Thursday, July 30, 2015


This has been one of the better vacations I have taken in a long while. The South Carolina hospitality here in Myrtle Beach really extends itself from the friendly people to the food and entertainment. If that is not enough, you can always go north into Wilmington, North Carolina and continue the good times.

The Hopsewee Plantation, situated Georgetown, SC is a very rear gem, one that started out my visit to Myrtle Beach on a very high note. It is the only plantation standing that is not restored, but maintained, not renovated but repaired, and the only plantation that is still on its original footprint.

The home has had many owners, and throughout the years each owner has kept the integrity of the plantation, as told to us by the most beautiful guide I have ever met, who in her mid to late eighty’s still gives guided tours and as she hobbles on a cane because of a bad knee, gives you the full Nelson in tours.

As the tour ended, it was early afternoon, around noon to be exact and we noticed that there is also on this gracious property the River Oak Cottage, where visitors will enjoy an elegant Tea in the English tradition with flavorful Southern inspiration., where TLW (The Little Woman) and I visited and decided to stay and have lunch. The ambiance as well as the food, with the background music in this beautifully appointed sunroom made for a special hour. Old-fashioned teacups and sauces, white linen napkins and class, class, class abounded. The owner came over to visit and ask where we were from and made us feel welcomed.

Soon… Faux Legends that do it right and the Big Shots.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Every family has at least one, a mighty oak: that stands tall through the years, showing strength and endurance. But sometimes these mighty oaks are short or small only in stature, but not in heart.

Two such mighty oaks lived once in my family, on both sides. They were of course my two grandmothers, who endured hardships yet were great teachers to their children. Moms mother Mary: Born in this country, losing her mother at infancy lived under a tyrant of a step-mother, withstood great hardships for her three young children as her husband, my grandfather left her one day. With no job, and three kids to feed she had to find work in the mid-twenties, living alone and with some help from her brother Lou she managed to scrape by teaching her daughters the differences between right and wrong, raising three ladies of special note.

At one point Mary had to go into the hospital for a nervous breakdown and her flock was scattered among religious institutions and relatives, a heart wrenching time for any mother. She died at the age of 46 from stomach ulcers or stomach cancer, make your choice, the results were still the same.

Frances was Dads mother, and the one I knew personally. She was a strong woman with a strong heart and mind, who was afraid of nothing. Coming to America at a young age of 15, by herself, she braved the language barrier and the prejudice of America at the turn of the century and built a family, business and following. She lost my grandfather to Spanish Influenza and married his best friend. Ralph adored grandma and did whatever she told him to do. She sewed buttons on coats after working all day in a factory to earn extra money. She was a phenomenal cook who was so good she could put ingredients together and they kind of cooked themselves. That’s cooking. She also owned a restaurant and vegetable and fruit stand and an apartment building. Given an education, she would have been a pioneer in industry. She was very active in her church and made countless boat and plane trips to Italy on the behalf of orphans from the war. In Naples somewhere is an orphanage named after her.

Of course there is another oak who still grows every day, and by the time I am gone, her legendary life will be complete. Yes, I speak of TLW (The Little Woman), who has had to endure me for far too long.
Just the other day we went out for breakfast, trying out a new dinner. It was after 7:00 am and as we approached the dinner TLW said they may not be open!
Nah, said I, they have to be open at this hour. She insisted and said: "Well you go in and if you do get in I’ll get out of the car and follow you."

I get out of the car and open the door and go in. The waitress comes over to me and says: “How many” and I say: “One please” and she seats me. I sit and moments later TLW comes in and walks over while the waitress points to me and says you are with him? I start making these funny faces to deny I even know her and the waitress mouths to me: “She’s your wife.” And a mighty oak indeed she is!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Many years ago, Mom would make a dish that I did not particularly like. It was beef stew, and the thought of eating stew was like staying in the apartment on a Saturday morning while my friends were outside having a good time.

Ma. What’s for dinner?
Awww, why stew?
You don’t have to eat it you know, but don’t go looking for something to eat when you are hungry later. You eat what I give you or too bad.

Under great protest and strain, and the fear of having to wait for breakfast in the morning, my least favorite meal, I sat and ate the stew. What I disliked about the stew was Mom made it in a red sauce with green peas. It was the peas more than anything that I disliked. Once I started to eat, everything tasted good, including the bread and butter that went with it. To lessen the disappointment of the dish, Dad would pour me a little wine, and if he poured me one more, I would have really looked forward to stew.
the Sauce of my troubles
I had to drive #1 Son to the airport so he could fly home to California after having spent the day in NYC, many years ago. It meant driving from the south shore through some unknown neighborhoods on the way to LaGuardia. The thought of going through these neighborhoods did not thrill me, and I made sure my windows were up and the doors locked. A funny thing started to happen as we passed through the neighborhood, a certain excitement was present, an atmosphere of happiness and joy, infectious and inviting. Music was playing, people were out shopping and enjoying the beautiful day and I rolled down my windows and enjoyed the celebration of life. It was a special moment: it killed my sense of prejudice toward a wonderful group of people. It made me realize, my prejudice was keeping me from love and enjoyment.

