DelBloggolo

Saturday, November 30, 2013

ITS’ ALL IN YOUR ATTITUDE


TLW Not always smiling!
Recently, TLW (The Little Woman) has been complaining that she is having trouble with the Internet, in getting on. She gets angry, and uses semi-angry language to express it! Not only that, she is almost blaming me for the problem.

“Joe! I’m having trouble getting on the darn Internet. It won’t let me on. I have to go into the kitchen to get on and then it will work for me.” This is while using her I-pad that the problem persists.

She gets crossed and irritated and angry and darn right mad, and I feel like it is my fault for introducing her to it. However, I know she thinks I did it somehow when all I ever do is go on the Internet without problems. This to her is even more irritating, and she wants to know what she is doing wrong.

“Joe, what is it I’m doing wrong???”

“It’s your attitude, it can sense your attitude and won’t cooperate.”

“Oh, don’t give me that!”

“It’s true, you express yourself with a mean streak and it freezes, refusing to even open up for you.”

“You are telling me that my attitude is the cause for my not getting on the Internet?”

I open my laptop and…
A face that launched 1,000 browsers!

“Now watch, my attitude is nice and friendly, happy and glad to use the Internet, I will now go on it.”

I hit a few keys and Yahoo appears, in all its’ glory, functioning as it should.

“See what a good attitude will get you?”

“Oh, go shit in your hat!”

I would normally do what she asks except for her attitude: you see what I mean?

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Friday, November 29, 2013

HELPING A GENIUS


Been to the bar lately? That’s the ‘Genius Bar’, found in the Apple Stores across America. Years ago, if you went into the Apple Store, it was generally empty, void of anyone except Mac users. Now, with the I-phone and I-pad, you can't move in the place!

Well, I have a trusty old laptop, my buddy, the thing I use every morning to write these blogues and annoy you with. The machine has keys that are losing their imprinted letters from use and wear and tear, but it is a faithful companion, giving me great enjoyment.

As it ages the bottom of it is coming apart from all the years of use, and apparently it is a problem with this model, so much so that Apple acknowledges it and will fix it for nothing. This I did not know until TLW (The Little Woman) took it upon herself and found these things out for me. This is a great wife for you!
It's like McDonald's - all alike!

I went on line and texted with a rep of Apple who set me up for an appointment in my local Apple store to correct the problem. So off that afternoon, I went to Apple and told them I had a 5:15 pm appointment.

The genius was one of many, in his red Apple shirt and I-pad checking the customers who had appointments. Looking my name up he said I should sit at the designated spot and someone would call me. With his pencil mustache and evil eyes, (let’s call him Edwardo) he began the process of roaming back and forth looking at his I-pad. It was now way past my appointed time and I was starting to get antsy, as one after another went to the Genius bar for a seat. The look in the Edwardo’s face and eyes saying: “I’m in control! He that has the I-pad has power!) I wanted to smack him between the eyes and the stash!

Finally a lady genius comes over and says: “Joe?”

I fall down from the attention almost and tell her my problem, the ‘foot’ of the computer is dislodging from the body. She takes the laptop and starts to plug it in and do strange incantations over it. I think, how strange, why do you need to turn on the laptop for something external? Then I think, maybe she needs to verify the serial number that I submitted to the phone techie.

Then she begins: “now, you say you see white spots on the bottom of the screen?”
“Huh? White spots??? I see spots before my eyes sometimes, but not on the screen.”

She looks me up once again, and says: “It says you see white spots on the bottom of your screen!”

“Nooo, not me.”

“Aren’t you Joe?
“Yes”

“Joe Haley?”

“No, Joe Del Bloggolo.”

“OOPS!”

She took down some info and scheduled a delivery for the replacement foot, and said they would notify me when it came in.

As I left the store, I looked around me wondering which guy was Joe Haley, laughing to myself that he’s going to see spots on the bottom of his screen and stars  in his eyes from anger!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY!

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I hope you all have a great day, bury any differences you have and be thankful that you are alive as are all those who share your day with you.

From Us to You Happy Thanksgiving
Mom had her special turkey roasting pot with cover and when she took it out it meant Thanksgiving. When Albert Einstein came to this country, he celebrated the day by being very thinkful.

