DelBloggolo

Thursday, December 31, 2009

ONE FOR THE BOOKS


So I must say: “Goodbye” to 2009, and hope that the world is in better shape in 2010. I know that a lot of good has come from this year, and a lot of not so good. I will concentrate on the good, and not lose sight of the not so good.

This year brought me back to my teens, my years in high school, and the wonderful classmates I had. Many are out there prospering, with grandchildren, careers and retirement. Some of us had tragedies, loses of spouses and children through the years and lose of ourselves. But the spirit lives on. Good for them.

It was a year of challenge for me, creating a presentation while on the fly, a last minute creation for my daughter’s agency, for their big fundraiser. Thanks to all the people who helped, it was a success! Maybe an overwhelming success, because of them.

2009, was a reconnect with the church in that I am back to organizing and helping it make funds for survival. That takes me back to the “Confrateens” and organization I was asked to organize and run in my teens. We had dances, and our biggest was the “Battle of the Bands. I invited three bands to come to St. Joseph the Worker Church and play: it was a great success!

Then there is my family. My family is large, it consists of TLW (The Little Woman), my daughter Ellen, my boys #’s 1 and 2, and my Mom, sisters and in-laws, and all my nieces and nephews. All these wonderful people ARE my family, and I am proud of them. There is no amount of money I can place to give you an idea of their value to me. There is no measurement that can give it justice.

Then there are all the new friends I’ve made, and some of the old friends. There is Corrine and Doug, from the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Co., there is The Whinery, Laura, who has a great outlook on what is important in life, and who has a great blog I follow: http://lbeeler.blogspot.com/ a great read, and her old man Jim: http://spaldeendreams.blogspot.com/. Of course I have to mention Pat and Bill, and Seth and JoEllen, and Lois, (Toots II), all products from the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Co.

But one friend I must mention: is YOU! Thank you for reading. It makes me happy to write this blogue everyday, and when I get a comment, it raises my spirits to a new level. I love hearing from you all, as I write for you all, or as my buddy in Texas, Martha says: Y’all.

So, Y’ALL have a great new year. Make it safe, fun, joyous and profitable both in love and money. THAT I wish for you, and I hope you get it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

IT’S OVER WHEN THE FAT MAN MOANS


After an evening of Christmas Eve fish, and Christmas Day dinner, it is hard to imagine that there is New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day dinner to face.

I personally am not planning to eat again until my high school reunion, in May. The reunion will see me eat just a little bit. Well, maybe a little bit, and then maybe just to live, nothing else.

Desserts will not be eaten at all, just a little salad and a small sampling of the main course. What, you don’t think so? Well, maybe you are right, but it sure feels like it right now, the morning after Christmas Day.

I must say, there are too many great cooks in the family, and they all sprout their stuff! But let’s face it, I need to get back to my boyish figure, sleek and svelte, as you all know me. TLW (The Little Woman) has a prime rib ready for New Year’s Day, and for New Year’s Eve, it will be at a party in the hood. Chinese food will be the fare at the party, so I may taste a little there, but not much. Maybe that General Tsao’s chicken I love so much, perhaps some dumplings and wanton soup, with some noodles in it, but not too much. Of course since TLW is going to all that trouble of cooking New Year’s Day,I’ll make another exception, for her sake.

Well, I best be going, all this talk of food is making me hungry! I wonder if there is any leftover’s in the frig?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

THEY GET OLDER, BUT I KEEP AGING!

Now cut that out!

I know that when my kids get older, it is like a ring in the trunk of a tree, for me. I get another rung: he gets another year. #2 Son, Michael has reached his 22nd year, and looks terrific for his age.

When I first met the kid, the doctor held him up, and he immediately pissed over his mother’s birthing table and unto my shoes. If I may quote him: “I’ve been pissing my father off, ever since!”

#2 Son can teach us all a lesson about life, experience it to the fullest. Don’t take “No” for an answer if there is the slightest hope of a “Yes”!

I must admit, he has come a long way in 22 years, crossing over from childhood to manhood. He is a very handsome young man, gets his looks from his mother, and he has my crazy sense of humor. His mother couldn’t get him to shake that. When you see #2 Son in public, he is usually escorted by a young lady or two. If you look at him, you might think: “Just a good looking kid”, but he fools you when he gets serious, and discusses life! He makes me proud. He was a welcomed gift from God, after my son Joseph passed away so many long years ago. He helped ease that pain, and gave us a run for our money in the meantime. He is a very compassionate individual, who cares for all kinds of people, no matter what color religion or politic. I’m proud of him.

Michael, keep all your hair, and all the girlfriends you can. But in the end, try to find someone like your mom.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKE!

Monday, December 28, 2009

YOU JUST CAN’T COMPARE


They say marriage is a matter of compatibility. TLW (The Little Woman) and me have been comparing compatibilities since 1971! She says she is more compatible than I am. All the good things that make us compatible are from her side of the equation, while all the bad things are from my side.

This makes sense, since she wouldn’t lie to me.

For instance, we both come from large families, she has three siblings and I have four. However, she is Irish, and I ruined it by being Italian. Need more references? She went to high school, so did I, except she is smarter since she went to Seton Hall and I went to Bellport High School. Once again, I screwed it up.

We both worked for our fathers, however, she helped sell shoes, and I help to sell children’s play clothes. Again, I didn’t do it quite right, according to her. (She wouldn’t lie.)

She has an Aunt Mary, I have an Aunt Marietta, and I don’t think that one was my fault too much. She likes murder mysteries and a lot of forensic evidence. Me, I can do without lungs, brain tissue and bone: instead give me a good steak on the bone with the Food Channel.

She is a shopper, will shop for anything from a container of milk to a whole outfit. Me, I like to shop for a good pepperoni, with a matching set of provolone.

She claims when she grew up, they didn’t let or weren’t allowed to let their emotions go, while my family and I emote, at a moments notice, or the drop of a soufflé.

