Monday, September 30, 2013


With the days growing shorter, the sun changing angles and the cool down of the air, summer is over, and the easy living is gone. No more light meals (nothing dark), and uneventful nights, gone is the floating sensation of the cool water in the pool on a humid day, and Carvel ice cream after dinner.

Getting back into the grove that suddenly becomes a rut takes over and with it the constant check of the calendar, commitments are made, things to do and we race against the holidays arriving one on top of the other. Day and night meetings are the norm for the rest of the next three seasons.

Already my November board meeting had to be rescheduled for December because our customary Tuesday falls the same week as Thanksgiving Day! I already have 2 out of town meetings scheduled, and numerous meetings along the way scheduled and to still schedule. Already I need a break!

Getting back in the grove is never easy, and for me this is as close to returning to work after a vacation or long weekend will get. How I dreaded the night before returning to work, the thought of having meetings, meeting deadlines and having to deal with not only underlings but also those over me.

There is certain strangeness to getting back on the routine, and a certain comfort to what you do know. Work has always excited me to the point of feeling I accomplished something and secure in the feeling that I had a paycheck to bring home, a career to further and was part of the real world, with friends and associates. That is why I maintain a schedule of regular hours in my retirement, doing things to keep me busy and having some fun in doing it.

Since I retired I have been having fun, writing is one of my pleasures I never had time for, yet always had an urge to put pen to paper. I love to cook, can devise a recipe at a moments notice with what I have in the house or can dream one up.

Doing charitable work and being involved in helping others is really the way to go! It has continued my sense of accomplishment, increased my observatory instincts and enhanced my sense of humor I feel. I find myself laughing at myself more and more each day!

And now my Sundays, I take home my daughter, or enjoy a ballgame with my nephew, making fun of the ballplayers and giving them nicknames that my nephew finds hilarious, or just talking sports with him. I miss #1 Son and talking sports since he moved to California, and my younger son is not a sports fan, so my nephew certainly ties that up for me.

Sometimes in the still of a quiet rainy afternoon during the week, I will sit in my chair and think about the days gone by, people I knew who have passed on and even the crises I have lived through, and take a big breath and enjoy the quiet.

And so I think retirement has been a wonderful gift to me, one I wouldn’t trade anything for. I am reading books I never got to, watching movies I meant watch and having occasional lunches with old friends and won’t ask for more.

I hope this didn’t bore you, and have a great autumn!

Sunday, September 29, 2013


As we drove home from the lousy performance of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, I fully expected my car mates to comment on the whole show. I of course have my opinion but try not to be too vocal about it and let others express their opinion.

Sure enough, along with TLW (The Little Woman) in the back seat sat Toots II (Lois) and The Princess of Foxwoods Points (POP) aka Pat. In the front seat riding shotgun was Bill, POP’s husband.

Approaching the service road to the East Bound Sunrise Highway the discussion begins.

POP: What did you think of the show, Joe?”
Me: “Ah, the show was good but the guy who played Tevye was not! He was too flat!”

Bill: Oh? I thought he was good. I think he was a little too young for the part though.”

Me: Nah! HE STUNK!”

Bill: Don’t hold back Joe! Tell us. Wow, you are a tough critic!”

POP: “Do you think you could have done better?”

Me: “No, I’m not paid to be an actor.”

POP: “Do you think you are a critic?”

Me: “ We are ALL critics, or we wouldn’t be going to these things. That is how we judge if we like a play or not!”

Bill: “What exactly didn’t you like?”

Me:“ He was too stiff, there was no command of the part, no interpretation of what it meant to be a Jew in that time and place. HE STUNK!”

Bill: “Well, I disagree, I liked him.”

Me: “He couldn’t act, couldn’t dance and couldn’t even convey a Jewish accent to get us in the mood. HE STUNK!”

TLW: “I notice when he sang ‘Sunrise, Sunset” there was a tear in his eye!” (trouble maker)

POP: “Yea, there was.”

Me: “That’s because he knew HE STUNK!”

POP: “Well, I had a tears a few times during the show!”

Me: “I’ve seen this twice in the movies and stage, and what have you, and I noticed there were more tears tonight in the audience then at any time I’ve seen it, do you know why?”

TLW Sighing: “Why?”

Me: “Because HE STUNK!”

Reaching the Nichols Road exit for the LIE I negotiate the curve and jump onto the westbound service road of the LIE.

Me: “You know the one iconic line in the story is where after the wedding and the pogrom comes, Tevye talks to God and says: “Dear God, I know we are your chosen people, but could you choose someone else for a change? Even that, perhaps the most important line in the whole play is poorly done, he was flat! He didn’t convey the thousands of years of suffering, of being a persecuted Jew, and having to upend his family and leave his friends, of not having too much happiness. I think I know why too.


