DelBloggolo

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A STUDY

About a month ago, TLW (The Little Woman) informed me that she would be unable to attend my niece Annmarie’s baby shower, and that I would have to deliver the gift. “Just drop it off, and you can leave.” She promised me. Being the wonderful, no, let me correct that, being the wonderfully great husband that I am, I said I would.

A few weeks later, my oldest sister (a lot older) called me confused about the place where this event was being held. I checked with TLW and she was now confused since she had lost the invitation! So, I called the mother or future grandmother, my sister Mary Ann, the flying stewardess. “It’s at that Chinese restaurant near you. When you come, stay, we’ll fix you a plate, and you can sit with Mom and us and eat. Besides, I’ll need you to help bring home all the gifts to Annmarie’s house. So you have to stay!” This made me uneasy, and I said I’d think about it.

The day arrives, and I lug in a huge box of what I think are bowling balls, but TLW claims is something else. Thinking to myself: ”TLW must have volunteered to work today so I would have to carry this complete set of starter materials to build your own home.” Entering the place, I’m directed to a side room, filled with cackling hens! Lots of them! Yakking and chatting and filled with talk. Being how I passed the buffet table, and was hungry, I decided to stay at their urging and conduct a study. (What I do for you people!)

What goes on in these things is something else. Ten minutes of eats and then they sit and talk while the mother-to-be sits on a chair up front opening gifts! No one in the room is paying attention! No one! This does not stop them.

The other thing I discovered is that at the next table, they were wondering who the ugly aunt was. Not willing to give up my cover, I decided that I would not let them know I was the ugly uncle. “Ohh, I think she’s dead! Call 911.” “No, stick a mirror under her nose to see if she is still breathing.” Said another. “I’ll bet her husband left her the first morning after the wedding.” added another. So, Ipso Fatso, this was becoming uncomfortable and so I decided to find some ice cream. That always makes me feel better: besides, I think I was starting to fill with water at that point.

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Monday, June 29, 2009

OH! HOW I HATE A PARADE!

Years ago, as a little lad, Mom would feed me cream cheese and jelly on white bread, for lunch. Every day I would get cream cheese and jelly. This kept me quiet until dinner. As Mom got wiser, she suddenly switched to peanut butter and jelly. She realized the sheer economics of peanut butter in a jar and its costs as opposed to cream cheese in a package that needed refrigeration, and the fact that peanut butter gave you more sandwiches per jar than cream cheese in a package.

Then one day, I got terribly ill with a stomach virus! Yes, while eating peanut butter! I was so ill, I swore to myself that I would never eat peanut butter again!

As life worn on, eating peppers and eggs or potatoes and eggs on Italian bread for lunch became a norm, as did ham and cheese, baloney or salami. Meanwhile, my little sisters were emerging as paraders! Yes, they were parading around the streets of Long island, in fancy uniforms and playing or flinging instruments about, to nobodies business. They belonged to a school band, one was a majorette, and one played a clarinet. At this time, I was in college, studying to become an artist, and taking a course in photography. Mom and Dad went out and purchased me a camera, a 35mm Tower from Sears, and there was a price to pay for their largesse. I had to shoot pictures of the parades!

Every time there was a parade, I had to go and follow it along its route, and shoot. You might say I was a routing shooting toting photographer. After a day of shooting, one eye would remain closed for the day; from the sheer muscle tension of holding it closed! I think it was similar to tennis elbow; only I called it photographer’s eye.

Finally, I finished my course in photography, and laid down the camera, right in the middle of a St. Patrick’s Day parade at the intersection of the four corners in Patchogue! I went home and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Upon arriving home, my parents were furious, and as my two little sisters line up to eagerly watch my demise, they all found me in the bathroom, my head deep into the toilet, tossing up the peanut butter.

Dad looked at Mom and said: “I guess he went to one parade too many!” Mom agreed, and my little sisters walked away disappointed.

Please remember my brother-in-law John, and all those that need our prayers.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

My opinion, that is.

Inside of a few days, we lost three big names in the Hollywood world. All three had some impact on the public. Each was an icon of sorts, or had an icon for them.

The first was Ed McMahon, the man that represented first Johnny Carson, then a host of products, and was the pitchman that was my company’s chief competitor, American Family Publishers. He was the symbol of sweepstakes, and only one man could say it like he did:” Heeerr’s Johnny!” He was a great straight man, and probably a pretty decent human being, too. He did Star Search and I found the show entertaining, he worked with Dick Clark and again, was entertaining for what he did. A no talent individual who could command respect and attention, and help the ratings! The foreclosure proceedings against his home were tragic!

Then there was Farrah Fawcett, also known as Farrah Fawcett Majors. Her blow-dried hair was an icon for little girls to emulate and dream about, and dirty old men to fantasize about. She was a huge hit in Charlie’s Angels, but it was when she did some serious acting that she gained my respect. She was beautiful and classy, and although her first marriage didn’t work out, who’s does these days? She seemed to do everything in her own style, and for 62 years old, that is too soon for the lady. The shame her son Redmond brought upon her in her final days, had to hurt her.

Then there is Michael Jackson. Michael was a talented individual who took entertainment to a new level, an improviser and an entertainer; he shook the world, not by his talents, but his bazaar lifestyle, and his gimmick of a single glove. Became symbols of sorts, and that mask he started wearing had me wondering. I knew he was in debt way over the budget of some countries, but was the mask for holding up Seven Elevens and gas stations to pay it off? Of course, his notoriety for his problems with the world, and his famous trial in which he was acquitted did not help his standing. It seems that he died suspiciously according to some.

I guess this is the beginning of the end, as my generation knows it. History is what we made, and more and more of our lives are becoming that, history. No longer do I look back at what was before my time, but what is now my time!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A FULL REBUTTAL

TLW (The Little Woman), the darling of midnight mayhem, has complained that no one has heard her story over the years. She claims that for the past 1,000 blogues on DelBloggolo, you have only heard my end of the story!

You all know that I always present a fair and honest assessment of the situation, before I even write it. I strive for honesty and accuracy, always representing the truth as I see it. Carefully, I check the facts; do in depth interviews of those who may have witnessed events, before I unfold them to you.

As a concession to TLW, in the spirit of fair play and cooperation, and to avoid ‘an accident’ from happening in the middle of the night, I have agreed to give TLW a chance to refute or respond to all I have written!

I will allow her to write anything she wishes, without censorship from my cracked staff of censors. I will neither add, nor subtract from her words, I will not even edit it! All I ask her is to refrain from her usual salty language.

Caution, unlike this writer, she may exaggerate things a bit to embellish her side!

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Friday, June 26, 2009

CLEARING UP LIFE’S QUESTIONS

As #2 Son prepares for college, one of the things he needs is a medical history sent to the college. Al’s College is very strict about that kind of stuff, and so we comply.

Driving home from the doctor’s office, #2 had his medical record opened and he was reading it.

#2: “What’s diphtheria?”

Me: “Oh! You don’t know what that is! Well, diphtheria is when your diph gets out of whack. Not everyone knows this, but everyone has a diph.”

#2 Son: “Where is it?”