When it comes to raising children, we both agree, they better listen to her. I am a bad influence on my kids! I tend to swear a lot when I get mad, angry or confused, while she just simmers inside. (Emoting, once again) I once swore for two minutes in English, switched to Italian, (Thanks Dad) when I realized the children were listening and taking notes, then back to English when TLW hustled them out of the house and into the car! Why was I swearing? Well, I was under the sink, repairing a tap with a basin wrench, and banged my elbow against a pipe, so hard it left a cut and bruised for a week, at least!

Our compatibility ends when it comes to entertainment. She does not find much funny, when it is vulgar, while I laugh out loud. This embarrasses her if we are in mixed company or a public place.

If we go out to dinner, I’m sure she is holding her breath wondering if “He is going over the top tonight?” Actually, she is a lot like my Mom, another one of those silent wonders. It’s funny how children worry about parents embarrassing them in front of their friends, and wives worrying about their husbands.

Who do husbands worry about?

I could go on, but you understand, I think.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

SIBERIA HAS NOTHING ON HOLBROOK!


No it doesn’t! The wind is so biting, it left teeth marks on my face, (A face only a mother could love), the cold penetrated by double layer sweat shirts and coat, causing me to not want to move!

The labor was hard, and punishing. The driveway was piled high with snow, and the wind pushed it evenly around the openness of the front yard. I couldn’t find gloves from last year, as I went inside after surveying the situation. Entering the garage, I took out the power snow shovel, trying not to move too quickly, because the chill worked my boyish figure, leaving a chill.

As I opened the garage door, I was greeted with a wall of snow, about two feet high! I sighed and prepared for the worst. #2 Son was busy shoveling a losing battle, and I felt bad for him that the brunt of the work was falling on him.

Suddenly, in my despair, I look up, and there stands MMB Jr. (My Man Bill, Junior), a big snow blower, and a bigger smile on his face! The Marines, Cavalry, have landed! God bless America!

Like his old man used to do, he made quick work of the situation, relieving a lot of anxiety and hard work. No one asked him to do it, he just went on a mission of kindness, and all I could see and feel once again was MMB.

Bill, I know you are up there, where you belong. It’s a shame you left so soon, but at least you are home, and you gave a great gift to your son, yourself.

Thanks and Merry Christmas up there.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

GIVING HIS HEART


If you live on Long Island, you’ve read about it, and if you don’t, you may have read about it. In either case: it merits mention once again here on DelBloggolo.

There was a young man in the Green Beret who was killed in Afghanistan, while on duty in a helicopter. No, he wasn’t killed by a goat loving rag head, but in a helicopter crash during a drug interdiction mission. The Army denies Keith Bishop a medal, because his death is not battle related. It is a very cut and dried policy the Army has.

The torment that Keith’s mom and family have can’t be described by this blogger. But a man, another hero from a past war, a brother so to speak has stepped forward and given up HIS Purple Heart to the Bishop family. The medal was enclosed in the casket of Keith Bishop on November 9th.



The hero I mention is named: Bruce Brenner. Bruce Brenner was a Viet Nam veteran, who was wounded near the Cambodian border in 1970. Mr. Brenner decided that it was too much for Keith Bishop’s mother to be denied the Purple Heart, especially in the circumstances prevailing.

Bruce Brenner is a hero once again. He is the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1469, in Huntington, NY. What he did was the Army’s job, what he did was our job as an American people, for our sons and daughters. Mr. Brenner gave up something out of duty to a fellow soldier, duty to his country, and recognition of a brother in arms. This man is an example of what we send out to war, as is Keith Bishop.

Today, December 21, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is awarding Bruce Brenner a medal, and is urging the Army to reconsider its policy regarding Keith Bishop.

“It was a pleasure for me to do it. It was a gift from one soldier to another.” Those words are Bruce Brenner’s.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY POLISH BROTHER-IN-LAW, JOHN!

Friday, December 25, 2009

WHAT I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS


It’s time for me to be selfish! Here is what I need for Christmas, and I want it NOW!

I want my beautiful wife to live for a long time, so I never miss her wise consul, her grace and elegance, (even when she sneezes loudly), or her beautiful face.

I want my son’s to grow not only mentally, but: spiritually, to have peace in their lives, and to honor their Mother and look after their sister after I leave this life. I want them to find happiness when they marry and leave me with a legacy of grandchildren.

I want my beautiful daughter Ellen to continue to laugh, smile and light up my life. She should live to at least 100, and everyday of her life should improve.

I want for all my friends to have a little peace in their lives. I want them not to want, grieve or lose anything that is of personal value in their hearts.

I want for my sisters and their families to prosper in peace, to find cures where cures are needed, and to spread that happiness that I get from seeing them.

Likewise, I need my wife’s family to similarly have peace and prosperity, to stay healthy and continue to be who they are.

I want my Mom, to continue doing her charitable work in the hospital she volunteers at: at Brookhaven Memorial. I want her friendship with Henry to last forever.

I need to see the people I love: the developmentally disabled and those that care for them find only success, and happiness. That the work, which the staff does at AHRC Suffolk Chapter: is fruitful and continues.

I need for the children of this world to stop suffering, not be abused, and live in complete happiness.

I need for all the sickness and affliction that consumes many of us, to dissipate and never appear, especially in children.

I want to continue the friendships I’ve cultivated, renewed, and found, to continue in my lifetime. They should all find peace and happiness. I need that.

I want all my readers to never be disappointed in what I have to say, to enjoy reading, and to continue reading.

I want all my neighbors to see the joy I see in having them nearby, good people all, like my family and friends.

And for you dear readers: I want peace, happiness and health forever.

If I can get these wants, then I can sit down in peace, never wanting, never needing, never hungry for more.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

THAT ONE TIME OF THE YEAR


It is only one time, and I wait for it 364 days a year. It is Christmas Eve, the special day that defines who I am and where I come from. It is the day that I spend laughing, eating and enjoying. I enjoy not only the food, but: the people that gather that evening before Christmas and celebrate life.