Saturday, September 28, 2013


I confess, I lied deliberately and calculated the lie to deceive you. Yes Dear Reader, I had to, you see writing blogues are a daily report, a diary if you will of one’s life.

When we got the news that TLC (The Lovely Courtney) and #1 Son were expecting my grandchild, we were asked not to say anything until the parents were in a safe area first. That meant waiting for the 14th week before announcing it.

With the news that a grandchild was coming, we decided to expand our guest room by removing the current occupant to another locale and redoing the room to accommodate the larger family.

My lie is that we were “selling” the house, which was to some extent true, but not completely.

Since we don’t know the sex of the child, we painted the room a yellow, a bright, cheerful yellow to match my sunny disposition and/or sallow complexion.

This is big news! This is bigger than dinner! Everyday it sinks deeper into my consciousness that I will be seeing the future hopefully. Most people my age are seeing their grandchildren attending and even graduating college.

Now here is the clincher, this child will be the first Del Broccolo of this newest generation! The baby’s Great Grandmother Olympia stated this news to me!

As the great Mel Allen would say: “How ‘bout that!”

Friday, September 27, 2013


I’m going be a grandfather!

Yes, I will soon be able to show off pictures, tell tales and brag just like you guys! I’ve already had a peek of my grandchild and the consensus is that the child looks just like me! BEAUTIFUL!

I have waited for over 21 years for this moment, and when #1 Son gave us the news, this immense sense of joy just took over.

my profile around the stomach
The big day is around April 1st, and I look forward to it as a day to rejoice, and wish only that my dad was still alive to enjoy this moment with us.

So excuse me please, since I am so happy I can’t even put these words together. More to come for sure, but a huge ‘thank you’ goes out to my beautiful daughter-in-law Courtney, (TLC), and I know that she will be a great mom, someone who will lovingly guide her precious child, and to my son who I am proud to say is, he will be a better dad than I ever was.

You know, children are a wonderful gift, and I am sure Roger and Claire Hyde, Courtney’s parents and my wonderful wife have done so much to make these guys so terrific and special.

Their child, will be a beautiful baby and smart like the parents, and the creativity level is going to be sky high.

Congratulations, Courtney, Anthony, Claire and Roger, we done good!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


“One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this. -Don Quixote.”
Joe Darion, Man of La Mancha

So we surveyed the empty bedroom we had just rescued from obscurity and possibly damnation, and TLW (The Little Woman) spoke up.

“We need to get these floors refinished. We also need to repaint, new molding and I’d like to buy some new curtains, and oh yes, the furnishings need an upgrade. You can paint them.”

Sobbing is what I do best as a husband. It requires very little effort and comes easily. All I need to do to sob is to remember her last idea that involves me. Of course, my sobbing comes in different forms with different symptoms. The soft gentle sniffling or a wringing of the hands, or something so subtle you would not even notice it like my hair hurting!

“We need to get that guy that did our floors back in ’08! What was his name?”

“We must have his bill, he was a Spanish guy if I remember, did a great job.”

TLW looks it up and finds him-Carlos! AH!  Carlos!

Not unlike a conquering hero, Carlos returns our call and TLW tells him how wonderful a job he did, and we want him to do more. He is inspired, he will now climb Mt Everest; forge a deep and wide river, even read this blogue for TLW after her compliments. He is coming Tuesday. Of course, they all come on Tuesday; it is an unwritten rule that service people come on Tuesday. He will also come on Wednesday and Thursday. This means we have to paint, and all the great plans TLW has envisioned. The painting has to be done first and moving furniture out of the room. I could use some medication, anything you got!

The big day arrives, a Tuesday. So does Carlos, machines and two assistants who do all the dirty work while Carlos sits outside on my lawn making calls on his cell.

I go outside and speak to Carlos.

“Ju know, we make the floors blend. You know why? Because we still do it the hold way! Yes, we use the hold chemicals, they are better, why they make us change, I don’t know?”

After the third day I look for Carlos in his usual position, on my lawn with the cell phone in his ear.

“Hey Carlos, how’s it going?”

Hoe, we are almost finished. You like it?”

“Sure do, you guys did a great job!”

Carlos grims and puts his phone away. “Eyup, we sure do!”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


It’s been years actually. 30 if you want to be exact. It is so old that seeing it again makes it feel like it is new!

In the 30 years we have been living in my house, we have had 2 occupants of the back bedroom.  Except for an occasional foray into no-man’s land, to clean mainly and prevent the rest of the house from being overtaken by dirty laundry, no one except the occupant has entered the room. When TLW (The Little Woman) would dare to enter and clean, I would tie a rope around her waist and wish her luck, and in she’d go, rubber gloves on: broom in hand and determination to brave it all. If she was in danger at any time of being overcome by a gaggle of dirty socks or old composition papers, she would tug on the rope and I would start pulling her back to safety.