Me: “Right between the right cortex tweener and the veribose veins. If you get diphtheria, you have to wear a thong, a diphthong. Diphthongs can usually be seen as having two distinct parts — the nucleus, and the off-glide. The nucleus of the diphthong is in the bowel that is most stressed, and forms the center of the cortex, while the off-glide is the bowel that seems to flow into or off of the nucleus bowel. I hope that cleared it up?”

#2 Son: “Perfectly.”

I think it is important to explain things to people as best one can. This eliminates any confusion and if there are questions, which I doubt, they can be easily referenced by the explanations given.

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

OH, SHEET!

In the early morning hours of June 21, while most Americans slept, a battle was raging for supremacy.

Across the vast battlefield that served as a bed, two people were in a life and death struggle for the sheets. One was insisting on having it all, and one only asked for his fair share. It was your typical battle of good vs. evil, Armageddon, life and death!

TLW (The Little Woman) and yours truly, carried the battle for hours, silently vowing retaliation and destruction upon one another in due course for sheet supremacy!

Her: “You need to walk around the block! You didn’t walk yesterday.”

“OK, but why do you say that?”

Her: “Because you didn’t sleep last night.”

“No, I didn’t. How did you know?”

Her: Because you kept me awake. You took all the sheets!”

“Wait a minute. YOU were the one taking ALL the sheets! You had the side of the sheet that hangs over the bed on my side, in your hands, and you were pulling it. I was sitting there in the dark in my shorts, fighting for my very life, and you, with one foot in my chest, the other in my side, with both hands on the side of the sheet, my side, was pulling with all your might! I still have the foot marks in my chest!”

Her: “You need to walk!”

“Look, let me show you what I’m saying. You should have north tucked under your chin, south over your feet, and east on your right and west on your left. That is how the bed is made. I sleep on your left, but you had west in your hands, in a death grip!”

Her: (With a sheepish grin on her face) “You need to walk!”

Being a good husband, means never having to say: “Hey, give me some sheet!”


Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

FATHER’S DAY

This past Father’s Day was pleasant enough. I received a call from #1 Son, and a very thoughtful gift in the mail. A visit that sparkled from my daughter, Ellen, a great dinner from TLW (The Little Woman) and a gift, filled with character, fun, and a good laugh from #2 Son!

The day before, I went to the mailbox to retrieve my mail, and came upon a white, square envelope. I put it on the bottom of the pile and opened everything else first, and was almost tempted to toss the white envelope, thinking it was an ad! The weight and size, plus the fact that there was no return address anywhere, made me finally open it. There in a second white envelope was a tent card with the Apple logo embossed in silver on it. I opened the card, and there was a credit card with the Apple logo on it, and an amount that it was worth. On the card it only said: “Happy Father’s Day!” No name, or indication of where or from whom. But I knew who sent it, #1 Son.

I woke up the next morning, came down the stairs and TLW, after wishing me a “Happy Father’s Day”, asked if I saw the card from #2 Son, on the kitchen table. I looked, and sure enough, there stood a fresh, new, clean, paper plate with a message on it.

“Dear Dad,
Happy Father’s Day, you present is in the refrigerator.
Love, #2 Son.”

You must realize this is all the formality I’ve ever seen in his young life! Not only did he remember me on Father’s Day, but a ‘home made card’ to boot! This is a humbling experience. An experience that I will remember for the rest of my life! The present was a bottle of ‘Samuel Smith Old Brewery Oatmeal Stout’! It went great with the ribs and potato salad!

This is a lot like Italian cooking. Simple, direct, and it gets the job done!

When I hear: “It’s the sentiment that counts, this is one I will always recall as sentimental! Thanks family from the old man.

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

OK, SO I LIED!

Maybe just a little. I implied that I am totally lazy.

The other day, I, that is me, took the bull by the horns, and led it out of the house! That is correct, or so it seems. With all the rain we are having, things are starting to smell musty. TLW (The Little Woman) was working this past Saturday, and so I decided to take the house apart and clean it to get rid of the musty smell.

After the dusting, mopping, and vacuuming, I washed the floors and striped down the kitchen counter, and with vinegar and hot water, wiped down the counter top. I then tackled the bathrooms, cleaning and polishing, then, the kitchen oven was dealt with. Not satisfied, I went to work on the very top of the kitchen cabinets and the two large fans in the kitchen and den, the light fixtures, and yes, even those little tiny spots and tracks that sometimes evade me! By the end of the day, I was indeed tired, but happy with the results. So what happens? #2 Son, that’s what, happens. Oh, how I pray for the last week of August, that magical time when off to college he goes.

Now don’t get me wrong, he’s a good kid, but when he is away, he really shines! He asks me that day: “Why does the house have to be clean?” This is a good question. Why? Some of you may ask: “Why”, me I ask: “Why aren’t you married and living with your wife, who can tolerate a dirty house if she wants to?”

I come down for a glass of water at 12 mid-night, and I find pasta sauce on the counter, crumbs and other signs of a life and death struggle with a commercial box of nourishment, that at first glance looks like there were no survivors!

I’m starting to sound like my mother! “MY KITCHEN!” Bad: no? I need a hobby, one that takes me to distant places, where #2 wouldn’t find me. I tried to keep it clean. I wanted to set a record with #2 in the house of 24 hours. Not 24 minutes, not 24 seconds, but a whole 24 hours. It is a record which will never happen. They may break Joe DiMaggio’s 56 consecutive game hitting streak, but 24 hours with #2 in the house will NEVER happen.

So, I retreat quietly to my recliner, and think of ways to avoid doing anything, until the end of August. If you hear me sobbing, know that I tried, but never even came close to a record. No, history will look upon me as a slob, not knowing the evidence to prove otherwise was wiped out, when the refrigerator door opened to #2 Son.

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY!

And by golly, I’ll say it!

I'll claim anything if it gives me an excuse not to work around the house for a bit. I think it is called “Writer’s block”, but not being a writer, I can’t claim that. However, that being said, I can’t claim “loafer’s block” because I NEVER have a problem with loafing, if you overlook ‘guilt’.

For years, I’ve taken a deep pride in being able to ‘rest’, and ‘preserve’ my body for better things than physical labor. I used to like golf, but discovered that I was starting to sweat around the 5th hole, and immediately laid down my clubs where I was standing (In the rough) and proceeded to the nearest “19th” hole to alleviate my pain.

To me, sweating is one of the first signs of work. The most immediate is the look in TLW’s (The Little Woman) eyes, when she needs something done. A day off is when she works, and I am free to roam about, (in my chair) and rest up for those days when she is home.

If I go to a restaurant, no matter if it is fancy or not, if I have to cut and chew for long, it is work. No question about it. I prefer my meals to be simple, easy to break apart with my fork, and better yet, finger foods.

This is not to say I am lazy. Hardly! I can spend up to three minutes changing channels or looking at a channel guide. After that, my eyes get heavy and I need to rest them. I consider that good eye hygiene!

I consider spelling too much bother or work, especially when I sweat over an ‘I’ or an ‘e’ or yes, even that sometimes elusive ‘y’!

The other day, I wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to do a little physical work. as I stood around the pool area, I tried to figure out if I wanted to pick up some leaves. Being how I had an empty can next to me, and a shovel and leaf bag, I picked up the shovel and broom, and almost began! Fortunately, I put them down quickly, and took care of my loafer’s block instead, in which I created a dream like sequence of events in my chair! (I must caution you dear reader, not to try this at home, unless you have experience.)