It seems to be almost magical, when I enter my sister’s home, smelling the fish sauce made from lobster, the different fish dishes assembled, and I bring my stuffed shrimp with crab meat. Usually, at least three of my four beautiful sisters are present, but not always. Family commitments sometimes take one or two of them away. Funny how in spite of that, they seem to be there!

Mom is now 91, and started the whole tradition when my grandmother could no longer carry it on. Dad loved the holiday, and was always there in his plaid shirt, making it feel good to be home again.

Sometimes we’d have guests. Maybe a future in-law, maybe a friend from school or work, maybe it was a stranger. Anyone was welcomed, and we were always happy to make him or her join in the laughter and good times.

I know that someday, this tradition may die away. We may no longer for whatever reason, be able to celebrate Christmas Eve as we do, but the memories will linger.

I hope your Christmas Eve is filled with only good memories, Merry Christmas from: TLW (The Little Woman), my daughter Ellen, #1 Son Anthony and #2 Son Michael, and me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

HOLY GEEZ!



I woke up this morning in the dark, and after my shower, looked out the window. All I could see was a faded, grayish landscape. Nothing looked familiar from my bedroom window. Nothing was alive out there.

After I finished my coffee, there was some daylight, enough to make me shocked. About 20 to 24 inches had fallen in wind driven snow. With the Christmas decorations in the neighborhood, and in my house, everywhere I looked, looked like a Christmas card!

The TV newscasters are gleefully reporting the amounts, (The younger ones) or warning us to stay off the roads. (The older ones)

They weather man is predicting an additional two hours of snowing yet!

Who needs it? I think I’ll find a young newscaster and slap her silly, and back into reality! After that public service, I’ll go back to bed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I BETTER GO!



The crowded dance floor was stilled as the announcement was made, “SANTA IS HERE!” The crowd of adults erupted in loud applause, as Santa stepped out from behind a closet door. Waving and HO-HO-HOING, he made his way throught the 400 or so developmentally disabled adults, all who seemed intent on shaking his hand, hugging and holding him. It was indeed a warm crowd.

The boy scouts circulated the floor, handing out sandwiches and drinks, and young teenage girls volunteered their time as well.

Santa finally made it to his destination across the dance floor, and sat in his chair, awaiting the first of his admirers. As the evening wore on, the music getting louder, and the crowd more excited, Santa was getting tired, it seemed the line would never end. The greeting was sincere and happy, but the body was getting worn out!

“Did I tell you what I want for Christmas Santa?” “Hey Santa, how ya doin?” “Santa, take our picture together, he’s my man!” And so the evening went.

Finally the last of the dancers had their picture taken, and Santa was ready to leave. As he did, an announcement was made: “Say goodnight to Santa.” The crowd of adoring admirers pressed against Santa, reaching out, grabbing and holding Santa as he slowly waded through the enthusiastic crowd. As he was near his destination (That closet), one young lady had a death grip on Santa. “Don’t leave Santa!” she cried. Santa stopped and spoke with her. “Santa has to leave.” “WHY?” “I better go, Dancer and Donner and Blitzen and Splitzen and Zitzen are all on the roof right now, pooping, I have to clean up the mess!” “EWWW, you better leave Santa!”

Monday, December 21, 2009

LET THE SEASON BEGIN




Two nights ago I played Santa in a home for developmentally disabled adults. It was my first foray into a group home as Santa, and I enjoyed myself. The residents love Santa, and he loved them back. Each person was given a gift. Santa got the biggest gift of all: the enjoyment of seeing them happy.

Actually, the agency that sponsors these homes and supports these wonderful people is the real Santa. The agency is of course: AHRC Suffolk Chapter, http://www.ahrcsuffolk.org based in Bohemia, NY. It fell to me to go out and give the spirit of giving to those in need. These are my people: humble, innocent and loving. In the course of normal events, they care not who you are or what you are, as long as you can see them, and acknowledge their being. I see their souls in their eyes and there is a light that shines behind those eyes, fueled from the goodness of their hearts.

Tonight, I plan to go off to play Santa once more, this time at a dance for all the group homes within the organization. Some 400 residents will be present, will have their picture taken with Santa, and will walk away happy, seeing him. It is not always a happy moment for Santa! Sometimes the residents don’t ask for anything for themselves. Sometimes there is urgency in their voices as they ask for help in making their mother or father feel better, to get them out of their sick beds in the hospital! They ask Santa to promise to make them better, to make them live. How does Santa do that?

I spite of the hard requests being made of Santa, I would not miss this night for all the money in the world. This is the beginning of Christmas for me. So as I leave the dance tonight, I will think to myself: “Let the season begin.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY POLISH BROTHER-IN-LAW: TOM! Tom is the author of the famous Polish ditty: “Buy Me A Pork Chop!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

IT DOESN’T COMPUTE!


I never thought that I would become so dependant on a computer! I am presently using TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) laptop to write this because my G5 Mac is in the repair shop. I have a lot of stuff I need to do, and I am hand tied by the lack of the files I need.

I used to survive each day without such a thing as a computer, and now I feel naked and unsure. (Maybe, if I put on some clothing, I won’t feel that way.)

So at the mercy of the technicians, I humbly go to see what they can do for my babies. I have a laptop I gave them to work on also. These guys are acting like they work for the oncology department at North Shore University Hospital.

Me: When will I get my computer back do you think?
Them: Well, as you may know, being it is a Mac, we need to do extensive diagnostic testing. This procedure usually takes a while, then, once we locate the problem, we need to see if we can fix it, if we can, do we have the necessary parts? If not, we need to order them, which will take a few days, weeks, or even years! You understand how those things go.”

Actually, no I don’t. I’ve never held anyone up before without a gun, but I’ll try to understand.

It gets ridiculous, in that I’ve partnered my life with a piece of electronics! I guess it is a lot like not having a car or TV suddenly. I can send TLW off to visit her family, but not my computer. Besides, the computer doesn’t make observations about me, out loud.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

GOD, HE’S RICH!



