigil mass. You would never know he was 95. He started saying masses at Fox Run about 5 years ago when he would go to visit his younger sister who was a resident there. He wanted her to be able to attend mass and learned that Catholic mass was not offered. Fr. Brady changed that. Motivated to have his sister attend mass, he started weekly vigil mass in the community room. The mass has grown. It is filled every week with residents, friends and family. And I mean filled.

Fr. “Pat” Philip Brady was ordained December 18, 1943. This year he will be celebrating his 70th anniversary. 70 years as a priest! His first mass was at St. Mark’s RC Church (Dec.19, 1943) in Buffalo at 401 Woodward Avenue. It is the parish he grew up attending and the grammar school he graduated from. Off he went to do missionary work with the Columban Fathers to spread the gospel of the Lord. In the late 1950’s there were no opening for priests in Buffalo. You did not read that wrong. It is worth repeating. Buffalo had too many priests in the 1950’s!!  Fr.”Pat” Philip Brady was assigned the St. Margaret Mary parish in Shelton, CT. and spent 25 years serving as a diocesan priest.

You may wonder why I keep referring to Fr. Brady as Fr. “Pat” Philip. His birth name is Philip but no one has ever called him that. He has been Pat for as long as he can remember. A nickname. But just to make it legal; his ordination card which his niece Shelly carries in her wallet reads Patrick Philip Brady. They had to include Patrick because that is the only name he is known as and Philip because that is his legal name. Shelly is honored to carry his first mass card; he is a model. A model to all of us. The residents of Fox Run certainly appreciate the invaluable gift of attending mass.

If you want to send a card to Fr. Brady for his 70th anniversary to the priesthood send it to Orchard Glen, 6055 Armor Duells Road, Orchard Park, NY 14127.
Congratulations! Thank you for your faith and service.

Actual card for Fr. Brady's Ordination to the priesthood.

Actual card from Fr. Brady’s Ordination to the priesthood.

Walk

Sweet November. Day Light Savings makes waking up a little easier.

Good Morning! It’s the start of daylight savings and it’s time to take advantage of the morning light. There is nothing more satisfying in the morning then a walk with my husband and our dogs. Of course I asked him what was the best part of the morning was and he said ” kissing the dogs and the automatic timer on the coffee pot.” But, to see the sunrise, to see our dogs run off leash with no one around, to take in the beauty and promise of each new day, to have a loyal partner in life is an immeasurable pleasure. Have you been waking up a little earlier thinking–wow, I didn’t need an alarm clock? It’s nature telling you to take advantage of the morning light. I know I am at a position in my life where the kids are older, that I have a built in walking partner who walks ten paces in front of me, and dogs that virtually do back flips when we say the word “park”. But even if you are not in the position to leave the house you can always show your family your love by your actions. If you wake up a little earlier, a little housework goes a long way. If I were a contestant on the “Family Feud” and was asked “the top 5 answers to the question; name the best things in life that are free” I would say – being alive, finding true compatibility with your spouse, the ability to walk and breathe, and the beauty of nature. An early morning walk is blessing for the whole day. Cheers.

The promise of a new day.

The promise of a new day.

 

 

“Spot Players Can Win The Game”

 

Hank Mattimore

The important thing is to discover your unique contribution – and fulfill it. Remember Spot players can win the game!

Today dear readers, I would like to introduce you to my Uncle Hank Mattimore. He is my dad’s youngest brother and no doubt you will hear more about him in upcoming blog posts. He’s a writer. I enjoy his stuff. He just wrote a post about knowing your place here on earth. That’s a big gulp. (thank you 7-11). You see each of us was created with a unique combination of personality, talents, timing ,DNA, circumstances, and chances. Please read the take Uncle Hank has on this.

“ Spot Players,” Subs and Coming Off the Bench

     My brother Dan and I were reminiscing the other day about Dan’s high school basketball career. My brother’s role on the team was to be the “spot man.” Dan’s defensive skills were modest at best and he was not known for the spring in his legs or his speed, so he was not a first stringer. But man, the kid could shoot. Give Dan a clear shot and it was good for two points. So, when the team was down a couple of points and needed a shot in the arm, the coach would call on Dan. Invariably, he would oblige  SWISH!  A basket for our team.
     Our conversation got me thinking about the roles we play in our lives, Few of us are called to wear the mantle of super stars, whether it is in politics or sports or the entertainment business. We are destined to be bit players in life’s drama. We may as well face it; our demise when it comes will not grab headlines in the media. Headlines are reserved for the JFK’s or Martin Luther King’s or the Brad Pitt’s of our day.
     Yet, like a spot player on the basketball court or a bit player in a movie, the parts we play are important. I recall a high school teacher saying to me “You have a gift for writing. Use it.” I doubt if he remembers the moment when he said that to a boy struggling with his own self-esteem and how much that mattered to me.
     On another occasion, a “spot player” entered my life in the person of an older Afro-American woman. I was grabbing a pizza at Union Station waiting for the train. The tables were all taken so I asked a young man if he would mind sharing his table. He agreed and just before we began scarffing down our pizzas, the black lady asked if she could join us. “Sure no problem,” we said. But before we could began to eat, the lady, a complete stranger, asked us to wait a moment. Spreading out three paper napkins in front of us, she bowed her head and said a prayer. We waited politely until she finished. Then she turned to us and said with a warm smile, “Gentlemen, now we can dine.”
     I was impressed by the way this lady turned the prosaic act of downing a pizza into something sacred. She went out of her way to share this meal with a couple of people she had never met and would probably never see again. She, as it were, came off the bench to teach us a valuable insight, one that has stayed with me all my life. She had her moment with a couple of strangers and played the role to perfection.
      As the years have gone by I have come to believe that the Divine Director has a role for us to play. The world is still in the process of creation and we are in the cast. For most of us, we have only a bit part but, as any good director will tell you, bit parts done well can make or break a production. Spot players can win a game.
Hank Mattimore

I want to be a better person.

I want to be a better person

I want to be a better person. Fr. Joe and Martha share a hello after mass.

Recently at mass, our pastor Fr. Joe spoke of a text message he received from one of his friends after a heartwarming funeral of a mutual friend. The funeral mass was as crowded as the 4:30pm Christmas Eve mass because this man impacted so many by living a good life. The text message simply read “I want to be a better person”. Fr. Joe knew his friend was inspired by the funeral and said ” start by saying ‘I’m sorry ‘ and ‘thank you’ more often.” Hummm. He went on to say, start with your spouse and family since they are the ones who probably hear it the least and should hear it the most. Fr. Joe added to avoid the expression “whatever” and “whatev” because what you are actually saying is “I don’t care”. If you want to be a better person, try something straightforward, honest to goodness, undecorated and underused. “I’m sorry” and “Thank you”.

Oh, and thank you for reading this post.

Sunday. A day to rest and play.

Sunday is a time when we allow ourselves to set anchor and remember our purpose on earth. Sunday is the day to go to church and remember that God made the world and rested. God calls us to rest, to pray, to hear His voice, to be aware of His presence and the beauty of the earth. A time for family and a time to connect. A time away from the office, phone and fax machines. A time to break bread together. A time to relax and play.

spend time at home

spend time at home and rest and play.

 

Favorite moment

The moment when the groom sees his bride at the altar. That’s it. That is my favorite moment. It sums up a lot of what is important in life. Love, Commitment, Joy, Family and Faith. There he is in all his glory seeing his bride for the first time.

That moment