Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Recently I received an email from a friend of mine who is a very good photographer. He is worth knowing for his photography and the fact that along with his God-given talent, he some other qualities I admire even more. His Mom lived for a very long time, almost 100 years, and he respected and loved her until she passed. He is a very compassionate man too who passionately believes in the rights of man, the poor and the people who suffer in this world because of the ugliness and injustice that seems to prevail. He sent me this little item below that I wish to pass on to you. It should make you think!

I was on the phone with a good friend the other day. After covering important topics, like disparaging each others mothers and retelling semi-factual tales from our college days, our conversation turned to the mundane.

“So, how’s work going?” he asked.
For those of you who don’t know, I make money by teaching leadership skills and helping people learn to get along in corporate America. My wife says it’s all a clever disguise so I can get up in front of large groups and tell stories.
I plead the fifth.
I answered my buddy’s question with,
“Definitely feeling blessed. Last year was the best year yet for my business. And it looks like this year will be just as busy.”
The words rolled off my tongue without a second thought. Like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or placing my usual lunch order at McDonald’s.
But it was a lie.
Now, before you start taking up a collection for the “Feed the Dannemillers” fund, allow me to explain. Based on last year’s quest to go twelve months without buying anything, you may have the impression that our family is subsisting on Ramen noodles and free chips and salsa at the local Mexican restaurant. Not to worry, we are not in dire straits.
Last year was the best year yet for my business.
Things are looking busy in 2014.
But that is not a blessing.
I’ve noticed a trend among Christians, myself included, and it troubles me. Our rote response to material windfalls is to call ourselves blessed. Like the “amen” at the end of a prayer.
“This new car is such a blessing.”
“Finally closed on the house. Feeling blessed.”
“Just got back from a mission trip. Realizing how blessed we are here in this country.”
On the surface, the phrase seems harmless. Faithful even. Why wouldn’t I want to give God the glory for everything I have? Isn’t that the right thing to do?
As I reflected on my “feeling blessed” comment, two thoughts came to mind. I realize I’m splitting hairs here, creating an argument over semantics. But bear with me, because I believe it is critically important. It’s one of those things we can’t see because it’s so culturally engrained that it has become normal.
But it has to stop. And here’s why.
First, when I say that my material fortune is the result of God’s blessing, it reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers. I can’t help but draw parallels to how I handed out M&M’s to my own kids when they followed my directions and chose to poop in the toilet rather than in their pants. Sure, God wants us to continually seek His will, and it’s for our own good. But positive reinforcement?
God is not a behavioral psychologist.
Second, and more importantly, calling myself blessed because of material good fortune is just plain wrong. For starters, it can be offensive to the hundreds of millions of Christians in the world who live on less than $10 per day. You read that right. Hundreds of millions who receive a single-digit dollar “blessing” per day.
During our year in Guatemala, Gabby and I witnessed first-hand the damage done by the theology of prosperity, where faithful people scraping by to feed their families were simply told they must not be faithful enough. If they were, God would pull them out of their nightmare. Just try harder, and God will show favor.
The problem? Nowhere in scripture are we promised worldly ease in return for our pledge of faith. In fact, the most devout saints from the Bible usually died penniless, receiving a one-way ticket to prison or death by torture.
I’ll take door number three, please.
If we’re looking for the definition of blessing, Jesus spells it out clearly (Matthew 5: 1-12).
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him,
2 And He began to teach them, saying:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I have a sneaking suspicion verses 12a 12b and 12c were omitted from the text. That’s where the disciples responded by saying:
12a Waitest thou for one second, Lord. What about “blessed art thou comfortable,” or 12b “blessed art thou which havest good jobs, a modest house in the suburbs, and a yearly vacation to the Florida Gulf Coast?”
12c And Jesus said unto them, “Apologies, my brothers, but those did not maketh the cut.”
So there it is. Written in red. Plain as day. Even still, we ignore it all when we hijack the word “blessed” to make it fit neatly into our modern American ideals, creating a cosmic lottery where every sincere prayer buys us another scratch-off ticket. In the process, we stand the risk of alienating those we are hoping to bring to the faith.
And we have to stop playing that game.
The truth is, I have no idea why I was born where I was or why I have the opportunity I have. It’s beyond comprehension. But I certainly don’t believe God has chosen me above others because of the veracity of my prayers or the depth of my faith. Still, if I take advantage of the opportunities set before me, a comfortable life may come my way. It’s not guaranteed. But if it does happen, I don’t believe Jesus will call me blessed.
He will call me “burdened.”
He will ask,
“What will you do with it?”
“Will you use it for yourself?”
“Will you use it to help?”
“Will you hold it close for comfort?”
“Will you share it?”
So many hard choices. So few easy answers.
So my prayer today is that I understand my true blessing. It’s not my house. Or my job. Or my standard of living.
My blessing is this. I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless. I know a God who loves the unlovable. I know a God who comforts the sorrowful. And I know a God who has planted this same power within me. Within all of us.
And for this blessing, may our response always be,
“Use me.”
Since I had this conversation, my new response is simply, “I’m grateful.” Would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, February 27, 2017


There are of course so many types of love in this world. There is the love that drives you and makes you whole, like marriage, there is a love of life, music, art and food. You don't want to miss the love of your children and even the love of ideas.

But the most special love when all are accounted for comes from somewhere else, it is the love of a grandchild. Three years ago, I had no idea what that was like, to love this tiny creature that has suddenly arrived one day to the joy of everyone. You get excited and go see the new person, the enigma locked in the box of imagination that is finally revealed. You see the parents, who suddenly seem more as one as of any time you noticed before. They share the look of joy and the respect for what they conceived, a child, their own. How sacred that look is.

But then, you peek into the blankets that surround that new-born child and cradled in its mother's arms, by the hovering father and you know: this is your first time you will meet! This is the moment that clears away the mystery and gathers a joy that is overwhelming and magical, THIS is your grandchild!

The magic begins with the first utterance of sound that escapes from the delicate lips with the tiny fingers nearby, the eyes that search and suddenly it hits home. From 9-months of a sacrifice of comforts and the agony of childbirth, here is a totally new human being, one conceived out of love and bearing the fruit of that love, your grandchild!