I see where the gay rights issues are coming to a head. People are realizing that people are people, that hate has no place in this world. Many years ago a wonderful man by the name of Jim worked for me in my job in NYC. He was gay and I knew it, but never brought up the subject, because it just didn’t matter to me. He did his job, worked harder than the rest of the crew and was morally and good person. He was honest, likeable and funny at times, always sharp and positive. But his best trait was his loyalty: he was very loyal to me and sometimes would go out of his way to make my job easier. Finally one day I took him out to lunch for his birthday and he revealed his ‘secret’ to me. I was confused and was waiting for him to tell me something I didn’t know. He said that he never admitted it because he was afraid that I wouldn’t hire him let alone let him keep his job. When I told him I always suspected it, that it had no place in the mix of things I saw a grown man cry! He like so many others, died from aids, and there sits a question, would he have if society was more understanding of the human spirit and need for love, any kind of love, that gay people had to be driven underground to find it? Maybe, maybe not, but I don’t sit upon a throne in heaven or am known as God or Abba.

Like Mom’s stew, and the green peas, the Confederate flag has always made me wonder how it could still fly. This is the symbol of rebellion that tore this nation apart, although it represented a way of life, also represented oppression and the subjugation of human beings, no better or worse than me or you for that matter. To me it was on a par with the swastika, a symbol of oppression and dominance of humanity by a corrupted sense of superiority to our fellow man.

Today in my humble abode, TLW (The Little Woman) makes stew, in a brown sauce and no green peas, with bread and butter, and life is good although I would pay anything to taste Mom’s stew one more time.

Say a prayer for a beautiful young lady who is in the midst of health crises, and for her husband and parents that they may bare up to this difficult challenge.

Thank you.


Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Jimmy Swaggart is a good example
The hardest thing to do is get older. It takes a lot of living and bumps and bruises, I should know, I’m old. I became old officially this July 6 at 1:30 pm. As legend has it the doctor had me by my ankles, smacked my ass and said to Mom: “Here’s another boy for Uncle Sam!” I don’t know what he meant but I think he was saying another life to sacrifice in someone else’s war.

As it comes to sacrifices, I have done my part in both time and money, not to mention energy, especially for my kids. There you do such things in joy, they get what they need and you provide it. But there is another kind of sacrifice that I don’t understand, the call to arms. Why are some people in this country so willing to send off the young to die, is the bravado that strong?

Old men from both sides of the ocean pick a fight with each other and make war, one they personally will not fight, and so they send your sons and grandsons off to fight it. Even the young women get off their patriotic rocks and fight now. I love this country, but this country is made up of the future: the young should never be so arbitrarily sent off to war. Forget the cost, you will pay for it, the old men have fat paychecks and nice pensions.

Many years ago Dad was watching TV on our new color console by Magnavox, just a few days old and as he was watching I happened to pass the living room and one of my sisters changed the channel on him. It upset me and so I changed it back to his channel, thus beginning the outbreak of hostilities. It was a four front war for me (four sisters) who all ganged up on me at once, and when it was over, there was no Dad anywhere to be seen, he was down in the basement watching the old Black and white set, I was bleeding from scratches and my shirt breast pocket was ripped and my glasses broken! That is what war always gets you, most cost and destruction.

After 70 years I’ve become cynical of everything ever told to me and taught. I’ve become suspicious of politicians, they should be changed as often as a babies diaper, and for the same reason, the church has left me no reason to think they can govern my spiritual life when they can’t master their own, and even the old morality they taught me in school is under a dark and heavy cloud.

Change s good as long as we grow from it. The days of persecuting homosexual love is over, now we are all free to love who we want. The self-anointed will have to deal with it best they can, until someone in their family decides: “Yes, gay marriage is what I want.”

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Everyone knew Tony. He was a devoted son, hard-working father and husband, usually with a wry sense of humor. He could play tricks on my mom as well as his children. He was after all: Dad.

He couldn’t wear a tie for more than 3 minutes, and usually when he left for a wedding or special occasion, his tie was loosened enough to look like he worked all night. When you took him into a church, you never wanted to sit next to him, because he got restless, spread his legs out and shifted his eyes to the movements of the parishioners, being a few seconds behind every one else. He was Tony.