So, I sit here, with writer’s block, with nothing to say, as you just read!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A NOVEL IDEA!

It took me 19 months to write, and will probably take another 19 months to fine tune. If you see me walking down the street, and someone asks: “Who’s that?” Say, he’s a man who wrote a novel!

Having retired has opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I am very happy about that fact. The novel was never one of my retirement goals, but was born from a few good people that inspired and pushed the idea.

I was out in California in November of 2007, visiting #1 Son, in LA. Being how he IS a writer, I was inspired to pen together an outline of a story. It seemed that the story was coming together: on it’s own, and just needed to be put down on paper. Writing was becoming an obsession with me, due to this blogue, and so it all began. #1 Son suggested it, telling me to just write it, and worry about correcting it later. I took his advice and along the way, something else happened. It was a Sunday afternoon in November, right before a Christmas parade down the streets of Los Angeles. #1 Son had invited me to have lunch with some of his friends who I had met previously. (The Fab Five.)

At the lunch, were MFF (My Favorite Fan) Lauren, her beau, and now fiancé’ Justin, and both Pete the Teacher (Pete C, and Minnesota Pete, (Pete Dirkson) http://www.ucbcomedy.com/videos/play/4130 who really doesn’t come from Minnesota, but should. Jerrod, Justin’s brother, (another movie star looking guy, unfortunately, wasn’t there!) These were all bright articulate people that were encouraging ME, to write, Justin was a screenwriter, no less! Having read my blogue, they felt I should do it. I think THAT should be sufficient encouragement!

And so, I finished writing. There were some good days, and days when I couldn’t convince myself. I am happy with the ending, and hope to see it published. If it is, a good deal, of whatever I make will go to my daughter’s agency, NYSARC Inc, AHRC Suffolk, http://www.ahrcsuffolk.org/ along with my two sons. It is just a dream, but why not?

Between the Agency, freelance, art and now writing and the hopefully volunteerism at the church, the Parish Outreach and the Parish fund raising committee, I should die exhausted, but happy.

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

“YOHOO, I AM CALLING YOHOO!”


The other day, I was busy making dinner. Laying out the ingredients for chicken with escarole and mushrooms, and wondering why I like routines so much when my daydreaming was intruded upon.

The phone rang and I answered.

Me: “Yellow?”

“Hi!”

Me: “Hi?”

“It’s me! Are you ready for tonight?”

Me: “I guess so!”

“Same time, usual place?”

“Sure, but WHO is this?”

“Me, Virginia! Are we meeting at the same place and time tonight?”

Me: “Virginia WHO, and WHAT place is that?”

“Is this 000-0000?”

Me: “Yes it is.”

“Well, if you don’t KNOW what place, it doesn’t matter who, anymore!”

Here I am, sitting in a bunch of escarole, trying to figure out who that was on the phone, and if maybe I’m losing it and forgot, I’m having an affair! I can’t remember feeling guilty, so it must be a mistake on the other end.

I usually don’t get calls from strange women, just strange calls from women. Usually TLW (The Little Woman), or Tessie my older sister (A lot older, by the way), and yes, even Mom can do a number on the phone.

When TLW calls from work, it is usually a real nail biter, as I await her request or instruction to do something.

Many years ago, when I was working in Manhattan, she called me at my office with a request.

TLW: “Could you pick up a book for me, I think it’s called ‘Live It.’ By Richard Simmons?”

So, I go all over the city of New York, stopping at every bookstore and shop and ask for ‘Live It’. After saying it enough times you start to sound like a frog. “Livit, livit, livit.” People would hear me and start to feed me flies! The book she meant was “Never Say Diet.” Livit, Never Say Diet, you can see how she mi9ght get them mixed up!

There was a man on his deathbed. His wife, sitting next to him, with tear filled eyes leaned in to listen to his last words.

Him: “Remember when we were first married, and we crashed the car?”

“Yes” she nodded, wiping a tear away.

Him: “And remember when we were married just ten years, and the house caught on fire?”

Again, shaking her head vigorously, while remembering, and trying to be brave, she nodded “Yes!”

Him: “And remember that time last year, when you lost all my money in the stock market through your brother Malcome?”

Again on the verge of tears, and ready to break down she said: “Ye… yes!”

Him: “Boy, were you BAD luck!”

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Friday, June 19, 2009

HOW LOVE GROWS


38 years ago, on this very day, I made my final ‘goodbyes’ to single life. What was once a restless journey to find myself, became an instant claim to adulthood, and the prospects for happiness seemed immediate. It was.

TLW (The Little Woman, Ellen by name) was the “candle that punched a hole in the darkness”, if I may borrow a phrase. She has been with me every step of the way, and I with her. There have been many highs, and some very deep lows, that neither of us caused, but it is what life is all about.

She has shown me what caring is, what a big heart means, what being a parent is all about. She is tenacious, bulldog like, yet loving, kind, and always caring. She is intelligent and a lady. If I did anything right in life, it is in marrying someone who puts herself second, even if she tells me to poop in my hat once-in-a-while.

I tell her she has no sense of humor, but believe me, that is what she does have. (She married me, after all!)

I have no claim to fame, except for making a great choice in my spouse, and having my children, but when people see me, they think, “there goes a lucky guy, he married well!”

TLW wasn’t born to money, but was born to wealth. She came from a large loving family, one that still stays in touch with each other. They carry life’s lessons in the package their parents gave them. They contribute to the world, and give freely. Their spouses are testimony to what a wonderful core of people they are.

You know when love is there. If you are comfortable with each other, can care for each other and not worry about yourself, then you are in love, and love is there. Partnerships are built that way, as are friendships. Random acts of kindness are frequent, as are the little things you feel. Love doesn’t have to be broadcasted to be felt, love doesn’t even have to be demonstrated to be known, but if love is present, it is true.

We can bicker. Oh, yes we can. But when it is all done and said, we allow room for each other to compromise, accept and say we are sorry. We never say hurtful things to each other, or ever wish ill will. After all, we are in love, and that grows with the years.

I can’t remember when you weren’t there
When I didn’t care for anyone but you
I swear we’ve been through everything there is
Can’t imagine anything we’ve missed
Can’t imagine anything the two of us cant do

Through the year, you’ve never let me down
You turned my life around, the sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you ... through the years

I’ve never been afraid, I’ve loved the life we’ve made
And I’m so glad I’ve stayed, right here with you
Through the years

I can’t remember what I used to do
Who I trusted whom, I listened to before
I swear you’ve taught me everything I know
Can’t imagine needing someone so
But through the years it seems to me
I need you more and more

Through the years, through all the good and bad
I knew how much we had, I’ve always been so glad
To be with you ... through the years
Its better everyday, you’ve kissed my tears away
As long as its okay, Ill stay with you
Through the years

Through the years, when everything went wrong
Together we were strong, I know that I belonged
Right here with you ... through the years
I never had a doubt, wed always work things out
I’ve learned what loves about, by loving you
Through the years


Thanks, sweetheart, they’ve been the best years of my life, I love you, and I know how love grows!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

SCHMUTZ!

Yes, that evil word, ‘schmutz’ is the topic of this blogue!

What seemingly was an ordinary, customary call to my 91-year old mother, turned into an adventure of some magnitude!