And as the child grows: your grandchild, you scheme the many ways you will give this beautiful child your love and devotion. You will become aware suddenly that life has come full cycle for you, and you are feeling privileged, and awed.
And then one day you hear the sweetest sound you ever heard before: "Grandpa" and when you match the words with the innocent face from where the word came from, your world is changed forever!

Sunday, February 26, 2017


"Deafness is genetic.  All people who are Deaf will pass Deafness onto their children."

There is a type of Deafness that is genetic, and some Deaf people do have Deaf children, however, 90% of all Deaf people were born to Hearing parents and will also have Hearing children.    There has been no proven scientific basis for the policies of Eugenics that have plagued Deaf adults since this country was founded.

What does this all mean? I have had deafness for 66 years if my life. As a young child, I suffered from a severe case of mumps that gradually eroded my hearing. No one, including my parents, knew until I was 11-years old. They thought I was just stupid or lazy or both. I paid heavily for my deafness, like buying an elephant you have no need for or a place to put it.

My early failures in school led me to criticism and verbal abuse. It also handed me physical beatings from frustrated parents who didn't know any better and couldn't accept the embarrassment of having a child who was a failure. I was giving them a bad name.

I remember when I found out from a very special lady that helped me discover I was deaf and so deaf that I should have never gotten as far as I did. After years of hardship in the classroom and the kitchen table at night, getting slapped across the face for not ‘learning', we moved from the oppression of the Catholic school of Brooklyn to a public school on Long Island. It was a liberating experience because compassion took over in my life from my parents.

There was a school nurse, a Miss Wager, who through routine tests of students by the school district, gave me my first hearing test and discovered I was deaf. This was a relief for me, and I'm sure, to my parent's pride. No longer would I have to face the mysteries of why I didn't know something, with my new-found knowledge, I was accommodating the deafness by Compensating for it. I sat in the front of the room, learned to help myself by reading lips and faces.

Suddenly I was going from crying myself to sleep, thinking I was some kind of freak who didn't have enough brains to compete with someone and suddenly found myself alive. But something else happened. I refused to accept the deafness as an excuse. I was not going to be a freak and I was not going to be pitied or given excuses.

Once I made accommodations for myself, I hid the fact that I had a hearing loss, I went on to high school and college and eventually a job was mine in my chosen profession, one I think I excelled at.

But the deafness has turned into a positive, one that I am happy to have. I have a child with developmental disabilities, one who can't speak or carry on as an adult. My deafness has prepared me to accept this since I cannot change it, yet change what could be a sad life for her by changing what I can. Besides, when I didn't like the sermons on Sunday, I really loved the on/off switch with the hearing aids!

Saturday, February 25, 2017


“Everybody form a circle
Put your left foot in
Your left foot out
Your left foot in
And shake it all about
You do the hokey pokey
And turn yourself around
Now put your right foot in
Your right foot out
Right foot in
Then you shake it all about
And then you do the hokey pokey
Turn yourself around
That's what it's all about
You put your head in”
etc., etc., etc.

Thank you for dancing with me!

It seems that the world has taken a new turn or dance step, going the opposite direction while spinning and doing it upside down! I look on social media and see the lines being drawn before, during and after the Presidential election. It seems that everyone is convinced that they have the correct opinion and everyone else should “do a little research.”

Funny how research works. First, you find an objective to verify your so-called facts, then it becomes easier to spin the truth. After all, it has been said:
“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”
- Isaac Asimov

But to get back to the dance on hand.

I am not by nature one to be ambivalent to what goes on around me, in the world and on Facebook. I find it fun to read the insults tossed about at one another. I can enjoy the fact that we all have opinions and that we can post them without fear of being arrested. I find it amusing that people will support planks and opinions just because they are represented by the party they vote for. They never cross party lines and will chastise you for not agreeing with them. THEY have done their “research”, you only find conflict within yourself.

The inner conflict has always helped me to decide and make a stance, or as they say, draw a line in the sand. Conflict suggests to me that you are weighing both sides of the argument, that you agree and disagree with both sides of a question. If challenges your morality, sense of right from wrong and finally what you hope the world will achieve. Challenging all the facts is only part of the issue, once you achieve the facts, you need to weigh them against your own dogma, and decide: “Is this right for all of us, is this the truth?

Recently I posted some truths that rubbed a Conservative the wrong way. He suggested I do my research, which is just saying: I don’t like what you posted, I don’t know what upsets me but I wish you would do your research. I think that perhaps his research may be lacking, or still on-going, yet cannot offer what upset him.

Well, I think I’ll go dancing some more.

Friday, February 24, 2017


After my carotid artery surgery, I gave myself a month off from the gym. The reason being that I needed to have some time with the healing process.

When I stopped going in mid-January I was on the treadmill doing 3.5 for 20 minutes, then I went out on the floor and worked out with some cardio and weights, not pushing myself to the limit, but staying limber and feeling good.

Giving myself permission for coming back a month after, I can only do 2.6 on the treadmill for 12 minutes! No workout on the floor because of how I felt from the treadmill.

To say the least, this is an unacceptable state of affairs, I want to get back to my old self and feel better, I will and it will probably kill me, but here goes.

Not being in the gym for a whole month, everything has changed! There is a game floor with a partial football grid, they moved all the treadmill machines onto one floor and the equipment is brand new and great, that is not the only good news, I weighed myself and discovered I kept my weight down-AND- I remember my combination lock numbers! I had great trepidation that I would lock my stuff in the locker and not be able to get it out!

Thursday, February 23, 2017


He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend - provided, of course, that he really is dead.
There seems to be a rumor out there that I have passed, I know this for a fact because I am the one spreading it.

Since I signed up for the so-called: ‘DO NOT CALL LIST' the calls to my residence and cell phone have risen dramatically, somewhat akin to being Jewish and running through the Middle East with a target on my back and the words: SHOOT ME, I'M JEWISH.

In the course of my ordinary day, especially at 3:00 pm and later the calls start coming in. It has been my want to have fun with these calls in order to avenge the nerve of the caller for bothering me, to amuse myself on an otherwise slow day, or to try out new ways to aggravate people to the point of suicide.

Unknown, Anonymous and Private Caller are all fair game for my actions of levity and also disdain. I can answer them with a civil ‘Hello" or a rather gruff and angry tone. The later sets the mood for the caller to decide whether to say ‘Hello' or just hang up before engaging me.
I used to get the same call every afternoon around 2:00 pm from the New York Times. The same caller would ask me to subscribe to their paper. After about two weeks of this incessant calling, I decided to tell them what. The calls started with:

 "Good afternoon, may I speak with Joseph? Is this Joseph?"

