DelBloggolo

Monday, June 30, 2008

SWELTERING ON HIGH


The temperature must have been near 100 degrees. Breathing would cause one to sweat profusely, droplets of water descending one’s forehead in clusters. Living on the top floor of an apartment building, in which the roof was flat, helped to bake whoever lived in the top floor apartment.

I was only about 5 or 6 at the time, and used to all that life offered so far in a poor family. The heat and humidity was part of that. Relief was moments away, however!

That night, Dad had brought home a fan. The first fan I had ever seen, and it was a marvel. Dad took it out of the box and set it on the table in our kitchen. Mom looked on as me and my sister watched Dad. It had a thick black and white cloth like cord that he was about to plug into an outlet.

Placing it down on our linoleum floor, he explained that it was a fan for two seasons, the two seasons being the sweltering heat of Brooklyn summers and the second the frigidity of winter blast of the same Brooklyn. A simple switch made it go from “fan to heater.” He pointed out the coiled element that circled behind the fan. “NEVER TOUCH THIS FAN.” Said Dad. The heater could warm about 4 square feet as the fan cooled 4 square feet.

Finally, he placed the plug into the wall and the fan came to life. I immediately stuck my head next to the thing and felt the sudden relief of the cool circulating air, as big Sis elbowed me away in a New York minute!

Dad stepped in like a referee at a Joe Louis – Rocky Marciano fight and told us to lay on the floor, with our faces touching the linoleum. “Feel how cool the floor is?” asked Dad. He was right! The floor was several degrees cooler than the air inches above it!

The fan was an oscillating type, like a giant radar dish, swinging first one way than the other, with a steady whirl. The cool air rushed over my head, and soon we were fast asleep. The amazing thing was when I awakened the next morning; I was still in my street clothes on the floor! Dad let us sleep there all night with the fan on!

Today, I look around me and realize what a wuss I’ve become! I can’t live without an air-conditioner! I had a heart attack because my wall unit died on me and I had to live without it for a few days!

It seems TV and computers are essentials. I couldn’t live without them either. What have I become?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

WHEN MOM COMES A’CALLIN

TLW (The Little Woman) has only one day off this week. Sunday. I was told we would not pick up my daughter Ellen because TLW wanted to rest. So what happens?

I get a phone call from #3 Sister. Living down in Charlotte, she is coming home, we should get together. One thing leads to another, I invite her to dinner. What the hell, let’s invite Mom, too!

Mom is a special case. She is like a former boss. Once she was the word, now she could care less. After 90 years, she can’t see too well, so we can now get away with a lot! We used to clean like crazy. Now she can’t see too well in one eye, so we only clean on that side of the house. When her visit is over, she has to be walked out backwards escorted, so see doesn’t notice the half messy house.

She is bringing her beau once again. He can’t see out of the other eye. When they show up, it looks like they are dancing. Sometimes they follow each other out the door, one looks ahead, one looks behind, like a S.W.A.T. group! You can’t be too careful.

Am I a rotten Son? Yes. But who cares, they don’t.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

WHEN I HEAR HELEN


Sometimes in the course of my day, if I listen carefully, I hear the sound of children laughing. I hear their innocence in their tone, and the joy of youth becomes very real.

Sometimes, if I listen carefully, I hear Helen. Helen is my Mother-in-law. She was a gentle soul. Filled with the spirit of child-like gentleness and innocence. No, she wasn’t a simple-minded person, but a simple soul, one who loved children. I can vividly recall her giving to her grandchildren. She was a model grandmother, filled with happiness and giving. She gave the gift of laughter to her children and grandchildren. She got down on the floor and played at a child’s level, because she knew her sophistication was no match for children.

She was a better person than I can ever be; she gave of herself, she sang, told childhood stories, and played with her children. Her stories were often amusing, sometimes bitter, sometimes deviating from her original train of thought. But she took the time to tell them, and that made people happy.

When she visited, she wasn’t a Mother-in-law, but a person who was genuinely happy to see you. She never took sides, but always listened to what you had to say. She was my best audience. I could tell her a joke and she laughed. Tell her the joke a second time, and she laughed twice as hard.

I guess the theme of this blog is not just Helen, but how she laughed, and how she so much loved her family.

It is the anniversary of her death, Helen has been gone many years now, but it is funny how we miss her. We will never hear her laugh again, but in our hearts, it rings true and constant.

Thanks, Helen, I know God must be having a cup of tea with you about now.

Friday, June 27, 2008

MY, HOW YOU SHRUNK!

After yesterday’s blog “Can’t Go Home Again”, I went a little further back to my origins in Brooklyn. I typed my old address into Google Search, and up came this fantastic view in virtual tour of my old Brooklyn Neighborhood. There stood my house, and all the houses in the hood. I was able to virtually go up or down my street, and visit all the old haunts!

After the fascination of doing so, discovering which homes had disappeared and /or been remodeled, I came to realize how miniscule my old neighborhood is! The distance from the stoop to the curb was shortened, as was the size of my street.

My school, Our Lady of Lourdes on Aberdeen Street is a lot smaller than I remember it. I guess with age comes shrinkage for buildings too.

My Grandmother’s house really shrunk! I saw her coming down her street, a big bag of meat in her arms, as she saw me, and smilingly waved. Although she had a very large kitchen, I would be afraid to see it today, it might have shrunk too, and she would never have been able to fit all those people on a Sunday morning in!

As I went down the streets, I noticed that some places had really changed, some remained the same, and some, were not quite like I remember them.

I began to see all the old friends coming out of their homes to play stickball, punch ball, stoopball, and I saw my sister, once again playing jump rope with her girl friends, as the pages were turned back over 50 years!

I looked up to my third floor apartment, and saw Mom, pitching down a quarter to buy a loaf of bread at Curialie’s grocery store. I heard the clop, clop of the vegetable peddler, his wagon brimming with fresh produce, his horse leaving a tell tale sign, that he was in town. I walked by the vegetable stand, the butcher shop, and Hoffman’s Bakery on Fulton Street, and all of it came back.

