Buffy The Buffalo Is Back Home On The Range
Sabatos is famous for its larger-than-life bull on the rooftop, which has had its fair share of run-ins over the years. Twenty-five years ago, the bull was taken off the roof and was found straddling the Middletown North sign as a prank. The Sabatos’ bull is now bolted down and surrounded by barbed wire.These days Doris sits on the front porch of the house her late husband built, and revels in the excitement of drivers passing by, who wave and honk at the sight of Buffy’s return.On a recent day Keansburg resident John Gilsey happened to be passing by, and couldn’t help but to pull in to the driveway.“This is the first time I’ve seen him up (since it fell),” said Gilsey, who passes Buffy each day on his trip to the Middletown library.Doris is surprised, yet grateful, for the outpouring of support by the community surrounding this hardship with a happy ending.“I want to thank each and every person who came here to show their concern, of course,” she said. By Jay CookMIDDLETOWN – Albert “Herk” Adams was driving down Cherry Tree Farm Road in mid-July when, just before reaching the Belford Junction, his eye noted something amiss.In the middle of a curved gravel driveway in front of a ranch home, the iconic life-sized red-and-brown buffalo known in town as “Buffy the Buffalo,” which had proudly stood guard on a front lawn for a decade, was laying on its side, forlorn, its horn and back leg snapped off.Adams, who works with front-ends on heavy-duty work trucks everyday at his Belford company, Certified Truck Repair and Bedliners, recognized Buffy was made of fiberglass. He knows how to fix fiberglass. He felt it was his duty to act.Within days, he was at the doorstep at 49 Cherry Tree Farm Road, introducing himself to the heartbroken homeowner. “I want to fix your buffalo, because it’s the right thing to do,” he told Buffy’s owner, an 88-year old woman named Doris, a modest lady who’d rather not see her last name in the paper.Doris consented, and Buffy’s parts were rounded up and driven to Adams’ Center Avenue shop for repair, where they were affixed with a strong glue. Buffy was also given a makeover, painted back to his original color scheme of rust and brown; much less flamboyant than the fire-engine red mane he had for the past four years. He was herded to his place of honor on Aug. 21.Buffy’s “doctor,” Albert Adams, stands inside a painting bay at his shop located on Center Avenue in Belford, where Buffy was corralled for his three-day repair. Photo by Jay CookAs documented on the “Buffalo of Middletown” Facebook page, Buffy’s trip home included a stopover with another Middletown landmark, Calico the Clown, the sinister-looking character watching over Route 35 traffic from the Spirits Unlimited parking lot on Route 35.Doris was pleased. “The gentleman who reconstructed Buffy did excellent work and I’m very grateful for that.”The police were never able to corral the culprit, or culprits, who cut Buffy down on the night before the Fourth of July holiday, when Doris awoke to find him in pieces.“I always look out at him first thing, stand at the sink and turn off the outside lights here,” she said as she pointed to the window at the front of her house. “I came out, and he was laying there, his leg was laying there. And it was horrible.” Adams was pleased to right a wrong. “When you’re no longer 12 years old, and on the other side of the spectrum, it’s all about the little simple things,” he said.For Doris, the buffalo is also wrapped in sentimental memory. Back in 2006, her husband wanted to give his wife a gift, to replace the void left by a blue spruce that was uprooted in a windstorm. “The buffalo was a present from him for our anniversary that year, and he died three days before our anniversary, so he never got to see the buffalo,” said Doris, looking onto a photo of her husband, nailed to the front door.The Sabatos Bull, which is surrounded by barbed wire above the meat market in the Belford Junction, has seen its fair share of Middletown mischief. Photo by Jay CookFor Andy Sabatos, the owner of the Sabatos Prime Meats in nearby Campbell’s Junction, the damage to his neighbor’s lawn ornament was reprehensible. “This wasn’t a prank, it was malicious,” he said.