Then one day, the original occupant of said room decided to marry and live far away. When he came to visit, we would put the happy couple in a small guest bedroom with a pullout couch that converts to a full size bed for two. But is was cramped and so TLW decided that she wanted to go for broke and evict the occupant of the back bedroom, move him into the guest room as a subtle suggestion and have a new guest bedroom, telling the evicted occupant that we now have TWO GUEST bedrooms and how long did he plan on staying?

And so the excavation process began. I wanted to hire an archeologist to tell us what to look for and to tell us how to catalogue any ancient artifacts we might come across.  Moving and switching furniture is a process, one that upsets the karma of the household, leading to questions of: why did we start this?

I can see forever!
After intensive digging and removal, we discovered in the new guest room that we indeed had a floor, ending the argument that I had lost it when I said she had it last. Finally the day came and the room was completely cleared. Together, hand in hand we entered it for the first time since we looked at buying the house and on the clear floors and unpainted walls, danced to the tune of Save the Last dance for Me.

Then the trouble started.

TLW: We need to paint, Joe! And, the floors should be redone, they are wood and I love shiny wooden clean floors!

Me: Sniff.

TOMORROW: Carlos returns!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Ah love!

I turn my back and another baby is all grown up and “In a relationship”!

Perusing the Internet I wind up on Facebook one day and what do I see? A picture of my niece and nephew Laurie Ann and Gerard O’Hara’s son Stephen, standing next to this beautiful young lady named Savannah Ree, who happens to be Stephen’s new main squeeze! She's even prettier than me!

If I am not mistaken, it was a hot July Friday on my birthday when my older sister (much older) Tessie called with the news that she was a grandmother for the first time! She informed me that the date would now have some real significance since it would be her grandson’s birthday and something to celebrate. Just goes to show how important I am in my own family!

Actually wanted to be my lawyer
I remember when I was a dad for the second time, and then going to a wedding the next day. In that time period I watch untold little league baseball games, soccer, football and basketball games, went to his college to watch him graduate and then his getting married to my beautiful daughter-in-law TLC (The Lovely Courtney)!

Ah, more love!
Of course in that span of 24 hours there were others, like my nephew David, also went to school and had a child Daxton with his lovely wife Kim and another on the way in that same time frame.

Just this morning I was talking to the guy in the mirror, a simple chap who shows up every morning, telling him I remember when he was running around the streets of Brooklyn,the day right before my older sister (much older) Tessie called about her news!

And so Stephen is now no longer little. He is about 6’4” and has curly hair, just like his great Uncle Joe, and has a “relationship” going, He is a pretty darn good Lacrosse player at Lenoir–Rhyne University on a scholarship in college.

As for me… I think I’ll just go back to bed, pull the covers over my head and try to remember my days at dear old Bellport High School, or maybe the streets of Brooklyn, and cry.

Monday, September 23, 2013


TLW (The Little Woman) has finally found a way to collect the insurance money, have more room in bed and eat what she likes only, and own the remote outright! The I-Pad will be my undoing, that is, her I-Pad.

She has tried numerous times to drive me insane with her laptops, my computer and even the GPS. But never in the history of our marriage has she found the item to cleanly remove me from the face of the earth until she purchased the I-Pad. Now it is my fault that she has one, since I encouraged her to get it once she started looking to replace her crappy laptop from Toshiba.

No, she will not make it explode next to me. She will not raise it over her head and crown me, no, she will deliver a bombardment of questions about the Internet and how it works, why it isn’t working and the agony of listening to the questions, the long round about way she will address each one to me.

Now you might think I’m being a little dramatic, but she gets a sense of the sillies as she does this to me, as I slowly but with great force bang my head against the wall. It came be an all day affair, (the banging) and may explain some of my blogues.

“Joe, I’m downloading an app (notice the developing techie in her) and it is taking a long time!”  OR “Joe, it says I’m not connected to the Internet, but I see the page!” OR “Joe, is the browser the thingy with the address or is that Yahoo?” And so it goes, my medical provider will soon send me a note telling me if there is a I-Pad in the house, they will not cover it under the plan for cause of sickness or hurting myself!

Pray for me.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


As I do every time I get into my car to drive somewhere, I always remind myself that I am retired, so therefore not in any particular hurry. Then something happens and that all changes.

One Saturday recently, driving home from visiting my mother like a good son should, I found myself on North Ocean Avenue heading north to the Long Island Expressway.

Out of the corner of my eye I feel a driver trying to pass me on the slower lane, at a pretty good speed! I look over and see it is a young kid in his mid-twenties, and he looks like he has no patience for an old guy. (me)

We come up to the last light before we get to the Expressway and he is sitting in his car biting his nails, and I wondered if that came with dessert. Determined that the youngster was not going to out run the old fox (me) when the light turned green, I was going to give him a run for his money. (This is the something that happens)

The light turns green and I apply the pedal to the metal and jump out in front with a small lead, as I keep an eye on the hungry lad. He is now pushing his brown Subaru to gain on me and get ahead. Nothing doing: as I give my little black Prius a little more gas. He is taken by surprise as I maintain my lead! Pushing his scrap metal I make my move and race about a half car length ahead up to the Expressway, as he has to fall behind me and I turn left into the exit ramp.