Not even God is that rich! Who? My plumber! He owns a boat, and his clothing is all coordinated. He has a sweatshirt with his logo on it, complete with logotype. When he peeled it off because he was too hot, he has a t-shirt under that with the same graphics. I imagine the underwear is the same.

He has an assistant, who I’m sure is tattooed with the logo on his tuckis, and his tools must be all marked with it too.

He speaks about his boat, what he is spending on it, how his wife wants it re-decorated, along with the house, and the truck he drives is not too shabby either.

He came to the house to fix the kitchen sink, surveyed the situation, said he would be; “Right back” as he went off for a couple of parts and a visit to the travel agency.

His cell phone is constantly ringing, drawing him away from his assistant, who is doing all the work, while he fields calls from his brokers.

He wrote out the bill, taking another break to up the reservations to first class on his flight with his travel agent. (His original estimate was a little low.)

Meanwhile my dog is growling, she is a great watchdog, but what good does it do if I let in all the crooks?

Friday, December 18, 2009

SOMETIMES I’M NOT THAT BUSY.


Every now and then I get an email from the crooks over in Nigeria. We have been carrying on correspondence for quite a while. They know me as Algonquin J. Calhoun. If you remember an old Amos ‘N Andy show back in the 50’s and 60’s, Algonquin J. Calhoun was a crooked lawyer.

The morons I deal with think A.J.C. is a real person, and I try to maintain the myth. This is the most recent correspondence I received, and my reply. Notice the spelling and grammar, let alone the professionalism.

“Dear Algonquin J. Calhoun,
Consequent upon the fact that our fund has been -re-approved based on my effort and series of application for extension of date,please be advised, that it will be cancelled after this final deadline issued by the government which will expire on the 15th because of the X-Mass holiday,i urge you to expedte action and assist with the little fee part payment to avoid the cancellation.
Remember,to re-send your banking details for authentication/validation to avoid wrong transfer of fund and i equally awaits your fee details for my completion of the balance and release of our fund directly into your account without stoppage since international clearance documents has been secured. Please, note that as soon as we pay this last fee,our fund must be wired directly into your account without any delay or hidden fee as guaranteed by the government irrevocably.

Please, call me on phone: 234-7037375079.
Regards,
Mr. Stanley Lawson.”

My reply:

“Dear Mr. Lawson,
You have my authorization to take the fee and a small 1% commission for yourself, from the funds being transferred.
A. J. Calhoun”

You notice, I don't give them the information, just frustration. They keep trying, and I keep stringing them along!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

LET”S GET REAL


I can’t remember how many times, my doctor, Dr. Hauer, has worked to keep me alive. He even had a hand in saving my life by sending me to a cardiologist. Dr. Farr, my cardiologist, I think of what he did for me to keep me alive. There is Dr, Hoffman, my dentist, who always took the best care of my teeth, and I surely miss him.

There is my best friend and I think of him as a brother: Phil. When our children were ill or one of them had died, we were always there for each other. We keep in touch, even though he lives on Staten Island and I live on Long Island.

I have other friends somewhat like Phil that fit in a category. There are board members like my buddy Ken Walker, compassionate, dedicated to good works, and a peaceful good man.

There are countless other doctors, teachers, and policemen, soldiers and nurses, neighbors, all doing only wonderful, good things with their lives, helping others. They seek what I seek, peace and the ability to honor my God, as I see fit, without discrimination or fear.

All I mention happen to be Jewish, not necessarily practicing Jews, but they are Jewish. They laugh, and cause me to laugh, they sing and dance, and can make me sing and dance. I can’t imagine impeding their ability and right to live and worship in this country.

Lately there seems to be a rash of anti-Semitism. It has occurred right in my own community, and it sickens me. I know the culprits are young, but they learn it from somewhere, someone, somehow. It is right up there with the heroin epidemic that is sweeping the Island. They have been targets for years and years. Centuries of bigotry, hate, discrimination and are the usual scapegoats for others failures. Yet, they are the ones that rose above the rancor, stand tall as humanitarians, and continue to exude the so-called Christian spirit.

It is funny, if we are to desecrate religions, maybe we should be desecrating our own, the outgrowth of Judaism for the most part, and in particular, the biggest Jew of them all, Jesus. Is it not Judeo-Christian values we follow? Is not the Old Testament that predates the New Testament?

As I say often to myself, would I question a man’s religion, color or politics if my life were in his hands?

Let’s stop the madness. Let’s get real. None of us is better suited in this life than anyone else. We all live and die. This is the season of both Hanukah and Christmas. Peace!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

IN MY DREAMS


There are few dreams I can remember, but when I do, they are unique and maybe telling.

Every year at this time, I am asked to play Santa, as you know by now. This year is a little different, in that I get to play Santa twice. Once as I usually do, at a dance for people with developmental disabilities, and now, for the first time, at one of their homes! Fran, a fellow board member, who originally got me started, asked me if I would play Santa at her daughter’s home, and I agreed.

Once after a heart by-pass, I completely forgot to play Santa, and I felt very bad about it. Now I keep reminding myself about the scheduled date. This year, with two dates scheduled in the same week, I am constantly thinking about.

Last evening, I had a dream. The dream was about my playing Santa. In the dream, I arrive at this location where I’m supposed to be for the picture taking with Santa. I notice Fran leaving, and I see her and ask: “Fran, is today the day I’m supposed to play Santa?”
Fran passes me, her eyes raised heavenward, and her head shaking ‘no’, as if
disappointed.

As I enter the area where the people are getting their picture taken, one is sitting, and next to him is a lady holding up a sign that reads: “SANTA”!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

HOW HARD IS IT?



Christmas that is.

Before I begin the ranting, let me extend to my baby sister Fran, a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! The old girl is now older than me! She has been slowly gaining on me in years, and this year she finally passed me!