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store the other day at Stop & Shop, but couldn't find one big enough for her family. So she asked the butcher, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?" The butcher answered her, "No ma'am, they're dead."

But we celebrate Thanksgiving so we know when to start the Christmas Holidays, although this year the Jewish people kick off both Hanukah and Thanksgiving on the same day. As you know, they are pretty smart people so they must be onto something we’re not!

Back in the day, Thanksgiving was a special day. The grownups got dressed with ties and jackets and fancy dresses, and that was just the men, and the kids too were well groomed for the day. You would see cousins and aunts and uncles. In my family, the aunts were particularly troublesome, as they walked into the house, get one look at me after a year since the last visit, squeeze my cheeks and say, ”MY how you have grown!” This was followed by a spittle bath, as she slobbered all over my face like a friendly dog! My uncles would always ask questions as a form of self-introduction. “Hey, you got any scotch for your uncle?” OR “You playing little league?” or “whose kid are you?”

Every now and then on Thanksgiving, we would all sit at the table, and someone would decide we needed to say grace. Now we were good people that didn’t pray all that much, since we were busy arguing or yelling at each other. My father and uncles would squirm and feel uncomfortable with my mother and aunts watching for one of the men to say something embarrassing. “Eh, Tessie, pass the escarole!” or “Who’s got the stuffin?” or “Hey Tony, pass the wine down here already.” Followed the collective Amen.

Conversations always had one radical in the mix, usually someone who married into the family and not of the same persuasion when it came to politics. “Whadda you some kind of Communist?” This was followed by a wave of the arm, and “AH! You don’t want to hear the truth.”

The day after Thanksgiving was not considered just a Friday, or Black Friday, but an extension of the day before. It was my favorite part of the holiday, when the turkey sandwiches with leftover Italian sausage stuffing and wine came out. There was no work that day and a lot of the relatives were still lingering around, like a morning after the fish you made the night before. We would chat and laugh and eat, like the menu was a whole new one!

HO-HO-HO! I'm not far behind now!
So, have a Happy Thanksgiving, eat a lot, including dessert, drink as much as you like, just don’t burp out loud or cut the cheese.


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ALL DRESSED UP AND NOWHERE TO GO

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TLW (The Little Woman) works for the WANNA-BE-BANK & TRUSS CO. (TWBTCO), a rising institution hell bent on making good impressions on their customers. Along with the Princess of Foxwoods Points and the retired Toots II & Bow Tie Man, who have for years tried to prove that doing business with the WANNA-BE-BANK & TRUSS CO. is a good thing, the growth of Monopoly money is on the rise.

As you know, they don’t just hire anyone, they need people who can step and think outside the box, leaving their members with a good first impression that of feeling secure and assured that their money is in a safe place.

TLW is allowed to moonlight
TLW herself, has often said, that first impressions are so important, and so always tries to do her best in assuring people that their banking is taken seriously.

The 'Staff', hard at work
The people that work there, some of whom are now proving that rehab and probation can work, band together as brothers and sisters, putting their best foot forward, showing the general public that they mean business.

The bank even has a waiter!
So if you are need in a great institution, one with institutionalized staff, then the WANNA-BE-BANK & TRUSS CO. is for you.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

OOPS! AND OTHER GREAT MOMENTS IN MY LIFE!

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If you use the Internet then you may have seen the color guard snafu that was featured on November 21st. The man saved his dignity with some fast thinking and quick action. He is lucky: I’m never lucky.

I remember years ago on a beautiful spring day, the first of that year, it was in early April and I was a single guy with a new job, in the heart of NYC. I had arrived and was in a particularly elevated mood. It was a Friday late morning as I took my paycheck that included a huge increase in my salary and headed to the bank to cash and deposit some of it.

As I walked I took in the beautiful spring day, a feeling of lightness in my loafers as they say and approached the bank on 55th Street and climbed the steps to the revolving door. I wasn’t paying attention.

As I entered the revolving door, I soon realized I was not alone! There in the same compartment with me was a little old lady, how she got there I do not know! Standing on my toes and trying to make my self invisible while tip-toeing behind her, we arrive in the bank and she screams out: “CAN’T A WOMAN GET THROUGH THIS CITY WITHOUT BEING MOLESTED?” The horrifying thing is she was about 85 years old at the time!

Then there was the time of mistaken identity.