The loser!
As I do he shoots me a look and I yell: “YOU JUST DON’T HAVE IT PUNK!”

Made my whole day! 

I know, when will I ever grow up? When will I start acting my age? Well let me tell you, I was acting my age when he challenged me, don’t mess with us old guys, baby!

Young whipper snappers!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Before leaving the Barnes & Noble bookstore, I took my receipt up to the cash register and handed it to a very pleasant lady, maybe a little older than but sparkling with a sense of dry humor.

“Do you have a membership with us?” She asked.

“I’m not sure if I do or not anymore.”

“Phone Number?”

“OK, but call during working hours, my wife may get suspicious.” I then give her my number and she finds my name.

“You are Joe…. with a something last name?

Yes, that’s me, Joe Something!”

‘Well,” she says: “I didn’t want to mispronounce it.” She then pronounces it perfectly! This is winning her big points on the tote board of life!
As we kid around about the fact that she did so well, I take my credit card and am about to leave when it dawns on me, she should know who she is dealing with. I march back to the counter and tell her that actually she is dealing with someone semi-famous. I tell her about #1 Son writing for the Big Bang Theory and to look for the last name after each show.

“Wait a minute” she says, “aren’t you the man who came here last year and bought up our stock of Entertainment Magazine?”

Smiling and proud, I said: “And YOU haven’t aged a bit!”

Friday, September 20, 2013


Of yesterday!

As a youngster I used to marvel at Willard Mullin’s sports drawings, and wanted to be a sports cartoonist myself at one point.

Recently I was reading an article in the Sports pages and mention of a book was made: Willard Mullin’s Golden Age of Baseball Drawings 1934-1972. So naturally I looked it up on the Internet and wanted to order it. Looking at the price I decided it was too expensive with the shipping and handling and planned on going to the Barnes & Noble store in my local mall to purchase it.

Now going to the store to buy something these days seems like an inconvenience, even if the price is cheaper. $7.00 shipping I think is excessive and it becomes a thing of principle for me. So off to the giant 2-storied building I go which is separate from the mall and as I enter I am overcome with the bigness of it all! I start to look and find a section called ‘Baseball’ which seems the logical choice to go to. Of course I can’t find it and roam some to look elsewhere, without luck.

Giving up I find this young lady who looks it up for me and goes to where I was standing, in the ‘Baseball’ section and without hesitation, picks it out. Mom would have said: “If it were a snake it would have bit you!” I am happy, until I see the price marked on the book. On the Internet it is $26.18 and the store book is marked $35.00! I speak up and state that it is cheaper on the Internet even with the shipping! She agrees and orders it for me on the Internet for a total of $28.44! Here I decided to go back to basics, do it the old fashioned way, the right way! Ha! Or maybe Huh?

Leaving I realize they want me to order on the Internet so they can close all these stores and operate at a larger profit, and that the cost of the bricks and mortar are driving the prices up!

My problem with the Internet ordering is I just don’t trust it. With the high incidences of identity thief, sending my personal data into the Cyber-sphere makes me a little uneasy, not unlike asking a stranger to hold my wallet for me while I will be right back! Somehow it makes me nervous.

I always feel guilty when I buy myself anything, It goes back to being a young father with little kids and the fact that they needed before I did. I never outgrew that, and even now I told TLW (The Little Woman) I was buying the book!

But the book will rekindle old dreams and unrealized ambitions, but will also stir up those wonderful memories of the expressive and artistic work of the great Willard Mullins!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


WHAT? Him cheap!!!
If there is one thing I am not, it is cheap. On occasion I am sometimes judicious in what I will pay for, but never cheap. More often than not, I encourage TLW (The Little Woman) to pay more because I have learned that you get what you pay for.

The other morning we were running low on milk and TLW asked if I would go to the store and get a gallon of milk, and of course, even though I was using my gas in my car and lowering the value of the vehicle exponentially, I said ‘Yes.’

Handing me $5, she returns to her newspaper and I to my Internet browsing. About 10 minutes later she says: “Are you going to the store?”


“Are you getting yourself a roll?”

“I guess so?”

“Would you get me one too, I gave you enough?”

“Well, do you know what a gallon of milk costs today? And a roll, do you know how much a buttered roll cost these days?”

“$1.29” This is said like it is fact.

“No, the milk is $3.89 alone, each roll is $1.09!”

“Oh, so you are telling me that I have to give you another $1?”

“Nooooo, just saying.”

