Your Community

Community 12.12.19

12/13/2019 – 01/10/2020

Private Tour – Athens and the Aegean Sea

Have you ever wanted to explore Greece and some of its islands?  Several spots are still open on our private tour of Greece July 21-July 30, 2022.  Explore Athens and Delphi with a private tour director.  Cruise to Samos, Rhodes, Crete and Cape Sounion with three shore excursions included.  This trip includes Round-trip airfaire, hotels, guided tours, full-time tour director, breakfast and dinner daily, 4-day Aegean Cruise with cabin (lunch and non-alcoholic drink package also included on ship) and more.

For a complete itinerary with pricing please contact Mike Mensching at


France Magnifique

La Fédération Franco-Américaine du NY is sponsoring a trip to France, featuring the 75th Anniversary of D-Day & Normandy, April 23 – May 7, 2020. Rates include round trip air from New York, air taxes and fees/surcharges, hotel transfers, and 20 meals. Highlights of the trip: Paris, River Seine cruise, Normandy, Omaha Beach, Le Mont St. Michel, Loire Valley, 2-night Chateau stay, winery tour, Lyon, Les Halles de Lyon, Paul Boscuse Market, Avignon, Creme Brûlée Cooking demonstration, Nice, Monaco. Plenty of time to explore on your own. For more information, pricing or a brochure, call Lisa at Plaza Travel at 518-785-3338 or


Rensselaer County Recovery Helpline


Do you need help with substance use issues? Are you interested in volunteering for the helpline? The Rensselaer County Recovery Helpline offers information, local resources, and referrals for individuals and their families regarding substance use issues. The toll-free line is available 7 days a week from 9am-9pm. Each volunteer chooses shifts of 4 hours at a time to be on-call. When someone calls the number, a volunteer answers on their own smartphone, and can enter information to a database on their own computer, allowing for easy and quick access to resources. The information is sent to one of the 9 leaders, who will then assist the caller. If you or someone you know needs information, resources, or a referral for a substance use problem, call 1-833-467-3123. For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering, contact

Feel Good


Run Once

Memoirs of an Amnesiac: City Sidewalks

My earliest memories of Christmas shopping predate, of course–and even malls like Colonie Center. When I was a little kid, my whole family would pile into the car and head to downtown Albany or Troy. Christmas shopping meant crowded sidewalks. And for every step my parents took, I took two.

I knew we were entering Albany when we passed under the huge RCA dog on top of a tall building. But more often we drove to Troy, which also had a bustling downtown. I recall three or four busy department stores. At least one had an escalator; but even the elevators were classy, each with a full-time attendant. When we got foot-sore, it was fun to take a break at the lunch counter in Woolworth’s.

The ultimate in department stores was Montgomery (“Monkey”) Ward in Menands, at least seven stories tall. Customers came from as far away as Connecticut. I remember squeezing through a dense crowd, holding my Dad’s hand on the way in–but somebody else’s on the other side. Still not sure how that happened.

Department stores were great for grown-ups, but how were little kids supposed to shop for their parents? I couldn’t very well head to Troy by myself, even though there was a bus from Averill Park in those days. Luckily, we had Ray Eastman’s Variety Store and Ben Silberg’s Park Pharmacy, each a treasure-trove of gifts in my price range. One year I bought Mom a Cross ballpoint pen which she used for decades. Ben Silberg even sold Hardy Boys books, my preferred literary genre back then. Finally, some of my Elementary School teachers set aside class-time for making our own cards and gifts. My crowning achievement was a model of our house made out of sugar cubes and icing mortar. Truly a gift that kept on giving!

Gifts were a big deal when I was a kid, but now I look forward to cards. I love staying in touch with old friends.

Ron McKee, Averill Park

Run Once

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Is a most magical night:

It is not a night for deep sleep;

There is too much in the air!

Youngsters toss and turn,

Tingling with anticipation:

What will they find under the tree?

What will Santa bring?

They are much, much too excited

To sleep on this special night.

Their parents, too

Find sleep elusive:

Have they provided the right presents.

Will the children be pleased?

Did they remember to buy batteries?

Are dinner plans in order?

In their case, anxiety

Will overcome fatigue to prevent sleep.

Grandparents will also not sleep well,

But not from anticipation or anxiety:

Oldtimers wish to remember Christmases past:

Memories, not thoughts of gifts, keep them awake.

Rather than sleep, they wish to replay memories

Of friends and family…gatherings…Christmas dinners.

The loss of a night’s sleep is a small price to pay

To savor the memories of many a past Christmas.

Yes….Few will sleep on this special night;

It is Christmas Eve !!

– Lloyd Barnhart

West Sand Lake 12196

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