DelBloggolo

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

“SHE’S ON HER WAY UP!”

It seemed to happen every morning around 11:00 am. Mom would have the radio playing on top of the white Westinghouse refrigerator, Arthur Godfrey selling his Lipton Tea or interviewing the latest singing sensation, Julius LaRosa.

Maybe a vacuum cleaner would be roaring in the background, it’s cloth covered cord, snaking throughout the living room, or maybe a dust rag waving like a flag as it swiped the furniture, one last time.

As a five year old, I was busily playing or watching something out the window that would fascinate me and stir my imagination, when all of a sudden: the doorbell would chime.

“SHE’S ON HER WAY UP!” I thought.

Sure enough, step-by-step she would climb the three flights of stairs and arrive at my front door, my Mom instructing me to open the door for her. Marie Corace, Mom’s baby sister had arrived! She carried with her, her little bit of hell for me. She would enter our apartment and go straight to the refrigerator and terminate Arthur for the day. For that I was grateful, yet harbored a little resentment. She was not done by a long shot. No, she would then tell my Mother she was very slow, to hurry up, she wanted to go shopping.

Once Aunt Marie (Her real name is Marietta, and she hates it) was seated, she started on me. Grabbing me, she would hold my head and look behind my ears.

“Did you wash behind the ears, today?” she would inquire, twisting my ears.

“Tsk, Tsk, Tsk! You didn’t wash behind the ears today!”

Then she would admonish Mom to hurry up and off we had to go, down three flights of stairs and the long haul for a five-year old down to Broadway and the endless shopping and walking, that didn’t end until 3:30-4:00 pm as they rushed home to make dinner for their husbands.

As she got older, she would employ more severe interrogation techniques such as:

“Did you do all your homework?”

“Did you wash your hands?”

“Did you eat all your breakfast”

By the end of the day, I would look into Aunt Marie’s eye, where she had a big brown spot and ask: “Does that hurt?” and she would laugh, out loud.

Turns out she was just pulling my chain, teasing me to no end, and enjoying my discomfort every minute of it!

She was also so very instrumental in helping me finish my college education, when I had a automobile accident, and she took me in because she lived closer to the college than home was. She never charged me a dime, nor did her wonderful husband, Uncle Frank, who: although not a blood uncle, I loved more than my real blood uncle.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WHAT MAGIC WAS THIS?


I spend a great deal of my time doing various things for the AHRC Suffolk chapter, some people might even call it my second home. To give you an idea of what I do, there is the Guardianship committee that I co-chair, where we discuss the well being of people that have no one to advocate for them but the agency. We guide staff into making decisions that will make people’s lives better. We oversee the staff and approve or not, what they would like to do.

There is the Membership/volunteer committee which I chair, that develops game plans for recruiting new members, and volunteers, while rewarding the present members and volunteers. I am currently working on a program from the ground up to recruit strictly for volunteers.

I do program evaluations, going to different programs and evaluating them, making sure they meet board standards.

I do residential evaluations, once again, like program evaluations, the same things occur.

I work on the strategic planning committee, looking at short and long term goals of the program directors.

I’m on the Budget and Finance/Executive committee, being a past president of the board of directors.

I do the monthly calendar, and anything else including signing checks over $7,500, as a counter sign to staff. I design and create mailings, and work on the board of directors. I also am a member of the NYSARC Board of Governors, and travel up to Albany. I even play Santa Clause!

All of that is well and good, but last night I had the privilege of seeing the results of some of my work! It is magic, if we let staff handle it. Last night our program participants gave us a fashion show! Ladies that I see almost everyday, who struggle to walk, talk and even see and do, stood up and walked along a runway, modeling the latest fashions for a wildly cheering audience!

It wasn’t enough for them to just model, behind a walker or not, they gave it their own personal touches. Flips of hemlines, twists with a wiggle, a shoulder dip, and broad smile and a wave, giggling uncontrollably. Each gal gave her own touch: she was a star for the moment! The spotlight shinning on her, and her alone, the applauding and recognition of her being there, on that stage by maybe 400 or more people!

The escorts were not to be outdone. Each gentleman, trading in a T-shirt and jeans, for a suit and tie, and yes, even a tuxedo! All proud of themselves, all eager to hand out the programs and books being distributed. Escorting the ladies to the runway, they helped each one up the steps and sent her on her way, them, as she began to step down, he would reach for her arm and gently guide her down.

God ran that show! God gave them a whole lot of love, not that they needed it. God saw to it that they knew we all love them.

When I get tired of the grind, when there are nights I’d rather be at home than in a board room, I will think of those beautiful faces, and how they strode down their own memory lane, soaking in the sunshine of love! Then I will think, Yes: it is all worth the while.

Monday, June 28, 2010

THAT’S NO ZOMBIE


That’s my wife!

Sometimes it takes a while to make even the smartest people learn a lesson. A certain woman over the age of hard physical labor, and I won’t mention her name (Her initials are: TLW) got a real lesson in acting her age!

It seems that she decided one morning to do some strenuous yard work that she shouldn’t do! Boy, did she pay for it! She either pulled a tendon or a muscle badly enough to make her a cripple. With my son asleep in his bed, she is out there doing something he should have been asked to do. Don’t blame him, when we need something done, he does it. I know that I’m too old for all the nonsense that is needed around the house, the intense labor that comes with ownership, and I hear some of my friends paying the price also that ownership entails for the upkeep of a home.

So she gingerly walks about, with ooh, aaah, and walla walla bing bang, all day long, looking to find a comfortable spot, looking for a place to rest where it won’t hurt. Her only relief is to lie on her stomach.

Whatever she needs, she asks for from me, and I tell her to ask, even in the middle of the night. So what does she do the next day? Why she goes to work! I would think any sane person would think to take a day off to rest it, at least once. But no, martyrdom is her calling that day!

As She struggled to walk to the door, I reminded her that when she dies of her wounds, the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company will be opening up a new branch, celebrating making more money!

I rest my case.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

YOU DON’T SAY!

For thirty-eight years, I’ve been working on getting my daughter Ellen to say just one word, Dad, or daddy, or even dada. For all these past thirty-eight years she says: “momma” and will say it often. When she sees me, she calls me: “Momma” and I understand it. She can’t form words in her mouth can only say: happy and momma, and manages to survive with the help and love of some truly wonderful people who support her everyday!

These past few years I would meet up with her for her various doctor’s appointments and when she sees me she calls out: “Momma!” and comes running to hugs me. When that happens, a funny thing happens to me, I lose my identify, my sense of being in public, and hug her back. She smiles and I realize, she loves me for being who I am, no pretense needed, no conditions need to be met.

Once, while at a visit to the hospital, I sat with two caretakers who assist Ellen, and waited for a doctor to come out to talk to me. One asked me if she said any other words other than those I described. I said I wish she would say daddy, and of she ever did, I would give a million dollars to hear her call me that. Almost immediately, the word spread that I was awarding a million bucks for anyone who could get Ellen to say daddy.

At every doctor’s appointment, they were working feverishly to get Ellen to say it. But knowing Ellen, you don’t make her do anything she doesn’t want to do (Like her mother). So I would lean back amused and confident, thinking my money was safe.