But God forbid, you needed help, anything, he was there. Many a time he would recruit me and off we’d go to do some chore for an older person or a widow who couldn’t afford to get something done, Tony did it out of the goodness of his heart.

Pay Tony with a cup of coffee and he was paid, no money needed, and he already had his satisfaction of doing something for someone.

A family man? There was no greater family man than Dad, gathering up his kids and family and anyone who needed a family holiday, and on Christmas Eve, his favorite holiday, he was in Heaven, and surrounded by all that meant the most to him. There was not one grandchild that didn’t love Grandpa, and he loved tham all the same, especially his first-born grandchild. Every month for a year we had to have a cake and sing Happy Birthday to her.

Tony was well organized, he ran a shipping department with his innovations that got his company shipping out on schedule, organized the stock room and supervised a crew of both full and part time workers. They all loved him, and he loved them back. But that was to say: Today is Sunday, so today is Sunday. Just a simple man, not too complicated, he loved life too much to bother with drama.

He lived and died for his Mets, always a rooter of the underdogs, no matter how much of a dog the underdog was. He loved his sister Angie, and she loved him too, calling when she was living in Florida and he was on his death-bed, they talked and I knew then he could now let go.

His mother died just six months after, attended his funeral and his wife died 22 years later one day to the exact date. Mom passed on June 11, and Dad on June 12.

But Tony was also a teacher. I was his only student and usually the most important lesson was to be happy, work harder than anyone else and be charitable. That was Tony, and that is his legacy.

Peace Dad. I hope that where you are there is no pain, no sorrow and joyous sunlight to warm your loving heart and compliment your disposition, because although you are gone for many years now, that it all still lives on.

Love: your only son.

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Sunday, May 31, 2015


Saying goodbye is very hard to do. Writing everyday was hard, and often I didn’t really have a thought about what to say, and some days I had too much to say.

The sad part is I will miss writing to you everyday, and the urge will still be with me. But life is like that: sometimes we need to change our course, our minds change, our philosophies change and our will changes.

There are no rivers, or mountains or seas that could have separated us over the last 9 years, because everyday I wrote I knew where to find you, your heart was always in the same place.

Soon I will have a new challenge, my daughter’s agency has asked me to once again take the title of President of the Board of Directors, and a $70 million plus agency will need my full attention. The people it serves deserve the full attention of all who serve them, the staff and the volunteers and so it is I not cheat them, they are most important to me, and so my heart must change.

I am lucky to have had a cadre of readers who did follow everyday, and for that I truly love you, but my heart has changed and now it is time to say Arrivederci cari lettori, or Auf Wiedersehen liebe Leser, or just plain Goodbye Dear Readers.

But there is one caveat to my departure, I will leave the blogue open and on occasion write to it, but never again with the same consistency of a daily dose. Writing seems to be in my blood and that can’t be denied entirely, and this is the best way to continue that.

So thank you for reading, maybe I’ll see you soon.


Saturday, May 30, 2015


Enjoy yourself: it’s later than you think.

It seems that after every Memorial Day, the rest of the summer just flies by! We clean the bar-b-q and need to take it out again for the 4th of July. We get excited about Opening Day in baseball, when all of a sudden 1/3 of the season is already over. I gauge my summers by when I open the pool, and when I close it. This makes for a short summer since I open it in late June and close it in late August, while cleaning the Bar-b-q for the Memorial Day weekend. The year jumping ahead once more, and it doesn’t pause.

I remember when we moved into my present home, how strange things seemed to be to me, then all of a sudden I’ve renovated and have gotten so comfortable that I didn’t notice that I’m living there over 30 years!

But then, I was the same guy who used to wish he was older, that tomorrow would come sooner, and was always in a rush to do things, now all I want to do is slow down, pull in the reins so to speak. What the Hell is the hurry.

Sometimes I go to a grocery story and have only one item, I get behind a person with many and they kindly offer me the opportunity to move up, but I decline, I thank them but tell them I’m retired, I’m in no hurry anymore, let me smell the freshly ground coffee instead.

This summer I reach a milestone birthday, yes I’ll be 30 once again, and I don’t believe it is possible. Why I remember my 6th birthday like it was yesterday, looking at the baseball calendar my Dad hung up on the pantry door , seeing that Brooklyn was playing Philadelphia that day.

And so this year will fly by, the Autumn and Winter will set in and I will wish for it to stay a while, the coolness and the dry air, all a relief from the humidity of the past few months, until that is when February rolls around and I wonder where the Hell is Spring, and ‘Oh NO! Not more snow!” AND SO IT WILL GO.

Why don’t blind people go skydiving?
Because it scares the bejesus out of the dogs!


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