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Category Archives: Traditions

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

 

 

Looking For A Chocolate Poodle?

Get off the Silver Creek exit and treat yourself to the uniqueness of Valvo's Candy and Cement.

Get off the Silver Creek exit and treat yourself to the uniqueness of Valvo’s Candy and Cement.

When you live in Buffalo and want chocolate, you think of the big 3 candy makers. Watson, Fowlers and Parkside. You can’t go wrong. After all, they all excel in packaging, store locations and quality. Great chocolate! But, humm, I was not able to find a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket until I drove to Silver Creek and looked for the large female “Big Boy”  larger than life statuette. (That’s the best way I can think of to describe it)

There she was on Routes 5 and 20 and 5 and dime is what this store reminds me of exactly. You want a cement figure of an alligator? You got it. You want a solid chocolate ballerina? You got it. Valvo’s is best described in pictures. Reminiscent of the past, the candy is jammed all over the store and you can’t help but be enamored by it all. Huge chocolate rabbits. I must say, the chickens looked the most appealing sitting in their baskets. I simply can’t describe it all; it’s best just to have the pictures tell the story. I did find it peculiar to find a Blessed Mother chocolate statue. Would you want to bite her head off? No way. It might be the first piece of chocolate I would not be able to eat. Visit Valvo’s. It’s one crazy place.

Folks, how about a chocolate Blessed Mother? Horse? Poodle or Chicken? Would you call it unique or odd?

Folks, how about a chocolate Blessed Mother? Horse? Poodle or Chicken? Would you call it unique or odd?

 

Finally, I the poodle walker have found a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket.

Finally, I the poodle walker have found a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket.

I simply cannot describe how peculiar yet folksy this store is without pictures.

I simply cannot describe how peculiar yet folksy this store is without pictures.

The chickens were the most appealing. They are sitting in baskets like they would in a hen house.

The chickens were the most appealing. They are sitting on eggs like they would in a hen house.

 

 

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.

Buffalo Groundhog

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things as Christmas 2013 comes to a close.

A few of my favorite things as Christmas 2013 comes to a close.

Anything homemade from my kids I cherish! Woo Hoo a foot rub!!

Anything homemade from my kids I cherish! Woo Hoo a foot rub!!

The Christmas tree is coming down today. The decorations are being taken up to the attic for safe keeping. The gifts are being used and the memories are fresh. Our hearts are filled with gratefulness on this chilly day. I thought I would share a few of my favorite things this Christmas season. Yes, every year I say “I do not need a thing!” But, Yes, I received the Sound of Music CD – the Carrie Underwood version. Yes, I received the Sound of Music DVD of the original Julie Andrews movie. Yes, I received a Michael Bublé CD as a result of his outstanding concert and have over played track #7 “Close Your Eyes”. I love that song!! I overplay songs. I can’t help it. I am a monogram fan. Anything monogrammed. Door matts, vests, jackets, necklaces, earnings – you name it. Our kids all chipped in and got us tickets to see Wicked. So thoughtful. Other favorite items include: gift cards (impersonal? who cares! I love um!), anything from Garrett Hill, chocolate from Switzerland, lotion and soup from Bath & Body, anything pineapple (my Virginia collection), my reusable Starbucks mug for free refills all of January, tervis tumblers, a necklace from my man, and the gosh darn cutest “best things in life are free” coupon book. Yes, I am cashing in free hair brushing, free shoulder rub at the computer and foot rub. No extra charge for lotion! I’m hoping for double coupon days. Here’s to a great year!

The Joy of Christmas Cards

A funny thing happened in the evolution of Christmas cards. Cards became photos. Photos made the cards more interesting and personal. Children grow up right before our eyes year and year.  No doubt about it, I am a fan of the photo Christmas card. Thank you for sending them.

Photo Christmas cards are more interesting and more personal.

Photo Christmas cards are more interesting and more personal.

Yes, I am one of those who write a letter and include a picture. It's worth the time and effort.

Yes, I am one of those who write a letter and include a picture. It’s worth the time and effort. And they are written all in fun.

Who enjoys sitting around and reading cards and letter more than our family? I’m not sure. Even in this day and age of social media over load, my husband said to me “it’s more important than ever before to connect on a personal level and send them out with a stamp and good wishes”. So thank you for sending them. Thank you for connecting. Christmas cards are important not only in our personal life but also in our professional life. Who doesn’t find a card heartwarming in the office workplace from someone or company that appreciates your work? I enjoy going to the post office and selecting the Christmas stamps and seeing the new designs each year. Oh yes, I have a Christmas stamp collection too. Some may find that it is too difficult to gather the children together and take a picture, select one, get them made up, mail them out, etc. etc. “Forget it!” Oh, I have learned to take the picture in the late summer or Fall when everyone is home and you take the stress of the Christmas card right off your plate. And since I have been doing the photo card and letter since 1987, I have it down to a science. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t worry about the haters. Anyone can criticize. Simply send joy and Rejoice. Merry Christmas!

 

Ladies Brunch

Who does not love breakfast food? Host a ladies brunch.

Who does not love breakfast food? Host a ladies brunch.

 

Proud to say that is my plate.