The schoolyard was strangely silent; the cars are all parked in the same places, only newer. A new generation of kids occupies my block, with their own games, own way of playing them and forming their own memories.

I went home again, only for a short while.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN

Today I decided to go back and trace the steps I took in my youth. It meant going back to the quaint little village of Bellport, the village on the bay.

As I journeyed down the main drag that led to the dock and little beach where I spent my time, I became more excited the closer I got. Remembering all the bike rides, walks, concerts and swims, the summer art shows and the ice cream.

The street seemed not to have changed in the 40 or so years ago that I recall. The grass is still green, the trees heavy in foliage, and the street quiet. The old turn of the century; homes remain as they did long ago, well cared for and manicured to perfection.

What I also recall about the village is the fact that it had a somewhat snobbish air, an attitude that interlopers would be dealt with. It said that if you made a poor man’s living, don’t come by. If you didn’t live in the village, you would be trespassing. It also said that the natural beauty of the bay, the sand and reed, the tall grass and blue sky would be denied you. Not that anyone owned it, but being poor, you had no need for neither it nor any pleasure that was natural and God given.

As I got closer to the bay, there stood a large sign at the center of the entry to the bay and dock area. “STOP” it said. It pointed out that one could not go any further than that point. You could not park there and violators would be towed away.

I wonder who is violating whom.

It is a shame that we must be burdened with this gross violation of human rights to the seashore. Because people live where they do, I guess they need to protect their environment, and the things around it. Frankly, I understand their reluctance to allow outsiders. Just think what that beach would look like if anyone were allowed there. The disregard for the natural wonder that it is, would be violated. The garbage alone would turn my stomach.

I guess I can flip-flop with the best of them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WILLIAMSBURG, OR COOPERSTOWN DEUX


It seemed wherever my Father went; he could do something to get into trouble. It was after the Cooperstown fiasco in the German restaurant, that history repeated itself.

The setting was beautiful Williamsburg. The restoration village had a Governor’s mansion, and we lined up like lemmings on the edge of a cliff to view the historical furnishings of the era.

We gathered along in a hallway, a bunch of tourists, along with #1 Son and Dad.

Along the walls were paintings from the period, big old oil paintings that needed my Father’s touch, or so he thought. At the end of the hallway sitting on a stool was (I swear) a remake of Fraulein Hilda of Cooperstown fame! (See yesterday’s blog) Almost a dead ringer was this big old broad, that I was tempted to ask her if she was in Cooperstown at any time.

Well Tony, as Dad’s friends and Mom called him, was “Explaining” to his grandson the painting that stood within his grasp. As I watched, a sickening feeling was coming over me, and like in slow motion, he went into action, all my being I tried to stop him. Alas, (Who ever says that, anymore?) it was too late. Dad was touching the canvas! Fraulein Hilda was jumping out of her blond pigtails yelling: “SIR, PLEASE DON’T TOUCH THE PAINTING”.

Sheepishness set in. Mom and I moved about two miles away from them, trying desperately to disassociate us from them. Poor #1 Son now had a first hand view of being Grandpa’s son.

As we left the building that afternoon, my Mother was giving dear old Dad, HELL. Sheepishly he tried to defend himself, and to make matters better: I said: “Well Dad, she called you SIR!”

Wish someone would call this blogger away from his computer to miss a blog? Then write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell him: “Don’t blog me, I’ll blog you.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

DAD, COOPERSTOWN AND FRAULEIN HILDA


Over 20 years ago, me, #1 Son and my Dad decided to take a trip to Cooperstown, New York. It was in November of 1987 and the weather was getting cold and dreary. TLW (The Little Woman) was pregnant to #2 Son, and didn’t want to come. It was a “Boys weekend out.”

Dad had never been to Cooperstown, and I thought that since he taught me to love baseball, I would do this for him and #1 Son. So very early in the morning, before sunrise (There wasn’t any that day), we took off.

Traveling upstate in New York can be a boring ride, with nothing but highway on a cloudy day. #1 Son, a very sophisticated baseball fan, He knew more than me even then, was excited, although he had been there before.

After traveling all day, we checked into our hotel in the late afternoon, rested up and decided to go to dinner. We found this German restaurant along the main route and went inside. Greeting us was this very husky, tall blond with braids. “Stay here until I come to collect you.” Her orders stated. Half the place was empty and shut off. It was off-season for the baseball world, so tourism was nil, except for us.

Dad being an adventuresome fellow decided to “look around” and wandered off. There he was, across this large expanse of restaurant, deep in the hinterland of German Cuisine. There stood #1 Son and I, where we were supposed to be, following orders.



Suddenly, out of nowhere appears Fraulein Hilda, stopping short, menus under her arm-pits, hands on hips, legs spread apart. “Vot are hue doing dere?” “Hi said to sctay here!”

Rushing back, Dad had the sheepish grin I had ever seen him wear. And there were occasions for sheepish grins. One was the time he supposedly quit smoking, and was lecturing everyone about quitting. One Sunday I go over his house for dinner. “Dad, do you have a light?” He whips out a cigarette lighter, and lights my cigarette. Sheepish look, indeed.

TOMORROW: Williamsburg and Cooperstown revisited.

Wish the sheep were in wolf’s clothing, so you could send them to this Blogger? Then write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell him: I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your blog down!”

Monday, June 23, 2008

THE TOOL MAN BILL (MMB)

MMB (My Man Bill) is the “Tool Man” He has every tool there is. He works secretly at night, making newer tools. He employs about 50 little elves that create tools that someone might need. He feeds the elves rice to bind them and not leave any telltale signs of their existence.

When I’m doing a little putting around the house, and I need a special tool, I go to MMB. I know he has it. I once needed a power nail gun to finish off my molding, so I asked MMB and he not only had one, but had various size nails. I said that I should get one myself, and he said: “Why do that when I have one.”

Today I was cleaning my gutters. I had a fairly good ladder out, and was trying to get it to sit squarely on the ground, because the ground was uneven. Who should pull up but MMB, popping out of his car, seeing me asked: “You want a better ladder?” Now who doesn’t want a better ladder? I said: “Sure!” He brings it over; it has an altimeter, parachute and wet bar.