"Yes, I'm Joseph."

"How are you today, Joseph?"

"Well, if the truth is known, the doctor told me I have brain cancer and have only a few more weeks to live."

"Have a nice day, Joseph."

Never heard from them again.

Since then I have improved my techniques with other ways to annoy or scare off the sales calls.

One day I got a call from a salesman asking for me, with caller I.D. I knew this was going nowhere for him.


"Hi, this is Custom Vacations, is this the breadwinner of the house?"

"No, do you want to speak with him?"


"Hang on, I'll get him."

I call out: Hey Jerry, phone call for you!" I then say: "He'll be with you in just a moment. After half an hour I go back to the unanswered phone and hang it up. I do two things with this madness: 1) I tie up the phone for the half an hour and 2) it frustrates the caller who is waiting for someone to pick up.

On the rise is an avalanche of calls from diabetic supply companies. They think I have nothing to do but answer their phone called sales pitches. One such call came in one day with:

"HaLoa, may hi speek with de diabetic of the house?"

"I'm sorry, she died yesterday."

"Hoe, have a nice afternoon!

And so, it will go, new calls on new days with the need for new responses. So little time and so many calls to answer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Being a parent of a child with developmental disabilities, fear walks with us hand in hand. It seems that the older the child gets more complications occur due to body chemistry and the changes that go on.

My daughter is one of those children and my wife and I are one of the sets of parents that view the fear face-to-face. Our biggest problem is that my daughter Ellen can't talk, she can't tell us what is wrong, we live in constant fear that she is in pain and we don't know it!

But what can we do? We discuss the situation with the neurologist who with all his/her professionalism, still knows only two ways to treat: the manipulation of doses of medication, or physical solutions such as wearing a helmet. But what else is there?

Years ago, we took Ellen to the Center for Basic Research and they did an incredible job of evaluating her medications and throwing most of them out. New meds were prescribed and we had a remarkable change for the better in Ellen's behavior and health.

Recently Ellen has been once again acting out. She becomes very agitated when it is time for her to eat. Like her mother says to me every so often, we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. When and where will that be?

For 44-years we have been groping in the dark for answers to questions that have no words, and so we can't recognize the answers. The shame is we don't know the questions so we can't see the answers. Like one walking in a dark room we can only probe blindly, in fear that we will slip up and lose our child.

It has taken a toll on our health, the pain is difficult to understand. We lost a child once, and we mourn him every day, yet so do we mourn Ellen every day that passes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Zia Francesca to all, MY grandmother!
She could cook and discipline!
Growing up in 40's and 50's, one of the things that always fascinated me were the hand's people had. To me, the hand is an expression of many things and the deeds that they are capable of. The hands I seemed to study the most were my Mom's and Grandmother's hands. It started when I became aware of Mom's wedding band. Like Mom it was not too pretentious, in fact, it was plain and simple looking, and just like Mom. Mom was a beautiful woman, but simple in her outlook as she would understate the obvious and made her life as uncomplicated as possible. That was good.

As I would study her hands, I would think how well she cooks with them. These hands created so much goodness in so many ways. They kept the house clean and spotless, they created great meals and they were the reason my clothing was mended, my shoes polished and my hair carefully combed. It was Mom who would guide me through my reader with her index finger, and yet give me careful instructions on what she wanted from the grocery and how to get there, describing things in terms of size and direction.

Like my Grandmother, her hands were expressive. She could talk with them with a passion of a great orator, always getting her message across succinctly and with clarity. Her punctuation was impeccable, to the dot.

She used to make knitted or crochet blankets and baby dresses for people, sew curtains together and make dresses for my sisters. Watching Mom knit, I once decided to ask her for a red sweater. I wanted a red pull-over sweater and Mom enthusiastically agreed to knit it for me. The day came when she was finished with the sweater, and it looked beautiful, red as a fire engine or the best Macintosh apple! Only one thing wrong, she made the sleeves so long it would have fit a gorilla better! My suspicion has Mom had something on her mind for a while.

Not only could she cook, she could bake. Every day we had a cake in our house that she made from scratch. Marble cake, Muenster Cake, Plain Butter Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake, Easter pies, Christmas Cookies, all pouring out of the talents that supported her ten fingers!

Grandma was a cook in the true sense. She taught my Mom how to do it and do it right. When I go into Italian restaurants and order the old-time dishes, the very meals that sustained Italian/Americans during the Great Depression, Grandma comes to mind. I picture her standing over me looking into my plate, knowing what is right and what is wrong with the dish.

She gave orders to her daughters and daughter-in-law who would pitch in to help cook the big Festa Italiano that went on every holiday, using her hands to demonstrate how much of this and that went into the pot or pan, or when to toss something into the oven.

But those magical fingers that guided her hands were gold. They told a story just like Mom's, a story of love that we as children were recording in our hearts and souls because love was what it is always about. God rest their souls and the souls of all the mothers and grandmothers who have passed this way once and left their mark of joy and love!

The funny thing is that today the Moms and Grandmas strive to keep the traditions alive, they cook and bake and do all the things that we once experienced and took for granted, and that love is still there. Maybe I'll come by one day, and you will invite me in, and I can live one more day with Mom and Grandma.

Monday, February 20, 2017


If you are like me you receive a lot of information that you think is important, but you just don't have the time to act upon. Having an active email accounts for most of the information you get. Of course, the TV news does contribute to the glut of information also. Snail mail can and will if you are not careful fill your mailbox with an avalanche of paper all regarding health and what you should be doing for it.

Some of the things you read and hear make you feel overwhelmed, fearful or just plain guilty of inaction on your part. You struggle with the issues you do deal with, but someone is always nagging you to do this or that, keep your blood sugar low as well as your cholesterol, your blood pressure maintained and your intake of cancer producing foods at a minimal.

Sometimes I feel like a criminal, running from the Department of Health!

I recently had to change eye doctors because he made me nuts. He was an expert on eye care but a nuisance when it came to my diabetes, always citing numbers such as A1C and giving long speeches on diabetes and eye care, all things I am aware of and understand.