“Hi Ma, how ya doin?”

Mom: “Oh, I’m feeling just fine! How are you?”

“Good, just callin’ ta see how ya doin.”

Mom: “How’s the family? By the way, (Here it comes) I got this thing in the mail from your sister-in-law Angela. I put in the DVD player, but all I get is this guy with his arms raised, and a lot of jazz like music or shouting, then nothing happens! I called Henry (her 87 year-old boy toy) to take a look at it, and he can’t figure it out either!” (I know, I’m very disrespectful)

“Hmmm, is it a CD disc?” I ask.

Mom: ”What?”

“Is it a CD disc, a shiny round thing that you put in a CD player?”

Mom: “You think I should put it in the thing where I play my music? You know, I did that. I got some music, but I couldn’t figure it out! Henry tried and he got the same thing!”

“Well, Ma, I think what Angela sent you was a movie, a documentary, ‘Young at heart” about some elderly people that take part in a chorus of rock songs.”

Mom: “Oh, gee,, and I wanted to thank Angela, too. That was very sweet of Dennis and Angela to do that!”

“You mean you won’t thank her anyway?”

Mom: “Hey, don’t get so smart, of course I’ll thank her, I just don’t know what to do. I think they should get their money back, that’s all, but how do I say that?”

“Well Ma, just thank them, don’t put them through some trouble.”

Mom: “Maybe you’re right.”

I hang up and think about it.

TLW (The Little Woman) is sitting next to me, knitting some booties for #2 Son for when he goes away to Potsdam for college in August.

“Joe, maybe you should go over there?”

“OK.” (I’m hen-pecked)

I arrive at Mom’s house, and who greets me at the door but Henry, Mom’s 87-year old boy toy. (I know, I’m disrespectful)

Henry takes out the CD, and suggests I put it in the music player first.

“You should put it in there first, that’s what I did!”

Being the young whippersnapper that I am, I disregard his advice and put on the TV, and turn on the CD Player., and pop in the CD.

Just like they say, nothing is happening. I suggest that maybe there is something wrong with the CD player, and I am greeted by an icy stare that says, “Better you should deny I’m your mother, than suggest that that CD player has something wrong with it!”

I try a second time, and this time the CD is rejected with a message that states the CD is unreadable! This gives me a clue! I take the CD, look closely, and there on the back is schmutz! Yes, I found schmutz!

“Henry, you better tell your girl-friend there, that she has to dust her CD’s!

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

MAKING LIFE ADJUSTMENTS.


I have decided to make an adjustment in my life. Something I always wanted to do, I will try. There is a program in my church called Parish Outreach, where one can volunteer to visit the sick or dying. One goes and visits, and it is very simple.

I’m not one of those holier than thou types. God only knows what a bum I really am, but this is an opportunity of a lifetime to ease a little suffering. I think of people who I’ve met, people that I‘ve like or loved, people who were all alone, people dying or wasting away in old age homes, people without hope, whether they know it or not. Maybe I can coax a smile on a face, or just give them some company. They won’t owe me anything, just their trust and friendship.

Life is a great teacher. It taught me that in spite of what I don’t have, what I do have far out weights it. I love to meet people, learn about their lives, and maybe pick up a hint or two about how to live mine.

Frankly, I’m not sure if they the people of Parish Outreach will want me. I hope so, I could use the chance to give a little, and not worry about the little things in life like what the Mets did last night. I can tell you this, if there is a chance, and I do what I hope to do, I will, without naming names, give you a little of that lesson from my standpoint in the blogue. I still plan to give you guys the scoop, when I recognize it and scoop it, or when I don’t recognize it, and step in it! But this outreach program will pop up every once in a while.

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TWENTY YEARS OF SERVICE!

It was twenty years ago, that I stepped to the plate at my daughter’s agency, and said; “Yes!” Twenty years later, I am still eager to help and hope I have another twenty years at the least.

It all started out quite innocently on my part. I never sought to become a member of the Board of Directors of NYSARC Suffolk AHRC, but was nominated, then interviewed. It seems all I wanted to do was help the agency, by doing whatever art work they might have needed. I recall TLW (The Little Woman) saying to me that if I were elected to the Board, she would be proud of me. I always need TLW to be proud of me.

Twenty years later, I still find it a privilege to be a member of the board. I have met some wonderful people along the way, as a board member, chairperson of various committees, and president of the board. The honor has always been mine, and that they are recognizing MY twenty years, astonishes me and makes me feel honored and humbled. Believe me, with my big mouth, it is a wonder they don’t just move the meetings to another location and ‘forget’ to tell me where.

It is something to meet people that are totally dedicated to their work. You can have your titles, diplomas, and degrees, but you are not the professional I see every time I visit the agency. From the day care people, underpaid and understaffed, but greatly appreciated, to the instructors, medical people and office staff, the devotion and professionalism are better than anything I have ever seen. They enable the physically and mentally disabled, to have meaningful lives. The program directors, the people who oversee the quality of care given, are without a doubt, the finest anywhere. The deputy executive directors are not only administrators, but God given to those they care for, and those they truly cherish.

There is one man, Joe P.Mammolito, leader and honest to goodness executive director’s executive director, that oversees everything. Without him, the agency would not have had the success that it has. The man is caring, professional, and brilliant in his duties, and consistent in his devotion.

Finally, there are my fellow board members. Ordinary people like me, but smart, dedicated overseers, of a multi-million dollar agency, who help direct the agency under the guidance of the executive director.

But I don’t need recognition for what I do. I am grateful that the board members listen to my ramblings, and my jokes. That they stay in the same room with me, allow me to speak and give me the courtesy of their interest is more that I should ask for. That the staff listens to me when I offer something, and that they give me the opportunity to work on occasion with the beautiful people we serve, my people.

Thank you, one and all from the bottom of my heart.

http://www.ahrcsuffolk.org/

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Monday, June 15, 2009

DOG GONE

Friday evening we noticed that Happy, our cocker spaniel was limping, favoring her right hind leg! So I had to pick her up to carry her upstairs and down. She was taken to the Sachem Animal Hospital the next day and we were told that she is getting old that her kneecap is out of place. The doctor gave us some meds to alleviate the pain.

As we sat waiting for the doctor to call us in, there was a young guy, in his twenties, bristling with muscles and sunglasses. In one hand was the leash for a 200 lb lab, and in his other hand was his customary, and obligatory cell phone. Today the kids are all in mourning, and this guy was no exception, all in black!

Coming out of the doctor’s office and passing us all by, this short, middle aged guy with a cardigan sweater and his little dog on a leash. Seeing the young stud, he put his head down into his button down shirt and never looked up, running out of the office.

I looked down at Happy, and felt that maybe this wasn’t good either. Maybe I should have a Doberman, or a German shepherd: or better still, a wolf! Yes, a wolf! That would show the young studs, who is boss.

When I walk Happy, it never feels, that some showoff with a large dog goes by, and I feel like I have a kitten on my leash. Yes, a wolf would be better. I can read their minds: “Ha-look at that sissy dog, must be like the owner.” I’ll give him sissy!

Happy is not afraid to bark and growl, that is because we named her Happy. She wanted to be named something other than a nice dog. If anyone says to me in the next two weeks, as the doctor did: “Happy is not too happy!” I will rip his heart out and feed it to Happy.