She hands me the dollar and I take it.

“I guess you have to be paid for wear and tear on your car!”

 “Not to mention gas.”

“I didn’t.”

Look, I save all my money so I can buy her a present for her birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and let’s not forget anniversaries, including January 15, the day we got officially engaged. Every little dollar counts for her happiness.

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY if you have one today, if you don't, get over it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


or at least feeling them.

Don't look at me that way!
As we continue our journey to; ‘stuff we don’t need anymore’, and getting the house in shape to sell, I have begun the process along with what TLW (The Little Woman) started, and that is fixing up and redoing rooms. Fresh coats of paint, new molding, and installing new air-conditioners into bedroom walls, we also stir up the old bones and muscles we haven’t used in a while.

The old adage: ‘Use it or lose it’ certainly feels true in my case. Jumping up and down ladders, scrapping and painting, cutting wood and moving old furniture to the curb has awakened my old body,

I’ve been sleeping like a baby, and the feeling of doing these jobs as I once did so many years ago before hiring people has made me feel achier, but younger! The smell of freshly cut wood and even the application of paint, something I used to hate, can be a rejuvenator. With the weather cooling off, I have more energy to do even more, and I forget about how old I am until I realize it when my body rebels!

I have suffered from a bad leg since I was 21 and in an auto accident. Every time I stay on my feet for any long period over a half hour, my foot begins to give me pains. Together with my aching back, that hasn’t yet been resolved I am feeling it the next morning in particular! When everything hurts, you need time to adjust and work up the will to move forward once again.

We could hire someone to do these things, but it does get costly, and then I’m at the mercy of their schedules and promises that they don’t always keep. The ‘they’ being whomever I hire, is not always helpful.

As I write this, there is at my curb an old recliner, a desk and other things that we are tossing, but it looks like if I sat out there, I would draw a crowd and they would expect at least a cup of coffee. This has been going on for the last few weeks and so I am sure my neighbors must think I need more room or a bigger house.


Davis is one of the few that risks his life everyday as a fire fighter, and who has expanded his options into nursing! He's also on the fringes of being a daddy once again in the very near future!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Say a few words about Facebook.

I’m beginning to like the idea of Facebook, I think there is a good side of it if you use it wisely. For instance my old classmate Tony Lanzetta has posted numerous posting of missing children. I don’t know if any of it works, but I share it because I think it is important to try to save our children from predators. The audience you reach must be vast enough that someone will see a posting that will lead to saving a young innocent life.  Good for you Tony, and thanks, it is a worth-while posting all the time.

There are some days when I wish there was no Facebook, when people post their religious beliefs and ask everyone to repost or ‘like’. That turns me off, and
makes me wonder why they really need to do that. If Jesus is your savior, does that mean that the Jewish population won’t be saved? How harsh is that?

It is a great forum to express oneself on political ideologies and to create great discourse. It gives you the other side of the coin, but not always rationally like you would hope. We are too quick to fault Obama, the Bush administration and or Liberals and Conservatives. It troubles me when I see the glorification of the American military power: since it is so vast and strong it only creates resentment and a false sense of righteousness and a silly sense of bravado, almost childlike to the rest of the world. Showing pictures of aircraft carriers or fighter planes gets embarrassing and stale. But if you served in the service, that is something to be proud of showing that off is good. It is nice to honor a man or woman who serves his or her country, to be proud of a child or grandchild who does, and so it is to brag about a child or grandchild.

A graduation being noted, an achievement being recognized, are all good things and rightfully so for a parent or grandparent on Facebook. Those cute pictures of children and grandchildren only help but beautify the Internet, and make us forget about the ugliness that is out there in the world.

To make someone smile, to tell a joke or two is good for the soul, both the tellers and the readers, it is something fun and neat.

The best thing by far is finding old friends from childhood or old work places of long ago, makes for some great discoveries and happy moments. And the helpful hints, the ways to get ride of fruit flies or crud, the pictures of recipes that sound enticing and you can’t wait to try!

And so like millions everywhere I am becoming a little addictive to Facebook. So what?

Some of the people she bosses at home


I’m very proud of her because she has just recently received a promotion in the South Country School District as a department head! Yup, another bossy lady I know!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Driving home from a meeting the other day, I hit a small lonely road and right in front of me going about 20 mph was a landscape crew, with a beat up old pickup and one of those bins on wheels that carries a sit-down mower an all the gardening and landscaping tools to keep a late sleeper awake.

Now I am a very patient, as you know, few things bother me, except slowing moving landscape crews and missing dinner. There ought to be a law!

As I am trying to be cool about the slow poke in front of me, all I can think about is what I want to do at home if I ever get there. Driving, we slow down even more as we attack the curves and bends on the road, the stop signs take up more time and I now need to be home before Christmas so I can plan for the holiday.

