DelBloggolo

Saturday, September 30, 2017

WHAT ICONS WE BECOME

The LOVE of my life!
For almost thirty years I have been an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities because I started my parenthood as a father of a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Forty-six years ago, when I became a parent, my chest was out far and my joy was way over my head, I realized my responsibilities were now no longer free of care. Then one day my wife and I realized the terrible shock of learning that my daughter has developmental problems and that life would never be the same again.

One day I decided to give time to the agency that was helping us be parents to a child with disabilities and offered my services to them as payback for all their help. From that offer, I suddenly found myself on the Board of Directors.

Now I am a member of the Board of Governors of NYSARC the umbrella organization, current President of the Board of Directors of AHRC Suffolk and am a member of various committees. Amid all this, the one constant that remains is my daughter Ellen's future. However, in all this time I discovered my sweet daughter is an icon for me, one that is representative of a whole bunch of people that we serve! THEY HAVE COLLECTIVELY BECOME A PASSION OF MINE AND I WISH TO SERVE THEM WITH A PASSION!

My little girl has indeed turned my life upside down, in a good way. She through her disability has taught me that there are others just like her, all in need of the same love, all in need of assistance in making their lives better and more meaningful. I can only thank her for this opportunity to do a good work for others.

Friday, September 29, 2017

MY FIRST RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE


There are many memories in our lives that seem to live forever, we take them with us to our grave. One of those memories for me was December 15, 1948. It is hard to fathom that I could at the tender age of 3 years and 5 months remember a date by the calendar. And what did I remember? My first restaurant dining experience., where it was, and the kind of food it was.

How I remember all this is entertained by some facts: my mother went to the hospital that day to have a baby, Dad took us out for dinner and the place was on a corner, under the Broadway Junction El. The El was a memory marker for sure. The restaurant… a Chinese restaurant where we sat and ate on the second floor, overlooking the street corner.

My bet is that Dad ordered me Chow Mein, the staple of all Chinese restaurants for 1940’s American/Chinese cuisine. This maneuver by Dad was an attempt to take our mind off of the fact that Mom would not be home for us, and this was upsetting for my Dad more than me, he would have to cook, otherwise.

The restaurant had a takeout downstairs and upstairs was where you could eat at tables. There was a counter with a metal railing tray holder, where you picked out the food and they placed it on a tray as you moved from item to item. This was all new to me, the food was different and somehow, I can still taste it. For a few years afterward, I thought that chow mien was the only food along with chop suey!

It would be many years later, in my twenties that I would enter a restaurant again, when with my friends in high school I went to another Chinese restaurant in Patchogue, on South Ocean Avenue, a place that is still Chinese!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

IS IT FALL OR…

A GIANT MONDAY?

Come Labor Day and the living isn't so easy. The sounds of Summer still echo in our ears, and the briny air of the beaches still linger in out nostrils, while the last of the burgers and franks hold hostage to our taste buds. We start the process of folding away our summer gear, close our pools and take out the stiffness that is not summer-like. The casualness of Summer is called to a halt, it's business as usual.

But going to work after that summer vacation is a lot like going to work after a long weekend. You must go back to the usual routines of traffic, meetings and more formal attire. I remember when I worked how much I hated it, wearing wing-tip hoes that annoyed me for their stiffness under my ankles, and the tie that was now looped around my neck to the suffocating top button of the dress shirt and suit. Oh, that suit, it was always a sign of regimentation to me.

Autumn usually meant going to school night to meet the teachers and see the classroom while discussing our little progenies, where they sat, and wondering why the young teacher doesn't have her own parents here, after all: it is after dark. I recall arriving home from the city and we rushed to the school, and you felt like people thought you were better than they were because you had a tie and suit. Meanwhile, they looked comfortable in their open neck shirt in the leftover heat and humidity of summer.

Getting on the highway that Tuesday after Labor Day was the saddest part of your beginnings of Fall. The traffic that had dwindled down to a manageable flow of cars during the summer due to the vacationing teachers, college students and daily commuters was back, and wondered how many more new drivers were on the road?

Fall meant the holidays were calling you, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and Chanukah all started the long list of things you needed to do to prepare for the moments of family joy and pounds you will gain, the colds you will catch and usual viruses that complicated everything.

Suddenly work was more demanding, things needed to be done before the holidays took root, meetings, usually in the morning or early afternoon were scheduled and you wondered how you would ever get anything done? In the Direct Mail business, the fall/winter planning was centered around the spring and summer, and the spring/summer it was centered around the fall and winter. Again, how could you be creative with that in front of you? Ever design a Christmas ad in 90+ heat?

Once in the office, the obligatory question was asked a bunch of times: "How was your summer?" You thought to yourself as you asked it, (Hurry up and tell me, I got things to do.)

But Autumn is here and with all the downsides, the air turns cooler and the sun shines more directly in your eyes, while it whisks away the humidity that oppressed you all summer, the trees take on a brilliance, their peepholes of sunshine blinding you and they become the harbinger of falling leaves, leave that will give way to rainfall in October and snow that will surely follow in winter.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ALL IN THE FAMILY


Recently we discovered that our TV has a voice. If you raise the volume level the TV, in a woman's voice shouts out loud: "RAISING VOLUME LEVEL 40, 41, 42" until I reach the level I want to hear the TV with. This, of course, annoys TLW (The Little Woman) and so she managed to kill her! Yep, in cold electrons or something.

which one is Siri and which one is GPS?
I seem to have women's voices dictating to me all day long. There is my GPS, something that TLW has a difficult time getting along with and arguments have broken out in the car! Sometimes I have to separate them! Once she used the GPS to drive to Connecticut to a shower with someone else. They talked so much that they got lost. Why do you ask with a GPS in the car? Because the damned thing couldn't get a word in edge-wise. The GPS has a women's voice, I selected a woman's voice because that is how I am used to taking orders.

