Windsor Park Stories

Screening 2000


The gray of winter desolation has too long dominated the landscape. Trees and shrubs appear as pencil sketches on various shades of white, gray, and russet parchments of earth. Nature's palette contains no primary colors at this time.

doc Bulbs and roots lie dormant in the frost zone, patiently awaiting a more dependable sun that for now shows up late and leaves early.

Roadways and SUVs are salt stained a chalky, pastel white and cinder-laden bergs calve off mud flaps to slide, tumble, disintegrate, and clog the gutters. Children's boots track black, melting snow across the kitchen linoleum and for heavens sake don't let the dog in without her leash!

The wind, this year in particular it seems, relentlessly chills the marrow and up until recently, when the partially crippling nor'easter coveredkevin the dirt and created entertainment in our steep backyard, there wasn't a whole lot to do except remodel the basement.

About the time that the above doldrums have set in, our expected invitation to the annual Windsor Park Stories preseason screening flips through the mail slot like a gust of fresh spring air. Though the pencil art reminds us of nature's hibernation, the message inside promises a brief respite from the routine Saturday night routine. We also know it will offer a glimpse of the trees and shrubs that will bud, the bulbs that will sprout, and the stories that will bloom from the perennial spirits of ordinary men and women who have accomplished extraordinary things.

The overflowing lot was indicative of the popularity of this event. Our private slot was partially reserved under a snow bank thus our walk to the front door was hastened by very cold feet. (That's correct, I ran right up on the snow and we had to climb through it. I am, Theresa constantly doc & kitchreminds me, a man.) The chilly January air warmed up relative to our distance from our host just inside the front door. Kitch looks wonderful! I secretly desired the name of her fashion designer. Theresa whispered, "They're always dressed to the nines."

I, wisely, replied, "Dear, you also look fabulous as usual." Warm greetings were exchanged and the always-helpful WVIA staff checked our coats. We were in!

Familiar faces dotted the crowd but Phil Yacuboski towered above them all. Not only is he tall, but he's high on my list of news hounds and attracts me to Channel 22.

Other familiar guests included Sue Hand, John Augustine III, Dr. Dan Kopen, State Representative Phyllis Mundy, other assorted dignitaries and just regular nice folks. Though we don't know many of them personally, we know what they're about - professionalism and niceness. I'm quite sure that's what got them to where they are today and this evening. Personal friends, the McAndrews and Father Rafferty stimulated pleasant conversation too.

At the wine bar I reintroduced myself to Ms. Ann Joyce. I'd waited a year (since last year's screening) to say hi. Gosh, she's as pretty as the day she gave me an A for my "Experts On Everything" company logo project back in - gads! - 85!joepeters

Like moths to the zapper we were then drawn to the High Definition (HD) TV in the front lobby area. There a station rep explained the technology. We were amazed by the enhanced three-dimensional effect to the Venetian (as in Italy, not Venus) canalscape and the brilliant colors of coral reefs and their inhabitants. Nice job by Advanced Logic, Inc., Dunmore, and public television, who produced the demo picture.

Always wanting to get a good seat we made our way into the studio grabbed a couple and then browsed the art display. While there I said hi to Mrs. Rudolph from the Back Mountain Library. Her smile, along with the studio lights, added luster to the already vibrant watercolors.

Doc, of course, will never be guilty of offering boring fare on the tube or at any event he's affiliated with. This show wouldn't be different. Ms. Jenny Blanchard kicked off the festivities with opening accolades that included praise from the powerhouse documentary series Frontline. The stage was literally set for a long evening that would seem to be over in an instant.

Part I of Kevin Blaum's Windsor Park Story, "Just A Kid From East End," should've preceded the recently concluded arena saga. Had the public known the deeper Kevin as revealed in the truth extracting Windsor Park environment, or in his gracious thanks to Doc for profiling him, the whole affair might've been an easier sell.