Felice, lo morde!

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

FLAG DAY

I guess I’m old-fashioned. I love the flag. Always have and always will. It stands between tyranny and me. It allowed me to raise my children the way I want, and it allowed me to choose whom I wanted to run this great country. I didn’t always get my wish, but there is always a next time!

There’s an old joke that goes:

Two boys sat on the steps of the United Nations Building.
One boy was from the U.S.A., and one from the then U.S.S.R.
They were arguing about who had greater freedom in his country.
The American said, “I can sit on the steps of the White house and say anything I want about America, and not worry about going to jail!”
The Russian boy thought about it, and said, “I can sit on the steps of the Kremlin, and say anything I want about America, and not worry about going to jail!”

I once visited Arlington National Cemetery, and the rows and rows of hero’s humbled me. It made me feel unworthy of their sacrifice. It is indeed a holy place, the place of resting heroes. I think about how many families were effected by their lose of life, how many children never met their fathers. I think about the widows, the brave women who raised those children, who had no help, who never were bitter at the flag.

I see the flag, and I see old veteran’s standing and saluting it as it may parade by them. I think we should be saluting them as it goes by. I wonder what fears they had when someone was shooting at him or her. I wonder how many times they thought, “Today may be the last day of my life.” But they still went out and did their jobs. God bless them all!

I see the flag, and I see the millions of children who are fed worldwide, in the last hundred years! The starving nations of Europe and Asia, ravaged by a great war, twice in the 20th Century, were save by the Flag I salute.

I see they flag, and I see the couples, old and young, strolling hand in hand. They stroll in peace. They don’t worry about religious rules that govern their dress, or having to wear beards that govern their lives.

I see the flag, and I see the happy faces of little children, secure in the faith of their parents and their love of their country.

I see the flag, and I see the great triumph of NASA, the genius of our scientists and engineers, the teachers and clergy. All free and all doing their part.

Sometimes when I see the flag, I see and hear the detractors, the complainers, and the losers who blame this great flag for all the ills of the world. I wonder how they come to such conclusions.

When I went off to college, I had nothing. I had no money, no transportation of my own, and all I did have was the hope and freedom to change all that for myself. The State of New York lent me money; the part-time jobs did the rest. When the funds weren’t enough, I didn’t eat, I borrowed a book I needed, or hid on a train to get to school, where I hitched rides back and forth to classes, from the Westbury R.R. Station to Northern Boulevard. But I never felt the Flag owed it to me. It gave me what it owed me, the freedom to change my world for the better. It comes like it came for my ancestors, of whom I am very proud, it came from hard work and belief in myself.

I hear argument that America killed so many innocent Japanese at Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, and I don’t hear of Pearl Harbor, or the rape of Nanking, and the Holocaust seems to slip their minds. They can’t compute the lives we saved that were American, during our time of war, when we dropped those atomic bombs, nor can they understand that their discomfort is being expressed in the comfort and friendly confines of the U.S.A.

God bless America, and God bless the flag.


Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

ORIGINALITY IN LANGUAGE


The other day I was speaking to a young man about life in general, and things that were of mutual interest. It seems like his desire was to impress upon me that he found my life ‘awesome’. After every statement I made, his response was ‘awesome’.

Me: I fell down the stairs, lost my eye and threw up on a nun!
Him: Awesome!

I stole from your mother’s pocketbook.
Him: Awesome!

Your sister is doing tricks at the pier for fleet week, and I’m getting a cut of her profits.
Him: Awesome!

You get the idea. Of course, these things never really happened. I call the use of such phrases: “perfume phrasing” that is, phrasing used to overly impress, and sound “Cool”. (I’ll get to that in a minute.)

Through the years, perfume phrasing has been in use in different forms. Years ago “getattahere!” was the common response. If a statement was believable or not, the response was “Getattahere!

Hi! I just moved in across the street.
Him: Getattahere!

Your girlfriend and I want to use either here, or the back seat of your car for a few moments.
Him: Getattahere!

After enough people did get out, the speaker realized he was losing a lot of friends and changed his response to: “Cool”. Yes, everything turned cool, in spite of the fact that the ice age was indeed over long ago.

Help! My house is on fire!
Him: Cool!

Don’t mind me, I’m just installing a car bomb under your hood.
Him: Cool!

There were some people who were in need of a second chance. Their response to life’s ills was: “GIMMEABREAK!”

Doctor: “I’m sorry, I don’t know if we can save your leg!”
“GIMMEABREAK!”

Finally, but before “awesome” came “Like Wow!” And “Like” itself, being interjected before every word.

I was caught in the middle of a herd of elephants, was stepped on and, Like Wow!”

Like, hello?

All, perfume phrasing, brought to you by those with a lack of imagination.

I find it: like awesome.

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Friday, June 12, 2009

TONY (Dad) September 9, 1916 – June 12,1991


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


Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

OH, MY LOVE, MY APPLIANCE!

TLW (The Little Woman) and I have a pact that we break every time! Whenever we think about buying something, whether we need it or not, we say: “Now, we are just LOOKING, We are not buying today, just looking.” Then, after we sign the purchase agreement we say: “THIS is the last time. Next thing we buy, we are just looking first!”

Take for instance, our oven. It is a policy of mine to always establish a good relationship with all the appliances in my home. Since appliances have been known to turn on me, I have learned not to curse them anymore, at least not in their presence. However, that does not mean I can’t harbor resentment towards one or two. For years, I have disliked my oven. I admit it, I often say there should not be room in one’s heart for hatred, but I really hate the oven. Recently it started to act up, and refused to broil my steak! I will not tolerate, ever, stubbornness, not from ANY appliance! When we bought it, I hated it. I wanted a stove top with a griddle on it, but TLW said, and I quote word for word, over 12 years ago: “NO!”

Looking back, all those years of having to play musical oven with the darn thing, wishing for a griddle, I was like a relative in a will, waiting for the “old man” to die! Then, suddenly, when I least expect it, IT DIES! Yes! Dead, D-E-A- D, dead! Oh, happy days!

So, up the next morning, we swear fidelity to our slogan: “We’re just looking” and immediately buy a brand new GE, with a griddle that runs down the center. This is better than Christmas and birthdays. Soon, sometime today, they will arrive and takeaway the old Whirlpool, that pathetic excuse for an oven. The burners never worked properly, the darn thing made a lot of noise, and I now will get a GE, with a griddle, oh, what happiness!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

COLLAPSIBLE WEBSITES


It’s early morning, I’m sitting in my chair reading my morning newspaper, and TLW (The Little Woman) is happily on her laptop. The news isn’t good, and the sports pages even worse. I lock into a paragraph of importance to a story when: “Joe, the computer is asking me if I want to open this document with a newer version of Crash, a Crash 1.1. Do I download it? How do I download it? What is ‘download’?

Sometimes I get: “I was filling out this application for the poor house, and another document popped up, now I can’t find the original document. How do I find it?”

Or even: “Joe, I’m trying to open this attachment from Maureen, and the computer says I need Freeze Up 2.4 to open it. How do I get Freeze Up 2.4?”