You need a snow blower? How about one with a heated cab? A saw? He’ll give you one that measures the wood, and if you cut it too short, will stretch it to the proper length!

No matter what tool he loans you, he always admonishes you to: “Take your time with it.”

Some day, I will have the tool. I will find out what kind of tool he may have that there is a better model of, and I will buy it, and then spend the rest of my miserable life waiting for him to use his. Then, I WILL MARCH OVER AND SAY; “There must be some mistake, I think I have your tool, and you have mine!”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH CRIME


The other day I typed in my old Brooklyn address, and came across this amazing thing. They show you your house as it is today. Not only that, but you can take a virtual tour of the old neighborhood!

So, I decided to visit my old school, Our Lady of Lourdes on Aberdeen Street. As I “walked” by, I came upon the Boy’s entrance to the school. It was here that at a tender age of 5, that I witnessed my first crime.

I recall standing on the sidewalk looking into the doorway. Suddenly the doors opened up, and coming out were a bunch of older boys, maybe the 6th or 7th or 8th graders. They had a bunch of basketballs and were bouncing them on their way out of the building. One of them stopped in front of me and said: “YOU DIDN’T SEE THIS, YOU HEAR?”

Up to this day, I’ve kept my mouth shut, but I can’t go on any longer. I did see it, but I don’t remember who they kids were.

My conscience is cleared.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

JOY COMES IN MANY FORMS


I awoke with a purpose the other morning, eager to rise from bed and get started! And what made me so eager you ask? Flowers, topsoil, plants and trees, and results, are the ingredients to make me happy. I must not forget results.

Over the last few years, I have slowly built my property around the house to be functional. Functionality in that anywhere I stand, I look at something beautiful. To me functional can mean beauty, and flowers and trees, plants and landscaping that pleases the eyes.

Around my pool, there is a beautiful stone deck, with random brick made from red stone that is surrounded by bushes and trees. It leaves me in a peaceful mood, to sit in my yard in mid-afternoon, listen to birds singing and an old owl in the distance. The old owl sounds as if he is giving me slow lazy reports of what is occurring in the neighborhood. It enters my ears and makes me sleepy. Sometimes I write out there, sometimes I sketch, and sometimes I just sit and look and listen. What sounds so sedate and serene is exciting in itself, if that is possible.

I wander to the side of the house, where everything started many years ago. I built a garden in my son’s memory. I did every bit of it by hand. It was something I wanted to do for him, he passed on so young, he really never knew me, or I him. I often sit on a wall I built and think of him, what he would be doing today if he lived, how old he would have been, and sometimes, when there is tension in my life, a place to go and rest.

The results from a plan in which you build your landscape make me excited. To stand back and admire the flowers or arrangements of trees or bushes or small walls I built. I try not to make the man made objects take over, just supplement, I remind myself, it is nature we love, not Lowes or Home Depot.

Friday, June 20, 2008

OUCH…OW, OW, OW


These are the “words” I repeat every morning: OOOh! Houch! OW, OW, OW! And the ever popular: “Holy #&@#!”

What causes such vile and disgusting behavior? GETTING OLD, what the hell else?

Rising from a deep slumber, the arms and hands are numb, the back is aggravated, and the legs are stiff. (I’m not making jokes about that last word.) I don’t wish to rise but must. I need coffee. The dog needed to go out at 3:00 A.M., and I was recruited by TLW (The Little Woman). Poking me she whispers in my ear; “The dog has to go out!” I don’t want to move, I want to lay there. Why am I moving without my brains, which are still dreaming pleasantly?

I follow the dog down to the den. She stops along the way to sniff for crumbs, makes a stop at the water dish then decided to go outside. I wish to kill her if I can. Finally she comes back after doing her business, and decides not to go up stairs right away. Half asleep, I must coax her up. I finally get back to bed. TLW is fast asleep.

Getting up again, I don’t crawl out of bed; I throw myself on the floor. If something feels better, I move it to help myself stand. The other morning, the only thing that felt good was my left ear. It is very difficult trying to stand using only your left ear.

I then must negotiate two flights of steps, at a 90-degree turn. Half asleep, I turn right instead of left and will often find myself in the living room, instead of on my way to the kitchen!

TLW is already up, rising at 4:30 A.M. I kid you not, she has already had a full pot of coffee and read two morning newspapers! The dog has gone out at least three times already, and I’m just waking up, needing to go. What do I do first, go or get coffee? I go, dreaming of the coffee.

After that first cup, I suddenly begin to gain consciousness and dig into the newspapers, checking to see how the Mets did on the coast. Aggravated I go to the news and read how aggravating life is getting.

The good thing is I don’t have to be anywhere. Being retired, I make or break my own schedule, providing I get up first.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

DEAR TLW,

It’s been 37 years now, and I learned that you never know where you will find love. Sometimes you find it in a supermarket over the produce, a bar, place of worship, or some social event. I found it of all places on the Long Island Railroad.

When I saw you for the first time, it WAS love at first sight. The train became a cloud, and a dream like essence filled the air! You looked very business like in your black-rimmed glasses, and your smart business attire. I wondered who the lucky guy was. But no one appeared, and your ring finger told me even more.

I noticed something about you that was instantly attracting me. You had a kind face, beautiful and the look in your eyes told me: “This is the gal for me!”

When I had the courage to speak with you, (Which was within days) I came with high hopes and yet, expected to be shot down, out of the cloud, the airy essence dissolving before my very eyes. Instead, you treated the encounter with grace and class.

That you said “yes” when I asked you to marry me was only the beginning. The following 37 years have made me very happy that I did ask you. You are beautiful, classy and intelligent. Your heart is larger than a Montana sky. Your grace and kindness mesh into a fabric of golden threads that warm the soul. You are too honest for your own good, and I admire and look up to you. And all your attributes grow gracefully with age.

Thanks Sweet Heart, I Love You.