The preview clips of selected stories supported the general consensus that this 3rd season is the strongest yet. W P S has stepped way beyond the individual showcase and will be embracing whole communities in such episodes as "Legacy, (7/16)" the story of one town's 85-year-old tradition, talented groups in "The Butler Irish Dancers, (6/11)," and dare I say, entire countries as several specials will include Ireland. "Ayyy laddies, tis me omeland! Thatllll be suu nice!" Try your brogue on that phrase.

While the local flavor is the foundation of the series, the ever-expanding variety of international guests, interests, and locations will add significant momentum to the already successful venue. Its just so much more pleasant to watch real talent, real niceness, real success on the telly instead of the suggestive, lewd, embarrassing, violent trash which purveys the network, cable, and satellite transmissions. And that's all I have to say about the "other" kind of programming.

The political connections with Blaum and Atty. Joe Peters (see Joe Peters, Part 1, A Special Prosecutor, 2/6, and Joe Peters, Part 2, No Silver Bullets, 2/13) will tend to dispel the notion that little good can come from government.

Who said crime doesn't pay. There are Scarfo associates and adversaries in the Department of Corrections, and Atty. Joe Peters and I both make our livings partly because of it. Now the real secret weapon against crime would be an interrogation terrace in Windsor Park. Doc can get the crooks to talk about many of the deep issues in their lives and in the end they'd probably confess to something and Atty. Peters could arrest them and I will guard them. (We confess the Windsor Park Stories screening was once again the bright spot of a so far melancholy winter season.)

Following the motion picture show we were treated to a variety of presentations highlighted by the art giveaway. Can I describe the beauty of these paintings for a sec? Kristen Kopen's work was so beautiful I'm considering discussing elective reconstructive brain surgery with Dr. Dan just so I can peruse the art on his office walls. And never mind Doctor Levandowski's plastic surgery skills, Diane can alter my mug with watercolors anytime, or at least provide me with rose colored glasses to see the world as she paints it.

But seriously folks, all the art was exquisite and leave it to Doc to spread it around. What an exciting end to an exciting evening.

But wait, the food!

Father Raffery just doesn't get it. How can we be expected to sit up front in church when we're being conditioned to hit the chow line last rows first? (All jokes aside, you do offer the finest in spiritual fare, Father.)

Along the way to the finest little smorgasbord one might ever hope to find (courtesy of Celestinos).

We met the auctioneer who bartered Sue Hand's auction piece for many, many dollars. (See Sue Hand, Auction, 2/20). We immediately connected as I help coordinate the annual Gate Of Heaven School auction that consistently raises more than $13,000 in one 4-hour sale. Its easy to talk in a garden (even though you're not actually in the garden) and I found I might've met Jeff Townsend 28 years ago as we stood in the sodden, quickmud (similar to quicksand only dirtier) banks of the mighty Susquehanna just behind the Forty Fort Cemetery. Agnes was in town and the dike had just been breached, sending coffins and their passengers for a class 5 rapids ride. Jeff says, with eyes that widen as he tells it, that his rubber boots were sucked deep into the mud and when he tried to run the goop held him fast. Well, we both did get away. He slogged uptown and I swam downtown and that's a true story.

True stories are the essence of Windsor Park. They "remind everyone how truly precious life is, and how there are those among us whose idea of success is to live for the betterment of society," says Lacey Banis, a talented writer who works for W P S. Bill Kelly, President and CEO of WVIA-TV, Channel 44, explains, "The emotional content strikes a real chord with people, and quite simply, there is nothing else like it on television. It is honest, real and produced with very high quality." I agree, don't you?

Real too, is the fact that winter will slowly fade away and life will emerge from hibernation. The crocus will peek their little buds up for a look around. The trees and shrubbery will delicately shade the plain world with a hint of green. Then, before your very eyes, brilliant reds, blues, greens, violets, (the primary colors and variations of spectral colors) will once again transform the world into a colorful painting, and Sue Hand or one of her talented students will extend it as their interpretation of life.

Whatever your story may be I hope it's a Windsor Park Story.

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