Noah had two of them

A friend who attends St. Amelia’s Catholic Church in the Town of Tonawanda mistakenly put one of her 3-year-old grandson’s toys – a small plastic animal – in the Christmas manger scene that she annually displays in the family living room. For more than a week, there it was in plain view.

No adult noticed the mistake, but it sure didn’t slip by the little grandson. He looked at the manger, then looked at her, with a very confused expression on his face.

“Gramma,” he said. “There was no hippopotamus with Baby Jesus!”

Candy bowl

Many businesses set up candy jars near the front desk, inviting customers to help themselves to a sweet treat.

Rare is the company that sets out candy bars in the bowl of a toilet.

But that’s exactly what one Off Main Street correspondent found when she stopped by Ferguson Plumbing and Industrial in Depew the other day to buy a new toilet. The candy-filled toilet was sitting next to a Christmas tree and a decoration on top of the tank wished visitors “Season’s Greetings.”

Branch manager Mark Coccia told us that Jason Dafeldecker, the store’s counter manager, set up the candy-filled toilet at the wholesale counter, where contractors wait to pick up their orders, a couple of years ago “as a novelty.”

Each Thursday, Dafeldecker fills the bowl with Snickers, Kit Kats, Twix or other chocolate bars, Coccia said.

New customers are taken aback, and a few crack jokes about the unusual display, but the store’s regular customers eagerly reach in for their sugar fix.

“It’s always gone by the following Thursday,” Coccia said.

A personal fiscal cliff

The world didn’t end on Dec. 21, much to the relief of people all over Western New York.

A lot of local folks had humorous things to say about the Mayan doomsday controversy.

Iggy Licata, an Amherst native who now lives in Nevada, was back in town for a Christmas visit with family and friends.

He joked that he spent a lot of money in the period leading up to the predicted apocalypse because he counted on never having to pay off the charges.

“I’m going to need a good Mayan lawyer for all these bills I ran up,” he said dryly.

Cleveland slept here – maybe

Probable presidential prestige isn’t helping to sell a painstakingly restored, 19th century home in Buffalo.

The house at 51 Johnson Park dates to 1845, and it’s believed the future president Grover Cleveland lived there as a young man, either while studying the law or starting out in his legal career, according to Sal Zambito, whose Sunset Bay Park Inc. purchased the property in February.

“I didn’t know anything about Grover Cleveland before I bought the house,” Zambito told us.

He said he learned about the possible presidential connection when Cleveland’s grandson, George, contacted him and arranged to see the house during a trip to the Buffalo area in the spring.

Zambito said the house is believed one of many rooming houses where Cleveland stayed during the early part of his career, before becoming Erie County sheriff in 1871.

But historians disagree on this point, and there’s no documentation to support the claim.

So Zambito isn’t playing up the Cleveland claim.

“No, I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” Zambito said.

Perhaps fearful of offending fans of the only president to serve two, non-consecutive terms in the White House, he quickly added, “Nothing personal.”

By Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Dan Herbeck.