If that is not enough, the alarm system in my home is rigged to a women's voice also. If you choose to go out of the house or enter it, there comes an overhead voice that shouts out: "FRONT DOOR!" You choose the rear entrance it shouts out: "BACK DOOR!" An old business partner of mine when he visits about once a month, as he enters comments: "I don't know how you stand that!" I tell him that it is the only means of conversation during my day.

Then there is Siri: the bitch that answers back! Now she is on my I-phone, I-pad and 2 computers. You ask her a question:

"Siri, how many toes in a foot?"
"I'll have to look that up."
"You, dumb ass!"
"Who, me?"
"Yes, you!"
"I thought so!"

At least she doesn't give me a fight.



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

IN MY MIND I'M HOME AGAIN!

She used to start about 3:30 in the afternoon, a song emanating from her lips and the smell of garlic as it began to caramelize in the pan. Slowly cooking it set the stage for many a memory, ones that I miss so much. Being Italian/American, dinner was an important time of the day, because it brought us all together as a family. Mom would swing the wooden spoon like a culinary baton, in a pot, in a saucepan and even on my head. Her apron would be a colorful floral print, telling the world that she had the hands of a master.

Dad would arrive at about 5:30 from his job at the New York Laboratory and Supply Company as he rang the doorbell to unlock the entryway door to the staircase, slowly climbing the steps in his grey fedora, great coat, and brown wingtip shoes, a current copy of the New York Journal American folded under his arm.

As the afternoon progressed, I would watch Mom in fascination as she put together our meal. It could be Pasta e Faggioli, a slice of bread and maybe a vinegar pepper in the bowl, it could be chicken  beef soup, with tiny noodles crowding the bowl the chicken or beef fished out of the pot and set on a platter, on a cold winter's night, a gallon of home-made grandpa's wine standing guard at the table.

There was always macaroni night on Thursdays, packed with left-over meatballs, sausages and bracciola both pork and beef, steaming up the air and the sauce, so well done, so velvety in texture and red in color, you swear it was painted. Of course, or maybe a necessary course of a simple salad with vinegar and oil waiting to be consumed, defying the socially accepted routine of when we eat it. Dad would say, "Did you know, in a restaurant they serve the salad first?" I would reply: "But Dad, you ruin your appetite if you do that!" And he would reply: "Did you do your homework?"

There were always the pork chops breaded or the lamb chops with a tomato sauce layered on top of them with an oregano or thyme base or even veal cutlets, or chicken cutlets breaded and fried go better with a salad and Grandpa's wine.

But Mom made these things and ate like kings, nothing extravagant unless you mean extravagantly tasty and delicious.

However, there were times when we as her children rebelled against a meal or two. I hated stew, at least stew in a red sauce with green peas and potatoes. Stew meat was just that, tough and dry and the potatoes were boiled and hard. The color mixture of green peas and red sauce just didn't sit well with me visually, that must have been the artist in me.

Friday night was either hit or miss in culinary joy. If Mom made a white fish, we didn't get too excited except for when it was smothered in onions and olives and a great light tomato sauce, or when we would opt for Pizza, our sacred Friday night dish that could herald the weekend.

Lasagna, Ravioli, Manicotti, all celebratory dishes saved for Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and even guests, Mom was the master, along with her home-made pasta.

Mine was an awesome life, filled with good aromas, tastes and memories all brought together by one little woman, Mom! As I remember these wonderful foods, in my mind I am home again, Mom's home.

Now those days are gone by, the memories don't seem to fade and the joy rests in my heart and soul, but I know I will never live them again. Her singing to no one in particular, her magic of the pasta pot and the swirling steam that curled its way toward the ceiling told me life was good and I will never ever see it again.

Monday, September 25, 2017

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

Her first Christmas
For the past 2 years I haven't been much of a Christmas decorator since we were visiting #1 Son, Anthony) and his beautiful wife Courtney and the most beautiful little granddaughter ever conceived! WE flew out to Burbank and the sunshine and spent the day watching my little munchkin open her presents.

Usually, I like to spend my holiday at home, but when you have a grandchild of Darby's magnitude, it is only right that Christmas be spent under her roof, with her tree. With this in mind, since there is a wedding so close to Christmas in Courtney's family, she and Darby will fly out to the East and then come to my house. #1 Son will follow a few days later.
with Poppa
So, this is going to be the best Christmas ever, I am going to decorate as much as possible, just to make the day special for Darby! This means pulling out the big tree, and decorating it in the den, buying an electric train set to run around the tree for Darby to play with, then when she leaves I will mail it all to her house, I will decorate the guest bedroom with our little tree and set up TLW's (The Little Woman's) Snow Village in the dining room window. There will be decorated windows and tables everywhere, just for Darby!

It is only three months away as of today, and so the planning will begin. I need to know what she likes to eat, and what her Mom likes, snacks, what kind? I need to find those old-fashioned Christmas songs about Santa and Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman.

Hey, MERRY CHRISTMAS, and to all, a good night!!


Sunday, September 24, 2017

I'M A ARTIST AND LOVER…


TLW and me. I'm the one with the beard.
Not a phone man!