This Christmas thing is wearing me out. Yesterday afternoon, I spent the whole time writing and addressing and stamping envelops for Christmas and Holiday cards! That is a lot of work. Most of you when you get a card read it quickly and put it aside. Christmas is a physical thing, requiring great energy, time and money. After you open the card, my mouth is still dry from the licking of the flaps on the envelopes from the days before!

I store all my decorations on a top shelf in my garage. I do this because I don’t like me, never have, and never will. This means risking life and limb to grab a wobbly ladder, and grab huge overstuffed heavy boxes, which sit over my head. They are long and awkward. The ladder shakes and my legs become wobbly, testing my patience and Italian swear words.

Then there is that wreath, you know, the one that goes outside, in the freezing cold. The one that looks more worn every year. Again, get the ladder, open it up and climb, and while I climb, the front legs of the ladder sink about three inches into the ground, threatening to flip me into my large dining room window, and onto the dining room table.

Once my fingers get back the circulation, back into the garage for more torture, taking out the Christmas tree. For all you politically correct wussies, I’m using the word ‘Christmas!’ That’s ‘C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S’, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! So there. No ‘Holiday”-Christmas.

We have gone over the years from a real tree to one that is artificial, and now one that has the lights on all the time, even in the box, stored. Whoever came up with this idea was or is a genius. I HATE PUTTING UP THE TREE, TRYING TO GET THE #&64ING LIGHTS TO ALL WORK, THEN BLINK!

TLW (The Little Woman) comes home every year and asks: “Why aren’t all the lights blinking?” Holding my sore back, I suggest she blink her eyes real fast.

Every year we have thousands of little items that need to be put in some kind of imaginative way. I used to care, did care, don’t care, anymore!

The cards we get have to be displayed. I don’t know why, but someone wrote a book on Christmas cards, and they have to be displayed. I would like to display them in the drawer.

Last year I suggested that I put all the decorations in a box outside my front door, so when someone comes in, they can pick one and stick it wherever they wish, (without disturbing me).
After Christmas, if they happen to be leaving my house, they can unstick the item and drop it into the box on their way out.

There is baking, cooking, trying to be merry, and being nice. C’mon folks, you know me, why should I phony it up? There is shopping and wrapping presents, that is another archaic tradition from the law books of Christmas. Why can’t you leave it in the bag you carried it home in from the store?

Actually, the only holiday I like is Christmas Eve. (Holiday Eve for you politically correct sissies). That is a real family day. I see my family, we have a nice Italian feast, and no one can talk because we are all too full!

But hey, Merry Christmas, anyway, I still love you all!

Monday, December 14, 2009

THE TIMES THEY ARE ACHANGING!




You read about it last September, when ‘Guiding Light’ went off the air after 70 years, and now, ‘As The Stomach Turns’ will cease to be soon. It got me to thinking how much things have changed over the years. The soap operas are but only one measure of what is popular in American culture today, and over the years. Other changes have occurred and the turnover is incredible!

When I went to high school, as you entered the building, there was no one to stop you: there existed no system of detection to check for weapons. The only weapon you carried was your brains: your good sense of what is right and wrong. You could leave your home and not lock the doors for the most part, there were few ‘home invasions’ and parents and teachers were still respected.

Having a part-time job was a privilege: you paid for your own higher education, and worried about old people. All this was expected of us, but today if you do that and you are considered either a “nice guy” or strange.

Church played a bigger role in our lives in those days. Priests were revered, and nuns and brothers respected. Today, some of the sad truths that have come out make them less than revered. That goes equally for ministers and rabbis.

Family was the base of our support. Mom and dad, sisters and brothers, we all looked out for each other. Grandparents were held in high esteem, mostly because they came to this country not able to speak the language. They were true pioneers, brave souls, looking to better not only their lives, but the lives of their future children, and someday, grandchildren. Speaking of family, we all lived within walking distance of each other, until the “Burbs’ became popular. Then out to Staten and Long Islands. Now, it is Florida, or the Carolinas.

In those days, you could go a whole day without being in touch with someone, not answering the phone. Now, with text messaging, cell phones and computers, it is INSTANT gratification. The ‘me’ generation is leading the way, and the baby boomers desperately trying to catch up, or not bothering at all.

None of what I just wrote should suggest that things have gone bad. Some things have, but a lot is good. Today we don’t buy into the latest government edict, we question everything, we don’t all agree. That is good: after all, we can’t build the future unless we let go of the past.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

SUNDAY THE THIRTEENTH



BOO!


Scared you. It’s only Sunday, the thirteenth! Superstitions were part of my childhood, growing up in Brooklyn. I can recall the walk along Stone Avenue before I cut over to MacDougal Street on my way to school, avoiding all the cracks in the sidewalks, because my older sister Tessie (much older) told me: if I did step on a crack, it would brake my mother’s back!

I worked very hard to avoid the cracks, only to realize years later, the only thing cracked was my older sister Tessie! (Much older)

Of course every ballplayer knows that stepping on the first base line was bad luck, meant you would make an error entering the field, or if you stepped on the line leaving the field, you would strike out.

My grandmother had a long hallway that led to her kitchen. The problem was it was a long DARK hallway, with a right then left turn on the way. She had an abandoned bedroom in the back of the house, where no one slept, but where she kept a picture of a dead person in a coffin. The picture was sent from Italy, and she propped it up, with a red votive candle. There was no window in the room, so the shadow from the lit candle, flickered. It scared the living crapola out of me, being I was seven. If I looked at the picture, I was afraid that the dead person would come and get me! That came from the dream I had, I looked at the picture, and the dead person somehow chased me. It was only a dream, but it stayed with me all these years. That may explain a lot.

Then there was the superstition that if I didn’t do my homework and study, the teacher would ask me the following day the questions I had no answers to. Sometimes it did happen!

Today, it seems every time I pass a church or temple in my car, some idiot does something to make me swear at him. I then realize I swore in front of God’s house, and think: “I’m dead! This is it! God will get me, and if he doesn’t, Jesus will.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

FRIDAY THE 13TH



You all cringe with Friday the 13th coming around, and we all heard about Black Friday, well here is a new one… ‘Red Friday’! The following was sent to me my baby sister Fran, and I think it is well worth the space.