The genius that I am, I can’t tell my old neighbor that lived across the street from me from the church organist, a woman I had never spoken to. One Saturday afternoon as TLW (The Little Woman) and I were shopping in Home Depot, when I came across these two women, one of which I though was an old neighbor who had moved to Florida. I immediately went over to her, joked about Florida and how she must have made up her mind that she missed me. The church organist looked at me in fear, her eyes shifting and her friend looking equally scared.

In the background I could hear TLW gently but with urgency calling: “Joe!” “Joe!” “Joe!” TLW was trying to save me from myself.

Slowly I stopped talking, removing one toe after the other until all I could taste was my heel and backed away, the church organist dumbfounded, her friend looking from me to the organist.

Turning around, I could feel the woman’s eyes on my back, and the embarrassment of my wife and how she must have felt. I don’t know if it was my surprise at who I thought I saw, my friendliness, or just my stupidity, but boy, what a dumb ass I was!

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Monday, November 25, 2013

YOU PUT YOUR RIGHT FOOT IN YOU PUT YOUR RIGHT FOOT OUT!


What can be neater than to find out you are a grandfather to be? Not a million dollars, not anything makes me happier. It is truly God’s gift.

#1 Son and TLC (The Lovely Courtney) had told the family that based on the doctor’s report: we were having a baby boy! Now having boys myself, I know that can be exhilarating and filled with promise.

“Dad, the doctor is 80% sure, but don’t say anything because he will confirm it next week!”

The doctor apparently studied at Al’s Medical and Shoeshine School, because he can’t tell between a girl and a boy! This must have gotten him into a lot of trouble when he needed to use the rest room in school, or choosing his underwear in the morning.

Turns out the Magnum Comes Lately degree holder mistook a foot for a well… you get my drift. But not to worry, there is nothing like a sweet little baby girl. I have one and I love her to pieces. To this day I tell her how beautiful she is. She is my first child and only daughter, and she gets whatever I can give her.

Having grown up with 4 sisters and being the only boy, I know how great a little girl is, how nice to see them and how much we all care for each other, and how we feel. I hope this little child takes after her mom, an accomplished and beautiful lady who has her head of straight and her passion for life high. The child will be a very fortunate young lady with a great dad who is as much passionate about things as is his wife.

Toots, we done good!
So Dear Readers let us toast life, let us give joy to the fact that it can continue, and let’s remember that either a boy or girl, someone new is coming into the world and breathing with new life, love and passion for it, and most of all: that she is healthy.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

YOU CAN SLICE THE CHEEZE, BUT PLEEZA DON’T CUT IT!


It was a somewhat lovely evening, in the heart of Saratoga Springs just north of Albany NY. Being co-chair of the Guardianship committee for the Suffolk Chapter of AHRC, I was invited to attend a symposium on guardianship and the changing world as it applied to my committee.

After the registration at The Gideon Putnam Resort and attendance at the Sprite Film Festival offered to all the attendees from around the state of New York, it was time for dinner after the long drive from home.

Jim, one of my good buddies from the board and current president, hooked up with Shelly our talented Guardianship coordinator and her very able assistant Wendy, (if I could spell either of their last names I would do it) and I decided to visit Chianti Il Ristorante, a very sophisticated yet elegant establishment for a good old northern Italian dinner. Where I go there is usually trouble, but unlike most times, I did’t do it and in fact was the only one in the place who saw it!


As we were dining, I happened to notice the waitress across the room grading a huge chunk of Parmesan cheese over a customer’s plate of pasta. Putting a lot of elbow grease into it, she held onto the cheese and was chatting with the diner, when all of a sudden: ‘PLOP’ the cheese went straight into the man’s dish in one giant chunk, uncut! The poor waitress was mortified and to say the least, embarrassed, and I caught it all!

Running with the now covered with sauce cheese, the poor girl takes off for the kitchen to either clean it off or get a new piece of cheese. Returning to the table, she finishes off the guys dish and stops at my table.


“What happened? I asked her.  Did he say “More cheese” and you decided to give him more cheese? Kind of like: “You want more cheese, I’ll give you more cheese!” She grabs my arm and says laughingly, “I was so embarrassed!” Someone in my party said, no one saw it except him!

Of all the people in the place, I was or had to be the only one to witness it.