Recently while toiling away on my computer, there was a momentary power outage. For all you non-electrical poobahs, it means the electricity went out, or as in my case, no juice.

When you get to my age, not having any juice is an acceptable thing, no one will question it, they just wonder how much longer. That is OK, after all, we all quit one time or another. However, this was a different story, it affected my house phone or land line, and I was unable to make any calls or receive them. This was brought to my attention from a very likely source, the Little Woman (TLW).

Calling on my cell phone, I see her id on the phone, it reads Boss Lady. I think this unusual but I still answer.

A little history about TLW, she likes to fix things, usually can get into trouble or create a make-shift solution to a problem. She once took pride in her tool drawer and junk depository in our old kitchen. It was composed of a butter knife, (screwdriver) and a real screwdriver with a  wooden handle that was splintering away, a hammer that is used by drunken shoemakers who like to tap nails but she will drive a railroad spike with, a tailor's measuring tape and a wrench that was stripped of its treads, so it really couldn't hold onto anything. Getting back to my story…

"Hello!"
"Joe, I tried calling you and the phone went immediately into message mode!"
"Oh! Well, we did have a power outage, for a brief moment."
"Did you try to unplug the phone from the wall?"
"Three times,"
"Did you check the box you made for the phone on the desk"
"Yes, I did."
"Did you talk to Jesus???"
"Nah, his line is always busy"
"Did you check the power stick?"
"You mean the one at the phone or the one in my office?"
"Both."
"Yes."
"Well, when I get home I'll check it out."
"OK."
"By"
"By"

I go back to looking at all the possibilities and find the culprit connection and the phone works.
I call her at The Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company.

"Welcome to the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company! Looking for a loan, maybe some cash to tide you over or pay your bookie, then ask for Bruno our loan man. Interest, although high, is not painful if paid on time."

I dial her extension and she answers:

"Yes???"
"It's fixed!"
"Oh, good I have a member right now when I get home you can tell me what you did."
"If I could, I'd tell you."
"Ha ha!"

Really, I'm an artist and a lover.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

JUST LIKE YOGI ONCE SAID…

"It's like déjà vu all over again!

What is, you insufferable bag of cheese? You must be asking.

As I mentioned about my father-in-law Jim, he loved the talking heads and the news on TV. He would park himself in front of the TV and watch all the time in his retirement. Well, it's coming again in the form of his lovely daughter, TLW (The Little Woman)!

Not only does she look like him, only prettier, but she is getting his interest in her old age. She has all the talk shows about politics down cold, all the opinions analyzed and has defined her opinions in such a way that I have to listen, just to hear what they are because I find her insightful since she made that one mistake, 46 years ago.

When we were first married, she had no time for anything but the children. She had a dual job of children and a special needs child. She managed to keep a household going, raising my kids and even taking time for us once in a while, when they were sleeping. She cooked, cleaned and even took care of the lawn while dealing with the heartbreak of a child that was constantly ill and in need of attention, 24 hours a day! She did an amazing job, with both hands tied behind her back.

Every morning when I come down for the start of my day, there she is with the TV on, as she swings from MSNBC to CNN, then over to Fox and finally CNBC for all the opinions on the news of the day. She is better at it than I am. I feel that I used to be the one on top of the news, and now I feel like I am being replaced by her father! I'll probably hear about this.

Friday, September 22, 2017

WHEN TIME STANDS STILL

In all my life, there is nothing I cherish more than my friend of over 50 years. In those 50 years, from college through the day I die, there is one man I can say I love. It is not like the love of my wife or children, but a love that none-the-less of someone who cares about you and you care for, even if he is miles away. He is the face I see when I cry when I laugh and when I will die. It is just the way it is.

We have both been visited by tragedy, losing a child each, and when the cold hand of death places itself on our shoulders, there is another hand on the other shoulder, the hand of life, joy, and consolation, we each have that hand.

I know Phil from my college days. I know Phil as a brother, confidant, and friend. Although I know I can never replace his brother Marty, I can help fill the gap a little. Marty passed away recently, and he was Phil's younger brother and good a guy as you can find. Phil inherited his goodness from his Dad, who was an incredible man that left the Earth too soon but left two good sons and a wonderfully sweet daughter, Tobie.

But Phil has a way to replace what he loses, he found a wonderful woman in his wife Linda, who has supported him and given him beautiful children. His children love him, just as everyone else does.

From that first day in 1965 in college, when we first met, some kind of chemistry seemed to occur and take over, I had met the brother I never had. In those 50 years, he has been there for me every moment of the day, every day and will be as I am for him.

There are few people in this world I would give the title ‘Best Friend" too. There was Dad who did his best to help me get through college however he could, and of course, there is Phil, Phil is my brother, my best friend, the guy that always is there for me and I give him the same treatment.

I remember when my son died, and I walked slowly into the funeral parlor, and as I looked across the parking lot in a daze that first time entering the main door, I could see Phil, stepping out of his car. To me that was a great comfort, it was another family member who came to help me get through the worst nightmare a parent can have. He didn't need to say anything, his being there for Ellen and me said it all.

When Dad was dying, it was Phil who came out and sat with me next to Dad, and Dad was happy for those few moments Phil was there. Every day before Mother's Day, my mother received a greeting card from Phil, and every phone call from Phil comes with a: "How's your mom?"