I take enough pills daily, some twice a day that when I walk I jingle! There are other pills I could take but enough is enough. It has become a major issue for me because I think of all the side effects that they can impose on one. I think I'm losing my sense of taste, and wonder which drug is causing that, or is there some new player in the mix of medications I will need, or is there something else that is wrong with me?

If I peruse the Internet, I see something about losing weight, I click and out comes this white talk board, with the narrator practically screaming, telling how I can lose weight immediately. Of course, it never does, it keeps putting another example complete with a drawing that materializes in front of my very eyes. Being an artist I wonder how anyone could illustrate something so fast? I know that at the end there is a sales pitch coming, in maybe a half hour of this nonsense so I never get to the end.

I used to laugh at how much medication my grandmother took, and now I can match her pill for pill, she lived until she was 97! Will I? Probably not, because the constant reminders will kill me.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


In today's world, everyone wants to sell you something. It comes in all forms such as radio, TV, newspapers and telephone, not to mention the Internet.

I once made the mistake of joining one of those sites where you get ‘free' stuff. Just answer a few questions. A few questions usually range into the hundreds which lead you into another hundred questions and then another, you become entrapped in an endless stream of product sell. They ask for information: "Where do we send your FREE stuff?" they ask.

When I worked for a major direct mail company, we ran sweepstakes to enhance the sale of magazines and products, and we always offered a ‘FREE GIFT!' Yes, a Free gift. I usually get gifts from my family and friends and don't pay for them.

Once a company knows you are a diabetic if you answer their questionnaire, they immediately contact you, once you quit the questionnaire. There are hundreds of companies out there who sell diabetic supplies and all of them contact you.

Recently I got a call from Akron, Ohio. Who do I know in Akron? My caller ID does not disappoint me, it can give me the hint that it is a sale call coming in. The phone rings and I wonder who it is from Akron. Having nothing better to do I answer it.

"Hello, may I speak to the diabetic in the house?" This is the same old sales pitched cold call.
"The diabetic! She died!!!"
"OH! I'm so sorry, have a good afternoon!"

They won't call again.

Then I get the computer pitch on the phone.


"Hallow, we are calling about your computer, we detected you have a serious virus. You are in front of your PC?" (I own a Mac)

"Why, Yes! As a matter of fact! What's wrong?" (I'm on the kitchen phone.)

"We can see that you have a virus infecting your compuuter! We need to rid it immediately."

"WOW! Thank goodness you called in time!"

"Yes, now go to your hard drive and open it and go into utilities and what do you see?"

"Hmmm… I see a bullshit artist!"


"Yup, I see a bullshit artist."

"What are you saying?"

"I see a bullshit artist and he is on the other end of this phone conversation, a thief and lying son of a monkey's whore."


"Yup, a real low life from Pakistan, the asshole of the world!" and I hang up.

One day, I went to the telephone, that object that sits on my desk to make a call. The object of my call was some service assistance for my computer.

With a cup of coffee and a notepad and sharpened pencils, I dialed the number for my service rep.

maybe my granddaughter should screen all my calls?
"Thank you for using your touchtone keypad. For English; touch one, Para Espanola; dos, for operator assistance; please stay on the line." Touching "1", I patiently waited for the next available operator. Humming a few bars from Beethoven's Ninth, I sipped my coffee and fiddled with a pencil. Finally, assistance arrived.

Him: Hallow?
Me: Huh??
Him: Hallow, ow mhay I hyelp hew?
Me: Hi, I'm looking install some type fonts, and for some reason, they are not reading in my program.
Him: Hew av a Mock ora Peecee?
Me; I have a Mac.
Him: Verrry goood, did hew gho to preefonces?
Me: Huh? What? Give me that again. I'm sorry; I'm hard of hearing.
Him: I sade; did hew gho to seestem preefonces?
Me: Where's that??
Him: First hew gho to hopple menu. See hoppleontop?
Me: Huh?
Him: Ontopseehoppleen corner?
Me: Hopple een?
Him; Yes! See eencorner?
Me; Totally confused; Oh, yeah, now I know what I did wrong! Thanks for your help.

Tired of all this racism against foreigners who don't speak English and try to help you in the good old US of A?
Write to; joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com.
Tell him; "Why don't you go back to where YOU came from, you bigot!"

Saturday, February 18, 2017


A genius, a real #^@&)@# genius
Like is filled with twists and turns. There are challenges and there are things we take for granted. Being a married man I have often walked the edge of the abyss and seen the black hole from the safety of my married life. That comes with being with someone that makes your life easy.

Often in our early morning revelry conversations go back and forth and the information is shared along the highway of matrimonial bliss. One morning in particular while the Little Woman (TLW) was on her I-pad, she received an email for a cost estimate and wanted me to see it. I asked her to forward it to me. Looking at me kind of askance, said: "Well, I don't know how to do this, but I'll try." After a while, she says: "Maybe I'll forward the whole email to you.!"

Being the wonderfully patient man and husband I truly am, I agreed with her in an almost sarcastic way, suppressing that urge completely. One must understand that she has learned the computer without my help, someone who wanted nothing to do with it way back in 1991 when I got our first home computer. Now she is fearlessly approaching everything with the idea that she can work it out!

So, I wait and wait some more. Then my total brilliance takes over, you know, that feeling we all get when a spouse says something that means you have to wait for it.

"Did you send that thing today or tomorrow?"


Friday, February 17, 2017


The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cried.

Recently on the TV, there was an appeal for money by UNICEF. The appeal was geared to helping children in the world who are suffering. The appeal was supported by a background and voice-over with music, and the song was: YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Many years ago, my third child and second son lay dying in North Shore University Hospital. Every day he was in the hospital my wife and I visited him daily. One of us was always there to keep him company. Our hearts were being broken slowly with the pain that stilled any joy we could have had. From the day after Thanksgiving to the day he died in late January we were there for him. Many of you know this story since I've mentioned it all before.

I'll always love you and make you happy,
If you will only say the same.
But if you leave me and love another,
You'll regret it all someday:

So, this Sunday as I was viewing a talk show about the world at large, on came the commercial, and with it a memory that haunts me. As the father of this beautiful little human being, often I would sing to him when he cried. The song I sang in a simple voice was: You Are My Sunshine. This would quiet him down and at a certain point when I sung: You make me happy when skies are gray, he would smile, stopping in the midst of his tears. As many times as I sang the song, that was the number of times he would smile, and everything was alright for both him and me.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

The idea that this song was used at all for such a cause cannot, for me be more astounding!