Patience is a virtue, so I don’t blow my horn, but I am starting to blow some steam. Suddenly we are now slowing down in the middle of the road to a crawl, between stop signs, crawling until Chuckles stops altogether.

Now what? I wonder. Like the gates of a castle, the back doors of the wheeled bin begin to slowly open, revealing two guys, one of which is speaking rapidly in Spanish, when suddenly they lay out a ramp for a mower to drive down out of the bin. I of course am astonished by the whole series of events unfolding before my eyes when I realize what is happening and squeeze by.

Ah! I’m free of that nonsense as I once more hit the open road, tooling along at 30 mph toward the next stop sign, where I come to a full stop and what turns before me to lead me once again into the depths of despair, but a little yellow school bus, that doing 20 mph makes a sudden stop in front of a house and sticks out the ‘Stop’ sign for all traffic!

The drive jumps out of the bus and heads toward the back and slowly lowers a ramp, I am in for a long wait!

Why? Why, why, why, couldn’t she stick her arm out and wave me on rather than make me sit there since there was no other cars around but me?

Why? I’ll tell you why, because that is what is supposed to happen to me. If I ever get a break, it is usually put in a cast! THAT”S WHY.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
he chastens and hastens his will to make known;
the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing:
sing praise to his Name, he forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
so from the beginning the fight we were winning:
thou, Lord, wast at our side: all glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation:
thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Words: Nederlandtsche Gedenckclanck, 1626;
trans. Theodore Baker (1851-1934), 1894.

Whenever Fall arrives: it takes me back to a time when I was in the 5th grade at Kramer Street School in Bellport, a school that was out of my district where I lived, but for one year I was sent to it. I didn’t particularly like the school: it was in a strange neighborhood that I felt was somewhat unfriendly. Not dangerous by any means, but made me feel like a minority with my own race! I was from the other side of the tracks, “one of them”. It wouldn’t be until years later that I moved and was “one of us”!

There are a number of icons from this experience that delivers me back in time, forfeiting the present for an unhappy childhood memory.

It seems that Mom was Hell bent on my getting a good solid foundation in God fear, and so I was sent to Mary Immaculate Church for my religious education every Thursday afternoon by bus, from The Kramer Street School to the Church. There were a bunch of us, enough to fill a bus that were transported from the world of 5th grade academia to God’s house of worship and discount house of prayers, and back once again to the school.

As we were learning our readin’ and written’ and ‘ritmatic, there was an old Pilgrim song sung believe it or not by Pilgrims, long before John Wayne could identify one. The song shown above was hammered into our skulls from the beginning of the autumn up until Thanksgiving. As we sung the song, I imagined pilgrims in an austere looking church, void of the kafuffle of the Catholics churches and a somberness to go with the grey skies that always seemed to be painted across the horizon. The cold chill, the song, and the small Protestant church we always saw as we turned the corner onto Kramer Street lent itself to this imaginary scene. To this day, whenever I pass through the old neighborhood, I can’t help the feeling that overcomes me, forcing me to hear the song in my head, to feel the cold chill that penetrated my spine, the smell of burning leaves that permeated my nose from the air. After all, this was all foreign to me, coming from the streets of Brooklyn, adjusting to a life style and new friends, a new order and a new discipline. Having never been exposed by any other religion but Catholicism, and the culture of Judaism, the scrubbed feel of a different world of God, and then shifting back into my own world!

It’s a small patch of Bellport, a distant memory and a traditional little hymn made for one giant impression.

One of the best things in this world is that this country eventually introduces you to a wider and more universal brand, in this case the brand was Protestanism, and you learn one thing: No big deal, we all live and die together. Good for us.


Saturday, September 14, 2013


Not the picture I swore at!
The other day I opened the sports pages of the Newsday and there was a big picture of Geno Smith, the new rookie quarterback of the NY Jets.

A sudden impulse overcame me to start screaming at the picture and yell: YOU BUM! YOU STINK! GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY WHY DO I ROOT FOR YOU? The poor guy had yet to call his first snap from scrimmage in a regular season game!

This is a rather odd reaction to a newspaper photo and suggests that maybe I need some psychological help. I admit it, and there is nothing I can do about it but try to hang on. You see Dear Reader: I root for bad teams. My whole life has been one sad rooting experience after another. There are few years in the interest of sports that I have had a happy time of it.

Once the Brooklyn Dodgers left Brooklyn, I had been spoiled at a young age of one World Series win in 1955. Then the Mets and Jets came along, and my world crumbled into a pile of loses, disappointments and infectious losing teams that I passed down to my son, making him a perennial loser also. Aside from hating the Yankees, and always will, I used to root for the Giants and Rangers until the Jets and Islanders came along. Geographically they were on Long Island. Even the Knicks were abandoned for the New York Nets until they moved to New Jersey.

