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My Home Town, Buffalo NY, and the Blizzard of 2022

Video out my front window December 24, 2022

28 December 2022

Bad news always seems to get more oxygen than good news so naturally the looting stories from Buffalo are spreading with an inertia that belies the fact that this city is full of amazing people that look after each other -- especially in the face of a disaster. I will share a microcosm from my little nook.

This morning as I was looking out the window wondering when my driveway might be cleared by my plow service, I texted the guy very politely, and inquired if he had any idea when he might be able to get over this way. I can only imagine how brutal this has been on anybody in that business, so I wasn't about to complain to the guy. That would've helped anyway. My street was only plowed for the first time this morning - and not well or much. He said every location he services is taking hours because of the thickness and heaviness of the snow, and that he had no idea.

I got on with making breakfast, and then heard a closer-than-usual snowblower. My neighbor, Will, from across the street (who is retired and probably ten or so years older than me) was trying to tackle the 4 foot drift that covered most of my driveway. We hadn’t talked about it.

I grabbed a shovel and started breaking up the snow in front of him and we did pretty good work that way, and cleared almost 3/4 of it in the 3.5 hours or so before my plow company arrived. His snow blower broke a few times. We kept at it using a smaller electric snow blower while his son in law walked to a hardware store to get a part.

While I was standing there, talking to Will, a FedEx truck stopped in front of my house, and the driver walked through my still very snow-covered walk and put a package on my front porch.

A few minutes later, the neighborhood mailman came walking by. I asked him where his truck was, and he said he was told that if he got stuck he was on his own, and he had discretion on whether or not to do deliveries to hard-to-get-to places today, so he parked a few blocks away, and kept going back to the truck to get mail and packages for people. He said people were really eager to get their holiday mail that they may not have gotten.

While my plow company was working on my driveway and sidewalks, some city trucks came by and plowed in Will’s and his next-door neighbor’s driveways. Will and I went over to shovel that stuff up, and my plow guy, as if he wasn't busy enough, said "don't worry about it I'll get that stuff…”

Anyone who’s ever spent time in Buffalo that I’ve ever spoken to will tell you about how great the people are here. I've been reminded of that over and over again over the last few days hearing people's stories of kindness and seeing it in action walking 1.2 miles to my sister Rachel's a few times and on my neighborhood walks, where I saw neighbors plowing their own streets. The first day after the storm a few blocks away there was a front loader that had carved a path up one street and was clearing a couple driveways. He was a neighbor who had a landscaping company and was doing that so his firemen neighbors could go to work.

There are always going to be some people who will take advantage of disaster or ignore simple rules to protect the community (i.e., driving ban), but those people are a small part of the story and don't define the rest of Buffalonians, not at all.


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