Joe

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

HELL HOUR

It struck all at once! A cross between; Armageddon and D-Day. Starting about 8:45 A.M., with the arrival of the carpenters to finish putting up the new doors, and the subsequent arrival of the Pool Man.

Two panel trucks are parked, one in my driveway and one in the street in front of the house. The neighbors must think I’m rebuilding the place. Since April, there has been at least one panel truck parked in my driveway everyday.

The gates to the backyard pool area are opened, hoses run all over the place, pumps and chemicals abound the sides of the pool! In the driveway, the garage door is opened, the carpenters are using sawhorses for the doors, there is the tapping of the hinges being set and the sawing where it is needed.

Happy, my dog is going nuts! She can’t make up her mind who to bark at first, the pool people or the carpenters. The phone rings, TLW (The Little Woman) asks how it is going. #2 Son arrives from work for a break. Floating into the house, #2 sets off the dog, interrupts the pool people then the carpenters. Makes his usual mess, feeds himself and leaves.

The pool guy calls me over, “you have a leaky valve”, says the grouch. “How long do I have?” I enquire. “No, on the circulator, there is a small leak.” “I decide to take two chlorine tabs and call him in the morning.

Happy my dog is up for more barking, doing her canine version of Madam Butterfly for the amusement of the pool people, who finally scoot out the back yard. I stand under a hail of instructions as to what needs to be done by me.

The carpenters may never leave. They look like they have a lot of work yet to do. I wonder if my life will ever be the same. Happy was settled down, then awoken by the tapping of the carpenters, giving her rendition of Carmen.

I will go to the liquor cabinet and have a drink, and maybe TLW will show up and I’ll go to work.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

MY LUCKY EMAIL ADDRESS



By my estimation, I have won over $1 Billion in lotteries, awards, sweepstakes and just outright good old fashion niceness of the Nigerian Government.

If I ever see a cent, I will of course become humbled and gratified. I doubt it will happen but let’s see.

Everyday I get news of awards, and requests of assistance by way of my email address, in the neighborhood of 15 to 20. One is from an ATM card that has millions waiting for me, once I “Release the funds of $400 for processing.”

I wrote back, suggesting they take the money out of the millions, and send me the balance. I haven’t heard back yet, but I’m sure it is just a simple bookkeeping chore that needs to be completed. I have suspended any plans for a round the world vacation until they do that.

I wrote back to another one about how I appreciate their kindness, and we should really get together soon so I can buy them a drink. They sent me the same email again, requesting personal information. I go by the name of: Algonquin J. Calhoun, of Brooklyn, New York, USA. I figure if I have all these billions of dollars, I don’t want my friends and family plotting my demise.

These emails come from the Nigerian Government, rich widows whose husbands died in car accidents, and other unfortunate occurrences. Gosh, I feel so guilty about cashing in on some poor Nigerian widow, who can only get her money through my email address. Once I get it, I will send her a few bucks for a new hat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

ASPIRATION MEANS PERSPERATION


It is Saturday morning, and TLW (The Little Woman) and I are getting the yard ready for the pool guy to open our pool.

What this means is spring cleanup, the plucking out of weeds, sweeping and weeping. She is the taskmaster.

She runs the broom, I run the shovel and bag, and am a bagger.

I hope someday to by working real hard and paying attention, graduate to the sweeper. At one point, TLW has the shovel and I the broom. She immediately gives me the shovel and says: “Here, take the shovel, you aren’t ready yet for the broom.”

I comment on how efficient she is with the broom: “Wow, you can really fly with that broom!” “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”

Later that day, she informs me we are going to Lowe’s to “purchase some doorknobs for the new doors, and a new dohickey for the hole in the ground near the fence by the gate, do you know what I mean?” I respond: “Yup” (Without an idea)

We arrive at Lowe’s, get the doorknobs, and TLW says: “Now let’s go and get the dohickey.” She selects what she calls a dohickey, and we go to the cashier. A cute little blonde is about to ring us up. “Hi, do you know what this is?” says I? “No, what is it?” says the cute little blonde gal. “IT IS A DOHICKEY!” I respond.

On our way home from Lowe’s, she says: “Someone is going to have to stick his hand in the hole where the dohickey will go. We have to clean it out first.” I question the use of “We” but get the general drift of who we is. “Why a grown man!” replies TLW.

Have you ever seen a grown man cry?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

HAPPY FATHERS DAY!


There are many types of men, in many shapes and forms. Some of us are tall and some of us short. Some see things one-way and some another. We all age differently; have our likes and dislikes, and many of us marry. To those of us that marry and have children, I salute you.

We fathers are a unique breed, consumed in making a living, getting along with our wives, and understanding our children. Ours is not an easy lot. Whether rich or poor, or somewhere in the middle, our survival instincts take over. We need a place of our own for our children. We need a job to feed them, and give them within reason, what other children have. We are protective of our daughters and rough on our sons. We do this because we love them both equally, and have learned from life’s lessons: that no one is going to give anything away, you must earn it, so we teach.

We shower our children with what we think they need, what they ask for, and sometimes we deem it not necessary. Why do we do these things: because we love them. We love them because we helped create them, they are part of our selves, and that means part of the woman we married. They help cement our marriage! Our children are our legacy.

The media has often made a joke out of fatherhood, and unfairly so. Dads are the glue that bind, the rock of a solid foundation. Of course, our children still seek Mom, and we take comfort in that. “Dad, can I stay over my friend’s house tonight?” “Go ask your Mom.” This conversation then grows to: “Dad, where’s Mom?” As a Father, we learn to accept that and are grateful that that is the lay of the land.

We know our boundaries, God, Mom, and Flag. Yet we protect those boundaries, and if we must, will physically defend them. We are parents, partners and most of all, fathers.

Happy Father’s Day to Grandpa Tony, Grandpa Jim, John, Tom, Carl, Don, Doug, Kevin, Dennis, Steve, Gerard, Keith, Michael, Sean, Richard and all the fathers I know out there, and to those I don’t know, Happy Father’s Day.