Then comes Father’s Day. TLW (The Little Woman) comes out to the den with my daughter, holding a present for me, and instructs Ellen to “give it to Daddy.” My daughter flings the present at me and laughs; this is how she is. I open the present, and make a big deal, but she really doesn’t understand it all, herself.

Mom goes back to making dinner and Ellen is standing over me. She works hard to get my attention and is ‘talking’ to me in her own way. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, with prompting, on Father’s Day she says: “DADA DADA!”

Perhaps my best Father’s Day ever.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

SHE NEEDS REPLACEMENT PARTS!

The other morning I came down for breakfast, when I hear the TV on at an unusual high volume level. There sitting in her chair is TLW (The Little Woman) watching the TV, not saying anything. Remembering the night before, where she had the TV on loud in the bedroom too, I asked her the following question:

“Are you losing your hearing?”
TLW: “It is a little loud!”
“It was very loud last night in the bedroom, too!”
TLW: “I must be getting old!”

That got me to thinking: do I have a ‘Plan B’?

Wouldn’t it be ironic if I have to replace her because her hearing went? I mean, what do I do? What kind of candidate am I looking for to take her place?

Sorting out the question in my mind to list for a candidate in the job description what kind of woman do I want?
I came down to three logical choices, all very different from each other.

1.) Knock out gorgeous, more than half my age and an orphan.
2.) My age, reluctant to talk too much, and a stay at home.
3.) Twice my age, filthy rich, and ready to kick the bucket as they say.

With #1, I guarantee myself dying with a smile on my face, but not remembering why.
#2 would run the risk of another TLW with the same problems but again, pleasant. And #3 is out of the question, since there is no one alive at 130! Plus with my luck, she would want her mother to move in with us, too!

I have decided to abandon a ‘Plan B’, and stick with TLW. Why? Because if she is deaf, I can finally talk back to her, without suffering the consequences!

Friday, June 25, 2010

YESTERDAY


There is a song that goes:

“Yesterday, when I was young,
So many crazy songs
Were waiting to be sung
So may ways with pleasure
Now that I recall
Concerned themselves with me
And nothing else at all”

Yesterday I had lunch with one of my favorite nostalgia people in the whole world, Michael Mangino. Mike as you know lived next door to me, and was along with another guy, Anthony DiBari, childhood playmates. (See May 25, 2010 blog ‘As I Was Saying’)
We are getting together every month to have lunch and touch base, and it makes for a wonderful time. Mike hasn’t changed much since I last saw him, which is good since it was a month ago!

After numerous attempts at taking our order for lunch, the waitress succeeded and she went her merry way, as did we. Mike is just like my buddy from Somers Street around the corner from where Mike and I lived and is my favorite blogger. More about Jim from Somers Street in July.http://spaldeendreams.blogspot.com/


Mike gave me some pages from an email he received that touched on some of the things that were common everyday for us, yet have disappeared from the lexicon, and totally from view! What? Well I’m glad you asked!

FENDER SKIRTS-You remember them, they sat over your hubcaps lowering your car bodyline.

CURB FEELERS-No, not some drunk in the gutter looking for the sidewalk, but an extension rod that ran from the corner front of your car, over the wheel to tell you when you are near the curb.



STEERING KNOBS-(AKA) suicide knob, neckers knobs. OK, get out of the gutter and back into the car. (Geez, guys, sometimes you embarrass me!) This was a knob that was attached to the steering wheel. It was designed to make the driver, that is: teenage driver, look cool. This was used one-handed only, because the other hand was around the girlfriend, a cigarette hanging from your mouth, ducktail in place (hair comb), as you drove through the neighborhood. (Hood)













Let’s park the car for a moment, and go inside. Wall-to-wall was the term we used to wow our friends and neighbors, and even our non-friends, our relatives. We would purchase carpet ”wall-to-wall” that is to cover those ugly hardwood floors. Today, we throw out the “wall-to-wall” to show off those beautiful hardwood floors!

If Gina, or Katherine Mary got into a little trouble, she was: “In a family way”, which meant she was “expecting” or the stork was visiting. It seems pregnant was not a polite term to use in “Mixed company”. Of course “Knocked up” and “Preggy” were unheard of.

Does anyone under the age of 30 know what a “brassiere” is? Today everything is shorthand and we say: “Bra”.

Here is another word from my buddies email: “Percolator”, which is sissified now by saying “Coffee maker”. Here we leave the short hand for the sissy stuff.

And so the world revolves, around me, but not like yesterday did. There was more color, more respect, and definitely, more imagination.

Thanks Mike!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

A SPECIAL FRIEND




Today’s blog is from a special friend of mine, who I reconnected with during the reunion. She has a message and maybe a lesson for all of us. You can substitute any affliction for the one she describes, and the message is the same!

We all need to understand and learn from one another, stop judging and start caring for one another. Life is too short as it is and to take on the burden of shame because we are stigmatized is unfair to all of us.

Sometimes we see people that walk differently, speak differently and behave differently, yet we stare at them and not once try to understand the ‘Hell’ that is in them and they are going through. Cast aside your judicial robes for now, and try to hear her cry and know but for the grace of God, we do not visit it. If we did, then we can understand better ourselves.


Today is my son's BIRTHday. He will forever be 35, for that is how old he was when he was taken away suddenly September 5, 2006. I would like to share with you the way we are. When Russell was born, it was impossible to imagine that he would suffer in the ways he did. Not every child will make this choice, but one bad choice can lead to a life time of suffering and struggling for the rest of their earthly lives. His addiction started with experimentation and became bigger than he was and the control was out of his reach. Adolescent symptoms of being invincible and immortal lay the ground work for the making that wrong choice. Russell took the wrong path but before he could turn back he paid the ultimate price with his life.

I will never be able to hug him again. All I have left of that time is memories of my son who was handsome, athletic, sensitive, charming and witty. He would have made one hell of a Dad.

Russell's greatest gift to me was his life, his presence, and his everlasting love.

The pain I bear from losing my beloved son is doubled by the disapproval of his addiction and people unwilling to accept that addiction is disease. I know now that no matter hard you try, no matter how much you love, how watchful you are, no matter what your religious beliefs, this can happen to you. This does not just happen to bad kids.

During our twenty year “addiction dance” he outwardly looked like your average American son. He graduated Fort Knox and was stationed at Fort Hood. I know this because they presented me with the American flag at his funeral. He graduated West Palm Beach Culinary Arts and worked as a sous chef at Breakers and then Hyatt Regency. Once a young boy with dreams and aspirations just like any other boy trying to carve out a life for himself, died at his battlefield. I will always give him credit for his bravery on that battlefield.