I'm sure we all have friends like Phil, best friends that is, but Phil is really a perfect friend. We have shared for almost 50 years, pain, sorry, anguish, joy, happiness, and the greatest occasions ever in our lives. We can measure our lives in periods of time, in events and in smiles and tears, beautiful moments that will never go away for me and hopefully there will be much more.

And so, Phil, in all your imperfections as a human being, you perfected the art of being a friend, more importantly, you do it for nothing, you only gain my friendship and deep love. May you live a long and happy life and know that for the last over 50 years, my life has been a lucky life because I know you.

Some people are just born lucky, they can form a friendship and it lasts forever.

There are many things in my life I value, including life itself. I have mementos that have lasted almost from childhood, pictures that go beyond my childhood, and memories, ah, the memories!

There is only one thing I find as an intangible and that is friendship. I appreciate good people and there is one I truly love, my best man, godfather to my daughter and fellow screwball, my good friend Phil.

Somewhat like a misguided Soupy Sales complete with the dance moves of the ‘Mouse'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfO2J6Tun5I

He has made me laugh so hard I cried and cried so hard it's funny.

Once on a Saturday night, we were driving in the Bronx to meet some young ladies. It was dark and the streets were busy and we needed to get across this boulevard packed with cars. As we crossed the road we discovered we were going the wrong way on a one-way street, and of course got pulled over. My good buddy was driving his 1965 mercury convertible and feeling good. The cop comes to the car and says: "You know you were driving the wrong way on a one-way street on a 30-mile per hour zone doing 60?" Phil answered him: "Yes orsiffer, but I was doing 60 because I wasn't coming back!

Today he is older than when I first met him, it serves him right, he pulled too many pranks on people, unsuspecting, good people like his wife and myself, people who don't deserve it. But his best prank is being my friend. I love the challenge and cherish all the times we've had doing the crazy things we did. The consequences are just a lot of great memories!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AGAIN!

She doesn't look 62
Many years ago, 50 actually, Dad was suddenly on Cloud Nine!

Becoming a grandfather for the first time was more than a celebration of Happy Birthday, no it was a celebration of Happy Birthday every month. Pop was ecstatic, over-joyed, beside himself and getting very tiring.

The arrival was a major moment in our family history, the first grandchild was coming and even I was caught in the moment, after all, I was becoming an uncle for the first time. In
Dad
August I began the work on the baby's room, a three-wall mural of fairytales spread across the room, all kinds of joyful sights such as a merry-go-round or actually a carousel, in color and in paint, accompanied by painted fairy tales of a sort. A work of love and I think everyone enjoyed it.

Then in mid-September, it happened, Laurie Ann was finally born. With this event, we as a family waited for the strange to occur, and we were not disappointed. Dad became Dad once again, by re-inventing himself and changing who he was for the rest of his life!

Every month for the next 12 months, we had to go to Laurie Ann's house, with cake and candles in hand and a present and sing Happy Birthday. Yes, every month for the next 12 months. Dad was doing everything in his power to make the birth of his granddaughter special, unique and predictable at the same time!
She's actually about 15 in this photo
Dad had a distinct advantage over me, I couldn't do that because his granddaughter lived about 15 minutes away, mine lives about 7 hours away if you count the car rental also.

We all loved Dad, we loved who he was and how he acted, he was always getting in some kind of trouble or doing things one would not expect. He was the kind of guy that lived for the moment, didn't care what he looked like and didn't know how not to love and trust, a good man. So, of course, everyone embraced Dad ‘s behavior when it came to his special joys, his grandchildren, and everyone went along with 12 birthdays for one year! Of course, this had only one disadvantage: Laurie Ann is 62-years old today!

Do the math.

"Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Play, smile, think of me. All is well."
-Henry Scott Holland

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

DAVID

As an old uncle, it makes me proud that a nephew of mine spending his life as both a first responder and a nurse. There are few things in life more important than helping your fellow man, and being so dedicated to doing so! It makes me proud to know MY nephew is one of the elite people in this world, who sacrifices his own comforts to help others. I know parents would be extremely proud.

When all is said, and done, and Florida is rebuilt, the thankfulness will be that people like David and his buddies are there waiting for the next crisis and that he and his pals will have the backs of those who need help the most.

It always amazes me that we have people like David in this world. I have a niece Kate who is my god-child, a nurse out in California, and yes, I can't help but be proud of her too.

Funny how we go through life and never think of our health until something happens. I had surgery back in January and when I went into the hospital I needed to tell the nurses that my niece and nephew are both nurses, I guess I was bragging, but it is something special. I think nurses are very special, underappreciated and underpaid by far. They should have mandatory time off every few months and given shorter work days. Of course, this will never happen because there is a shortage of angels, both male, and female, so instead, they are worked to weariness.

Hearts of Gold
Sherry York
There are times in our lives when we sit down and wonder where our lives will lead us.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our jobs that we forget what we truly represent.
We get frustrated, aggravated, pushed to the limits and so mentally tired that we feel what is the use of being a Nurse.
But then someone gives us a weak smile or holds our hand and may say "thank you, you are so special."
Then we feel the warmth growing in our hearts.
All the bad feelings disappear and replaced by the core values that we present:
human dignity, compassion, dedication, integrity, stewardship, leadership and excellence.
So when the bad feelings begin to show take the time to say this prayer:
Lord, help me to bring comfort where there is pain.
Courage where there is despair.
Acceptance when the end is near.
A touch gentle with tenderness, patience, and love.
And, always remember, all Nurses are truly blessed.
For you see --- God gave of Hearts of Gold.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

THE ELECTRONIC GHOST

Every now and then there is a glitch that involves my TV, DVD player or other piece of electronic equipment that goes haywire. It becomes an issue and then the trouble starts.