Red Shirt

“If the red shirt thing is new to you, read below how it went for a man....

Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together.
After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.
No, he responded
Heading out I asked?
No. I'm escorting a soldier home.
Going to pick him up?
No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq; I'm taking him home to his family.
The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier’s family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days.
I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, Thank you Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.
Upon landing in Chicago, the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this flight He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign."
Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an American.
So here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do.

Red Fridays.

Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority." We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record-breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing.

Many Americans, like you, all our friends, and me simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -- and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that ... Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women a far, will wear something red.
By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and family, it will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.
The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is. "We need your support and your prayers." Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example, and wear something red every Friday.”

One thing we can’t ever do again as Americans: is sending men and women off to battle, and cursing, discriminating and leaving them with a syndrome, one that cause suicide and death for others, because we have forgotten them. Too many of my classmates came back from that war, plagued with Vietnam Syndrome. Their lives, and the lives of their loved ones were forever changed and in many cases destroyed. I have heard the stories, and I am angered. If you believe in the war or not, the result for those that went to fight, some reluctantly, was and still is, devastating.

Friday, December 11, 2009

THE CHAIRMAN AT WORK?




It may have been a rainy Saturday morning, but the day was productive.

The ladies you see in the photos are part of the Bellport High School Class of 1964 Reunion Committee.

As Ricky Ricardo once said: “Let me splain!” One of them had a camera, and decided I needed to have my picture taken with each of them, an offer I refused to refuse. It was my duty as the chair for historical reasons to record the event for future generations of reunion committees, and besides: transparency is good for preventing blackmail.

Actually. Once you got by all the chatting they do, the laughing, and the story telling, we actually got something done! They work very hard, and great gals and I am happy to work with them. Unfortunately, they are the only ones to step up to the plate to make things happen. The men that were on the last committee, over 20 years ago have all moved away to other states. There are very few classmates of mine in the area!

From 1 pm to 4:30 pm we mapped out the final plans for the reunion, the place, time, menu, where the icebreaker would be held the night before and the music and photography, along with the place settings. It will be a reunion like we have never had before: we even plan a game that sounds like it will be fun. The response has been very good, and we haven’t reached everyone yet!

From left to right top row:
Pam Brin Brin(I even have another if you need it), Carol (Pat) Patanjo, Michelle DeVito (Hey that’s my mouse you got their!) Second row: Kathy Sperakis (From New Jersey or Greece), Judy Fuoco (I got more cousins in East Patchogue than there are people) and Pat (Hot Wheels) Thatcher.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I NEED A BIGGER PLATE!



The Mass was finished, and as I walked with TLW (The Little Woman) out the door, the pastor stood shaking hands and greeting people as they exited. My mind was on my breakfast (1 cannoli) and wanted to just slip out and go eat (1 cannoli), and read the papers when I got home.

As I past the pastor (it is kind of hard to get past anything or anyone these days, let alone a pastor to pass) we shake hands, and then he goes from: “Hi” to “Oh, Joe! I need to talk to you!” I figured I was being excommunicated because of my attention span during his sermon, so I could sleep in on Sundays! But, no, it was not to be.

Fr. Dan: “I fired our Fundraising Chair and I need someone to take it over!”

I searched the way across the street, I looked behind me, I even looked up toward heaven, but he would not let go of my handshake.

I looked him straight in the eye and announced: “OK”

So, from being chair of the golf committee, I am suddenly chair the whole fundraising committee! That is a pretty big job, one that makes me nervous to think about.

Raising money for a non-profit organization is a lot of hard work, imagination and dedication. How did I get the job?

Turns out someone who knows me told the priest all about my past-history: in the fund raising field. As he said: “Michele praised you to the high heavens!”

Being off guard I said that I would have to pay her off for that, and he said:
“I would wait to see how things go for you, before you do that!”

Amen

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

84 CHARING CROSS ROAD…





Is a true story of a transatlantic business correspondence about used books that developed into a close friendship. 84 Charing Cross Road is a 1970 book by Helene Hanff, later made into a stage play, television play and finally a great film, about the twenty-year correspondence between her and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co, antiquarian booksellers located at the given address in London, England. It opens in 1949 and carries to the early 1960’s.

I was fortunate enough to see the movie on TV the other evening, and let me tell you, if you haven’t seen this movie, please do so. It is a wonderful story, and the film version of it was pure gold. Starring: Anne Bancroft as Helene Hanff, Anthony Hopkins as Frank P. Doel and Dame Judith Dench as Nora Doel, three masters at their art, craft this wonderful true story.



Back in 2006, I promised you at the very beginning of this blogue, that periodic reviews would come, and one I am happy to write this.



Having studied filmmaking, and the art of the cinema, this is in my opinion, an art film filled with great acting, surprises and imaginative use of film! A great transition occurs between the actors and the viewers. The tone and setting are well thought out, and depict that feeling of old world values in a changing world.

But don’t take my word for it, see the movie for yourself.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

MR. GEIGER, I PRESUME?

When I started out to organize and bring together classmates for my high school reunion, I was revved up in anticipation of seeing many of them. After all: it had been at least 30 years since I saw them all. All but for the exception of one, my old buddy Ken Geiger, who I had seen about 10 years ago. We happened to connect by chance once again when my car broke down, while working at PCH in Port Washington.

I needed a ride for a few days back and forth to work, and although the company was willing to lend me a car, I felt uncomfortable doing that. By luck, a young lady who worked in another department stepped forward. Since she lived in my neighborhood, it would be easy. As we commuted together, we talked and mention of where I went to high school came up, she said her uncle went to my school, and I discovered it was Ken Geiger!

Reaching for the phone, I called Ken, and we met for lunch a number of times. He worked in New Hyde Park, and I worked in Port Washington, so it was easy enough! Then I left PCH and we lost touch once again. I tried to reach him to no avail.