THE OLD MAN
By: John McDermott

The tears have all been shed now
We've said our last goodbyes
His souls been blessed
He's laid to rest
And it's now I feel alone
He was more than just a father
A teacher my best friend
He can still be heard
In the tunes we shared
When we play them on our own

(Chorus)
I never will forget him
For he made me "what I am"
Though he may be gone
Memories linger on
And I miss him, the old man

As a boy he'd take me walking
By mountain field and stream
And he showed me things
not known to kings
And secret between him and me
Like the colors of the pheasant
As he rises in the dawn
And how to fish and make a wish
Beside the Holly Tree

I thought he'd live forever
He seemed so big and strong
But the minutes fly
And the years roll by
For a father and a son
And suddenly when it happened
There was so much left unsaid
No second chance
To tell him thanks
For everything he's done

Saturday, June 14, 2008

THE DOG DOLLAR$

Today I had to take my dog Happy to the Vets. She is due for all her shots once again, and we wanted to get her a check up. As she lied on the floor, sleeping away, I reached for her leash and she immediately perked up. I slip it on her and off we go to the car.

Being how she is older, she can’t make the climb into my truck, so I have to help her up. Arriving at the Sachem Animal Hospital, she jumps out and realizes where she is. We’ve been going there long before Happy was born. I used to take the kids there for their distemper shots too. Turning 180 degrees, Happy heads the other way on the leash, so I pull and push her up the steps. We enter the office and she leaves a trail of poops on the welcome mat. Her sentiments, I guess. The assistant comes out and asks if we have a stool sample for them. “Well, as a matter of fact, I do. Just ask the young lady who just picked it up!”

We weigh her and I think they must charge by the pound to treat the dog. I get Dr. Imgonnamakesomemoneyoffthissucker, a partner along with Drs; Wheele, Cheetum and Howe, in the practice. On weekends when he is not at the animal hospital, he is a mechanic. Bring in any car, he will find something wrong with it that costs at least $300! He carried that practice into the animal hospital.

“I detect a heart murmur!” I think to myself: “Why don’t it whisper?” “On a scale of 6, it is a 2 or 3. Being how she’s an old dog, we won’t worry about it. But (Here it comes) we should really be cautious and have her tested. We (He means me) should be cautious, after all, it could mean high blood pressure that could result in an enlarged heart, because it overworks to pump blood. That could lead to all kinds of complications! We could call the mobile heart van, they come to the parking lot, and for $300, and we could test her. (I wonder how much of that he will pay for in this [we].) Anyway call me Monday for the results of the blood test and let me know about the heart test.” I wonder if they could throw me in for that price.

I look around the room and see a sign: “New! See our Pet Salon and Hotel! Open weekends and weekdays! ” The doctor sees me reading it! “We just opened them. Yes, you take a trip, you send her here to get groomed and to stay. You know, I worry about old dogs that go to these pet kennels, if something goes wrong, we are right there! Your animal is safe in our hands. By the way, would you like some approved dog food? We have it outside for just $800 a glance, and $600 a bag. You do love your dog, don’t you? There is also pet insurance, pet candy and for winter: dog underwear.”

On the way out “Don’t forget to call me Monday. Did you see our fine line of leashes, collars and ask about of doggie photo package, comes with a free keychain and application for the poor house. Have a good day!”

Friday, June 13, 2008

UP YOUR CONDUIT!

A little humor for those who have had them!

Colonoscopies - TOO FUNNY - THE LAST ONE IS THE BEST

A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous...

1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!

2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'

3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'

4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'

5. 'You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married.'

6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'

7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'

8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'

9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!

10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'

11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'

12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'

And the best one of all.

13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'

Thanks to my good buddy Jan Spaulding from Publishers Clearing House for today’s blog. .

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I’VE BEEN DOWN SO LONG

You remember Jim Morrison and the Doors? If not, it was a band in the 60’s and 70’s and was all the rage. It not longer exists, due to Morrison’s death in ’71. I would like to borrow one of their song titles: “ I’ve Been Down So Long.” Why?

Last week I put out calls to four licensed “handymen” to hang 10 doors in my home. I left messages with all four to call me on their answering machine. The first calls back and comes about on time, giving me an estimate, and telling me the code for a fire door is no longer paid attention to. “Don’t need it” said the man. “My brother will call you tomorrow with prices. Never heard from him again.

The second guy comes, measures, and says I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Never heard from him again.

The third guy sends a carpenter who speaks very little English, and I have difficulty understanding his accent. He measures, calls his boss for prices. Has him on my phone, and is measuring one of my doors as he speaks. Gives the phone to me and says his boss wants to speak to me. The Boss says: “I’m sorry, I sent the wrong man to you this morning when I was assigning the jobs. Can I get back to you in a half hour?” Never heard from him again.

The fourth guy never even returned my call! I guess the stock market and all the economic pundits are wrong. Business and the economy are doing gangbusters; no one cares for more work!

Me, I’ve been down for so long.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

THE OLD GIRL JUST AIN’T WHAT SHE USED TO BE!

Many years ago, when I first met her, she was full of life. She would do anything she wanted to do, and do it well. She was a great companion. Just sitting with me was special. She was also and still is: loyal. We could feed off of each other, and spend the day together, not saying a word to each other, just each other’s company. It was comforting.

Once I played a trick on her, and she just looked at me, and it was enough to know that I should never play tricks on her. Although she played them on me, I never tired of them, until the day came when she didn’t care anymore.

It’s sad when someone you love no longer can do what you are used to seeing her do. When she can no longer share with you the special times and things she shared, it reminds you of your own mortality.

Today she just lies next to me, all day long. If she wants something from me, the look in her eyes tells me so. She has a look for just about everything in her life. I have learned the looks from her. She taught me well.

She is deaf, deafer than I am. She is saving a lot of barking because of it. Strangers come to the door while she sleeps next to it, they talk to me, and she just sleeps there, not hearing anything!

But the old gal, Happy, my American Cocker, is getting on in years. Some day I will miss her, and out of loyalty to her, I will never replace her. Nor will I need as many paper towels to clean up after her. I will remove her dish for food and the one for water, and not stumble over them again. I will sit for dinner or to relax, and not have to get up again to let her out. I will save a fortune in food, Vet’s bills and cleanup time after her.