All inquiries are legitimate. Each time I read the same paragraph almost through, and know the first few words by heart! This morning daily occurrence is my exercise period. What I do is place the newspaper down, and without holding on to the armrest, trying to stand from a deep chair that is a rocker. The idea being to put great stress on my body as I try to get up, while falling backwards and defying gravity. The hope is to eventually pass out, and discontinue the exercise period while getting a good day’s sleep in. Usually, I make it and travel to the kitchen table, where my bride awaits.

Modern electronics have been a major point of worry all our married lives. It started with the VCR and the electronic games for #1 Son. TIVO, DVD’s and cable boxes that demanded I own a closet filled with different remote controls soon followed electronic games. We have two entertainment systems that defy either one of us working them properly. We have purchased more ‘Universal’ remotes than we need, none of which really work on all the devices it is suppose to support.

There have been Sundays when I worked, and we would buy a piece of electronics, and the living room would be strewn with wires, cables and large instruction papers. Often, off TLW would go to Radio Shack to find a consultant. Usually under the age of drinking legally, they give her a diagram that then causes me to bring in my own consultant, Mr. Jack Daniels!

Cell phones are not any better! TLW can call out and never answers her cell phone. I asked her if she knew she could do the various things the phone offers, but she is still not sure she opened the computer! I, on the other hand, although I have tried to learn them, know they can be done, just not by me!

I see people with IPODS, Blackberries, (Freshly bought!) and other gizmos that I never needed, but wonder how I am surviving in this modern electronic age! Come to think of it, I’m not sure I can even set my alarm clock properly, anymore!

I guess time is running out on me!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

IT’S CHRISTMAS!

The other day, while thumbing through my mail, I came across a letter from this travel agency that TLW (The Little Woman) sent a check to. I opened the envelope and the check she made out was stapled to a letter. The letter stated that due to their inability to read TLW’s handwriting, they could not process the application!

I asked out loud why they didn’t take it to a pharmacy. I often do this at Christmas time when her brother Kevin writes a little note to us, or when TLW writes to me a little love note. (It gets somewhat embarrassing when I read the mushy part together with the pharmacist! But the pharmacist does have an endless supply of Kleenex!)

I carefully refolded the letter and returned it to the envelope and waited for TLW to return home.

“Hi! How was your day? XXX”

“Great, we got mail. Well, actually, you got mail.”

TLW opens it, and I paraphrase the letter’s contents and miraculously, Lucy Van Pelt, returns again!

“WHAT? What the heck are these people talking about?”

“They couldn’t read your handwriting.” (I try not to look happy, but concerned.)

“Why not, I don’t understand? I’m tired of working with people that are dummies!”

“Well, at least they got your name right!” I tried to say consolingly.

You must understand, first off, TLW is a southpaw, a lefthander. Second, when she writes in long hand, the words become taller and taller as she goes, and the letters become condensed and then exaggerated. Soon a ‘bottle of milk’ could read: ‘a battle of meek, or a boller of milt, or, if I’m lucky: a batter of malt.

Notes left on the table can read,

Jue,
Please fiux thl leaky fauot’
Luve, EIIln

The pharmacist has become pretty adept at reading and transcribing her notes, and I once had to pay him overtime. It seems TLW sent a letter to her brother Kevin, and he sent it to the same pharmacist!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT

It was Friday morning, and along with TLW (The Little Woman), off to JFK International I go, in her car. #1 Son and his friend Courtney are flying in from Los Angeles to attend a wedding of a friend of ours.

Having made the JFK run dozens of times solo, I’m used to a certain schedule and procedure. It is 4:15AM, and we hit the road. TLW is my co-pilot, and already Lucy Van Pelt is at it! “Why are we leaving so early? Don’t take the Sagtikose to Southern State; take 110, like I did. I’d stay on the right, what exit do you take?” I am the one getting crabby, not Lucy.


The temptation was to leave her on the side of the road, and collect her after I finished picking up #1 Son and his friend Courtney. If I do, I have to hear her all the way home, and in my sleep. I grin and bear it. We enter the parking garage and I have to climb 5 levels to park at the JetBlue terminal. “Watch my tires, don’t go THAT way, and go that way!” I’m grinning.

We get out of the car, and Lucy has calmed down! I have stopped grinning, and my face doesn’t hurt anymore! It is a long walk to the terminal, via the ‘Skywalk’, that takes longer to take than flying to LA! As we complete the Skywalk, we come to escalators that will lead us down to departures.

“Is this right? Where’s the arrivals?” she asks. “Do you know where you are going? Are you sure?” My face is starting to hurt me again! Like any married man, sainthood is not far behind. True love requires endurance, for both of us! I'm no help, I'm tired from the wake up call so early in the A.M.

I explain that we go down, walk behind the escalator and down once more. We do, without hurting my face!

Motherhood kicks in. “There he is!” shouts TLW, transforming into TLW from Lucy Van Pelt, right in front of my eyes! She’s back!

“Where?” I ask. "We're not even in the building yet!" I say.

“Over there!” She states. I follow, (Don’t I always?) into the next building, and sure enough, there they are! How does she do it?

I adjust my Boston Red Sox baseball cap, Courtney is a Red Sox fan, and I want to make her feel at home. This is the first time we will meet her!

We spot #1 Son at the carousel, and walk over, a woman with beautiful long reddish hair is standing with her back turned to us. She turns and sees me in my cap and says: “Nice touch!” and gives me a warm and sincere hug, which I return. Suddenly, both TLW and I are in our comfort zone. The lady is beautiful, and she is very down to earth.

TLW is once again her old self. (I mean in comparison to her Lucy self), and I am enjoying my face not hurting, nor am I bearing it.

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John

Monday, June 08, 2009

WHAT DID I SAY?


It seems that I can never get names right! I always screw up the spelling, or the pronunciation of a place, or thing for that matter. Take yesterday’s blogue for instance. In yesterday’s blogue, I mentioned ‘Netflick’ instead of ‘Netflix’. My question is: did you understand what I meant? I did.

TLW (The Little Woman) never thought it was from age. She knew me when. I’ve been Netflicking for years. The famous Hall of Fame pitcher whose name is Tom Seaver, I called ‘Tom Seavers’. There is a park in LA called Griffith Park, that I for some reason call ‘Griffiths Park’. I can take away an ‘s’ just as easily as add one on to a name or thing!

#1 Son finds it amusing that it happens. What he is admitting to now is, that he is doing the same thing! Yes, he inherited my penchant for screwing up names! Yes! A chip off the old blockhead!

He also thinks I can remember any meal from any date in my life. This morning at breakfast, he asked me what I had to eat on August 14th, 1987. I had to ask him to clarify his question: did he mean breakfast, lunch or dinner? (Pasta for dinner.)

It is true I can remember dates and on some occasions, the meal I had that day. I love to eat, like any decent Italian boy from Brooklyn. Food is held in deep reverence, and should be recalled with respect and fondness.

There are other ‘irregularities’ about me that my rotten kids notice. If something may be said that is off the wall, I just may be the guy to say it. Or, if there is an embarrassing situation or thing that has happened to one of them, that it may end up on the blogue! Imagine that?

Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John

Sunday, June 07, 2009

YOUNG@HEART


There is a documentary that TLW (The Little Woman) ordered through Netflick. If you want to see a different perspective on life, then get this if you can. This is a rare occurrence for this blogue to have any recommendations!