We have a TV that the screen is smaller than the picture and we have tried to correct it without success. Some of the image telecasted is off the screen or partially on the screen. You see half a crawl or info you would normally see on anyone else's TV. However, Saturday of this past week TLW (The Little Woman) decided to play a DVD I got her as a gift. My troubles start there.

It seems that once upon a time, TV was simple. You had a TV and an aerial that you planted on your roof like a flag. You ran a brown flat noodle type wire from the aerial down into your house to the TV, then turned on the TV and you were watching. Then slowly things like a VCR player, then a DVR recorder and other electronic devices were invented that required you to re-wire, get new wires and finally a TV that needed to fit the new devices, which in turn needed to be replaced to etc., and so on and so forth, until the back of the TV looks like an octopus ink spaghetti dinner with connectors.

So TLW watched her DVD and in the process decided to unhook and rearrange. This is the ‘Hair hurting method' that she employs so often. This is usually bad for me since she eventually drags me into it and there I am, holding two wires hoping they are live!

I believe that if you are attempting to transform some electrical hookups, try to first understand how it works. Isolate the problem and experiment with what you got. I test the cable, the wires, the TV set, and my sanity. TLW likes to think of herself as a technocrat, while I like to think of myself as a dedicated food taster. Food tasters do not belong in the den behind the TV on his knees with a technocrat in charge. When TLW changed the wire setup she discovered that the TV worked as it was supposed to. We were excited, I even put down my latest testing to applaud her. But still, there was a new problem, we weren't getting Channel 2 well, along with a ton of channels that we used to get! She is now figuring out as she did at 6:00 AM in the morning. I decided to give it a go and start my quest to determine where the trouble stems from.

TLW: "YOU moved some wires, what did you move?"

"I just moved the wires over one notch to see what effect it has on the TV and the fact that we are no longer receiving channel 2."

She starts to laugh at me, destroying my self-confidence and I ignore it, with my self-confidence destroyed.

TLW: "You just move the wires without knowing what you are doing?"

"Hey, If I can get married without knowing what I'm doing, I can move wires!"

WE both decide to give up and call the cable company, who send us a new signal, and everything seems to be back to normal with minor complications like channel 2 comes in but pixelates and stutters.

TLW: "I HATE TO SAY THIS, BUT MAYBE WE SHOULD REBOOT THE TV." I think she loved saying it, myself!

We reboot, and everything seems to be right once again, perusing through all the channels, some of them with speech impediments!

Monday, September 18, 2017

AUTUNNO DALLA FINESTRA DELLA CUCINA.

Autumn from the window of kitchen


Autumn is a very nostalgic time of the year for me. Looking back over 60 years ago, peering out of my grandmother's kitchen window, or mom's, there were certain clues to the time of year.

Growing up in an Italian-American neighborhood in Brooklyn, the fall was the most romantic time for nature and the rituals of life. If you looked out the three-story walk-up and went to the kitchen window, which faced the backyard, you would see certain elements of life. One was the long pole that stood in the middle of the garden with three clotheslines strung across to hang the wash of the three families living in the building. I would watch the landlord mount and climb the pole to attach a fallen pulley or wheel to reconnect it, and think how could he climb that high and not fall?

If you looked out, you could see the tower of Our Lady of Lourdes, it's gray high bell tower slowly resonating throughout the neighborhood, wash hanging out all over the backyards announcing the Angelis. Christian, Muslim or Jew, you knew it was noon-time.

There was the last of the tomatoes as they grew imperfectly in looks but delicious in flavor, greenish and red, all destined to someone's windowsill and then jarred for a Sunday sauce.

In the Fall, it was time to harvest the grapes, that time of year when wine and vinegar were magically created and the pride of a man's plot of land and devotion to his past. It was said that if you waited long enough until the first frost, the grapes would be at their sweetest. To present, someone with a gallon of the homemade vino was the greatest tribute one could give.

Grandpa would send over a gallon of homemade vinegar, where Mom would create the most delicious of salads, the taste stemming from the soured grapes!

But the most telling sign, the most defining tradition, and lasting icon was the fig tree! It occupied the most prominent spot in the garden, reigning over the tomatoes, zucchini, parsley and any other produce Grandpa grew. When the tree was barren in the Fall months, the cellar door would open and slowly large pieces of linoleum and cord would appear, slowing transforming the tree's natural shape into a mummy-like figure, as it was swaddled in the old carpet and then topped with a green bucket, with crisscrossed roping, awaiting the harsh winter. It was a sad reminder that the gloom of winter was about to descend upon the Brooklyn, and the casualness of summer would be transformed into the rigors of winter.

But in the end, it all began a cycle of old-world traditions, mostly centered around the Church. There was All Souls Day, All Saints Day, that adopted holiday to Italian-Americans called Thanksgiving, and of course, the Christmas Eve feast of the seven fishes.

It was a great time to be alive and the place was the best, Brooklyn, NY!




Sunday, September 17, 2017

FROM MELTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN

--> Give me a day and everything can go wrong. It doesn't happen in one incident, no it always happens in pairs.

The other morning I was on my way to the gym for my little workout. I drive along the main road that eventually merges into one lane. It is usually about 5:30 AM and there is no one on the road. That fact does not deter me from being careful anyway, especially when approaching the point of the merge.

