This past weekend my wife and I decided to get out of town for a couple of days. So we went to look for America. And damned if we didn’t find it, without actually having to go too far.
East Aurora…The Kinder, Gentler America
About 20 minutes from the Peace Bridge in Buffalo is a little town called East Aurora. I don’t know much about the history of the town but you it’s one of those places that are quintessentially American.
From the rustic main street to an almost mind boggling assortment of beautiful frame homes, this town screams I am America. The architecture is very early 20th century. The colors are straight out of the Benjamin Moore colonial collection. The yards are all beautifully manicured. And the stars and stripes are ubiquitous.
This town is also home to the Roycroft Inn and shops. And was where the Roycroft movement had its origins.
According to Wikipedia Roycroft was “a reformist community of craft workers and artists which formed part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States. Elbert Hubbard founded the community in 1895, in the village of East Aurora, Erie County, New York, near Buffalo
Participants were known as Roycrofters. The work and philosophy of the group, often referred to as the Roycroft movement, had a strong influence on the development of American architecture and design in the early 20th century.”
East Aurora is a fascinating town to drive around in and explore. The people who live there have a real respect for the history of their town and the movement it represented. In a way, it reminded me of the Oak Park area of Chicago, which in substantial part, is a shrine to the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his people.
East Aurora…one of the most beautiful little towns you’ll find anywhere.
The Other America
Of course, we needed a place to stay and our hands down choice was Salvatore’s Grand Hotel on Transit Road in Buffalo which is about 10 miles north of East Aurora as the crow flies.
Russell Salvatore is veteran who never actually served overseas but developed a huge respect for the armed forces and the job they do to keep America the land of the free.
He one of the most patriotic Americans you will ever meet.
But Russell doesn’t just talk a mean patriotic game. He puts his money where his heart is. On about an acre and a half in front of his hotel and restaurant, is a war memorial park that he has put together with some help from his friends.
Now when I first saw this park I thought to myself that it’s all a bit cheesy and over the top. But for some strange reason that I honestly can explain. walking around, listening to the Frank Sinatra music coming through the loud speakers and hearing the flap of the 30 foot flag that centers this display, you start to think…man, this guy went to a lot of trouble and expense to honor the people who serve and have served and protected America over the years.
Slowly but surely, I started to feel the real American patriotism that built this memorial. And I was moved.
Salvatore’s Memorial Park. Tons of patriotism and the best steaks in Buffalo.
As a Canadian, I have always prided myself on having a bit of a detached view of America. Maybe it’s because of all the media generated bullshit that’s coming at me about how screwed up everything is there these days.
But I didn’t feel any of that this weekend. What I felt was the energy of people who have a great deal of respect for the history of their country, and a true appreciation for the people who keep it strong and free.
You can’t fault Americans for loving their country the way they do. I just dipped my toe into it this weekend and could really feel what a beautiful and amazing place it is, because of the people there and what they believe.
A country like America or Canada or Sweden or England is going to stand or fall based on the power of their people to do the right thing for their country, despite all the charlatans, carpetbaggers, con artists, new world order billionaires, right wing extremists, fundamentalist idiots and gun toting dipshits.
I know it’s not this way everywhere. And it’s probably gonna get a bit worse before it gets better. But I wish America well. And I always have.
I’m Jim Murray & my company is called Onwords & Upwords
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