My precious child has a disease
It's destroying him day by day
Oh I'm so sorry you earnestly tell me
I just don't know what to say

The disease came on slowly
Without a hint or clue
By the time I felt its impact
There was nothing I could do

Well my friend I'll tell you
My little family secret
My child is a drug addict
I've tried so hard to keep it

For when people come to know
The reason for my despair
They don their self-imposed judicial robes
And pass judgment without care

What kind of parent must I be
I see the question in your eyes
Well I was a parent just like you
Believing all the lies

For when addiction enters your life
No matter how you've raised them
It'll turn your world upside down
And you are powerless to save them

That beautiful body is just a shell
Masking what lives inside
The addiction Monster has invaded my son
His heart and soul have died

But I still love him with all of my being
For I remember when
He was more than "just a drug addict"
He was a loving and caring young man

Now that you know the awful truth
Will you stay or will you leave.............
If the disease was socially acceptable~~~~

excerpts from Sherry McGinnis

Query: Would you have treated the situation differently had been cancer or a virus?

I would like to leave you with one of my fondest memories. Russell and I had picked out our song that we would have played at his wedding by Whitney Houston "I will always love you" I had this dance with my son prematurely not knowing it would never come to pass.


Time can change me but I can't change time.

I Will Always Love You

If I
Should stay
I would only be in your way
So I'll go
But I know
I'll think of you every step of
the way

And I...
Will always
Love you,
Will always
Love you
You
My darling you
Mmm-mm

Bittersweet
Memories
That is all I'm taking with me
So good-bye
Please don't cry
We both know I'm not what you
You need

And I...
Will always love you
I...
Will always love you
You,

I hope
life treats you kind
And I hope
you have all you've dreamed of
And I wish you joy
and happiness
But above all this
I wish you love

And I...
Will always love you
I...
Will always love you


I, I will always love
You....
You
Darling I love you
I'll always
I'll always
Love
You..

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

VISITING MOM

Or, why ain’t I in school?

Visiting Mom, is like going to the principle, you only get one chance to explain, then comes the punitive actions.

I ring the bell, knock on the door, and try to be visible in her front door glass. The idea being that I don’t scare her since she is 92. Trouble with the visible part is she now is only about 3 feet tall, standing on her stool! Of course it takes a while for her to come to the door, but once she does, after ten minutes, I am ready to explain.

“Oh! What a nice surprise! What do I owe the pleasure of this visit from my favorite son?” (I’m her only son.)

Or-

“Don’t just stand there, come IN! What do I owe the pleasure of this visit from my favorite son?” (I’m still her only son.)

Mom believes in explanations while she walks.

“I was just cleaning my toilets, you know you don’t want people thinking you have a dirty toilet!”

Of course Mom has the Regis Philbin show going, where he is yelling at Kelly Ripa and I realize Regis is NOT yelling, Mom has the TV on very loud!

“So, sit down, would you like a cup of coffee? Oh by the way, can you do me a favor? ”

Once the favor is done, and inspected for craftsmanship, neatness and done with the lack of proper swear words I like to use, Mom settles in with stories about people I have forgotten, never met (but she expects me to know them anyway), and any old saws she still has, we are about to get down to the reason for my visit when she says: “Well, I guess you want to get home! But that’s OK, I am still in the middle of cleaning the toilet. You know, you don’t want people thinking your mother has a dirty toilet!” (What she means is: Get the hell out of here, Henry, my boy toy is coming over soon!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

THE SUPREME EFFORT

Or… What did it say?

I got a copy of a recent State Supreme Court decision on an issue I am familiar with. There was a covering memo to explain that it went one way, and not the other. Thank God! No, not for the decision: but for the covering memo. In it’s one sentence, it told me what the whole three pages tried to say!

It seems that whenever a lawyer gets involved in something, they confuse the language, confuse the issue, and confuse me! Why do they need to make it so my hair hurt when they write something? Why not use English to convey what they wish to say?

“Inter alia”




What ever the hell that means was tossed about in the decision of the court!

So I looked it up and it means among other things: “Among other things”

Gee! Why didn’t they say so?

Who knew?

So you wonder why courts are tied up with too many cases, that there is a backlog of cases. Well, I’ll tell you why. The morons that write these legal papers look up these terms, toss them into the mix of English sentences, and find more crazy Latin words to cause the greatest legal minds to run to their law dictionaries, and look up these words. That can take hours! No, some of this stuff may take days to figure out.

Can you imagine using this crap to communicate?

You walk into the deli: there behind the counter stands Murray Cohen ready to slice your roast beef.

“Uh, yeah, Murray, I’ll have a corned beef on rye inter-alia with mustard, and inter alia, a side order of slaw.

Well if you ever get into trouble with the Law, and claim: “I didn’t know!” I say to you: “ignorantia iuris non excusat”!

You get my drift?

Monday, June 21, 2010

VIRTUS


About ten years ago there was “Leave no child behind”, a political initiative by then President Bush, and yesterday there is “Leave no child unprotected” initiative, led by my diocese. What is this about? It is about our most sacred assets, our children.

I was asked a few months ago to attend a Virtus meeting, a meeting about keeping children safe from predators, and when I was asked, I went almost kicking and screaming and when I left I left thanking God that he made me aware!

Having to give up my Saturday afternoon to sit in some crowded hot room, and be lectured, on a hard seat, was not enthralling to me. But I went because as a volunteer, being the chair for the parish fund raising committee, and perhaps at some point meeting with children, it is required of me.

I am ashamed to admit, I went for the wrong reason, and left finding the right one. What could be more important than an effort to protect children from harm? It seems to me that as adults, that should be a primary obligation, duty and focus. It has nothing to do with my comfort but the mental and physical well being of children.

As I sat through the presentation, they made us aware of what sexual abuse does to the victims, what ugliness it creates in the victims mind. All through it, I kept thinking of a very dear friend who has gone through that abuse herself, from within her family nucleus, and as she said, made her feel like an outsider in her own home. It made her accepting blame for what someone with evil intentions did to her!

When you know someone who is a victim of any crime, let alone one so heinous, it can come home to you, beat you up, and make you ashamed of your human race. It can dam you for not knowing about these evils sooner.

That lady stayed with me all afternoon, after the presentation, and I felt sickened that it happened to her. If you meet her, you would think how delightful she is, smiling and pleasant. But there is an underlining sorrow that she manages, and it should hurt anyone who knows her.

If there is a program being offered in your parish, school or organization, please, please go. Attend it with the intent that you can save a child from a trauma he/she may never recover from. I know you would not allow a child to be hit by a car, you would move yourself to do something, this is just as important!

Below, is a website unrelated to the above, but just as important.

http://www.nragive.com/ringoffreedom/index.HTML

Sunday, June 20, 2010

IT’S FATHER”S DAY


And after 19 years this month, I still miss him!

He died on June 12, 1991, just a few days later after burying him, we “Celebrated” Father’s Day. It was an empty dark day, I don’t remember if the sun shined or not.

Dad had a way about him that made everything just fine, as long as he was around. As his son, we did everything together and as I got older, working, (I took over for him when he went on vacation) crabbing (He fell in once), we went everywhere together from the hardware store to my grandmother’s house. We worked on the basement and he taught me how to use a hammer and a paintbrush, and was my biggest critic. He taught me to work hard and never let anyone say otherwise. He gave me all the hard jobs when we worked together, so that today when I do the easy ones, they are very easy.

He was a big Mets fan, and later in life an Islander fan. I got him interested in reading something besides a newspaper. (He taught me the habit of reading the Daily News backward, starting with the sports pages. (The only paper I read like that to this day)

Dad was not a very aggressive man, he was kind to all people, liked company, and could take over parties by just being himself! There will never be another ‘Tony’ in my world. No one quite like him.