The film follows a chorus of elderly people, people that are at the late December of their lives, who sing the songs of early May! It takes you through the rehearsals and the ordeal of singing by people who will not stop their lives for old age, or for some infirmary.

Songs by James Brown no less, get the geriatric treatment, and they carry the tune, convincingly! It also carries with it, the pain of losing one’s friend, but knowing that life goes on, and so will they. A beautiful slice of life, that teaches one to live day to day, and brings to mind the wonderful generation that have given us so much, in their spirit, sacrifice and teachings.

If you think that being elderly is funny, or that they are non-entities, think again, there is a life that is powerful and vibrant, so I strongly recommend that you view it.

I have to thank my SSIL (Sicilian Sister-in-law), Angela for making the recommendation to TLW (The Little Woman) when they were last together.


Please remember all those that need our prayers, including my brother-in-law, John

Saturday, June 06, 2009

FINAL GOODBYES


The morning dawned dark and dreary. The grey clouds fit my mood, and I entered the church to say my final goodbye to a great guy, MMB (My Man Bill.) TLW (The Little Woman) and I found our customary pew in the church, and sat to await the family. We decided not to go to the funeral parlor before mass, so that the family could have some privacy in their last goodbyes.

What followed I never expected. The church was packed with mourners, true mourners who were saying goodbye to a true man, and a true Christian. The Priest delivered his sermon and after the mass, we left for the cemetery. I figured a few of us would get in our cars and follow the hearse to the cemetery after the mass. About 50 cars followed! It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen! The “hearse” was towed by a three-wheel motorcycle, which looked like it should have been pulled by a horse. It had an old west flavor, and I am sure that MMB was thrilled to go in such style. It was like the man himself: stylish, cool, and a lot of special class!

The motorcade stretched for over a mile as we all followed, over 25 miles to MMB’s final resting place. Cars had a hard time trying to figure out how to approach the motorcade to navigate onto the Long Island Expressway! Fortunately, we all knew enough to allow the cars to penetrate the long line so they could enter or get off the road.

When we got to the St. Charles Cemetery, the long convoy that carried love for the man needed every available space and empty roadside to park. The people slowly gathered at the gravesite, and listened in reverence and heart felt sorrow as we all said goodbye.

When the priest had finished his service, MMB’s father-in-law asked for a moment of indulgence and explained that when the family went through MMB’s wallet, after he passed on, they found a piece of paper with some handwriting on it. It was something that MMB carried with him for over 20 years. It truly moved the man to tell us about it, and have it printed on his funeral cards. It read:

“If I die suddenly
Please be glad for me
I will have peace-
Nothing will ever hurt me again,
Be happy for me to have these things.
Just remember that I left
With the hope of leaving
The strength, ability and wish
To be honorable and that you
Never let anyone take
These things away from you.
Be strong and kind
And know I left smiling and happy
And you smile
And be happy too."


And so, we leave MMB in his final resting place, our hearts.

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Friday, June 05, 2009

THE AIRPORT LIMO DIS-SERVICE

In spite of the sadness of MMB (My Man Bill) of the past few days, I was enlisted by his wife, TLC (The Lovely Carole) do her a favor and go to the airport to pick up a relative. It seems she was going to send her Dad, a kindly and funny gentleman, but she didn’t want to go through the hassle of the directions. TLC also told me that her Dad would tag along to find the her sister-in-law who was flying in. “Sure thing” I said and off we went.

Well, grandpa was very amusing on the way down, and we talked about his children and how proud he was of them. He made some jokes about women and marriage, and as we approached the airport, we discussed his hip that was surgically fixed. He asked me to leave him at the curb, and he would meet me there as I parked the car. “No problem” said I, as we stopped at the curb, he got out and I drove to the hourly parking lot.

Parking the car, I walked toward the spot where he was to meet me, but he wasn’t there! I looked up and down the curb, but no grandpa! I entered the terminal, and walked the distance of the arrival section, checking all the carousels at Long Island Mac Arthur Airport, but no grandpa! I kept hearing the words of the airport namesake; “I shall return!” I hoped so. I looked some more, up and down the arrivals section and decided to go to the core of the building. I thought, “Oh my God! I lost Carole’s father! She asked me to do her a simple favor, and I lost her father! To my relief, there sat Grandpa, with some lovely lady he managed to induce into talking! He invited me to sit as he chatted it up with the woman, who by the way was enraptured by his charm! Since the plane had arrived, we decided to look for Carole's sister-in-law. But could we find her? No. Back to the arrivals section we went. Up and down, and back again. I glanced out the window and notice a woman standing at the curb; a worried look on her face and figured that had to be her. I motion to grandpa and out I go to the woman. Sure enough, it WAS her!

At the funeral parlor that evening, TLC asked me to go once again to the airport to pick up her brother and nephew. Once again, I assured her that it was no problem, but told her to keep her dad at home; I would carry a sign, since I had never met her brother or nephew.

To the airport I go. I park the car and head for the arrivals section, and immediately check the status of the flight. It is ten minutes early and the tote board says the flight is on time. After ten minutes, I check again and the board says the plane is still on time. There are two people standing next to me, and I figure they are departing and are checking the departures end of the tote board. After another ten minutes, the board says the plane has arrived and after a few more minutes, says the carousel is #4. Great! I go to where the passengers would be arriving and now hold up a sign with TLC’s last name on it. No arrivals, and #4 Carousel is void of people and activity. I wait some more, still nothing, and I notice the same people roaming the airport. This young fellow comes up to me, and holding his cell phone says: “I found him!” (Ever notice how more and more the people are young!)

The airport never properly updated the arrival and departure board. Their flight was ten minutes early!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

MY SUCCESS!


I have discovered the secret to success. You wonder; “WOW! Will he share it with me?” That my dear reader is a resounding: “YES!” The secret lies in lying! That is correct, lying!

For years, my Dad struggled to get a good lawn under his feet, and the best he ever got was mushrooms! When I would point them out, he would stray from the topic at hand, and tell me that all the ‘old’ Italian women knew how to pick the good mushrooms from the poisonous types. He could have taken it a little further and said that the mushrooms were a harbinger of a great lawn. But, no, instead he left the subject up in the air!

So, following the same tried, true conditions for starting a lawn, for the first few years, I too, commented to #1 Son about the old Italian ladies that knew the difference. Then one year, while depositing some seeds the had blown off a neighbor’s replanted lawn, I looked at the assortment of crab grass and lumps of lawn, and said: “THIS, is not my lawn!” in which I turned on my heels and retreated to the comfort of my easy chair, and slept the morning away. Then one day, LO and behold, (I still don’t know what that means or why I use it), there in front of me stood a lush, green lawn! Of course, I panicked, and worried that I had slept in someone else’s house. This would look bad in the police report, and TLW (wouldn’t be too happy either!

I looked down at the lawn and proclaimed: “THIS, is not my lawn!” The next few days that followed, the lawn was getting greener and lusher looking. Once again, I bellowed: “THIS, is not my lawn!”

The lawn believed it! It started to grow at a record pace, greener and taller! The lawn crew would come, mow and the next hour later, even if the crew mowed in Spanish or English, the lawn grew, once again greener and taller, because it thinks it’s someone else’s lawn!

As far as mushrooms go, there are none. No mushrooms! Oh, I looked, high and low, and no mushrooms.