Fast forward to October of this year, the reunion committee meets at my home and the lovely Carole Patanjo tells me she heard that Ken had passed on. I was saddened, and wished I had kept in touch. Then this past Thanksgiving, my mother sees me and gives me her church bulletin, where there is a memorial mass for a Ken Geiger. Ken was a nice guy, never caused anyone a problem, and was liked by all. We used to shoot pool in my basement after school, and would call each other by our mother’s first name. He was Elsie, and they called me Tessie, because no one knew my mother’s name. They found my aunt listed in the phone book!

Then, out of the blue the wonderful biker and committee member, Pat Thatcher announces on our class blog: http://bhsclassof64.blogspot.com/, that she contacted Ken and will get his address. She then follows that up with a phone message with his email address!

One thing I truly regret is not having kept up with my classmates over the years. When something like what happens with Ken Geiger occurs, you realize the older you get, the harder it will be, especially in some cases.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A CHRISTMAS TRADITION



I would watch few movies, more than once. However, every now and then, especially at Christmas time, I break the rules more than once. One is a British version made back in 1951 called 'A Christmas Carol'. It is THE classic, and I enjoy it like I first saw it. It was read to me as a novel, before Disney took ownership of it as its own. It was by Charles Dickens’ magical pen that made my Christmas every year!

Then there is another, more recent film that I love, it is every boy’s life who grew up in the 1940’s and 1950’s. My good buddy from Brooklyn, Jim wrote on his blog: http://spaldeendreams.blogspot.com/ a great remembrance of the movie. ‘A Christmas Story’ had the audacity to mimic in its title ‘A Christmas Carol’ and succeeded in rising to the level. ‘A Christmas Story’ is truly a classic, one that we discovered by someone else’s generosity, namely my SS-I-L (My Sicilian Sister-in-law) Angela. Angela sent it to us one Christmas on a VCR tape, and we love it, both TLW (The Little Woman) and myself, not to mention #1 Son.

Speaking of which, was very much part of the Christmas tradition in my house. Every Christmas morning, when he was a young gun, in his pj’s and robe, #1 Son would anxiously wait for his sister Ellen to open her presents so he could be next. His long brownish blond hair over his eyes, his face lit brighter than the tree, he tore into each present, and never was disappointed. At least he never showed it. Before he would open each package, I would announce that it was a ‘Betsy Wetsey doll’ and act surprise when he opened the package. This still goes on. Then I would get up and get TLW (The Little Woman) her present. Sitting on edge, I would wait for her reaction as she
opened the gift. Spending all I had on her and our kids was a gift enough for me. Seeing their happy faces and their surprised looks, made for a special day. TLW always made the morning special, to me. Her elegant approach to life makes happy and wonderful moments to remember. They compete with my remembrance of Christmas as a child.

#2 Son had a laid-back reaction to Christmas morning. He would be very excited, yet business-like in his demeanor, methodically ripping off the paper, tossing it, and digging in to create a racket that filled the air. It was Christmas!

Then, after all that activity, we would all retreat to the breakfast table and eat TLW’s delicious walnut bread, toasted and buttered. Life is good!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

IT’S ON MY PLATE!


I’ve decided to do another blog. One that is serious, about something important. It is dedicated to my daughter, and all those who suffer from developmental disabilities. I will call it ‘Ellen’s Way’, and it will contain stories, websites and blogs, and information about everything from autism to mourning a child’s condition. I’m hoping to get interviews and guest writers to contribute to this endeavor. Obviously, it isn’t for everyone.

My goal is to enable people to know the truth about life as it really is. Political issues in a non-partisan or ideological way will be explored, and issues brought to the forefront. It will not be controversial so much as informative. It will mention those politicians from both parties that are helping to help those that need help, our most vulnerable.

DelBloggolo will still publish daily, if I can help it, and that won’t change. There I will be my usual nasty self, self-centered and irrelevant.

I plan on launching ‘Ellen’s Way’ on January 1st, and it will probably publish once a week at least. If I know me, it will be more frequently.

So, if you have anything you want to direct ‘Ellen’s Way’ to, please send it to me in an email to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com.

Thanks!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

The white bus pulled into the parking lot, as I sat staring out the waiting room window of the doctor’s office. I was waiting for my daughter to arrive for an evaluation of her medications. I decided to go out and help whoever was taking Ellen to the visit from her day program. Before I could get to the door, a day-care worker entered and greeted me. We exchanged pleasantries and I proceeded to help her retrieve Ellen.

On the bus, I noticed an elderly gentleman, sitting and looking a little agitated. I greeted him and helped get Ellen off the bus. The elderly man who’s name is Gary, just sat there with the driver. He would wait for Ellen to see the doctor first.

After Ellen’s visit, I sat with her on the bus as Gary went to see the doctor. I had a pleasant conversation with the driver, and talked to Ellen as best I could. After a while, with the beat of the steady downpour and the grayness of the day, Gary appears from the front door of the office. As he walks, he is screaming: “NOOOOOOO!” I get up to help get Gary back on the bus. “NOOOOOOO!” Once again, Gary was voicing disdain about things in general! As He comes closer to me again: “NOOOOOOO!” Holding on to his walker, he slowly inches toward me and comes to the curb to step down. “NOOOOOOO!” Gary is relentless in his opinion. “NOOOOOOO!” “NOOOOOOO!” I hold Gary by his arm and ask “You want to go home?” He looks at me and says: “Yes.”

I start to laugh to myself as he begins again: “NOOOOOOO!”

But Gary wasn’t done with me. No siree, as he steps down with my help, he blurts out: “F*%#” (The ‘f’ word!)

The day-care woman’s eyes popped out of her head and she says: “EXCUUUUUSE ME! Gary, we don’t use that kind of language!”

“NOOOOOOO!”

Friday, December 04, 2009

PLANS? GOD LAUGHS AT PLANS.


The announcement was made months ago.