Dad didn’t go to college, didn’t even finish his last semester of high school in Brooklyn. He was devoted to helping people and never stopped that. He came from a dominant mother and a stepfather who was cruel. He had a brother who was younger who always tried to compete with him, and a sister and half sister who loved him.

He had a car filled with old maids that rode with him every morning to their job in the factory where he worked as a foreman of the shipping department. He asked about their lives and made like he was interested. He didn’t get old until he retired and was forced to because the place went out of business.

He could make up incredible stories and scenarios, but rarely put pen to paper. He was always entertaining, and always playing tricks on me.

Once he sent me a ‘love letter’ when I was about 8 years old signed “Secret admirer, but his handwriting gave it away. Once I was watching a scary movie, sitting on the very edge of my seat, ready to bail out, tense, when suddenly a hand drops in front of my face, and a weird screeching noise emanating from nowhere, scaring the living hell out of me, causing my heart to stop, and such disorientation as I have never seen before. What did I do? I laughed so hard: I thought he was so cool!

And he was cool, teasing my mother to no end, calling her all kinds of pet names, and everyone was told by Mom: “Don’t pay any attention to him.” But people laughed.

Dad was poor, and perhaps cheap in many ways, but he was from the hard times and experienced them himself. Although he never went without as a child of the depression, he knew what it meant to be without.

He wasn’t a disciplinarian, he left that to Mom, who constantly threatened me with: “Wait until your father comes home!” When he did I soon found out the wait was well worth it, he just looked at me with a quiz-like stare and life went on.

He was proud of me in the end, and to this day I cannot think why! I know I’ll never be a Tony, I knew Tony, and I’m no Tony.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

39 YEARS AND WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN


“We've only just begun to live,
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way.
And yes, we've just begun.

Before the rising sun we fly,
So many roads to choose
We start our walking and learn to run.
And yes, we've just begun.

Sharing horizons that are new to us,
Watching the signs along the way,
Talking it over just the two of us,
Working together day-to-day Together.

And when the evening comes we smile,
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow,
And yes, we've just begun.”

It seems like yesterday! Where has the time gone? What magic is there that this woman performs for me everyday of our lives?

Oh we have our spats, and who doesn’t? We have our stubbornness, but who doesn’t? But we have an unspoken commitment, which settles all our disputes, no matter how petty they are. She has never said an unkind word to me, although I would be afraid to read her mind. I have tried never to do the same, and so we live, in a happiness tested time and time again by forces beyond our control. But a strong union can always carry the day.

We are similar in many ways, she and I come from large families, we both have the same values, and we love each other. Yet we are different in many ways, kind of complimentary different. I am a big mouth, like to do silly things and have fun, a sentimentalist, a saver of things from the past, and I savor the moments when they happen. She is a person of focus, duty and all business. I find it hard to get her to laugh, but then again, what is so really funny? She is the grown up in the relationship.

I would not change what it is we have, nor would I change myself, or try to change her. We are the total package, and what you see is what you get, depending on which one of us you talk to.

We’ve seen our fill of sadness and good, we have agreed that if we had the chance to do it over, we would do it again.

So after 39 years, I will say what I say everyday, in my mind, heart and soul: I love you, Ellen. (TLW) a.k.a. The Little Woman.

Oh! I almost forgot! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Friday, June 18, 2010

FINDING THE OLD ‘NEW’ AGAIN

Recently I went to the new Citi Field ballpark that replaced the old Shea Stadium. As you know, watching the New York Mets play can be time consuming, painful and demoralizing, and if you are a fan of theirs, it is even more so. Fortunately, I do not suffer alone: I have a couple of brother-in-laws who are Mets fans, a son and a few nephews who also root in a similar vein.



Heading out to the ballpark for the first time with my brother-in-law Don, (Saintly Don, prince of all that is good, and married to one of my sisters, is why I call him all that) Don, a real Mets fan, who like me, likes to suffer. I have another brother-in-law, who could be a Mets fan by nature, if it weren’t for the Boston Red Sox. He too likes to suffer, having married a sister of mine, and what can I say? Being a Mets fan makes you an automatic Red Sox fan, the common denominator being 'hate' the New York Yankees.


Now I am so old that I have witnessed my home team: move, be born again, play in three stadiums and make me cry no matter if they are the Brooklyn Dodgers (I still have mental scars) or the New York Mets, (still getting mentally scared).



The Mets have played in the Polo Grounds, home of the hated New York Giants, (we old Dodger fans hate a lot), then the spanking new Shea Stadium, which turns out to be NOT so new, and now the spanking new Citifield. They tear down a stadium I thought was still pretty new, only to find out it is old!



Well, the results in a new ballpark are pretty much a left over from all the old ballparks. The results are just new again, and disappointment is the same whether it Ebbets Field, of Citi Field. The tears flow about the same, and the pain lingers still the same. I go to the game, my first at Citi Field; they get 2 hits (That is TWO) in the second inning, and don’t get another the rest of the game.

So everything old is new again! Or as they say in Retirement Ville, same old, same old, or in this case: same new, same new!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

TAKING MEASURE


I entered into my favorite convenience store (favorite because it is convenient) and went straight to the coffee to pour myself one to buy with a buttered roll. It is always possible to have some small vignette in life come about when I go there, and this day was no different. As I approached the coffee I noticed that all 3 pots were very low.

Racing over was my favorite teenage help at the place, and he immediately started to pour one pot into another. He is my favorite because he can make my day by my asking inane questions of him and his pondering the answers. This day would be no different.

I poured into a small container and reached for the milk. There was an array of different kinds of milks or creams. Starting from 1% all the way over to flavored creams with fancy names like Crème de Mint, etc. Not having anyone around to see me pour Half and Half into my java rather than 1%, as I picked up the container, I became inspired.

Me: “Excuse me (Holding up the container of Half and Half), do you know which half this is?”

The Future of America: “Ummm, gee, no I don’t! I can check for you if you want.”
Looking concerned, he was ready to run off and ask his boss which half of the Half and Half was in the container!

Me: “My doctor insist I only drink the bottom half, and if this is the upper half, my cholesterol will shoot way up there! You know us old people need to watch everything, and I suffer from monoglarium oxygenate!

The Future of America: “Oh but I could ask.”

Me: “No, don’t bother: I’ll enquire when I pay.”

Leaving my victim to his chore of making fresh coffee, I go over to the counter and who is working there but a newly hired young and beautiful woman about maybe 32 years old. She has been working there maybe a month and a half, and rings things up for the customers. Thin, beautiful and very engaging, she is indeed engaged in conversation with this guy about 75 or 80.

Being an old fool myself, I could appreciate his enjoyment in that she was paying attention to what he was saying, rather than whether or not he was still breathing. Not wanting to end his conversation, and my needing to have my coffee, I put my roll and coffee down on the counter, and started to push it forward, while being mindful that he was talking to her.

Him: “Oh! Don’t mind me young fella, I’m just trying to get up a date with this young lady!”