Well wouldn’t you know it, a waiter comes with the dinners and places a plate of pasta in front of Shelly and asks if she wants more cheese. But of course, it was coming and you know it! ‘PLOP’ and huge piece falls off the big chunk of cheese into Shelly’s plate, enough to feed a family of five for a couple dozen plates of pasta!

When the waitress came over with the dessert menus, (Ellen, I swear I didn’t have any) we returned the dessert menus to the young lady, and I suggested she not drop them.

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

WHY I NEVER ASPIRE TO GREATNESS


Growing up in a large family, especially one with four sisters as I have, there are certain things you don’t do. You don’t do them because you better not, or you will be shot down.

In my family growing up, there was never any mercy shown for me, the cabal or covenant as you may say, was dedicated to my downfall and destruction. The girls were a closely knitted band of sisters that plotted at an early age.

Often I thought of maybe trying to achieve something of worth, maybe even notoriety, but have always stopped short of starting because I know I would have to pay for any success, and still be ignored by the sisterhood. 

This led to countless encounters of brinkmanship, warlike posturing and secret missions resulting in payback, or just looking to have some fun. 

Many years ago, Tessie, my older sister (much older) was sleeping in as they say one Saturday morning. Mom didn’t drive so Dad had to take her to the supermarket. I got up and was hungry, and decided I would get the cookies and eat some. Mom had a strict rule about the cookies, they were for the kids the younger sisters, so don’t eat them.

I take down a fresh box of chocolate chip cookies and get a butter knife: slowly with great care I separate the flaps so as not to tear them. I then take out a nice handful of cookies and glue the flaps back together and put it away! But revenge for past sins against me still fills my heart. I sacrifice one cookie, sneak into Tessie, my older sister (much older) room and crumple it all over her bed, while she is fast asleep. Returning the now half empty box, I carefully glue the flaps together again, like the box was never opened!

Mom returns home and starts to put the groceries away, and notices the box of cookies I planted right in front of the shelf. She goes to move it and discovers it is too light to be new, and looks at it suspiciously. I am sitting at the kitchen table watching all this stifling a laugh from the whole scene. Mom slams down the box and heads to Tessie, my older sister (much older) bedroom and raises Hell.

Tessie, my older sister (much older) is shocked from her sleep and protests the accusation.

Mom says: “Don’t give me that, your brother would have ripped open the box, this was too neat!”

Once, Dad bought a new color TV console, with radio, record player and TV in one piece of furniture, a state-of-the-art entertainment center. This was our first color TV and so one Saturday he decides to watch TV. The old black and white set was downstairs in the finished basement.

I happened to be in the living room when one of the witches just decides to change the channel! Seeing this I protest, and go to change the channel back again, when suddenly from out of nowhere, all four are attacking me, as I am now fighting for my life. When it was over, my shirt pocket was ripped, my glasses broken and a cut on my neck where I am bleeding. I look for Dad, but he is nowhere to be seem, HE went downstairs to watch the black and white TV!

Then there was the time when Tessie, my older sister (much older) came home from a date one night. Seeing the car pull up, I close my bedroom lights and hide under my bed. Why? I really can’t remember but somehow I knew Tessie, my older sister (much older) would come snooping. Slowly she opens the door to my dark room, and I see her feet as they travel through my bedroom, waiting for her back to be towards me, I jump out from under and let out a howl that has her nearly standing on the ceiling! A proud moment was had by yours truly.

Then in my senior year I was nominated for student council president and came home with the news.

“Hey! I was nominated to run for student council president!”

“Oh yeah! You’re still a jerk.” Said one.

Ah love, so sweet and yet tart!

Joanne, me,  Tessie, Frances and Mary Ann seated is Mom

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Friday, November 22, 2013

THE FIRST OF THE REAL SHOCKS


It was a Friday I believe, and my buddies, Ernie ‘Butch’ Mancuso, Benny ‘the Buffer’ Gallenaro and myself were leaving a Chinese restaurant (today it is known as the Dragon Palace) after lunch on South Ocean Avenue in Patchogue early in the afternoon of Friday, November 22, 1963. Heading to the parking lot, we cut through the thrift store called John’s Bargain Store on the east side of the street, where we walked through to the parking lot. As we reached the back door to the lot, the radio was playing overhead and certain urgency was emanating from it! The speaker was delivering shocking news:  President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas Texas!

