Windsor Park Stories
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.
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
The wind, this year in particular it seems, relentlessly chills
marrow and up until recently, when the partially crippling nor'easter
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
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
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
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
in - gads! - 85!
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
anytime, or at least provide me with rose colored glasses to see the world
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,
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
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
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
did get away. He slogged uptown and I swam downtown and that's a true
True stories are the essence of Windsor Park. They "remind everyone
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
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
around. The trees and shrubbery will delicately shade the plain world with
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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