You told me once, dear, you really loved me
And no one else could come between.
But not you've left me and love another;
You have shattered all of my dreams:

Somewhere in the Universe, my son watches us plod through the tears of January, the cold damp feeling of loss, the bleak and darkened sense of the future without him and knows that we are grateful for his short time on Earth, that we were blessed with his presence no matter how short it was, and that God is watching over him.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

There is a little corner of my property that is his, he owns it and I maintain it for him. It is the labor of love and remembrance, a place to go and feel his presence. I know he is there, in that spot near a Japanese maple that grows outwardly like his memory, sways to the breezes that caress the portioned plot in his name, and in the heat of summer gives me solace.

In all my dreams, dear, you seem to leave me
When I awake my poor heart pains.
So when you come back and make me happy
I'll forgive you, dear, I'll take all the blame.

I often wonder why it had to happen, his going before me rather than my saying goodbye to him. I am hoping that I can be with him again more closely, maybe our spirits can connect on a more personal basis, proving once again, that God is good.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Living in the midst of a snow storm takes me back to my college days when I used to take the train to school in Old Westbury, NY at the New York Institute of Technology. I was dirt poor and going to an expensive school because I dared to dream. My dream was to become the first educated male with a college degree.

Usually, I would get on a train from Bellport, NY to Jamaica Station in Queens, transfer to another line and out to Westbury. Once I got off the train, I would then have to hitch-hike into the countryside and hope I got a ride. Usually, someone would pick me up and then I would reverse the procedure going home at night.

It was a true hardship, one that I never regret going through. Carrying art supplies, sometimes a painting 30" x 40", maybe a large portfolio case, books and notebooks and struggling through carrying a camera around my neck for Photography class. It was a lonely and sad existence. I would be working at night after school, come home do my homework and catch the 5:14 in the morning to go to school.

When the snow came, it was deadly. Hitch-hiking through the sometimes knee deep snow, on poorly plowed roads, no gloves or hat, I struggled. Arriving often to find out a class was canceled or delayed.

Traveling the long winding road of Westbury as you entered the interior of Old Westbury, all too often the wind was blowing into my face, the frosty bites of snow stinging my face and burning it, the wind penetrating my coat and my feet were frozen to the bones of my toes, was an ordeal, but I wanted that education.

I used to buy my train ticket when I got on the train since I didn't have the money to py for a weekly ticket. Sometimes the trainman would come by to collect my ticket, especially in the morning where everyone was going to work, but at night they often didn't. Tickets would be collected at Penn Station or Jamaica, but after that, they never came by. If things were really bad, I would ‘go to the toilet' as they collected and they would pass me by, thus saving for another ride at a later date. I know I was a thief, but I wasn't spending anything, just saving for when they asked me for it.

Commuter colleges are unpredictable when it comes to scheduled classes. An instructor might not be able to make it in during the morning hours, but might be there for the afternoon and evening hours. This meant that every effort was needed to get to school no matter what, and so the hard and arduous journey would begin. Getting there in time for an afternoon class be leaving early would pay off, especially when the morning class was canceled.

And so now I sit in my chair, in retirement and watch the weather unfold before me and relax, remember what was and feel the comfort of life as it should be, not like it was. In all that I went through, I remember making a promise to myself that my kids would not have to do this like I did, and I kept my promise, thanks to my sacrifice!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


For all baseball fans from the past, the phrase: "And you can look it up!" is immediately associated with the great Hall of Famer, Casey Stengel. He would throw out a statistic of some sort and end it with the phrase.

The other day I was watching TV and there was an interview with Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve. As we watched, I incorrectly noted that he was married to Lesley Stahl. TLW (The Little Woman) was surprised that he married anyone and immediately looked it up. Andrea Mitchell was the news reporter he did marry. She corrected me and added facts to the conversation. I, of course, apologized for the error and reminded her I am old, old people get mixed up. First, she was a woman, secondly, she was a reporter and thirdly, she was at the end of her career. TLW informed me she was 20 years his junior. I get points for the fact that both women are on or were on 60 Minutes, I think.

It seems now nothing is left to chance by TLW. Even my medications are scrutinized via the Internet to assess conditions, credibility, and knowledge about everything.

Fortunately, all the promises I made to TLW 46 years ago are not recorded anywhere on the Internet, she can't look it up, and hold it against me, she has to live with her mistake.

My Cardiologist increased a medication I am taking, and she immediately looked it up to tell me what that meant, how it would affect me and why. Me, I could care less, my feeling is that the doctor knows medicine, I know the contents of my refrigerator. I stay out of medicine and he stays out of my refrigerator. That's all I got, I'm retired and old, plus I get hungry a lot!

Way back in 1991, I purchased my first computer from Apple and invited her to use it. She refused, she wasn't getting involved in one of those new-fangled contraptions. But then I got her a laptop, and suddenly she started to learn, and went from a laptop to an Ipad and now, even an Android!

There is nothing she won't do with it, ordering on-line merchandise, air travel, and hotels, even looking up car sales. Once she finds out she can refurbish a husband, or replace him I will be a new man, totally void of my present charm, and will become someone likable, which hasn't happened since I learned to talk.

Pray for me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017



It's Valentine's day, or the more official name: Saint Valentine's Day.

Way back in 4th grade, Mom would buy me a box of Valentine's cards, cheap and made for children, and I would write out my cards to all the girls in my class, I would sign my name at the bottom and count how many I got at the end of the day. These cards were exchanged in the classroom, and it seemed that everyone had the same cards to send. So we got back our investment with a little sentiment, too. The cards were small that folded open to a saying of some sort and the cover was always a red heart with a cutesy saying of sorts.

As I got older, that is in the fifth grade, I stopped the practice and moved forward with my loveless life Instead I would look forward to my Dad sending my Mom a card. He would sign it: From Tony. The card was always: To My Wife on Valentine's Day. Mom, through great detective work, knew it was meant for her, after all, Dad signed it: "From Tony." She was always right.