The three of us reached the door in total disbelief, paused with the door slightly ajar and listened to more of the report. I felt bewildered, shocked and in disbelief. A cold shiver overcame me, and wondered if America felt like this when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor? This was unheard of in my young life!

Piling into the car, we all wanted to be just near the TV to get the latest news, not believing what we had just heard.

Walking into the house that afternoon, there on the TV I switched on was Walter Cronkite, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K8Q3cqGs7I sitting in a newsroom at his desk and reporting the latest news from the hospital where the President lay dying, the unconfirmed reports that the President was dead and the governor of Texas was wounded, the details scarce. Then suddenly, Cronkite removed his black horn rimmed glasses, facing a clock on the studio wall announced the news with near tears in his eyes: that the President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy died at 1:00pm central Standard Time, 2:00pm Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes earlier.

I stood in my mom’s living room, looking at the huge Magnavox TV in total disbelief, no one was around me, just me and that TV and the sound of silence.

This event was but the beginning of my being de-sensitized to the growing problem of violence in America, that the TV was bringing to my doorstep through the medium the report of violence towards others that followed in the immediate years to come, particularly Martin Luther King, Robert F’ Kennedy and others such as Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK’s assassin, and Jack Ruby, Oswald’s assassin. It was the beginning of my unhappiness with the lack of gun controls and the senselessness of killing.

Up to that point, I was just getting over the burning down of my high school that past March, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiZzZCrtC-M and the year before the Cuban Missile Crises and the fear of total annihilation from nuclear war. In my mid-teens I was beginning to see the real world for all it was worth and what the future might really hold for us all. By the time of the RFK
assassination in June of 1968, it was no longer a shock to me as events like these unfolded, and I recall all the adults being upset with the idea that violence had come to America with such alarming frequency as if the USA was a banana republic.

I guess that began the hard fact that we as a nation were no longer as great as we once thought we were.

That evening I went off to work at Hill’s Supermarket in Patchogue on East Main Street, and remember one of my co-workers, an adult, who was a crusty old guy, unloading a truck, with tears in his eyes, as everyone had very little to say on such a sad day, just the free flowing of tears by total strangers in the store and in the back room and basements where I was and across the country. Camelot was dead!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

WHAT WOULD VOLTAIRE POST?

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I was thinking the other day about all this Internet stuff and the social networking that goes on with Facebook and Tweeter or what have you.  I know writing this blogue everyday and even going on Facebook, is a chance like many of you to express myself in some capacity and give vent to my emotions whether they are strong, weak or indifferent.

The big sissy Voltaire (Note Marie's hairdo)
It all got me wondering what it would be like to a Voltaire, or Mark Twain, how would they handle this, or would they ignore it? François-Marie d'Arouet (1694–1778), better known by his pen name Voltaire, was a French writer who played a large role in defining the eighteenth-century movement called the Enlightenment. With a name like Marie though, he would probably spend a great deal of time indoors so no one would pick on him, thus he spent that time writing. He wrote plays, stories, and poems philosophical in its design and nature, and he directed many of his critical writings in contrast to the writings of philosophers such as Leibniz, Malebranche, and Descartes. He was a rebel and serious. He probably wouldn’t have appreciated my humor.

Good old American Twain
Now Mark Twain on the other hand probably would have had a grand time on Facebook, writing and poking fun at everyone and everything, that was his style with his keen observations and probing outlook on life as he saw it. There was no pretension from the man, just hard honest looks at himself, his country and even God. He wrote free of any pretentions and said in essence that life is only serious when we can laugh at ourselves!

I know that TLW (The Little Woman) and my kids must cringe at the thought that this tool called the Internet is in my hands! Thoughts such as: should I get out of bed this morning and read that blog? Or what did he say this time, or even: how expensive is it to change my last name I wonder?
A sorry ass blouer

But Voltaire and Twain would have both embraced the idea of free thought, whether they agree with what is posted or not, and may have even posted in protest against some of the things that is up there on Facebook, and what comes from this venue.

People say thay are wasting time on Facebook, but what is really happening is a wonderful recording of our daily lives, something that never happened before! For instance, the passion of politics, the popular cultural events, even the recipes that are posted on Facebook, all give a great memorial to what we think and feel today. Just think of our great grandkids, reading about us after we were long gone, seeing inside our homes and where we spent our vacations, what our pets names were and what we drive. They will clearly see what we as individuals really are like, so many years ago.