All, in one morning, and one place, I love it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A ROOM FULL OF NAGURSKI WOMEN

Once again, I find myself surrounded by women! This time lots of them and of all ages!

It seems I went to a meeting on volunteerism, recruiting and maintaining volunteers, and all the other representatives from different organizations, except for one other was a woman.

I’m not complaining, mind you, it’s just that I’m starting to lose my identity. The bloating and filling up with water didn’t help me.

The Association of Professional Volunteer Administrators met today at SUNY/Stony Brook Veterans Hospital to discuss the burning issues of volunteerism, and my job was to join it and learn about anything I could. My daughter’s agency asked me to start up a volunteer unit for them and build it from the ground up. I think I’ll call in sick!

Women seem to apologize a lot when they do things for some reason. “I’m sorry it takes so long, I really am NOT a computer person.” Says the lady working the laptop and overhead projector.

That would be a woman.

A man would say: “Ah, the computer is screwed up… again.”

The meeting was informative, if not agonizingly slow. I sat thinking about lunch about 10:00 am, when one of them started to eat hers in full view. Fortunately, it was egg-salad, and I hate egg salad. Now if she had a salami and provolone, well then I would have snuggled up to her to tell her how beautiful she really looked to me.

Now there are 5 bathrooms in this facility, 4 are women rooms, one men’s room, and that was the only one that was occupied longer than it should have been. Of course, I did the Mexican Hat dance, the Irish jig and Tarantella, all at once, until the bum finally came out. I felt like he was reading the New York Times in there, Sunday edition.

A man gives the presentation and kindly wakes you up after he is done, but not the ladies. After they give a presentation, we have to applaud, a polite clapping and a smile.

One lady looks like Bronco Nagurski, and dresses like Tina Turner, an ugly sight to say the least. She sits up front, facing me, and continuously crosses then uncrosses her legs, leaving scars on my retina! Why look you ask. Well, once she starts her movements, I go into a panic, my head moves uncontrollably and my eyes shift all over, in a seizure like activity, which can best be described as abject fear from seeing what cellulite presentation she has in mind.

My mother used to say: “And YOU are so beautiful?” No, Ma, I’m not, but I don’t flaunt it!

For that other man in the room, they led him out with help, guiding him to the curb outside where they had to call a cab to send him back to his office. If you are wondering what happened to him, he looked too hard at Ms. Nagurski.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

25 CENTS AND AN ELSIE WRAPPER!



That’s how much it costs me to see a Brooklyn Dodger game at Ebbets Field way back when it costs 25 cents and Borden’s Elsie Ice Cream wrapper. Today to see a Mets game, at Citi Field, it costs $60! You hollered, cheered or jeered and had a great time.

In 1955, I went with some friends or cousins of mine, and we sat out in left field off the foul line, could see the whole park, and had a good time. The last game I went to the Mets played their next to last game at Shea Stadium. I was in the stratosphere, with a nose bleed and deathly silence in the ballpark.

What does this have to do with the price of hot dogs, you ask? Well actually, plenty. The cost of a hot dog in 1955 was 25 cents, and for a dime you got a soda. Try that today at a ballpark, and you actually make the vendor keep it as change!

They have taken the game of baseball, a father-son treat, and make it into a greed thing, like everything else in this world. And the way they make everything else in this world, it is of the poorest quality, or very defective.

It was interesting how Toyota, a well-respected name came apart at the seams, and now Ford, an American product is being recalled for imperfections in their products.

You can’t seem to find too many places that take pride in their service or products, they shame being, and there is no Mom and Pop store to go to. The big companies sell convenience, at the expense of value, taste or durability.

We buy things brand new, and before you can open the box, they need to be in repair! I don’t know how many water-pumps for my pool I purchased in the past few years, garden hoses that are so poorly made, they can’t even straighten out!

I think we place too much emphasis on cheap labor, and not on the quality of work and craftsmanship. I remember the mothers and fathers of my generation revering their jobs, taking pride in their work, and not complaining about what they did. Dad got up in the morning and came home at night, and in-between made a living, working not for his boss, but for his family. His imprimatur was the quality he left behind that day.

Give me back the caring folks who made baseball a game for fathers and sons to watch, mom and pop stores who wanted your business, and the pride of a job well-done and a product, well-made.

And the real beauty of those days was that people stayed home on Sundays, not work in some chain or bank!

Monday, June 14, 2010

“ALL PRISONERS REPORT TO THE YARD”


I sat in my easy chair, a cup of coffee in my hand, when I happened to notice that TLW (THE LITTLE WOMAN) was missing. It was her day off, so I figured she probably left me for another guy (A young stud) and turned the page to my newspaper, an interesting article on job growth.

Suddenly, the sliding door came alive and there entered TLW, an inquisitive look on her face.

“It is such a beautiful day, not hot and no humidity! Would you help me in the yard today?”

Me: “Sure.” (Where are those young studs when you need them?)

The labor gang of one was assigned his duties, and given a set of tools, began the process of penal colony reform for an inmate. (Me)

The warden, or wardenese, patrolled the area where I worked, no, toiled, and made comments and suggestions at the end of a shotgun and the leash of a vicious dog. Spurring me on to work harder, the crack of her whip, assailing my bare back, I began weeding, and pulling out weeds where they appeared.

“You didn’t put any Preem down the last time you weeded! That is why there are more weeds.” Crack of the whip.

Me: “Yes, dear”

“The last time you weeded, you left the little piles, are you going to pick them up THIS time?” Crack of the whip.


Me: Trembling, “Yes, dear.” Crack of the whip.

Me: “But you told me to make #2 Son pick them up! You said you would tell him.” Crack of the whip.

The sun hung high in the noonday sky, and my lips were parched and my back bleeding, my hands calloused. Suddenly the warden shouted out from her lounge chair.

“OK, everyone back to your cell, I’m getting tired and hungry.”

I filed back into my cell, single file, and lay in my easy chair.

Suddenly. Over the PA boomed her voice once again!

“You will report back to work on Monday, when I have another day off, so I can finish working on my tan!”

She’s one tough lady!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A SMALL KITCHEN

There is very little we argue about. When it comes to her sons, however, we can become very confrontational! Like just the other day!

TLW (The Little Woman): “Did you put some aside for #2 son?”
“No, he can make his own, I made some stuff and put it in the freezer for him.”
TLW: “No good, we make fresh on weekends, it’s the weekend”
“I’d like to make some fresh…”
TLW: “What?”
“Oh, nothing, I was just finishing off my prayers for the day.”
“Well I guess I’ll have to make him sauce.”
“No, until the lab tests come in and prove otherwise, he’s still officially my son, I’ll make a special sauce.”
TLW: “Thank you.”

After much additional work on my part, TLW comes over and starts to lower some burners while raising others.

“What are you doing?”
TLW: “Some of the burners are pretty low!”
“That is because I am slow cooking.
TLW: “Oh, I didn’t know.”
“Yes, well that is why I am the chef today, and you are the eater. Me king, you peasant. I wear the pants in the house, YOU don’t!”
TLW: “Are you making enough for #2 Son?”
“Yes, dear.”
TLW: “Throw this into the sauce you made for him.”
“But that is tofu.”
TLW: “It’s ‘make believe chicken’. He is a vegetarian.”
“Make believe chicken?!”
TLW: “You KNOW what I mean.”
“Is that how they labeled it?”