No more mad barking at strangers as they pass the house, and I’m on the phone trying to hear.

Boy, I’ll miss her!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SIR THANKSALOT


This is a story of gallantry.

The other day, TLW (The Little Woman) pointed to a kitchen chair and designated hanger saying: “Those clothes need to go to the cleaners.” I gave her my manly, and customary response, to let her know who is wearing the pants: “Yes, Dear. Are those your pants along with my suit?”

Off I go to the laundry, and I hand over the pants and suit, get my claim ticket and am told to return back Friday.

Out of the cleaners I go, stepping off the curb and into the parking lot. Suddenly I hear: “Sir, sir?”
I stop in my tracks, the voice of a young lady I hear. I turn around and am staring at a beautiful young gal, standing besides a red-hot sports convertible.

Mamma taught me never to speak to strangers (that’s how I met TLW), but what does Mamma know anyway. Seeing the lovely lady I say: “YESSSS!!!”

“Could you give me a jump?” (I usually don’t touch that with a ten foot pole, not even an eight foot Frenchman) but I suddenly realize she means her car! “Well, I don’t have cables on me.” She purrs, “I do”. Off I go to the car, jump in and drive around to her sports car nose to nose. This is a damsel in distress, mind you. I am Sir Thanksalot, the gallant knight in the dusty mud caked Santa Fe.

The lady by now has a full set of cables on the ground, her hood is opened and she is waiting for me. (Young beautiful ladies don’t wait for me anymore.) I open the hood of my truck, and she swings into action, sets up both cars with the cables and I start ‘erup. Over turns the sports car, I jump out, she disconnects, closes her hood and as I close mine, I hear: Thank you.”
Into the driver’s seat of my Santa Fe sit I, backing away, turning around, when suddenly; THAT LITTLE BROAD CUT ME OFF!!! Yes, after all that, she almost HITS me! I, jam my brakes on, and almost go through the windshield. Like I said before (Young beautiful ladies don’t wait for me anymore.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

FRANKFURTER PROTOCOL

Recently on our way to Pennsylvania, we stopped at a roadside rest stop. TLW (The Little Woman) commented as we returned to the car from our rest that she noticed this young couple.

The husband had a hotdog in his hand, and his wife was sitting next to him. Handing her the hotdog he said: “This needs some ketchup!” “OK,” said the Mrs., as she dutifully got up and went to put some ketchup on his dog.

“Imagine that!” said TLW. “What is he crippled? He’s certainly big and ugly enough to do it himself!” (I get my own condiments, as you can tell.)

Gentlemen, and you guys about to be married: When you say; “I do” what you are saying is: "Life is over, as we know it." The sweet little girl you purposed to, the one that got you ketchup on your hotdog, before the engagement ring, will no longer do so. The “I do” really means: “I will now do it myself, because she ain’t moving.”

Actually, I thought that TLW would complain about things that are more meaningful; like putting ketchup on a hotdog, not the fact that the wife got up to do it. You don’t do that. It is un-American, and should be reported. Mustard on a hotdog, ketchup on a hamburger! You can put ketchup on fries, but not a hotdog.

When I explained this to TLW, she responded; “Well he could have put ketchup on his eggs, like some people I know.” (She sometimes likes to argue all day, so we do breakfast and lunch)I replied; “Have you ever seen other people put ketchup on eggs?” “Yes", she replied, "plenty of times.” “Well then", I countered, "it is OK to do so, but ketchup on a hotdog is a no no. Mr. Ahn, my design instructor in college, taught me that culinary delight.”

Don’t let me get started on eggs. The fact that YOU CAN”T EAT EGGS WITHOUT BREAD! It is disgusting. Maybe this is another blog? I’ll have to ask my sister-in-law Angela how she eats her eggs.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

RUSHING ETERNITY.


Driving along the New Jersey Turnpike, one could qualify for a driver’s license in any state or country in the world. The drivers are so bad there that one should have serious doubts about survival. If you can survive the ordeal, you qualify to drive anywhere.

Driving at breakneck speeds, hairpin turns on a straightaway, and sometimes not touching the ground to save rubber on your tires is, not uncommon.

One lady drove on the line, another lady drove, coming up to the line, drifting away and back again to the line as a car came near. Of course there is always the young guy or gal that loves to stay in touch, one hand on the wheel and one on the cell phone, unsure which one to heed. Some of my favorite drivers are the old people, doing 25 mph in a passing lane, totally ignoring the crank behind him, as he causes a bottle-neck, his little wife, obliviously staring out the window.

I would get behind a Crown Victoria, or a Grand Marquis, the grumpy driver with his thin moustache and little white haired wife sitting next to him, for miles, watching his left turn blinker, at 20 mph.

Moving at the speed of light is mandatory if you wish to live. TLW has become a sympathetic backseat driver, who vocalizes what I’m thinking, which is good. I can concentrate on driving and she can do the yelling. I should really teach her to swear in Italian.

Trucks. What can one say about the trucks? They own the road, don’t see you, don’t care to see you, will tail gate a run down clunker without mercy. SUV’s? Why they are sports cars in the minds of the drivers. They can also be trucks, and boats, whatever the owner deems it to be, as it tailgates, crosses lanes more frequently than a rabbit procreating, burning fuel and rushing to get to wherever it is before it runs out of fuel.

Try parking in a rest stop. 400 little children climb out of an old van, doors opened into adjacent parking spaces, as the parents stand there, stretching their legs, the little children, running around the van.

As one navigates the lot, big, husky ladies casually walk, their heads down, unconcerned about what might crash into them. Usually, there is a whole gaggle of kiddies following behind her behind, but she never looks up!

Nearly 10% of America's drivers couldn't pass a DMV licensing test if they had to take it today.

* 20% of drivers do not know that a pedestrian has the right of way at a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

* 1 in 3 drivers don’t usually stop for pedestrians even if they’re in a crosswalk or at a yellow light.

* One-third admit they speed up to make a yellow light even when pedestrians are in the crosswalk.