Proud to say that is my plate.

Oh the joy of being invited to a ladies brunch. Quiche. Sausage. Fruit. Salad. Pastry Assortment. Sparkling Water. Champagne. Even little dishes of almonds and mints scattered around the table. Coffee and conversation. Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch usually served in the late morning and can last into the early afternoon. Brunch is a popular choice on Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day. This brunch was held the Saturday before Christmas. Instead of racing around and shopping we shared each other’s company and it was just what the doctor ordered. Oh, and no need to leave the gentlemen out. They love brunch too. This particular brunch just happened to be just ladies. Cheers to salad and champagne at 11 am. I mean, it’s almost 12noon.

 

Christmas Collections

My favorite discovery! Lori has made a display of all her photo Christmas cards beginning in 1992 the year their first daughter arrived. Santa and Kirby the dogs are frequently featured.

My favorite discovery! Lori Vossler has made a display of all her photo Christmas cards beginning in 1992 the year their first daughter arrived. 3 daughters later it is a cherished reminder how the years fly by. Santa and Kirby the dog are frequently featured. Kirby is a Great Pyrenees.

Oh, the nutcrackers! Oh, the stockings that are hung! Oh, the villages and trees! Oh, the Oreo cookie tins! Oh, the mantle places! Discovering all the traditions out there has been such a treat. It is so much fun to see what goes on inside the homes of Buff-A-Looooo. My goodness. Can anyone really move? The collections we accumulate out there in our homes!! Ok minimalists out there, we are making memories and cherished ones at that!  Let me share some of the pictures with you. See the collections of just a few friends and neighbors. Thank you for letting me inside your homes.

Lori has handmade needlepoint stockings that are hung with care.

Lori has handmade needlepoint stockings that are hung with care.

Pam Strickland carefully displays her Precious Moments nativity and angle collection on her mantle place. Pam remembers driving to Canada to complete the set back in the day when the US dollar gave you a great exchange rate. I mean, half the fun is the memory you create collecting your pieces.

Pam Strickland carefully displays her Precious Moments nativity and angle collection on her mantle place. Pam remembers driving to Canada to complete the set back in the day when the US dollar gave you a great exchange rate. I mean, half the fun is the memory you create collecting your pieces.

Notice in this picture that even the top of the tree is decorated with a Precious Moment tree topper angel. The Strickland family believes if you are going to go artificial in your tree -why fake it and go green? Be artificial all the way and go glistening white. Besides, the ornaments show up much better.

Julie Snyder started collecting Oreo cookie tins by accident in the 1990's. She collected an entire decade till Oreo decided not to make them anymore. The cookie tins are pulled out every year much to the delight of her friends that called her crazy for collecting them back then.

Julie Snyder started collecting Oreo cookie tins by accident in the 1990’s. She collected an entire decade till Oreo decided not to make them anymore. The cookie tins are pulled out every year much to the delight of her friends that called her crazy for collecting them back then. They really are so cute and classic looking.

 

Julie Snyder likes all the whimsey on her mantle place with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It's a treat for the eyes.

Julie Snyder likes all the whimsey on her mantle place with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s a treat for the eyes.

The nutcrackers. A classic.

The nutcrackers. A classic.

The Village!! The reason I went over to Lori's house in the first place. A wonderful collection yet I was more taken up with her Christmas photo card collection of her family.

The Village!! The reason I went over to Lori’s house in the first place. A wonderful collection yet I was more taken up with her Christmas photo card collection of her family.

Kirby. The 10 year old Great Pyrenees male dog who is slowing down a but but a big part of the Vossler home.

Meet Kirby. The 10 year old Great Pyrenees male dog who is slowing down a bit but a big part of the Vossler home.

Enjoy your mantle place, your fire place, your decorations, your traditions, your family, and memories you create each year.

Enjoy your mantle place, your fire place, your decorations, your traditions, your family, and memories you create each year.

Keep in mind, whatever you put up, you must take down. HO Ho. Sorry. Pass the eggnog and Cheers! Here’s to all the beautiful homes out there in Buffalo.

 

 

 

 

Time to Unwrap the Poodles

Some people collect nutcrackers, Byers Choice, or Spode China for Christmas. I prefer the poodle ornaments.

Some people collect nutcrackers, Byers Choice, or Spode China for Christmas. I prefer the poodle ornaments.

I’m having fun inviting myself over to different houses to see what the heck people collect at Christmas. Stay tuned! It will be my next blog. Traditions give our family some uniqueness and comfort. I mean, who doesn’t live for the continuation of craziness of figurine collections year after year? I’m sure my own family thinks I’m a little nuts to collect poodle ornaments. Forgive me; they may seem tacky to you but not for me. Every year at this time when I pull them out to hang on the tree, I am reminded how much these little glitzy fake poodles mean to me. You know, sometimes you forget how much something means to you until you experience it again. I’m not just thinking about Christmas items we drag out of our attic once a year. It can also be an organization or club you were part of, a past job and people that you got to know, or even a group of friends or old neighbors you have not gone out with in a while. Connect, reach out and continue the good things out there. Oh, and if you see any poodle ornaments hanging around; by all means, you know who to call.

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.