TLW is your typical mother, doting over her babies, even if they ARE 22 going on 70.

As her husband, there are certain things I must follow for a happy marriage. #1 rule is, “Forget about yourself, the kids come first.” That is a hard and fast rule. I follow it because I want to live through the night. It IS a rule I do follow, it’s just that when it comes to her babies, I must be put on alert that that is now in effect! A sort of do or die rule.

If you are a mother, you understand this policy. Any mother worth her weight in Bon bons does this automatically. It starts three minutes before the first kid shots through the birth canal, and stays that way until you die, as a father.

“Mom, Dad’s dead.”
Mother: “Did you eat?”
“Yes Mom, but Dad’s dead, he’s just laying there!”
Mother: “Is he laying in front of the refrigerator, I put your barbeque sauce in there.”
“No Ma, what do you want to do with Dad?”
“Eat first Dear, then put him at the curb tomorrow morning.”

Sounds like an exaggeration? I think not.

No father worth his weight in beer will kick the bucket before the kids have eaten.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

THE BENEFITS OF STAYING IN TOUCH


Sometimes you run into people by accident, and sometimes by design. I must be a great designer! I organized a reunion recently, and had the pleasure of having breakfast with a lady who I hadn’t seen in over 45 years! She hasn’t changed a bit! Beautiful and sweet, and she married a wonderful guy 39 years ago!

I speak of the lovely Marlene Fox Strong, and her husband Bob. Living down in North Carolina, and up for the reunion, we had occasion to have breakfast together recently on a Saturday Morning before they headed home.

What is interesting is that they are still in love, care about one another, and like all married couples, talk about each other, and then argue over small facts! I know that is exactly what TLW (The Little Woman) and I do!

Marlene has never changed. She still looks like she did in high school, and is still sweet as ever!

After the tree memorial the week before, we were gathering to go to lunch when I was talking to a group of people. Marlene was one of them, and she got very close to me, and started to pinch my arm! I looked at her and asked: “What is that for?” She looked at me and in her very soft voice said: “For all those times you teased me in High School!”

I don’t remember, but she did, and so I decided that if I deserved that, she was allowed to pinch me as often as she felt like it. Throughout the reunion, I would offer my arm up for pinching, and she took full advantage of it!

So a week later, we gathered for breakfast and had a wonderful conversation, and since she was visiting a child in Holbrook, I extended an invitation to visit me for dinner whenever they come up from North Carolina.

We talked about classmates, who looked good and who did what and lived where, and as we left the restaurant and stood in the parking lot for one last; “Goodbye”, I stuck my arm out one more time, and she pinched. It was an enjoyable reprimand from a lovely lady!

Friday, June 11, 2010

HAPPY DAYS (DAZE)




“Sunday, Monday, Happy Days.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days.
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days.
The weekend comes,
My cycle hums,
Ready to race to you.”

It was billed as a throw back to the old days, my high school years. I would once again reconnect with my youth and some of my classmates as well! We would meet at the Bellport Gateway Playhouse to enjoy a performance of ‘Happy Days”, a kind of replay of the popular sitcom from the 70’s. Created by Garry Marshall. With Henry Winkler, Marion Ross, Tom Bosley and Ron Howard for TV, the play version would be a reminder without promise, except for what is in one’s head.

“These days are all,
Happy and Free. (Those Happy Days)
These days are all,
Share them with me. (oh baby)
Goodbye grey sky, hello blue.
There's nothing can hold me when I hold you.
Feels so right, it can't be wrong.
Rockin' and rollin' all week long.”


The casting was very good, and the story line a little predictable, but good. I enjoyed the raw talent that sang and danced and must say it held my attention. The tickets were a generous gift from the lovely daughter of one of my high school reunion committee member, Judy Fuoco Hunter.



She was a lady then in the 60’s, and remained so in the present. He daughter reserved complimentary tickets and we sat in the best seats in the house! Middle about 10 rows back, perfect for viewing and hearing what was going on in the theatre.

“Sunday, Monday, Happy Days.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days.
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days.
Saturday, What a day,
Groovin' all week with you.”




Afterward there were pictures being taken, and old acquaintances met, after 45 years! People who I forgot came alive once again! Before the show, TLW (The Little Woman) and I got there after dinner and it started to gently shower. Outside this grand old theatre that my family has a small connection to from the 1940’s, sat a large tent, and we sat under it, listening to the gentle pitter-patter of the rain and the gentle cool breezes that caressed one from the heat of the day. It was a romantic moment that I truly enjoyed, and must say, it put me in a very receptive mood for the show itself.

“These days are all,
Share them with me. (Those Happy Days)
These days are all,
Happy and Free. (oh baby)
These Happy Days are your's and mine.
These Happy Days are your's and mine, Happy Days.”


The funny thing is, as we sat under that tent, I saw a lot of people arriving about my age. Some of them I think I have seen before in another life, but dared not go over and introduce myself, in case I was wrong. It seemed like a ghost from the past has walked by, briefly showing a face from 45 years ago!



A couple of my classmates arrived and sat under the tent with us as we waited, and made for a very enjoyable time. We talked about ourselves, and the current as well as past goings on, and laughed at the drop of a hat.
As for the performance, they never sang a song from the period, but instead borrowed the sense of the songs, to make new ones for the play. If you went for the old music, you would be disappointed, but if you realized what was happening, it was a great show. To me it was just that, great!

THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN


It’s that time of the year again! The month of June has rolled around and people do silly things. I know, it happened to me, they get married! As a public service to newlyweds, the editors of DelBloggolo compile a list of helpful hints for young men about to enter this sacred pact, and men, think of it as a survival guide. (Please, don’t thank me.)

It was 39 years ago I entered a world of the unknown, uncertainty and surprises by hitching my wagon to one “Miss Manning”, as she liked to call herself. The road to marriage is short, but the road after is the one you want to be cautious with.

Here goes:

1. When lying to her, always look her in the eye. (They like that)

2. When speaking, choose your words carefully, because they always come back to haunt you.

3. If she can cook, don’t say you like what she made more than once, because if you do, you will get it so often you will look like it!

4. When her family announces they are coming, always remember they are not the children, they will go away at some point in time.

5. If you insist on having children, be prepared to see ALL your in-laws wrapped into one package!

6. Make sure you say; “I love you”, even if you can’t get the words up, mouth them.

7. If she says she is going to visit her family for a few days, do NOT look too gleeful, pleased or show the slightest signs of delight.

8. If she says she is going to visit her family for a few days, do NOT look too sad, or she will change her mind.

9. Always remember: her mother will have the last thought.

10.When she goes shopping for a new dress, always compliment her in it. If you don’t, she will go out again, exchange it and you go through the whole drill once more!

11. If she asks you how she looks in her new dress, don’t ask: “compared to what?”

12. If she says she is going to the beauty parlor, do not say: “Make sure they take you this time.”

13. When watching TV, always be mindful that she WILL speak to you while something important is going on.

14. When watching TV, always be mindful that she WILL speak to you while something important is going on, but NEVER, EVER, ask her to hush or stifle herself for the moment.

