CATTARAUGUS - The Let's Travel Club made one of its shorter trips a couple of weeks ago, up to Skyline Pool on Waite Hollow Road, for a mid-August picnic. According to the club's tour director, Mrs. Anna Mallaber, meetings like this are bi-weekly events, usually at the South Street Senior Center. They're social get-togethers of people who enjoy each other's company, whether or not they're "on the road again."
More than 40 people attended and enjoyed a tureen dinner, accompanied by hot dogs and hamburgers grilled on the spot. After the meal, Mrs. Mallaber and Vice President Dawn Weishan, passed out the group's carefully guarded "antique" bingo cards, and everyone enjoyed a few games of chance. (It might be added here, that Ms Suzanne "Lucky" Erhart probably derived the most pleasure from that part of the program.) Prizes varied, including everything from a box of Kleenex, or a bag of M&Ms, to several $10 gift certificates purchased from local businesses.
Mrs. Mallaber said that, true to their name, the group usually makes at least five or six excursions a year, adding, "We always try to go on one longer trip, like the one we're taking to New Orleans in September." For journeys like this, the club hires a commercial bus, and the journey is meticulously planned, with appropriate stopovers along the way. Oh yes, and the bingo cards go along, as well.
Mrs. Anna Mallaber, tour director for the Cattaraugus Let’s Travel Club, and temporary Bingo caller, joins the group in laughter as one lucky winner unwraps her ever-so-practical prize—-a pack of paper towels. Among the awards for lucky play were a number of $10.00 gift certificates purchased from local merchants and restaurants.
"We also try take several day trips throughout the year," said Mrs. M. "For the longer ones, like to Rochester, we hire a travel company, usually the D&F."
"But we always used to take school buses for the shorter trips, like to Chautauqua Institute, Fredonia or Olean," continued Mallaber. "Now we can't, and that is where we need the support of the village [of Cattaraugus]."
Mallaber went on to explain that the problem appears to lie with the issue of insurance. "The way I understand it," she said, "the Little Valley travel group is sponsored by the village of Little Valley, so they can use the school buses under the village's insurance coverage."
"But we're not sponsored by the Village of Cattaraugus," she continued, "so the school won't let us use the buses."
Mrs. Mallaber and Mrs. Weishan brought the club's concerns before the Cattaraugus Village Board at their August meeting. They also requested village sponsorship. Mrs. Mallaber said that the board told them they would discuss the matter, "but we haven't heard back from them yet," she reported.
The Cattaraugus Let's Travel Club has about 100 members, making it one of the largest organizations in the village. "Anybody 55 or older is welcome to join," said Mrs. Mallaber. "Our dues are only $4.00 a year."
She said next year's "big trip" will be to Las Vegas, and will include side tours of the Grand Canyon and Zion Nation Park
"It's not that we can't still take trips without village sponsorship," said Mrs. M., "but not being able to use the school buses for the shorter ones makes them too expensive."
She explained that the club would still be responsible for paying the school bus driver and the cost of gas, as in the past.
"The people this hurts the most," she concluded, "are the ones who either can't afford the big trips, or they can't get away for that long."
"But they still like to go with us when they can!"