In front of me was a car doing a reasonable speed probably the actual limit, and I was following him at a safe distance. As we approach my sense of danger alerted me that something was about to happen, and sure enough, the product of his mother and a monkey driving a jeep cut in front of me and tried to get ahead of the car in front of me! AT 5:30 AM THIS MORON IS TAKING CHANCES.

Then later that morning I had to go to the agency to sign checks, as I amble up to the main entrance, I see a lot of people milling about in the vestibule, people that you wouldn't find there, sitting and talking. They all know me and wave, but the automatic doors won't open! I step back and try again, still nothing. I look in and someone is now holding a sign: "WE ARE IN LOCKDOWN!"

To think they were locking me out! The President of the Board is not allowed into the administration building. I start wondering why. Is it the wall I want to build at the Nassau/Suffolk border? Is it because I have a bottle of Russian vodka at home? My cell phone rings and I am informed that some woman scheduled for a 10:30 AM job interview had phoned in ahead to tell the HR person that if things didn't go her way that HR better have good insurance coverage and first aid available.

I manage to get in and enter the building, where I am greeted by the HR director, and sweet lady who is a big asset to the agency and she informed me: The police went to the lady's house and arrested her, she was ill and had a history. I went through the agency and made sure everyone was OK, and I saw the fear in the faces of many of the people I have grown to love over the years, being in that lockdown situation and what it can mean can really get a piece of your mind. They told me that they didn't want me stuck in the building at first, but realized who I am and let me in. I told them that I needed to be in that building, that it involved my people, and if it is danger there, then there is where I need to be.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

PLEASE DON'T LOOK!

Every now and again I have the duty of attending cocktail parties. Cocktail parties are a necessary evil that was designed to keep me humble, self-conscious and on guard at all times during the event. There are parties from work, the agency and different events that I have attended and I hate them all!

Once I enter a building, especially alone, I immediately become self-conscious. Am I walking like a dork or an old man? Are my clothes too big from the weight I lost? God, do I need another haircut again?

I enter and someone directs me to the party and entering I survey the room for someone I know to talk to. I go to the bar and order a Jack Daniels Manhattan while everyone else is drinking white wine. (Bunch of sissies) and so I mingle. Then the finger foods start to show up, a tray held by a young lady or young gentleman who shoves the stuff in your face.
I look at the food and naturally, I'm hungry which is a bad thing. Now I am on the lookout for the tray of finger foods, and if it looks good, I want some. It always seems that when something does look good the dumb-ass forgets to come my way and disappears! Of course, if it looks like it was refused by the alley cats, they come by with it over and over again.

But now a new problem arises. Someone will pass on the miniature fried egg rolls, why, because they are fried, no good for you and drink white wine, while mine miniature egg roll is washed down with my Jack Daniels and is half-way down by now, making for self-consciousness my trademark. I watch to see who is watching, while listening to a conversation, while trying to balance my drink and NOT poke my eye out with the stirrer, hoping nothing drips on my tie or shirt, while wiping my mouth with a flimsy paper napkin all while I try to pop into a conversation with some high-powered business man or educator while wishing I am home with TLW (The Little Woman), my feet are starting to hurt and there may be a speech or greeting I have to make.

By now my back is starting to get unhinged too! I am lost to what the Hell everyone is talking about and damned the waiter, where are those shrimp that looked so good and I didn't get any of? I look for a table to sit at, but that will look bad because it will make me look like I am unsociable, (Which I am) thinking only of food. I can hear them thinking: "Look at that low-life, bereft of conversation but plenty on his plate! I wonder who raised him?" (The same question my Mother used to ask.)

Friday, September 15, 2017

RAISING THE BAR

The Board at work!
A few evenings ago, I attended a ‘Kick-off' for a major fund-raising event we hold each year at my agency, AHRC Suffolk. The kick-off invites all those vendors that support the agency all year long to also support our annual Candlelight Ball. At the Ball, we invite a table of program participants who receive services the agency provides, and the Suffolk Board of Directors pays for a table for them to attend. They dress to the nines and enjoy the evening as much as everyone else does.

On the night when we all dress in beautiful gowns and tuxedoes, great cocktail hour, dinner and dessert, everyone gets up and dances to a DJ or live band.  Wheel chairs, canes, and walkers are all present and accommodated to. It is about the participants.

But there is something more to celebrate, the generosity of those vendors, some of whom come year after year to help the agency. Much of the funding is from Medicaid but the rest has to come from fundraising, a difficult task. But we have these ‘Guardian Angels' to constantly rise to the occasion, giving money and services to our cause, puffing up and supporting those who can't support themselves.

Being a parent of a child with disabilities for some many years, I know what the fears are as a parent, I understand the need to provide for the future for my daughter Ellen. Having an agency like AHRC Suffolk to support and give encouragement not only to my daughter but to my wife and I is a God send. It contributes to our ability to put our heads on a pillow and fall asleep at night without fear for our child.

Among this group of guardian angels is a board member who has no one in our programs. He is a strong and vital member of the board and I look to him for advice many times through the course of my presidency. He owns a company and travels a lot to of all places: China. In his company, there are employees that deal with developmental disabilities. This is his policy and always has been. There is no hoopla or fanfare about what he does for these individuals on his or his company's part, just a good man.