TLW (The Little Woman): Lois and I are going to Pearl S. Buck’s home on a ‘Get Up And Go’ tour. Just the two of us, we will be taking the bus to Pennsylvania, I didn’t think you’d want to come.”

Pretending to look disappointed, I immediately started to make plans in my mind, on how I would spend my Sunday. First: there would be getting up after she left for the bus. Second, having a nice breakfast at the local diner, then thirdly, shopping for a t-bone for my lunch! I would get some pepperoni and provolone, put a few beers on ice and tune to the Jets game. It would be a precursor for heaven. My heart was racing, I’m sure if it was from the anticipation or the salt I imagined entering my system. I do know I was feeling good!

Then, just like that my luck changed! My dream world became unraveled.

It started that Saturday night. The phone rung, it was Lois (Toots II, FROM THE WANNA-BE BANK AND TRUSS COMPANY). I answered and didn’t recognize the voice. She asked for TLW, who took the call.

TLW: Who is it?
Me: I don’t know, some woman!
TLW: Hello?
Oh Hi! That was Joe.
OOH, I so sorry!
Oh, that’s too bad!
Well, don’t worry about it.
I hope you feel well.
Me: Who was that?
TLW: Lois, she said she is very ill and won’t make the trip tomorrow.
Me: Too bad. (Thinking to myself) “Nice going Lois. No peaceful ballgame, no big breakfast, no T-bone! You really gotta take better care of yourself!”

Then the coupe d’ grace: Left over chicken for dinner on Sunday!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

HE LEFT A CHILD…

And came back a man!

Back in August, #2 Son packed up and left for SUNY @ Purchase, a young adult, yet came home a young man. He shed his childish life, for the seriousness of the life that lies before him. He is utilizing all his gifts, and there is great promise in his future.

It is gratifying to know that all things being equal, our baby is now a man. He has found that on his own, and is striving to accomplish great things, which he will. He has a determination I never knew existed, and along with the smarts that he does show, is combining them and making me along with TLW (The Little Woman), very proud.

When I see my sons in that light, I think maybe the world is not so bad after all, and will be in great shape in the future.

People have commented from Facebook photos of me, that I look like I had a great Thanksgiving. Well, I did, because my #2 Son made it so. We had intelligent and thought provoking conversations, pleasant meals and great visits, which made for a great Thanksgiving holiday. I am thankful for my two sons: they will contribute to this world in positive way!

I think I am not alone in how I feel about my children. I see it from parents that are helping with the reunion, pictures of them with their kids, and grandkids, and it makes me feel good. It is echoed from board members, I see it in my sister’s children, my nieces and nephews, the great nieces and nephews and I am proud. Can we ask for anything more than great kids?

I occasionally communicate with a newly acquired old neighbor from Brooklyn, and his wonderful daughter, who by the way is NO whiner, but has the heart of gold we all need in this world.

So maybe I rant too much sometimes, and maybe I complain to often, but I know there are some really great people in this world, coming down the pike and those that already arrived.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

WHO’S CHILD?


For years growing up, there was a dispute as to whose child I was. Dad wouldn’t admit to it, blamed Mom, who in turn got angry at Dad because as Dad said: “Your son even looks like you!”

Mom at times tried to beat it out of me, but I would still wind up looking like her! As I got older, she started saying I looked just like her father when he was young. “Oh, you look just like my father” she would say. “Same curly hair, and he looked just like James Cagney! He was a real ladies man, loved to dance.” Then one day: “You are just like your father! Don’t get so funny. I hope you have a child just like you!” THAT: wasn’t very nice!

Today I relive those days of yesteryear: TLW (The Little Woman) now has taken a stance. They are HER children, according to me. I said they take after her. But let’s face it, they do. They are too mannerly, too serious, and don’t speak with their hands. My daughter gets like me, she will be very loud, loves to laugh, and can become very physical, showing emotion, both verbally and physically.

Diplomacy is TLW’s strong suit, except when we are alone. Then I get it with both barrels! Her humor is very dry, cutting, and fun. I don’t mind getting insulted from her, because there may be some truth in her humor, and besides, if I can’t laugh at myself, I can’t laugh at anyone else.

My sons like to poke fun at me. #1 Son has been doing it everyday of his life, even when I’m not around! “2 Son gets emails from #1 Son on how to deal with me. I think the emails has caused #2 Son’s computer to crash numerous times from the memory the emails eat up! Both swear they take after my wife, don’t think they are related to me, and prefer the word adoption.

Me: “Why I remember when you were a little kid…”
Son #1 or 2: “That was before the adoption, right Dad?”

Maybe I should have adopted.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

THANKSGIVING DAY, 2009


And the best yet!

First of all, I am thankful for such a wonderful family! My wife and kids mean a great deal to me, and I missed one of them, even though he didn’t have time to talk to his old man on Thanksgiving Day! But the other two certainly made up for the one missing, and made the day perfect!

Then of course there was my mom and four lovely sisters. Each was there and with spouses and kids making for a great family gathering. My beautiful niece Laurie and her husband Gerard once again offered their home for the gathering, and did a lot of the cooking, along with Tessie, my much older sister. The food was fantastic, and the Italian stuffing was superb. (If anyone wants the recipe, send a self-stamped e-mail with the words “Stuff me” in the subject box. Send it to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com



It also happened to be Sean O’Hara’s birthday. (See funky hatted kid) The handsome son of Laurie and Gerard got the happy birthday treatment, with cake and whatnots. My nephew John Arm Bogdan was ill, and unfortunately: I missed his musings, and I hope he is feeling better.

Then there was the star of the day, my great nephew Al! Al was his usual handsome self, outfitted with hat and booties. Al is the newest member of the family, having arrived on 9/9/09, which happens to be his great grandfather’s birthday (My Dad’s)!

There was three turkeys there, one deep-fried, one baked, and one typing this.

So we prepare for Christmas Eve, the high holy day of Italian cooking. A day of reverence, a day of laughter, drink and the seven fish dinner, plus for most of us attending usually puts a cap to the year on a festive mood.