So every morning, when I step out to go somewhere, I pretend not to look at the lawn. After all, why would I, “THIS, is not my lawn!”

So if you come to my house, watch where you step, it could be someone else’s lawn!

Please remember all those that need our prayers, especially my brother-in-law, John.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

GOD, HELP ME!

It seems whenever we get company, TLW (The Little Woman) gets ambitious. That is, she finds the strength to make me busy. I am a man of piece. A piece of cake, maybe a piece of chicken, even a nice piece of candy, and I am happy. TLW likes to give me a piece of a mop, and a piece of a dishrag or duster, and of courses a piece of her mind.

#1 Son is arriving soon, and that means we have to make room for her baby. That also means a piece of the house has to be made ready! This all started many years ago when we went to Smithtown General Hospital to pick him out. There were a number of baby names available, but we choose Anthony. I wanted to name him Wahoo, after the NY Jets linebacker, Wahoo Mc Daniel. For some reason, TLW didn’t care for it, so we decided on ‘Anthony’. We felt ‘Anthony’ went well with the last name we had! The car, and the house we were staying at, at the time were all made ready for “Little Tony”, or #1 Son. Besides, ‘Anthony’ was what they used in the warranty. So a piece of the house had to be made ready.

TLW suffers from ‘Early Morning Madness” a disease that she inherited from her mother. This affliction only occurs when we are having overnight guests! It struck once already this year with the arrival of her family, (complete with temporary furloughs granted by wardens) their parakeets, a voodoo doll and an Irish setter that bayed at the moon before 5:00 AM on Tuesdays! This time, #1 son is bringing a friend home, so once again the affliction has struck! I’ve tried medications, sedatives, and finally had to go back on Jack Daniels Manhattans, until it passes. I don’t know WHAT to give her.

At the stroke of 1:00 AM, TLW arises, like a phoenix from instead of ashes, blankets! It takes her a few moments to rise, since the blanket coverage is so heavy, and it takes her two hands to push them off enough to kick off the rests. Lying semi-conscious on the stripped down bed, I watch as she begins her day. She then proceeds to clean the bathrooms, upstairs and down, the windows, the floors, a load of wash and two cars, and this at a neighbor’s house! She then proceeds to awaken the local rooster from his slumber at the Tzeszdieskiski potato farm! (Nice Polish people that give me free potatoes!)

Like her Mom, whenever she can’t sleep, she cleans the house! The thought of cleaning a house would make me sleepy, at any hour! Me, although I don’t nap, do rest my eyes. TLW learned to rise at the crack of 1:00 AM to do housework, from her Mom; I learned to rest my eyes at the crack of housework, from my Dad. I like my Dad’s traits better.

Please remember my brother-in law, John, and all those that need our prayers.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

AS THE SUN RISES

Sunday’s shock is not over for anyone around here! TLW (The Little Woman) and I, both are still trying to understand what has happened. MMB (My Man Bill) as of this morning has still died of unknown causes. Hopefully by the end of the day, we will know more.

Sunday was an eye-opener. I saw the hood come together for a special person. When he left us, MMB left a better neighborhood than when he found it. He made it better, and it showed. I saw the sadness and concern, and I saw the rallying to join up and help. I saw the wonderful sweet women that stayed with Carole throughout. The help they gave, the concern for the children. It made me proud of them, and I think they are probably the best there is in any hood. I could single out a few, like Alyson and Monica, and TLW, all giving all day long!

There was Carole’s boss, who took over for Carole, handling difficult details, and I saw her officemates, friends that stood by her, and comforted her. Nice people all. Old friends from old neighborhoods, tears in their eyes, hugs and comforting words were imparted on Carole and her children. I saw one woman, holding MMB’s daughter. Christina’s round little face in this wonderful woman’s hands, a smile suddenly crossing the little girl’s lips.

Most of all: there was MMB and Carole’s son, Bill, who greeted TLW and me. He was strong, smart and comforting to us, in his time of grief! He is his Dad, and his Mom, all rolled up into one. Bill was no 16 year-old as he told us how he was dealing with this sadness. How he understood how his Mom and sister were handling it. What he would do, and what he expected.

Thank you all for your sentiment in MMB and his family’s behalf. Like my neighbors, I am proud of you, too.

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including my brother-in-law, John.

Monday, June 01, 2009

WHEN THE SUN SETS

TLW (The Little Woman) and I sat in the diner, having our usual Sunday morning breakfast. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out my cell phone, and turned it on. I seldom do this one act. I explained to TLW that I would leave it on in case the Macaroni Man called about today’s game. Not five minutes later, it rang, the restaurant was noisy, I was getting irritated, and little rug rats were scurrying up and down the aisles, annoying me.

I answered the phone, but instead of hearing the Macaroni man, it was Rich my good neighbor across the street. He informed me that MMB (My Man Bill) had passed away early in the morning!

What should be considered a warm, sunny beautiful day, seemed cold, dark and sad! It seems a piece of the neighborhood, a good piece, had somehow been stolen from me.

My first thoughts were of his family, his beautiful wife and his two beautiful children. My heart is aching for a little girl named Christina, who lives next door to me. A child who loves her dad, who was taking it very hard that her Dad was sick. And now a child who just realized one of her greatest fears! This young lady would never dance with her Dad on her wedding day. A child thrust into adulthood, yet will cry the tears of a child for her lost Dad.

I thought of MMB’s son, Billy, a tall handsome guy, just like his Dad. A boy approaching and crossing the threshold of manhood, who would have to do it alone, without his dad’s guidance. A young man who would find his achievements and wonder how proud his dad would feel.

I thought of Carole, a wonderful woman who does all she can for a guest in her home. Carole’s home is constantly open, and a place for a friend or stranger. Her home, the little paradise that she and her husband shared, the place of memories and dreams was changed forever. The only thing open wider is her heart.

But Bill lives on! He more than anyone I know or knew, had the most Christian of values. He didn’t shroud himself in self-righteousness. I don’t think he was particularly religious, but Bill did more than most churchgoers. He made it a practice to give. He gave of himself, when help was needed. But no one asked! If you needed and did ask, he gave you more than you needed.

In all my years of life, I have never been more fortunate than when I first met Bill! It was a cold wintry late fall day. I was in my back yard, up to my knees in fallen leaves, raking away. Suddenly there was a knock on my gate door. I opened it, and there stood what looked like St, Christopher, on one of those medals they handed out in Catholic School! If you are familiar with it, it shows St. Christopher with the baby Jesus on his shoulders, wading across a ragging river. Instead, it was MMB and his little son Billy. Little Billy wore a Mets cap, and his Dad reached out his hand to shake mine. I wonder how anything could be truer! Since I’ve known him, he has helped more than one across a ragging river, doing so as he carried us all, in his heart.

I will miss MMB, as will TLW. We will look after that beautiful family as long as they live there. Maybe somehow, in some small way, I can pay him back.

There were a number of grown men at his home yesterday, paying their condolences to his widow. I have a new respect and deep fondness for them. They were the ones that openly cried for that wonderful man, My Man Bill.


And so as the sun sets, for the first time without the secure knowledge that Bill is there, the world is consoled by the knowledge that he left a legacy of love and humanity, and a respect that few men could ever achieve.

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, my brother-in-law, John.