In the past 58 years there have two World Series victories in 1969 and 1986, one Super Bowl in January of 1969 and only two NBA Championships with the Knicks but four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders in a span of four years! That is it!

It is natural for me to resign myself to one re-building year after another, to watch in envy as Yankee and Giant fans, along with even the Ranger fans winning year after year. Some nights I cry myself to sleep in a fetal position due to a fatal condition of the team of my interest at that time.

Each season is a season of tears, and I keep wondering why I torture myself as TLW (The little Woman) says. It is because I am stubborn, stupid and love to cry with great pain and refuse to give up on the bums. (The ‘Bums’ in this case is collective and you may choose any player on any of the teams as a bum.)

So today, as I write this on Sunday, September 8th, I await the 1:10 pm kickoff of the New York Jets that will carry me until the end of the year, I am prepared to sob, call them S.O.B.s and naturally scream and yell and wave my hands in disgust, then read about the other team, the one I should be rooting for as they win like they should.

But I will honestly tell you this:

P.S. Well just like I didn't predict, the Jets won and the other team, the Giants lost!
With his lovely wife Kim
Happy birthday to my beautiful niece Kim Bradshaw Harrow, a soon to be Mom for the second time!

Friday, September 13, 2013


A few days ago, I got an e-mail that stated Bill Lindsay had passed away. Bill was a local Suffolk County Legislator and friend of AHRC Suffolk, where my daughter attends program and resides in a home. Bill was also the husband of Pat his lovely wife who shares the table on a few committees and the Board of Directors with me.

It is a sad day for me because although I don’t really know Bill the husband or politician or even friend of the agency, I know him as a father of a child with disabilities, a child that he has worked hard and long for and who shared the pain and worry of raising and caring and planning a future for.

And now it is left to Pat solely, to be the advocate for her daughter, the person who must think and represent their child. Pat has been doing that, but now she does it alone, without the emotional help and assistance of her husband!

All too often we take things in stride, we look to offer our condolences, our sympathies and gratefully walk away from the sadness as we close our door and hope behind it that something like that doesn’t happen to us.

Death is a funny thing sometimes. Many times it is a relief for the sick and dying, sometimes it is a burden on the survivor, many times it is the end to the sense of well being we all try to bring to our lives.

My tears are not for Bill, although I am relieved that he does not suffer, that is my comfort, not his. Instead my tears are for Pat and their child. I envision the day I am gone and have left my wife with the burden of carrying on alone. Oh, we have family, we have sons and siblings and friends, but the first day I am gone, we will not have each other to share the real death of life, the caring of a child with mental and physical disabilities. We can close our door at night and seek in each other the comfort of knowing the other is there to lift up each other when a crisis affects our child, our most vulnerable child, that knows only pain and frustration, loneliness and can only give love in return.

And so Pat will have to adjust, get her head back into the game with a new game plan so to speak. She is not only a strong woman, she is a smart and extremely capable woman, one who will make all the right decisions, on her own, that I am sure. I just wish she had the comfort of her Bill to help her share it all.

Tomorrow the sun will shine, children will play and Pat will laugh, cry and live her life, like all of us, and seek to find peace with her daughter’s future. That is what it is all about, that is what the parent of a ‘special needs’ child will gives us all.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Speak about their in-laws kindly that is? All my married life has been easy, as far as the relationship goes between TLW (The Little Woman) and me. When there are issues, they lay in other things or people. That is not to say we don’t disagree, we do and will in the future, but they seem to always resolve based on a well-grounded relationship. I think this is true for most married couples.

But somewhere in the past, TLW was ingrained with a few basics that lead to a good person, it came from somewhere and I know the source, her daddy.

Jim lived into his 70’s, which was not long enough for anyone’s measure. He was a very hard workingman, who had an eye on the comfort and future of his wife Helen and children, and he should have, he had a beautiful family, none of which disappointed him. His legacy went even future into the future with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. To this day he is still missed and still thought of fondly. Oh he had his quirks, his likes and dislikes, and in spite of those minor things, had a grace about him that I respected.

He had one other thing, an easy chair, the most comfortable chair ever made. The seat was the right depth and very comfortable. Through the years I have searched for just such a chair and have never found it! Imagine, a chair so comfortable, you can fall asleep, read and watch TV and never get uncomfortable in it!

So today is his birthday, a day that will be quietly remembered and somewhat observed. I will go to the cemetery and visit his grave, give him an update about his daughter and grandchildren. He would have been 113 if he had taken better care of himself. Maybe I’ll hoist one or two in his memory, kind give it an Irish flavor, then look at TLW with her wonderfully kind and sweet face and say: Thanks, Jim, you did good!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WhEn ThE MiNd LeAvEs YoU!