More frightening? Drivers in the heavily urbanized Northeast scored the worst..

New Jersey drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike the worst of the worst, according to CBS Morning News!

Drivers older than 35 were not only more likely to pass, they were less likely to treat their time behind the wheel as "down time." Younger drivers, though, reported doing everything from applying makeup to fiddling with iPods at much higher rates. About 1 in 4 had sent text messages from a cell phone; 8% had changed clothes while driving.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

WHAT I OWE

Yesterday was June 6, 2008. It was 64 years ago that a lot of brave men died on the beaches of Normandy. They were asked to do something that was very hard, very frightening, and very dangerous. They were asked to expose themselves for a while under withering enemy fire, and take a beach. They started out as boys, but ended up men.

These guys for the most part were only 19 or 20. That is not much of a lifetime, to want to sacrifice it. They were asked not only by their government, their countrymen and the world, but also most importantly by their families, to uphold freedom and a way of life. What they did was remarkable. I owe them much.

Every time I see a man who has served in combat, I thank God for his willingness and his being. When I am under pressure on a beach, it is because the parking is bad, or there is sand in my swim trunk, or in my food. Not because I witnessed a man die, or burn or become crippled for life! My God, what a sacrifice! They don’t often talk about their ordeal; it is too horrible for them to do so. It brings back memories of comrades that fell, gallantly and without even knowing a short life! They felt the fear, put it aside and did what was asked of them.

DelBloggolo is nothing but an attempt to amuse the writer, and hopefully, sometimes the reader. You must all have or know someone who has served in combat, who might have given his or her life, or a limb or a part of what we take for granted. If you see one, tell him: “Thanks” from me, because of them, I am free to express my opinions.

I wish old men would not make young men fight. I wish we could be without borders, and inherit the whole Earth. There are too many children out there, hungry, starving, maimed, and looking for their parents. Some may be stolen children, enslaved or force into hard labor. We have to learn how to stop it. We have to learn how to lay down armaments and raise our hands in peace.

There is also another side. The side that says; “I don’t want to fight! I don’t believe in killing.” These people are not cowards. Many of them suffer the consequences of their unwillingness to fight. Many are bravely saying, “I don’t support war, I don’t want anybody to die.” I think we owe them a thanks and gratitude also. They make us aware of just how unmoral we all can be in time of war.

Should we be attacked by a foreign power, of course we should defend ourselves. But let’s not beat war drums, parade the colors and glorify the misery we will cause, instead, lets become sober about the children we will endanger or kill, the innocent women and children, and yes, the men who fight these wars and die.

No one wins a war. If we lose one person in war, we lose. How do we justify killing in the name of God? Does God exist when we war? Does he turn his back when we claim righteousness in his name? How do we tell our children that we are prepared to send them off to kill and be killed?

Oh, I know that we’ve been attacked. I know we have had to fight. I know we will fight again, but when will we ever learn?

I owe all I have to those brave men and women who died in combat. I owe my conscience to those that oppose war on real moral grounds. Someday we may learn to fuse both morality and bravery, not for just this country, but for all, and for all time.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A WALK IN THE PARK


Today was a quiet day. The kind of day that I like to take walks in the park for. The park I go to; Raynor Park in Lake Ronkonkoma is filled with ballplayers, tennis and handball players, and young Mommies with their brood, the Mommies providing a sight to behold in their skimpy outfits. Disgusting! Every time I go there and look for them, they’re there! Gee!

I stopped at a bench and took out my drawing book and a couple of pencils to do a little sketching, taking in a nice little scene or two, and while I drew, I kept hearing the sound of the Mommies encouraging their children. The kids would squeal in delight or protest. Teenagers started to come to play handball, on special courts constructed for it, grunting and pushing themselves to respond to their opponent. Some, stood on the field of dreams, bat or glove in hand, dreaming of being another Jeter or Wright, picturing the 50,000 or so surrounding them, cheering their every move. It is the same dream that every kid has who plays baseball.

I couldn’t help but notice a young married couple that arrived with tennis racquets in hand, ready to beat each other into submission, then go home and one will quietly gloat while the other quietly fumes, secretly vowing revenge.

But with all that noise I heard, all the fun that was had, I had the most, I didn’t sweat, didn’t hurt myself, nor did I struggle to beat anyone’s brains in! I call that retirement.

THANKS TO JO ELLEN AND SETH SMITH FOR TODAY’S CARTOON

Thursday, June 05, 2008

CONSCIOUS OF MY CONSCIOUS


Everyone has one, and so do I. Mine is easy to live with, what there is of it, and when it shows up, it pokes me in the ribs.

My conscious comes in the form of TLW, (The Little Woman), who sets my standards of consciousness and awareness every morning before she leaves for work. By adjusting my guilt level, ratcheting up my conscious, and making me feel responsible for myself, I’ve become a well-tuned machine.

For instance, diet. She says I can eat anything I want. Then she asks the question: “When is your next doctor’s appointment?” I have a little stash of mint flavored jelly candies that I love, and keep hidden from TLW. Not because she will eat them, but because when I do, I see her face in front of me. Yes, she has taken over from my Mother. I think when I married, Mom passed on all her notes, and the transition has become seamless.

I know you are thinking: “Well, you ARE a big boy!” No, I’m not.

Not when it comes to those candies, cream filled Dunkin Donuts and sesame seeded bagels with cream cheese.

TLW just had to lose a lot of weight, keep it off, and when people see her after a while says: “Wow, did you lose weight?” No, we are still married. They see me and say: ”Wow, did she lose weight?” I just bounce my head up and down and say: “Yes.”

Well, gotta go, my bagel needs a few more bites.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

THE BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN


On our trip to Pennsylvania for the wedding and 90th Birthday party, we set up the GPS to take us there. Now I have written before how TLW (The Little Woman) does not get along with the GPS (Global Positioning System), and so when they are in the car together, I often have to separate them. This weekend was a little different.

It was near Trenton that we hooked up with the GPS, after a break. What should have been an hour and a half became three and a half hours of scenic touring. The GPS wanted to tour! We didn’t.

