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On Sunny Lane: Making Memories

Last weekend Sweetheart and I went to visit his daughter in Lake Chautauqua. It was only a two-hour drive.

You know how it is when you visit friends or family whom you only see once or twice a year. You expect them to plan an outing for you--a little trip to see something special. Or, at least you expect to eat out at some place special.

When we got there we spent a little time with our feet up, drinking an Arnold Palmer, eating some fresh fruit and gazing out at the peaceful ripples on the Lake.

Sweetheart and I had already heard about Panama Rocks, only a seven-mile drive from their house. We wanted to go there. So, we did.

They don't call them rocks for nothing. Most of them are bigger than our cottage. We had great fun walking up and down the trail through the woods and climbing on and between the rocks.

The trek was especially enhanced by the hiking sticks that were given to us by a couple we met sitting on a bench outside the trail.

They had discovered them along the trail and used them in certain places where they were needed. They offered them to Sweetheart and me and we accepted. They were surprisingly strong for being forest debris and very helpful in some areas. When we returned from our forest adventure, we passed the sticks on to another couple that was beginning their journey.

The next morning, Sweetheart and I went for breakfast to the Panama Diner. We ate there last year and wanted to go back and say hello to the owner. He is chief cook and bottle washer--although there are no bottles to wash. He takes the customer's order; cooks it; serves it; collects the payment; and cleans up. He even bakes cookies and donuts in his "spare" time. Plus, he had time to engage with us in lively conversation as we killed time before going on our next adventure.

He said he gave up trying to hire help and took down his help wanted sign because it was getting old and dusty. He switched from permanent cookware to paper and plastic and has saved money and time.

We then went to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown NY. We got there before the center opened, so we struck up a conversation with another couple who were waiting for it to open. We had a great little talk until the people they were waiting for arrived.

Then we went inside to have a few laughs. We had more than a few. As we watched excerpts from TV sitcoms and movies, we sometimes laughed to the point of tears. It was a great way to start the day.

We saw some sights that we will always remember and I have lots of pictures of rocks to prove it. Some of our most precious memories, however, are of the people we met along the way.

The people who gave us the hiking sticks live in an area where Sweetheart went to college and his daughter lived after she got married.

The couple we met at the comedy center live just 40 miles from us.

It seems that, no matter where we go, we come across people who live, or used to live, somewhere near us. We find that we have something in common.

Or, maybe, just being human is enough for us to have something in common.


Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at

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