Buffalo, NY—In the late 1950’s Pat and Phil Kane and their family, already several children deep, moved into the lower flat at 86 Folger Street in South Buffalo. In the upper flat was Bob and Dolores Cuddihy, who were also several children deep. It was there in that little double the Kane’s and the Cuddihy’s forged a lifelong bond and friendship. Now, some four generations later and numbering seventy plus people, past and present—RIP: Pat, Phil, Bob, Robby, Quinn—the families came together for a reunion this past weekend and local author P.A.Kane was amazed at the loveliness of both families.
Anchored by the grand matriarch, Dolores Cuddihy, on Friday night with the sun falling from the sky the families set sail along the Buffalo waterfront on the Moondance catamaran with food, drink and a good deal of boisterous talking, laughing and reminiscing. On Saturday they gathered for the reunion proper—a catered backyard happening where they did more talking, laughing and reminiscing while the kids swam, played in the hot tub and kicked a soccer ball. All of this was followed by a peaceful Sunday morning brunch. Over the three day reunion the local author didn’t witness one snippy word or argument, he didn’t hear any passive-aggressive statements and no shade was thrown behind anyone’s back. And the only eye-rolls he saw were the ones directed at him by his own kids— otherwise, it was all light and loveliness.
Of course, the local author did feel the slight tinge of resentment coming his way as a result of his literary accomplishments. Striking a modest stance he said, “Look, you don’t become the 1.5 millionth ranked most popular Amazon author and not expect to engender some jealousy. It’s human nature and the bit of enviousness aimed at me in no way took the bloom off the flower that was the weekend.”
Kane did admit he too had moments of weakness over the weekend. Like when his wife was lolly-gagging along on the way to the catamaran ride on Friday night and he told her: “If you keep walking like an asshole we’re not going to make the boat.” And when the Paul Anka song came on during the evocative slideshow, that was a walk down memory lane, it took all of his strength to not make some snarky remark or put-down at the cheesy song. Instead the wordsmith just thought about plunging a fork into his eye while the song played.
And while fantasizing about the self-injurious act of plunging a fork into one’s eye might seem demented to some—it was growth for Kane. This fantasy removed him from the horror of the Paul Anka tune and coming out the other side he was struck by all that he had been through with these people. From the lumpy Carnation powdered milk, to waiting in line among his nine siblings to use the bathroom to Uncle Bob Cuddihy telling his mom—the bearer of those nine siblings— “Pat, the grass grows when you walk up the driveway.”
Instead of being in his own head he was able to be in the moment with these beautiful people and he saw the vast reserves of love and goodness that had been cultivated over four generations.
The experience was nothing short of amazing and it left the prickly author who perpetually has his middle finger raised against an unjust world and a too hard life wanting to try harder and wanting to be a better person.
Family Photo: Mark Mulville