I always wished I knew more about my grandparents. My mother’s mother and father I never met, and my Dad’s father died long before I was born too. Who were they really, were they the serious hard workers that had no time for frivolity, or where they more light-hearted? Was Grandma a shopper, a great cook, a great mother, a great person? What was the inside of their home like? My grandchildren will know all this because of the Internet, because I participated in something that opened the doors to history and let out the stale air of curiosity, and exposed who I really am. (Sorry grandkids, but I tried).

If we had the Internet way back when Voltaire was around, he would have supplied us with paintings and woodcuts of his life I’m sure, and so we would have had a glimpse into life in the 18th century.


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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BURIED DEEP IN THE WHITE MEAT GRIEF


Now that the holidays are approaching, the memories come flooding back, and I go to a time almost 57 years ago, and of course, Dad.

It was 1956, and Mom was busy making her great turkey dinner on a sunny Thanksgiving Day! We all had a chore or two to do, and in anticipation of a great dinner, were busily doing them.

But oddly, something was amiss! Where was Dad? Dad would usually be in the kitchen watching as he perused through the newspaper or chatted with mom with his cup of coffee and a cigarette. It was Dad after-all: a fixture that seemed permanent. This was a day from his beloved Rollic, Inc. job where he usually was at this time of the day.

We lived in a small ranch house at the time. My Mother’s youngest sister was coming for the holiday, and as usual, the two families would spend the holiday together. But where was Dad? Dad would usually bark orders to us to set the day straight and have everything in place.

The table was being set, the turkey roasting away and Mom in her uniform of the day, an apron over her dress, quietly cooked the masterpiece, which now sat in the traditional roasting pot for turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. But where was Dad?

I got the gallon of home made wine out, Grandpa Ralph made it on occasion and was to be treated better than money, better than your most prized possession and placed it on the table, just like Dad wanted. We placed cloth napkins around the plates, but where was Dad?

Suddenly from out of the bedroom we could all hear: “Elizabeth!” It was Dad! Mom was not called Elizabeth: she was usually called Lena, even though her real name was Olympia. That was his pet name for mom, and to this day I can’t figure out why.

Mom went into the bedroom and spoke with Dad. Mom came out and called my aunt. Dad’s sister: Angie. Meanwhile we were called into the bedroom to say our last goodbyes to Dad. He was dying, and it was time to say: “Goodbye.”

Dad didn’t say much, just looked at us with a dogged face and cough. I was in tears, water was welling up in my eyes, and I couldn’t see a thing, let alone Dad. Suddenly there was a commotion at the door and my Aunt Angie appeared. She suggested, before we buried Dad, to call the doctor. Mom was strangely quiet all this time, like she knew something, but would go along with Dad.

I wondered: “Would God take Dad on Thanksgiving Day? With a turkey and Italian stuffing in the over? My God! The turkey wasn’t even cooked through yet!”

The doctor spoke to Mom on the phone, and after a brief conversation with Aunt Angie, my aunt went: “Ooh Fah! Tony, all you have is the flu! You men are such babies”

We all laughed at the sight of us all standing over Dad, wringing hands and all. Diner was saved!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

LILLIAN’S CIGARETTES

Once upon a time, long, long ago on Thanksgiving Day, there was an 11-year old who decided to take up smoking. He didn’t have the weight of the world on his shoulders, unless you considered fifth grade a weight. No, he was just a stupid kid looking to do something he shouldn’t. Well, you ask: what does that have to do with you? Everything, I’m that stupid kid.

Now I didn’t just decide to take up smoking, no, my good friend Jerry introduced me to smoking. Jerry you see was home from the seminary where he was studying to be a priest. Jerry had decided that he should learn to smoke. Since it was Thanksgiving Day, and was home for the first time since he left in September, we got together.

Smoking in those days was not as terrible for grownups, because the Attorney General hadn’t left his mark on cigarette pack yet and no one was on a campaign to ban them. There was no TV exposure that said it caused cancer, and it was still considered sexy in Hollywood and some circles.