15. When watching TV, always be mindful that she WILL speak to you while something important is going on. Pretend you are interested, but lowering the sound, looking at her, and hope you didn’t lower the sound too much to miss what is going on.

16. Take her out to dinner once in a while, give her your cell phone, and when she is done eating, have her call you so you can pick her up.

17. Lastly, and most importantly: those three words they all want to hear,

“YES MY DEAR!”

Good luck you poor bastards!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

IF YOU GOT ONE, USE IT!

I got a business call the other morning, and on the other end was a gentleman about my age, maybe even a little older, if possible. The purpose of his call was to tell me he had received all my e-mails except one, because he couldn’t open it. I told him I had resent it and that he should now be able to open it.


“Oh! Fine, I’m not at my computer right now, but when I get back I’ll have my grandson open it.”

A businessman with a grandson that opens his e-mails!

You know the old saying: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” That statement applies to either vacation days or something else I won’t mention here. It now should apply to grandchildren. Yes, have your grandchild open your e-mails.

Now I don’t have a grandchild, as far as I know, so I have to open my own e-mails! Yes, that is right. Anyone over 60 who is opening his own e-mails is at a lost for grandchildren and help. I feel so outdated without a grandchild, so all alone and fragile!

I occurred to me when the gentleman made his announcement, that people of my generation are kicking and screaming the last ten years as we go into I-pods, I-pads, Kindles, Bluetooths' (or is that ‘Blueteeth’?), blackberry, laptops, and the latest cell phones. I remember when a laptop was a napkin! Even the simple adventure of watching TV has become more complicated, with; Flat screens, tubes, plasma, LCD and DLP, plus I think HDTV.

All this troubles me. My concern is soon the food industry will start to upgrade and reinvent itself, and because I am over 60, will starve to death! And what about the car industry? They seem to be going the way of computer technology, with dashboards that should be displays for Times Square on a summer night. There is so much on the screen, which at one time was a few gauges with needles, is now digital in all kinds of colors, things appear and disappear, and if you accidentally lean on your steering wheel, you raise/lower or turn on/off your radio.

A phone in a car was a marvel, now it is illegal to use while driving. Meanwhile I could never fit a phone in my pants pocket, let alone a shirt pocket 15 years ago! Where would I put the cord? Now, what is supposed to be a phone is everything else as well! You can call, photo, text, and use it as a flashlight for God’s sake!

But I do not despair: help is on the way. My neighbor has two kids about the age of what my grandchildren should be, I think I’ll borrow them next time I turn on my computer.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

COMING TO AMERICA


It was being replayed once more since the late 1890’s, this time in the mid-fifties: 1956 to be exact, on a night in July, as the big ocean-liner nosed its way through the waves of the North Atlantic, to New York Harbor, and the shores of the U.S.A.

Like millions before them, they were coming here to live their dream, a special dream to be an American family; the Carboni family enjoyed the crossing on that summer evening, with little to occupy their minds except the excitement of the Shores as they watched in silence, America sliding by.

Like many Italians before them this would be their new home. A new way of life awaited them. Little did they know what really awaited them that July 25th evening!

An ocean liner for the Italian Line (Società di navigazione Italia) home ported in Genoa, Italy, and named after the 16th-century Genoese admiral ship had a gross register tonnage of 29,100 and a capacity of about 1,200 passengers and 500 crew. For a country attempting to rebuild its economy and reputation after World War II, the ship was an icon of Italian national pride. Of all Italy's ships at the time, it was the largest, fastest and supposedly safest. Launched on 16 June 1951, the ship undertook its maiden voyage on 14 January 1953.

Approaching the Nantucket coast off of Massachusetts, Mario, his wife Renata, the mother of two children: Liviano 8 years old and Patrizia 11 months, the family anticipated their arrival with some apprehension, and maybe a small amount of regret that they left their familiar home and language for the new shores of the Land of the Free.

Many years later, after the death of Mario and Renata, her parents, Patrizia revealed to her friends a shocking fact. Being a member of the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company, and thus a co-worker of TLW (The Little Woman) and Toots II, TLW’s look alike, and now a good friend along with her husband Bill, I was flabbergasted as were we all, who didn’t know. We knew she was special, but not that special!

How many people do we know who were present at Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese attacked it in 1941? How many people do we know who participated in the invasion of Normandy on June 6th, 1944? Do we know anyone who was witness to the assassination of JFK in November of 1963?

It was one Sunday afternoon in Woodloch Pa, that she choosed to tell her story. As we waited to board the little excursion across a lake on a small ferry! You see that secret she revealed occurred over 56 years ago, and we suddenly had a friend with celebrity status!



The ship which Patrizia, the Princess of Foxwood Points, was a passenger, listed on its registry was the SS Andrea Doria, forever linked with one of the greatest sea disasters since the Titanic!

Fortunately for the Carboni family, they were taken aboard the Stockholm, the ship that collided with the Andrea Doria, sending her to a watery grave.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

THERE ARE NO DAYS OFF…


At the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Company!

No sir, to spend a day away from the Wanna-Be Bank, and not discuss it would be nearly impossible. Why, take just last week, as TLW (The Little Woman) and myself, boarded the bus to Woodloch Pa, for a visit. On board was a couple of ladies or cohorts of TLW’s. There was Toots II, and Pat the Princess of Foxwood Points, two of the three amigas that complete this picture.

As we sat in the park and ride on the bus, under the shadow of the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co., waiting for the arrival of all the passengers, TLW immediately swung into action! Talking with her hands (Yes, that’s right, it is no longer the sole domain of Italian girls!) she shared her observations with the two sisters of monetary gratification, with long dissertations and short inserts of pertinent information that could only make the conversation, more bank like. Yes, indeed, the President of the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co., would be very proud!

To make matters even better for me, they find themselves with a gaggle of geese that are retired, but work part-time, translating for the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co., for the Hispanic customers. Fortunately for me, there were no Hispanic customers that needed translation of the conversation!

I politely asked, and was greeted with quizzical looks and downright disbelief: whether it was necessary to discuss Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co. business on a day off, particularly on a Sunday morning?

After that short abbreviated pause (they still spoke) on went the conversation. I decided that these old broads were in overdrive mode, and Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co. talk was what was on the verbal menu. I called TLW: “Overtime” for the rest of the day!

Monday, June 07, 2010

OH, THE HUMIDITY!


A few years ago I was watching a ballgame on TV. Being we had a very large screen, what normally is missed can be caught if you look for it, or even if you don’t! TLW (The Little Woman) happened to be in the room with me and observed a very common occurrence that she commented on.

“Why do all the players spit? Look at that, they keep spitting, that’s disgusting!”

“Oh! Really now? You don’t know much about baseball.”

“What do you mean, why do they constantly have to spit?”

“Well, for your information, they get paid the most, if they do spit. They are known as a 6-tool player.”

“A 6 tool player?”

“Yes, they get paid by how much natural ability they have. For instance, a 4-tool player may only make 5 million dollars a year, while a 6-tool player gets 10 million dollars a year.”