There are definite signs of old age besides grey hair. There is the ache and pain of getting up from a chair or being down on your knees and trying to get up, the fact that if you count your real teeth, it gets easier every year, and that if you wonder where that young person is you used to see every morning in the mirror went, he or she is under all those folds in your skin.

But the biggest sign of old age is not any of the above mentioned, no it is between your ears and it is called your mind or what is left of it.

As it is there are too many rules and regulations that govern life, too many people and places telling us what we have to do, from the Federal and State governments down to the town services we get. For instance: garbage, the necessary item that we seek to rid our self and our home of. You can’t just put it out to the curb anymore, NOOOOOO: you have to ask yourself what day it is first. Monday is an off day it comes from the hectic weekend of Saturday and Sunday for the garbage men. Tuesday is garbage day, and then we jump right into Wednesday, a day you have to guess whether it is paper or glass day, something like rocks or scissors day. Thursday is another day off for the garbage men, they need the rest from having to confuse you about what to put out on the curb the day before, and Friday is garbage once again, with a twist, you may add other items like a house, chair or overstayed relative.

The other day I did what I always do on a Tuesday, I put out the garbage can at the curb so the mental geniuses that take it can then leave the empty can across the street, down the block, and yes, if they try hard enough, around the corner on anther street. As I rolled the can out, it was a little like me: less than normal. Checking it I figured, so what, out it goes. I even got some other trash from the makeover we are doing in the bedroom before we sell.

Returning to my customary seat to breakfast and the morning news, TLW (The Little Woman) goes out and comes right back in.

“You have the wrong garbage out there!”

“I do! Did I take someone else’s garbage? Who complained?”

“No, today is Wednesday.”

“Huh! Are you sure, today is not Tuesday!”

“Nooooo, Today is Wednesday.”

Now I realize why the can was so empty, I had brought it out to the curb yesterday, and forgot! This leads me to believe there are other things I have forgotten to do, or worst still, will forget to do! There is an inner desperation building under my skin as I write this. The going into the next room for something then forgetting what it was you wanted to do when you got there is now child’s play!

I do recall Dad at a younger age than mine is now, taking his lunch to work with him everyday. On some mornings Mom would give him garbage to dump in the can as he rushed off to catch a subway to Canal Street in Manhattan. The garbage bag, like the lunch bag was brown paper, and about the same size and weight. Dagwood took the garbage to work and deposited the lunch in the garbage can! I have never done that.

And so, as I continue my trek to the sunset horizon, I need to check which bag I am carrying, and what day it is, or why I am even going somewhere when I should be sitting eating my breakfast. Amen!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Apple is one of the technology giants at the core of growing speculation about smartwatches. Along with Samsung – maker of Galaxy Gear that was unveiled this week – Google and Microsoft, we now have another reason to be on the cutting edge of redundancy!
Looks like the same old apps to me!
If that is not enough, it gives children another toy to stare into and totally ignore their parents. It seems the world is starting to get darker by the minute! Seemingly as we lose the art of handwriting in script, soon we may lose the art of conversation, and the only words necessary will be: ‘download and apps’ which will round out our vocabulary.

But my mother saw it coming years ago, as she berated poor old dad for spending too much time watching TV and not talking to her. That was the first electronic device: the TV, aside from the radio that has totally disappeared unless you put it in a context of an app, and Apple is now out with a device for $100 that will accommodate your computer, I-pad or smartphone onto a TV set..

Now it is essential to pose this question before you run out and buy a smartwatch: do you really need one? It will only replicate what the smartphone does, which replicates what an I-pad does that is even better than what a laptop does, that which is better than your desktop computer!

Once upon a time, I lived in a world that hadn’t yet been introduced to the computer except in some vague concept! Yes, it is true and I survived! People had these black things that sat on a desk and plugged into a wall that rang and you answered it by picking up a receiver. Your source of amusement was one of  seven channels that came in sometimes questionably with a roof top antennae or what they called ‘rabbit ears’, a leap in TV technology so you didn’t have to climb on your roof to watch Mr. Weatherbee, for the latest local weather.

An absolute obsolete!
In those backward days of yesteryear, it became a thing to do to go to a library to research something, and an opportunity to go out. It could even be a social occasion, where I met my friends or young ladies from other hoods that expanded my social sphere.

But if we all go out and get a smartwatch, what do we do with all our old watches? And you guys who wear a Rollex, what do you do for immediate status recognition? Do you have to buy a solid gold wristband? (I’m worried about that!)
Got the time already!
As for me, I am just starting to get accustomed to TLW (The Little Woman) getting so electronically sophisticated that she has totally rejected her laptop for an I-pad, a bright new white shiny one, to distinguish hers from my black one, or as she says: the good guys from the bad guys.

I’ve decided that rather than run out and buy a smartwatch, I will be smart and wear my smartphone on my wrist and look; cool, smart and cutting edge, without the added cost. Hmmm, I’ll need a big rubberband.