Then one day I got married, I had to, she was a fantastic gal who was the missing links in my soul, the reason to live further into my thirties. Every Valentine's Day I made sure to have a card for her and a little gift. Often, we would go to a restaurant I would surprise her with the gift over dinner. I like to be surprising. Once I actually washed her car without being asked!

But I discovered that "Be my Valentine" is a 365-day proposition of love and dedication. I got this idea from her, and I follow it religiously. So, today I will celebrate not St. Valentine, but The Little Woman, my wife for over 45 years, no hearts or flowers necessarily, but a love we share. To me, love is her face, her soul, her mind, it is her sacrifice that gave me 4 children. Most of all, it is her honesty. Let me tell you a little story:

One day we went to Home Depot to see if we could find an archway for our little garden on the side of the house. We find one and decide to purchase it and go up to the line at the checkout in the garden center.

TLW says to me that the price is good, $169, and we should buy it since it is the cheapest one around price wise as values go.

Our turn online comes and the girl behind the counter scans it and says: "$129, please".
TLW says: "What?"
Girl: "$129"
TLW: "But the price says $169?"
The shock of this conversation is causing me to lose blood pressure, fainting spells about to occur, and a general heart attack about to start.
TLW: "I saw it on the box over there!"
Not knowing how to stop Honest Abe I give her a slight body check, trying to save my money from undue harm. Meanwhile, she's arguing to raise the price we pay!
Me: "Whatta ya nuts? The lady said $129! You trying to kill me or something?"

See boys and girls, this is what happens when you marry someone who went to Catholic schools all her life, then taught religion to second graders.

Monday, February 13, 2017


I often wondered what old age feels like, how a person can when he/she gets old doesn't fight the deterioration of the joints and muscles that give way. I often thought that as I would age, that I would have the mindset to stay youthful, if not in appearance than in attitude and movement.

Unfortunately, that cannot be the case!

Recently it was driven home to me that I can't live or won't live forever. After my operation for my carotid artery, I decided to do some manual work around my pool, a simple thing of clearing off water on the cover and readjusting the cover before a major snow storm hit.

As I worked around the area, pulling large branches from a windy day we had, removing falling leaves and pulling the tarp that protects the stretch cover I suddenly felt like I was going to keel over, there was a sharp pain in my back and my left arm felt funny while there was a pressure in my chest that really slowed me down. I stopped what I was doing and went inside to rest and settle down. After a while, I went out again to finish the job, which I did. But the crappiness of the feeling lingered a little more and left me void of any energy or will to do anything. I wanted to go to bed at 4:30 in the afternoon!

What has happened is I'm getting older, and can't seem to get it into the concept that I am of a certain age. It is making me feel down.
When the snow hit, I was told by TLW (The Little Woman) that I wasn't going to dig us out, we would have to hire someone else to do that job. THAT is the only good thing that has come from all this. The fact that I need to go back to the surgeon next week to start the process for the other side of my neck, leaves me a little disheartened.

Since the events I described, I feel very tired and depressed, saddened that things have changed and I wonder how much longer this will go on? I don't seem to have any energy and all I want to do is sit in my chair!

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I must be very valuable! Recently I had an operation and prior to that, I had a procedure. Total, not counting gas and mileage to get to the two events, it costs $100,000.00!

ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS! That is an incredible amount to spend on me for

anything. And why was it spent, to save me? Yes, to save me. For what I don’t know. The hospital overnight visit alone cost $47,000.00! The doctor for the operation: $25,000.00! Good, God! How out of control is the medical insurance getting, where is all this money coming from and more importantly, where is it going???

In the overnight stay at the hospital, I got there in the morning about 5:00 AM and had two meals, dinner, and breakfast. $47,000.00! My assumption is the chef is 4-star and the band aids the finest possible material, probably developed by NASA for just this occasion.

I wonder how much of this money has to go to defending malpractice suits against doctors and hospitals. Doctors and nurses deserve to be paid well, but no one should be over compensated, not even me.

Where is all this heading? Will Congress do something about this at any point? We tried the Affordable Care Act and members of Congress seek to disable it, why? Being non-partisan it makes my blood boil. It should be the cornerstone of bringing down these outrageous costs, it should be the lynchpin that stops the awarding of outrages punitive damages for pain and suffering, We are forcing our medical networks to go out of business, and making the doctors close shop! We need to get a grip on this, and soon!

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Chi non è meco, è contro a meco.
English equivalent: He who is not with me is against me.

As president of the Board of Directors, sometimes duty calls in the most inconvenient hour on the most inconvenient of days. Having the job requires thinking about how to facilitate the issues and questions so the governing Board has a full grasp of everything needed to consider. Some of us have our agendas as far as what we want to do as a member of the Board. It is a smart Board, discussion and openness make us a great Board.

We all should have one thing in common, an agenda that speaks to those we are to serve. This agenda consists of budgets, policy, residences, jobs, education and health of people who we serve.

There is another crucial part of the agenda that is equally important, that of the well-being of the staff that perform the daily administering of services, be it in the capacity of a program director or the maintenance crew, a teacher or a nurse, or any other job we employ people for, they are a vital staff member doing something for someone else. This is God's work.

As Board members, if we feel there is an issue with a staff member, we take it to the administrators of the Agency and they must hear us out and either agree or disagree. It is incumbent on the Board member to leave all grievances at that door, abide by the rule of law that states we do not interfere with the staff in their jobs.

But here is the kicker: the staff works tirelessly for our children, siblings or those we are guardians for their benefit, bringing their lives the dignity and joy we all deserve. Having an issue seems counter-productive.

Sometimes we lose someone in one of our programs. The staff may be aware of that person's decline and sometimes they are taken unawares of any issues. When that death happens, staff come to say goodbye, staff gives the ultimate honor, remembering when someone passes. I know because all too often I have been to these wakes and funerals have witnessed first-hand the love and devotion they had for the deceased and I marvel at the love and affection along with the grief that is profoundly demonstrated by staff.

As a President I am sometimes distressed, as a parent, but I am always grateful for the staff.

Friday, February 10, 2017


I have a friend on the Board of Directors. Like all the board, he is one of many, and He is a good man. Recently he revealed that he had prostate cancer, and the news has shaken him somewhat. It has shaken me as well.