But for an 11-year old to smoke was a no-no, and would stunt an 11-year-old boy’s growth. Besides, if that didn’t stunt your growth, if your father caught you smoking, that would not only stunt your growth, but chances are you might even become shorter, maybe in two pieces!

But not only was the Catholic Church through its surrogate (my friend Jerry) contributing the demise of my health, my soul was being tortured also by the fact that the hope-to-be priest someday was stealing the cigarettes from his mother’s purse as well!

Oh, my tortured soul! Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault! Therefore I confess to you my brothers and sisters. But as I was making plans, God was laughing!

The Thanksgiving dinner was a feast to behold with not only the turkey, but the Italian sausage stuffing, the fennel and nuts, that made our families Thanksgiving traditional. And I not only ate, I ate well, with the drumstick, yams, mashed potatoes and other peripheral dishes that traditionally rounded out the holiday.

It was after dinner that I met my friend Jerry and discussed his plan. We would walk down to the next block, go deep into the woods and light up. Jerry had taken 4 cigarettes with him for the two of us, and I was game,

He dragged on his, the experienced smoker he was, that meant I had to drag and inhale too. I drag on the L&M and inhale, sending my head in a spin, but I don’t let on. I can’t let Jerry see me not inhale or look sick, I have to keep it up! By the third drag, I am heading home, my stomach starting to bother me and my head spinning, I head to the bathroom. Where I heaved all my Thanksgiving dinner!

And so in the eyes of the church, I conspired with a seminarian who not only smoked, but had his mother unknowingly contribute to the crime! As you may suspect, Jerry never became a priest, instead joined the altar boys, and got this heathen involved in that too!

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Monday, November 18, 2013

IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE


Recently I attended a wedding and marveled how much the little kids grew into adults. I hadn’t seen them for a number of years and when I did it took me by surprise. Then I looked at the Dad and then the Mom and realized, they too surprised me, and they are getting old!

I took leave of the reception table and went to the men’s room and looked in the mirror and realized I didn’t know the guy in the mirror! How could I, when he allowed these people to get older and yet these are the same eyes I always have? They are deceiving me or playing tricks on me, and I could see that I got old too!

As I looked I could hear and see them gathered around my table one morning as they visited for an overnight stay and I cooked them breakfast, the chatter was not discernable because it happened so long ago, but the faces were still fresh and young and in need of attention. Then I realized my own children were adults too, one married and expecting his child away from our home, and I never stopped to realize all this was happening!

Tevye was right! I don’t remember growing older, when did they?

If you talk to someone about an event that seems like it was yesterday, only to realize it was in 1983, that is a shocker, something I am never prepared for, yet it pulls the rug from under me!

I remember once in high school thinking ahead, and wondering what it would be like in the year 2000. Well hello. It is 2013, and I never stopped to look at 2000! Then I realized that there must be some meaning to all this.

The meaning? I’m not sure, but I think it goes something like this:
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
― Sophia Loren

And this:
“It's paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn't appeal to anyone.”
― Andy Rooney

I can ascribe to both senses, because they are true.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

THAT GOVERNOR CHRISTY!


It was a crazy Saturday as I packed to leave for a wedding in New Jersey. TLW (The Little Woman) and I would drive to Edison and attend the wedding of my best friend Phil’s younger son Justin.

Having been out the night before at a Candlelight Ball, I was in no mood for breakfast when Saturday morning rolled along, so I decided to skip it. I would pay for this later!

That's me behind the blue truck
Around 12:15 as we were cruising along the NJ Turnpike, TLW decided that we should stop for lunch at the first rest stop that sold food. Not being a big fan of roadside stops, I look at the GPS and noticed it said we would arrive within 15 minutes in Edison, so I suggested we get there, then eat. That was mistake #2: I was on a roll without even knowing it!

Now I know some have accused Governor Christy of not being conservative enough but he is no liberal by any means, and that figures in to this story. We were now at our hotel, and since it was too early to check in, we though we would visit the hotel restaurant and have lunch there. Well wouldn’t you know it, they don’t serve lunch! We ask where to go for lunch, mistake #3! A waitress hanging around the hotel restaurant directs us to a diner, and we leave thinking it sounds easy enough to get to, (#4), and get back into the car.

