By Jeff Martin

The following column is called Incidental Shopping. It is a collection of odds and ends collected during the past few months of writing this column. Consider it a quick trip to the local convenience store for a carton of eggs, a half gallon of 2 percent milk.

In other words, a trip that means so little while meaning so much.

Iím utterly convinced that most residents of Western New York donít fully appreciate the autumn splendor surrounding them.

Case in point: Iím driving down Route 353 with a family of four and, to our left, is a collection of what has to be the most brilliant hillside of reds and oranges Iíve ever seen. Veering into oncoming traffic, I watch the trees pass. Itís like driving through heaven.

ìLook at that,î I say, and everyone looks and nods their heads. Thatís the extent of their interest.

My advice to anyone who wants to appreciate this area in autumn: Drive to Ohio at this time of year. The forests and woods are the color of a Cleveland sidewalk.

I have a saying I try to live by: Live every moment as if you were once dead for 40 years having suddenly discovered you are alive again.

Back in early spring, I wrote a column about caves, or more specifically about hidden caves in the Western New York area that few people know about. I called the stateís parks department and inquired about this subject, but I never heard back. Just recently, I received a message from a spokesperson who said they would like to talk to me at some point. Turns out, I wasnít as crazy as I thought.

ìThere are some cave systems in the area that people donít know about,î the woman said. ìIíd like to talk to you about them when you have the chance.î

I think maybe I missed the boat on this one for the year, so Iíve made a promise to myself (and to you, readers): First sign of spring, Iíll give you a column about caves.

Dawn W. emailed me a couple of weeks ago after I wrote the column about books I had read and books about the local area I wish very much to find and read. Dawn suggested that I read ìCity of Lightî by Lauren Belfer and ìConsider the Sparrowî by Bessie Mathias, a local woman who grew up in the area. Both works can be found at the Ellicottville Library.

Thanks, Dawn.

Me and the girlfriend traveled down to the Ellicottvilleís Fall Festival this past weekend. I thought surely the traffic wouldnít be too bad at 10:30 a.m. Iíve never been so wrong in my life. Iím not complaining, okay, but I think all traffic needs to be redirected three miles from town.

On a brighter note, we took the chairlift and let our eyes drink in the hillside. What a marvelous, mystical view. Iíve never visited a place where just a simple view is worth the trip there.

Hey, how about this weather! Iíd like to think that by my moving here from a more temperate location had something to do with it, but I could be wrong. After all, I moved to Kansas City and the professional sports teams there took nosedives to a whole new level. A year after I left, the Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated and the Royals baseball team is a contender.

I never know who to apologize to anymore.