In today’s world, prostate cancer is not as devastating as it used to be, with the advancement of medical science and the knowledge we gain every day, catching it in time is good news and just a blip on the radar of life. I am confident that he will survive.
What troubles me is that he is a very good man, and a man of compassion, who does good works for the agency that I am a part of, and who will go out of his way to help. For that reason alone, I worry for him. In this stinking world, there are too few men that are good and we need them to help right the craziness that seems to prevail lately.

I am asking you as a reader and a human being, that you set aside all that comes your way and pray for him. He will survive and the prayers are for his ability to continue on his path of decency and that cancer will be cured, but that it does not slow his ability to do what is right for those he so devotedly serves.

As a Board member, he has a rather large agenda, to ensure his brother is taken care of when he is gone. His brother is a soul with disabilities that needs guidance and loving care, just like all of us. But his agenda goes beyond his brother, to those people that need his help in our agency, the many children, men and women who depend on the board to help them, and to ensure that the staff that serves so devotedly are given the tools they need.

Remember this, disabilities can hit anyone, that unfortunately, it just might affect your family if it hasn’t already. We need men like him, to pitch in, sleeves rolled up and determination to build a better world for all of us. Pray for this guy, not out of fear, but that his mission continues in his heart and soul, and with his hands guiding it.

Thursday, February 09, 2017


There are some things in life I hold very dear. There are traditions such as Christmas Eve dinner, with the seven fish and lobster sauce with spaghetti, a steak on a Saturday night and of course my pizza on a Friday night. These are events that should not be trivialized, disrespected or treated in any way that displeases me. Great attention to detail is a must since these events are so important.

The pizza fix is really a TLW (The Little Woman) tradition started about 44 years ago when she was home with the kids and to reward herself for not killing me for going to work while she stayed home to cook, clean and take care of two small children all week would order pizza on Friday nights.

This is an outgrowth of the meatless Friday’s that Catholics had to endure until they changed things when the Vatican cook was getting tired and didn’t want to cook fish anymore on Fridays.

So, one Friday a few years ago came around and I get the cue from TLW as the phone rings:


“Hi, I’m about to leave now, you can call for the pizza.”

I hang up and call the pizza place.

“Mt. Vesuvius Pizzeria, pick-up or delivery?”

“Pick-up Rosie.”

“Mr. Del, how are you today? The usual?”

“Yes Rosie, and make it half pepperoni.”

“You got it, Mr. Del, twenty minutes.”

So far everything was running smoothly, everyone was doing his or her part and on cue, it was, as usual, coming together nicely to form a perfect pizza night. Except for one individual who will go nameless.

Sometime later about 45 minutes since TLW called, she walks in carrying the precious cargo. I have set up the TV to play a DVD of a Downton Abbey episode, the paper plates and napkins are out and the drinks set up with ice, I am ready to rock and roll, lay that pizza on me, baby!

We greet each other in a customary way, and after shaking hands, we sit down to eat. I select what looks like a nice cheesy and peppered pepperoni slice and bite into it.

Suddenly my life is rolling my eyes. Bad things are coming to mind, all the pain and suffering I have ever had is filtering through this one bite! Something is terribly wrong! The pizza, my slice of heaven, the thing of Friday night beauty is not right.

“What the (^%#?”

I look at the pizza as TLW watches and wonders what she had against being a single woman that could be so bad.

Looking at the pizza slice underneath, it is jet black! Jet Black! Someone wasn’t minding my pizza while cooking it and not checking their work!

Outraged I pick up the phone and call the pizza guy. This time I get one of the many guys that are too busy joking and talking instead of paying careful attention to my pizza!

“HELLO? This is Mr. Del, the Little Woman just picked up a pizza I ordered and it is not eatable. THE BOTTOM IS JET BLACK!”

“Oh! I’m sorry Mr. Del, can you come on back down in 20 minutes and I’ll make you another one?”

“OK, do you want me to bring the pizza with me?”

“Noooo, you have been coming here for years, we believe you.”

I figure, why not and hang up. Then it occurs to me, what to do with all that pepperoni that is sitting on the burnt pizza, that is still good? I decide.

“Toots, don’t throw out that pizza!”

I go back, pick up the new pie amid mass apologizing and walk out a little disappointed. I figured I’d get a bag of garlic knots for the inconvenience!

I get home and start loading the new pizza with the pepperoni from the old pizza: I have struck gold! Well, maybe I struck pepperoni.

I come from a long line of pizza makers, mavens, and experts. When I feed them a slice of pizza, it is like waiting for El Exigente to approve. The crust is critiqued first, then comes the sauce, it should never be acid tasting, then we pick apart the cheese, and finally the proper amount of spice, oil, and cheese. Then the verdict! Does Dad approve, is Mom thinking: They should have saved their money and made it themselves! Then we hear: Now THIS is a good pie!” or “PIE? You call this PIE!!!!? IT"S A SACRILEGE!"

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


As you might know by now, for the past few years I like to take The Little Woman, a.k.a. TLW to breakfast. Getting out the beginning of the week is a wonderful way to start it. It is here where we discuss the events of the past and the expectations of the future.
This Sunday we went to IHOP because I had a yen for pancakes. This is not a Chinese pancake house: the yen was an urge. But the pancakes needed to be with bananas, nothing else, except maybe nuts, I love nuts.

Of course, the waitress gave us an extensive menu that covered everything there is you can eat for breakfast, except pancakes with bananas on top. Oh, they did have pancakes with bananas on top, but it also included strawberries with it. I don't like strawberries. (Get over it, I know you like them but I don't) Strawberries are too sour for me for breakfast. I don't even like strawberry shortcake, it is a bad blend of sweet and sour.

TLW decided since I was making a big deal over my breakfast, that she would have the over 55 breakfast. Yes, you have to be over 55-years of age to qualify for this breakfast, so she the ‘sampler' eggs, Canadian ham, sausage, and pancake. Seeing her order this, I decided to order the slightly older than 55 breakfast, three pancakes.

AS the young lady left us with our order, TLW stated: "Did you notice?"

"Notice what?"

"She didn't ask for proof!"


"Proof that we were over 55! What would you prefer, that she ask us for proof or assume we are over 55?"

"Well, I guess I would rather ‘assume' because I'm too old to want to bother about reaching for my wallet and giving her my driver's license."

Once we got our orders, she looks over across the room and chuckles.

"What's so funny?"

