The recent snowstorm highlighting Buffalo, ”The City of Good Neighbors”, caused me to draw a parallel between living through Buffalo snowstorms and military basic training. Experiences in both create a camaraderie that cause their participants to “have each others’ backs.”
The purpose of basic training is to prepare one for war. Individuals are put through rigorous physical, mental and emotional training to prepare to meet the enemy and survive together. The basic purpose of living in Buffalo is for your senses to experience the beauty of all four seasons: the serenity and calm of a gentle, crisp snow in winter; the smell of a cleansing spring rain bringing out the first spring crocuses and friendly gardeners; the long anticipated feeling of the first rays of warm summer sunshine on your face as you re-meet your neighbors after the indoor winter season, everyone out gardening and picnicking together; and finally the palette of autumnal colors that please the eye and encourage adventurous drives into the country to enjoy all the gorgeous textures and hues of fall.
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In addition to the glorious four seasons, Buffalo has a variety of fine theaters, teams representing most popular sports, restaurants with world famous dishes, so much more than the traditional chicken wings and beef on ‘weck. Many of these international cuisines were introduced by the myriad of world cultures that settled in Buffalo to call it home.
So when a snow catastrophe happens, snow basic training kicks in and previous experiences cause Buffalonians to come to the aid of their neighbor, shoveling each other out, taking the stranded in and providing nourishment for those out in the elements. This is often done wearing shorts. If you thought the Buffalo Bills fans were something, wait until you experience the random acts of kindness by the Buffalo Snow Troops. They are just as dedicated, represent various ethnic, religious, socio-economic backgrounds and bond together as a team or platoon to survive the sometimes brutal lake effect storms.
Buffalonians are proud to call Buffalo home and wouldn’t live anyplace else. That’s why the expats return and why those living in other cities proudly wear their Bills sweatshirts, come together across the country to celebrate their city, and greet one another with “Go Bills”.