I hesitate to give his name since he doesn't know about this blog, and he may not want to be pointed out, but I can say publicly to a private individual: Thank you for my wife, my daughter and all those we serve and the many parents and siblings, from the bottom of our collective hearts.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

MELLOW ROLLS & SUCH

Egg creams, mellow rolls, roasted chestnuts, dirty water franks, knishes, all the culture of a 10-year old in the heart of Brooklyn. There were bakeries that baked fresh Italian bread every morning calling you to a new morning. Then on Sundays, pastries shops, Mondays: pickle factories that fed the air with the distinctive smell of Kosher pickles fermenting in big wooden barrels, and of course, ice cream parlors, with their long counters and stools, small tables for two and shoemakers, when you enter you smell the fresh cut of leather and shoe shine polish.

You couldn't go through a neighborhood without the smell of pizza! Italian restaurants seeded with the cooking style from the old country, you could go through the streets and find a beer maker or two, all lending themselves that distinct beer hops odor that permeated both the streets and bars, life was an orgy of wonderful smells.

That was Brooklyn in the 1950's, almost a food festival from sunup until sundown.

Of course, it wasn't just food. No, there were the fig trees and the grape vines that carried over the pond from the homeland, be it Italy or Germany or anywhere in Europe. There was the pride of making your own wine and bottling it by the gallons.

You hopped on a subway and the odor of the steel rails squeaking against the steel wheels of the IND or BMT as they plowed into the station. You could jump on a bus and head into NYC, Queens and the Bronx, you could go anywhere you wanted.

There were at least three Catholic churches and two Catholic schools all within walking distance, as well as the public elementary schools, junior high and high schools.

Mom and pop were the foundations of the neighborhood, from the kitchen table to the local store. Delis, bakeries, vegetable and fish stores and shoemakers, as well as dress shops and jewelry stores, all owned by mom and pop.

And the parks, so many and so green amongst the concrete jungle and overhead rails, dot the country bringing relief and calm to an otherwise hectic and busy life.

If you never lived in Brooklyn I wish you had, it was a special place in a special time.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

OH! GLORIOUS DAY!

Yes, the media had a field day! With the help of Irma, the Hurricane, they had a major event.

What can lift a lazy weekend for a New Yorker than some kind of catastrophe the media needs to cover? People in need of help? Let's get a camera on that! Winds and gusts dangerous? Let's get a reporter in that! Devastation and cruel faith to homes and businesses? Let's pan the mess, all for you and your viewing pleasure.

On all the TV stations that covered Irma, they all had the same scenario, reporter fighting for his life, red patches of color across the screen and endless interviews, asking the same questions and reporting the obvious, trying to build tensions and fear in everyone who views.

How can the media heads allow these reporters to go into the teeth of the storm and report? What does it do to the story when the poor guy is already disheveled and drenched, not wearing a hat and his feed going in and out?

The reporting from the news room is just as bad. I guess there are too many nice weather days and life is boring. Once the event becomes news-worthy, the reports become fast paced and the excitement in the reporter's voice reaches a new height, and eventually, he hyperventilates or goes into an orgasmic state, eyes fluttering and arms in the air.

But the best they save for last. The next morning after the media all over the world reported that Irma is the worst hurricane ever, with wind speeds at 175 mph and gusts of 225 mph, a young woman, maybe 25 years of age is interviewing an elderly couple in a shelter. The elderly lady is 96 and he is 98. They are both distressed and the lady is on the verge of tears, and this young brilliant lady, without any experience, asks this question:

"Is this the worst storm you ever saw?"

Tears flowed from the elderly lady, and I don't know if they were from the devastation and possibility of their home wiped out, or the stupidity of the reporter's question.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

JIM

Now Jim Manning was a retired gentleman whose daughter happens to be married to me. He retired when she said she was marrying me, figuring: What else could go wrong?

Jim in his retirement lived for the news, Sunday mornings particularly, while his dumb ass son-in-law was watching all the pregame shows for the NFL: he was watching ‘Meet the Press' among other politically oriented shows that aired on Sunday mornings in the 1970's. Sitting in his chair, a chair I still covet, he made observations and announcements about what he heard. A Democrat at heart, and very liberal, his sympathies aligned with the House Investigative panel, he set in for a long and enjoyable haul in front of the TV.

Everyone was wrapped up in the Watergate scandal, and watched all the news clips and read all the newspapers, as Americans witnessed something so unthinkable. It was a scandal made for the Internet, when there was no Internet, as the testimony presented daily brought new revelations almost by the hour.

For me, reading the newspapers in the morning on the train and at night going home from work, I had enough of it and wanted to get away from the hoopla at night and weekends, but Jim loved it! Give him his chair, his Sunday Times and his TV, and he put his own perspective on the news and I had to hear about it. It was now his passion, his love, and his job, to give me zingers, dingers and opine on the current state of affairs.

But I had a little secret, I never told him, I was part of the Watergate hoopla! Yes, me, that always-skinny kid with two babies was a part of the Watergate drama. It seems my boss was on Dean's List, the infamous list given up by John Dean, White House Council for the President. Apparently, Mr. Nixon had a bone to pick with anyone who had access to the media and political clout that didn't coincide with Nixonian mythology. I designed the button that said: "I'M ON THE DEAN'S LIST" which either made you smart if you went to college or in trouble if not.

Not telling my father-in-law that I was behind a button he kept seeing, pumping out propaganda he was reading and being paid for it would have spoiled our relationship. He would have then probably kept his opinions to himself in front of me, and I enjoyed hearing his rants, remarks and daily reports as he interpreted them. Plus, I was politically a dog, not caring who ran the country, since whoever it was, was going to run it into the ground anyway. This, of course, is still my belief, but with a more informed attitude towards all political parties and their promises.