Snickering, she asked what tools were needed.

“Well a player who can hit, hit with power, run, catch, steal a base AND spit, is considered a 6-tool player. Spitting is a very important part of his repertoire!”

“How is that important?”

“Well, in spite (not spit) of your skepticism dear lady, spitting is making a statement to the other team! It’s saying: I don’t care what you try to do to make me look bad, I will beat with my 5 other tools.”

She was beginning to be skeptical, so I pursued it a little further.

“For instance, the pitcher throws his best pitch, a slider going 98 mph, with mustard on it and a whipplerly drop, and the batter hits it for a single. The batter, standing on first base with his hands on his hips will spit, stating: I can hit anything you throw at me. This usually results in the pitcher spitting back, stating: “Oh yeah, well wait for the next time up, let’s see how good you are?”

“And this is said all in the spitting?”

“Yes indeed! One of the things big league coaches and managers look for is chapped lips. If the player has chapped lips, he is probably a spitter, and chances are he will develop into a 6-tool player, his potential is unlimited, as is his earning and value to the team and himself! They see a guy who is gutsy, determined, hard to beat, then he is known as a ‘real spitter’. Another case in point, Major League Baseball has banned the hardest pitch to hit in baseball, you know what it is called?”

“No, but you will tell me.”

“The spitball or spitter”

“You mean they spit on the ball?”

“They USED to spit on the ball, not anymore, it was making the sport; too manly!”

Sunday, June 06, 2010

WHAT THE WORLD OWES

Today marks the anniversary of D-Day, and in my mind, the most significant day in the annals of world history. Americans see this day as a day in our history where we set about liberating Europe. The Europeans under the domination of Nazi Germany see it as a day of liberation, and the Russians see it as a day of the two front war, they so desperately needed and wanted from the Allies.

To me this should be a day for the whole world to commemorate and observe as a day of world rejoicing, and a day for the world to say: “Thank you; America, Britain and Canada!”



Operation Overlord landed a transported 156,000 U.S., British, and Canadian troops across the English Channel in more than 5,000 ships and 10,000 planes. Commanded by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied forces landed on five beaches on Normandy and soon established beachhead areas, despite stubborn enemy resistance and heavy losses at the code-named Omaha Beach and Juno Beach. There were three other beaches: Utah, Sword and Gold, but the brunt of loses occurred at the two first mentioned beaches.

But this is not a history lesson I wish to give, but a reminder of a largely ignored fact! That fact is that we as a world body, never fully recognized what those brave men on all those beaches did for the world. It was a united-nations endeavor, yet we seem to localize it.



There are three defining dates to that struggle, which made the difference in the war. The first was NOT September 1st, 1939 in Poland, but December 7th, 1941! The second was June 6th, 1944 and the third was August 6th, 1945. All three dates have the U.S. imprimatur on it, but it really affected the whole world. But June 6th stands out as the pivotal date: the day the world breathed a sigh of relief, and Europe in particular. When the allies were willing to sacrifice their youth on the beaches of Normandy, the world knew it was a war that was over. Tyranny would not prevail, and the good will and conscience of men of freedom would!



The implications were far more reaching than Europe, for surely Japan knew it was only a matter of time before we as a free body of men and women would turn our full attention on Asia and defeat Japan too.

Only a hand-full of misguided individuals in Germany, Italy and Japan led the world into war, I really don’t think the people of those nations were evil or really wanted war, but the young men of the free-world, rose up together and gave a great deal of themselves, for world peace, to free, even them.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

HOPE


I went with #2 Son to apply for a part-time job for him while he is home for the summer. We went into the main lobby and he took his application and found a table in the dining room to fill it out. The hotel was offering all kinds of jobs from high-level positions to busboys in their restaurant.

The people applying ran the gamut from teenager to men and women in their 60’s.

I couldn’t help but notice this one older gentleman and his sense of frustration. He sat at the table next to us, a man about 60 to 65, dressed in an old suit, with an uninspiring tie and shirt, an outfit which said: “I’ve been around the block and then some.” He wore a beard and his hair was thinning but a little scraggly, and he was slightly overweight.

But what I noticed was that he was waiting for his interview, and he seemed very nervous, and fidgety. He must have been out of work for a long time, and really needed this job he was applying for.

Another gentleman walked in, about in his mid 40’s to early 50’s. He wore a very crisp suit and with a shirt and tie that said: “I am very good, however circumstances beyond my control bring me here!”

The older gentleman watched the younger guy as he walked in, and immediately his face turned sour. He looked concerned that his chances went way down if this other man was applying for the job. There seemed to be a sense of desperation on the old fellows part, and it really upset me. I wanted to go over to him and say: “Guy, you have to dress the part, feel the part, and most importantly be the part. Look at you! You could cut your hair way back to a clean look, shave off the beard, and look a few years younger, and you could pave those worry lines in your face with a smile! And one more thing, get a nice tie.”

It’s a shame with this economy: the poor fellow has this to deal with. Probably dreaming of retirement that he will never see, and maybe on the brink of financial problems that are getting bigger by the day. He may have grandchildren he can’t enjoy, a lovely wife that needs to work and kids that worry about him. Sometimes I hate myself for imagining all that I just surmised!

Friday, June 04, 2010

WHAT’S THAT COMRAD: YOU WANT A PICTURE?


The five walked to the dock of the lake to board a small excursion boat to tour the beautiful lake, and catch the sea breezes that swept it and cooled down the warmth and humidity that Sunday afternoon. It was a small dock, and the boat was a short 15-minute ride, and one boarded at a first-come, first-served basis.

As we waited the people ahead of us started to board, and we were informed it would only take a limited number of passengers at a time, and with the five in my party, we exceeded the limit, and deferred to others to be next to board first.

The waiting area was maybe 10 feet by 10 feet with an enclosure, then a very narrow stairway to a small landing, then the long gangway to the edge of the boat to board. We stood next in line and people were quickly gathering behind us to board also.

Suddenly, this little lady and her small child come up to me and the lady asked in a broken English Russian accentuated voice, if I could take her child’s picture.

“Why sure!” I say and kneel down to shot.

“No, no, can you shoot it on the bottom of the steps?”

“No problem” I replied, being a really wonderful person that I am. (I heard that!)

“Wait, Mister, can I get in the picture?”

“Sure”

“Let’s shoot it on the landing with the lake behind us.”

I’m starting to get suspicious.

“Can we have one more with MY mother, the three of us?”

I’m getting suspicious and a little annoyed. Khrushchev never had these many pictures taken, even at the great Kitchen Debate with Nixon!

All of a sudden, another lady shuffles her way down to the dock, with a bunch of carry-on bags and totes! The people behind me are getting very angry, but no one says anything.

I do!

“OK, picture session is over, back to the back of the line!”

“Don’t worry Mister, we are not cutting in.”

“I’m sure you are not”, as I squeeze them off to the side, as the boat opens its doors and everyone boards, passing them by and having them wait. They try to cut in front of the people behind me, I point out to the operator what they are doing, and she makes them wait their turn for a later boat!

Once I board, this guy and his wife for speaking up congratulate me!