Into and around Trenton we journeyed, hitting all the points of disinterest there were. I was getting angrier by the minute, TLW was jumping out of her skin. #2 Son slept.

After hitting still another small town, we decided to ignore the darn thing and go the way we wanted. This was after 3 hours more than necessary. Then I remembered the day that someone played a trick on me and the GPS said: “In einer Meile drehen Sie sich nach rechts!” (In one mile, turn right, or else) Remembering that I still let #2 Son sleep in peace.

TLW said once we reach the hotel in King of Prussia, Pa. “Do you think there is some kind of resetting we could do to the GPS. Maybe it is set in tour mode instead of fastest way?” Of course, she was correct. We reset it, and I really couldn’t face the darn thing for the rest of the weekend, after what I called it. Pardon my French! (Begnadigung mein Französisch!)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

GRANDMA REMINDS US.


If you are going into a place called; “Shula’s 347 Grill, there may be a bouncer there, or maybe a swaggering football team having lunch, maybe the bar is packed with excited fans, loud and carrying on, or so one might think.

http://www.donshula.com/rest.php?s=347

TLW (The Little Woman) and Nos. 1 and 2 Sons joined me in going there to celebrate a 90-year old lady’s birthday! Hey don’t mess with Elizabeth Garrity; she can still knock you on your butt! If you don’t think so, ask one of her many children that attended the brunch in her honor on Sunday.

What do you get a 90 year-old lady? We got her a sissy card, but her kids know better, an autographed photo of the Baltimore Orioles manager, and an autograph team photo of the Pittsburg Steelers, that’s what!

She sat there amongst family and friends, regal calm in her demeanor, cute as a button, and still the same beautiful lady I’ve known for many, many years.

I first met her in Cape May, New Jersey, where she presided over her large brood, and even took on friends of the family.

There was an appropriate presentation before the cake was served, given by her two beautiful daughters Rita and Sara, and that was after a hearty singing of: “Happy Birthday.”

So Grandma reminds us, that getting older does not mean you lose your passion for anything. It reminds us that there is a storehouse of good memories to draw on, great people that visit us in our lifetimes, and that children, in the end mean a bridge to the future, and the legacy of our past.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MRS GARRITY!
video

Monday, June 02, 2008

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COUPLE!

The guest sat in their chairs in eager anticipation of the big event at Baldwin College, situated in King of Prussia in Pennsylvania. No, it was not an installation of the President of the school.

The orchestra, a small string set, sat in the back of the gathered, bringing elegance and soberness to a holy event. Today, two people would be joined in Holy Wedlock. It held all the old-fashioned symbolism of tradition, including the meaning of love and family. At the front stood a small round table, adorned in flowers and candles and three wine glasses. TLW (The Little Woman) whispered to me: “See those glasses? They were my Mother’s before she died!” It was special that those glasses would be there, as Megan’s Dad would give her something of her grandmother’s for all her soon to be married life. Like eight years earlier, when Megan’s sister and Matron of Honor Elizabeth evoked the special memory of Grandma Helen, when she married Michael. Megan too had her grandmother’s presence on this special, her special day. If I know Helen, I know she was overjoyed, and looking in on this occasion, as she did eight years ago, a gentle chuckle on her lips, and a smile in her eyes!

A still came over the muttering of the people in attendance, as the orchestra stepped up and played the wedding march, as the big double doors opened up at the end of the aisle.

Suddenly the room was lit with radiance and beauty. All the people stood for the beautiful bride, who, defying description, stood at the entrance to the hall. Dressed in white, and escorted by both her proud parents, Dr. and Mrs. Manning, she moved majestically down the aisle, one slow joyous unbelieving step at a time.

I spent my weekend at the wedding of Megan and Harry Trush. Megan is my beautiful niece I told you about, and I think I even mentioned handsome Harry. Two people who are more suited for each other than any I know.

These are two special people that are loved by everyone, as could be told by the amount of joy expended by everyone at the reception. There was nothing pretentious about this wedding; there were all kinds of people there, as well as little children. There innocence added meaning and joy to the proceedings, and a reminder of what life is really about.

If it was the Brides day, she did a great job of sharing it with everyone. The couple truly loves each other; they are special. Harry was a man made, a joyful, lucky man, whose face expressed all everyone sensed. He had difficulty holding it back! The joy and gladness of this union was with all who attended, and was a true party favor to every guest!

Good luck, long and happy life, and may God keep you two together for eternity.

Tomorrow: Grandma reminds us.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

EXCELSIOR!


For the past 6 months, I’ve been in a bit of a quandary. It seems I received a Christmas card last year from my old pal and former boss, Ed Smith. In the card he referred to the promise I made in my card that I would give him a call this year, The number I have is an old one, and when I call, all I got was what sounded like a fax machine.

TLW (The Little Woman) has a lap top computer I got her a few years ago, and the power plug went, causing it to use all its reserve power. I went to Apple and purchased a new one for a small ransom, enough to make a family of 10 have a week in Hawaii, including meals.

Taking home the plug, I set4 up the laptop once again, and while it was building power, I saw this blue icon on the screen and thought: “what the hell.” Sao I push and an ad pops up, “Join Linkin, and find anyone anywhere. So once again, I thought: “What the hell.” I typed in Ed’s name and sure enough, there it was. Name and phone number, his age and who he is married to, including his kid’s names!

I call, and get his beautiful wife Anita, who answers and I tell her whom it is. She doesn’t use an expletive, or even slam the phone down hard! No, she says: “How nice to hear your voice, Joe!” After a little chitchat, she says Ed is on the deck; let me see if he can guess who this is. She says to Ed; “Its someone from the past.” Ed gets on the phone and I say; “What are you doing on the deck?”

“JOE DEL BLOGGOLO! I KNOW THAT VOICE ANYWHERE!” Again, he didn’t use an expletive, or even slam the phone down hard! I guess I got lucky! We hadn’t seen each other in over 12 years! An occasional card, but that was it.

Bringing someone you love from the past back into your life is a gift you give yourself.