"There's a gray-haired man that just sent his order back because he didn't like the way it was served. I thought you were the only one who does that! I guess all gray-haired men do that, you are not alone. The staff must see gray-haired men arrive and warn the kitchen."

Ha Ha, one of these days Alice…

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


Yes, that is exactly what I am, a victim. Subliminally I can have a yen for anything that is suggested when it comes to food. Naturally, Italian food is my favorite, the smell of a pizzeria, an Italian Restaurant that specializes in certain regional Italian cooking all make me want if I hear about it, see or smell it.

Today in the newspaper the weekly food report is about Chinese food and where to get it. One of my favorite foods is Chinese, anything Chinese. Recently on the History Channel, I watched how once President Nixon opened the diplomatic door to China. He also opened a million Chinese restaurants with that visit. I viewed all the old footage of Nixon at the banquets toasting and eating what appears to be interesting little morsels of Chinese culinary masterpieces, along with toasts to go up the culinary gazoo.

I remember when that happened, I took TLW (The Little Woman) to lunch that day, and you can guess what I ate. Yes, Chinese food. I was in the spirit of things, doing my patriotic duty, imbibing upon oriental atmosphere and enjoying the fact that I helped in my own small way to make history.

I now have a yen (Sometimes I even amaze myself) for Chinese food again. I can taste it, I need it, I drink tea to get my mind off of it, but Chinese people drink tea, lots of it. You would think I’d give myself a break and want English food, but no, I want Chinese food.

So, what happens? My good buddy and former business partner sent me an e-mail. It is time for lunch, what do we always eat? Chinese!

Egg rolls don’t do it for me, that is amateurish. Won Ton Soup, on the other hand, makes me happy. I have to have dim sum, Szechuan beef or pork, maybe a nice fish or veggie in sesame oil with rice. I am even open to sushi. Maybe a little Thai shrimp soup would help me overcome my desire for Chinese food.

I think the thing about Asian food is not only the taste but the exotic look and the different kinds of dishes that are prepared. All are so very interesting to view, taste and celebrate.

I hope this little essay has forced you to have a desire for some Chinese or Asian food, and that it is takeout, so when I do go to a Chinese restaurant it won’t be crowded.

Monday, February 06, 2017


I keep thinking how in life we can attend some awful moments and ask ourselves why it is happening to us. These moments can be anything from a bad report card to someone dying.

When I look back to my youth, the trouble started immediately in the summer after my kindergarten year. That summer there was an epidemic of mumps, and lucky me I was caught in it. It was a most severe case as I remember hallucinating in the midst of pain and swollen cheeks! When it was over, my hearing was gone.

Then in college there was a horrific auto accident that I was part of. I say part of because I was a passenger, my head went through the windshield with such force I don’t recall it! When it was over I was laying in the front seat with the engine next to me wondering if I was OK. I thought I was until I decided to wipe the sweat off my brow, and discovered it was blood and that my foot hurt. Looking down I noticed that the foot was turned inward with a bone protruding through my sock, now a bloody mess!

As life went on, in my 50’s I found out I needed a bypass (triple) because I was on the verge of dropping dead at any moment. Most of the arteries to and from the heart were closed and what were open were only 8% opened.

And finally, there was the carotid artery adventure, a devil may care romp through the edge of demise, in the end, my surgeon telling me it was clogged 99%! Oh, my gosh! I was a walking time bomb!

This got me thinking: was I lucky or unlucky? How many people lost their hearing from mumps? How many died from an auto accident, or heart attacks? I seemed to visit the edge an awful lot, yet somehow managed to find my way away from the abyss of finality. Was all this just plain luck?

Then I started to think of my good luck and who may be behind it. I realized I was born with a large imagination, and good memory and a God-given talent to create graphically. I can paint, wood carve and draw enough to be happy with the results.

Talent got me an education. I got me an opportunity to go with full scholarships, three schools invited me that way. Instead I chose to go to a 4-year college and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art, preferring to study also English Literature, mathematics and science as well as art history.

I also had the luck to have a lovely Aunt and Uncle who I owe so much to. When I started college, I commuted via the Long Island Railroad and an extended thumb to get from the train station every day. By the end of my college days I was living rent free in my aunt’s house, meals and utilities included!

There was my brother-in-law John, the older brother I never had. It was his coming to the college on Friday nights to bring me home because I didn’t have a car. To his last moments on Earth I was with him and visit his grave.

Along the way I met a great guy who became not only my best friend, but like a brother to me. He and I are in touch all the time. We even have operations on the same day! Phil and I have been there for each other throughout it all.

Proud f my grandmother!
I was not a big fan of marriage, couldn’t imagine myself fighting with someone for a period of time, maybe a divorce. Instead I found true love and peaceful days, all the days of my life, no matter how bad things got. My wife and I have been companions for the past 46 years we truly love each other and we are one.

Having my in-laws, particularly my Mother and Father-in-law, people who were so easy to love and get along with was a blessing as were my wife’s siblings. I often think that they thought I was unfriendly or stand-offish when all I was is in awe of them as a family.

The center of my universe!

Here, life went from me to we, and the trials, and tribulations that can batter a marriage. Our first child was born with genetic defects that cause her to live in a home for people with disabilities, a second child who has blessed us with his ability to write, be a steady force in our lives, and has made us proud both in demeanor and actions.
One of those actions was a beautiful daughter-in-law who amazes me, makes me proud and is my son’s best friend. Then they put their talents together to create the love of my life, my little and sweet granddaughter, Darby Shea!

We have been tested more than once in our married life. My third, my son Joseph passed from the genetic inheritance, the same one as his sister. His death at almost 2-years of age made us closer than we ever were.

Then we got lucky once more. Another son, one who grew up unpredictable and leaves me wondering how far he will go. Great minds don’t come overnight, they are made from thought, trials and even tribulations. The ones that contribute to the world are the ones that make impact, that impact is coming, and he will do it in grand style! Michael was a God-send to us. After
Joseph died, I was truly happy when he was born. I used to let him lie on my chest and fall asleep when he was an infant, and often as he grew he would come to me, sit on my lap and ask me questions about things he didn’t understand. That was my favorite part of his life.

And now I go to California, and my favorite place in the whole world, Burbank to see my guys, the kid from the Big Bang Theory, my beautiful daughter-in-law and of course, Darby.

So, if I look at the balance sheet, I am a very lucky man, thank you, God!