We then begin our journey, getting on the highway searching for a place to eat, with one problem: the area does not allow left turns! That’s right, NO LEFT TURNS! As we drive along The Post Road, it is residential until you come to US 1, where it is a 8-lane highway that will not allow a left turn! By now it is 1:30 pm and I am getting a little mad, this governor wins re-election and you can’t even think ‘Left’ turn! We continue to drive and drive, until we decide we will make a right turn and try our luck, I get over to my right, and at a light make a right turn and discover I need to do this in order to make a left turn! These Right-wingers are making me crazy now!

Getting over the highway, we head back and finally find a restaurant where we have our lunch. Now we decide to check in at our hotel , not far from where we are. We have to go back, which means a left turn! No left turn means right turn, then it takes you to a light and you can cross over! It is 2:45, two and a quarter hours since we decided to stop for lunch, a simple task.

Getting back on the highway, we follow the GPS, which is taking us back past our hotel to an exit a mile away because we can’t make a left turn. That takes us to a toll gate where we pay getting onto the same highway that takes us around to the highway going the other way, with another toll!

The exit to the hotel is almost a quick a left merge as you can make, but what is in our way? Some guy is sitting in his car, blocking the exit because he is lost too! I swerve away form him and get back on the highway where once more I have to pay two tolls! Swearing at the poor guy as I drive by into the toll plaza, the GPS decides to take us another way. We find ourselves on a local street and after a number of right turns, finally arrive at our hotel at 3:00 pm.

Thank you Governor Christy!



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Saturday, November 16, 2013

THE LAST DANCERS STANDING


I'll always remember,
the song they were playing,
The first time we danced and I knew

As we swayed to the music,
and held to each other,
I fell in love with you

It was a great wedding, as the food and company was magical, special in every way, and TLW (The Little Woman) and I got to renew old acquaintances.

It was the occasion of my best friend Phil’s youngest son Justin’s wedding, and in the process of seeing him and his lovely wife Justina, we got to re-acquaint ourselves with Phil and Linda’s siblings and children.

Chorus:
Could I have this dance
for the rest of my life,
Could you be my partner
every night,
when we're together
it feels so right,
Could I have this dance
for the rest of my life

You know it is one thing to be invited to a wedding and not know anyone but the bride and groom, but it is another altogether to be asked to sit at the head table and be an honored guest of good people.

But the night was joy and dancing, as the DJ took the microphone out onto the dance floor and called up all the married couples. Since TLW and me fit the criteria, up we wentt to the floor and we began to dance. Suddenly, the DJ called out: All the couples married 5 years or less, please sit down. And so a majority of young couples left the dance floor.

I'll always remember,
that magic moment,
When I held you close to me

As we move together,
I knew forever,
you're all I'll ever need

Could I have this dance
for the rest of my life,
Could you be my partner
every night,
when we're together
it feels so right,
Could I have this dance
for the rest of my life

As Ann Murrays’s “Can I have this dance?’ played on more couples were called off, being married 10 and 20 and even 30 years. This dance of attrition was starting to get my attention, but TLW and I waited for the DJ to call out 45 years or less and we would sit also.

Suddenly the DJ came over to us and asked us our names! I figured it was just to identify us older couples for the crowd. Then suddenly, the music stopped! The DJ was standing next to us, and the microphone was in our faces!

Could I have this dance
for the rest of my life,
Could you be my partner
every night,
when we're together
it feels so right,
Could I have this dance
for the rest --of --my life!

“Here we have it ladies and gentlemen, the longest married couple! How long have you been married?”

TLW answers: “42 years!”

“Come on over to the bride and groom” asks the DJ.

As we stood there, the DJ now asks: “What is the secret of being married 42 years?” looking at TLW, who directs the microphone to me.

At the moment I could have been sober, maybe a little preachy or just plain annoying as usual, but instead gave the young groom this very important advice:

“KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!”

Got a standing ovation!

ANNE MURRAY-Could I Have This Dance Lyrics

A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BABY SISTER MARYANN

Mary Ann who is my mother’s favorite because she has naturally curly hair and her name is Mary after my mom’s mother, turned older today! She has now passed me in age and will not accept her aging by denying the truth. But we know the truth. Anyway she is the Macaroni Man’s mom, my lovely niece Annmarie and the grandmother (another reason she is older than me) of Annmarie’s two beautiful children Al and Aubrey.

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