When the Watergate scandal was over, Grandpa Jim went back to his daily New York Times crossword puzzle and his weekly routine of correcting the typos he found in the Sunday Times and mailing them on to the newspaper to note. His career ended when Nixon waved goodbye on the Marine helicopter, and like Nixon, Jim's career rose into the sunset for good.

But why do I tell you this? Today is his birthday, had he kept better care of himself he would have been 107-years old!

I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy. I would say traditionalist is who I am, a man that does not defy convention. I am not a conservative in a real sense, and not a liberal, just someone who likes to hear a good argument and weigh the pros and cons.

I have left the impression that I am conservative, and maybe I dress like one, but I do follow some of the life's conventions. For instance:

Many years ago, when I asked TLW (The Little Woman) for her hand and the rest of her in marriage, I never asked her father for her hand. That was because I knew what a great gal she is and was afraid he'd say no, and I didn't know which hand to ask for.

But a funny thing happened, he never tried to stop me, in fact, he came to the wedding!

Jim was the kind of man that made me laugh, he had opinions, moods and was in all of that a gentle soul, gentle enough for me to respect him as a man, a great father and provider, and really an embodiment of the American Dream, coming here to America from Ireland as a young man.

Today is his birthday, and how can you not go by this day without thinking of him? He wasn't anyone for fanfare, boasting was not in him, just the goodness he taught his children, and I was lucky enough to see it in his daughter and children.

If you met my mother-in-law, Helen, you would say what a sweet woman, and you would be right, Jim was smart enough to see that. Along with Jim, Helen also worked to get their kids through a Catholic elementary and high school for all their children, and sacrificed and did without so their children could have the education they deemed to be the best.

He was a liberal at heart but washed his hands of extremism, he would probably not have accepted intolerance of any kind. He never tried to impose his will on anyone or become offensive to people with his political bent. I guess people were glad to see him, but he would never know why.

My brother-in-law Steve, Sister-in-laws Sara and Angela and I have been lucky because we got to know him through his children.

We miss you, Jim, we really do, but you did do something good, you left your children, and I for one am grateful.

But it still occurs to me, I never asked Jim for his daughter's hand in marriage!

Happy Birthday Jim, from the cad who married your beautiful daughter.

There are people in this world that when you meet them, they are forever in your mind. They stay with you in their voice, outlook, and demeanor. They stand in your mind like Mount Rushmore, well after they pass on. Such a man was Jim Manning. Jim has been gone too long, and I think I miss the old codger; his mind was unfortunately not utilized to its fullest extent because the world was too stupid to tap it. But in spite of the world, he did leave of legacy of children, and grandchildren and great grandchildren. He also left great memories.

TLW (The Little Woman's) younger brother Dennis took the time to make a family tree, and I think although it is wonderful to do, he should really write a history of his father, and whom he was. This historic Bio should be written for all the grandchildren or great grandchildren of Jim Manning. They would see how they became who they are. They could take great pride in the fact that their grandfather or great grandfather was a man of high morals and a great sense of what is right and wrong. I think of the word: "Integrity" in the Webster Unabridged Dictionary is a picture of Jim Manning.

I was only a son-in-law, I don't really know if he liked me or not, but I do know that my children have a bit of him in them, and for that I am grateful.

He loved his wife Helen, who was a perfect mother-in-law to me, and he raised 4 wonderful children, who made some great choices for mates, with the exception of TLW, so he did pretty darn well as a father and symbol of morality.

I think in his children's hearts and minds, he IS still alive, still leaving his wonderful sense of right from wrong in their hearts. I know he would have been very proud of all of them today, and what they have done with their lives.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM! There should be a statue to commemorate your existence.

Monday, September 11, 2017

LIKE SPLITTING HAIRS

--> Recently, I went for a haircut at my usual barber shop but didn't have my usual barber. Attila my barber, is a man in his 40's, tall and slightly overweight, but right out of an assassin's phone book from somewhere in the Serbian Empire, with a heavy accent, and a hitman's flair when he cuts. What's a hitman's flair you ask? His arms go into an exaggerated motion as he waves that scissor around, menacing both life and limb as he chops his way to the final neck shave.

His technique for brushing you is to smack the brush against your head then pound it until all the hair stand up, where he then blows them off with his lips.

Ear hair is another story. Using an electric razor, he grinds the machine into your head until he sees scalp, twisting and pushing and pressing the razor as it totally reforms the shape of your ears, your head feeling like it was used as a shuttlecock. If it comes out of your other ear, you know he went too far!

Neck hair? Ha, he just applies the electric razor until it manages to get under the skin, being the only barber to cut hair at the roots, under the skin.

Then a terrifying moment comes. He reaches into the top drawer and extracts a straight-edge razor as I silently pray, not sure if this will be my last haircut or my first scalping.

This day I have Rob, someone new, and when I say new, he is under 25 and intent on having everything in order. He greets me with a handshake and asks how I want my haircut. I tell him, a regular haircut.

"A regular haircut?" He looks at Attila who stands there listening.

"Yeah, a regular haircut, just ask Atilla, he has my records, he did the last one."

They exchange glances once again, and at this time I realize that maybe barbers should keep records.

Well, you know that Rob has been hanging with Atilla because the assault upon my head was pure Atillian. The son-of-a-bitch kept hitting my ear with the stroking of the comb as he trimmed and cut my hair. He seemed to concentrate an awful lot of time on the side where my carotid artery was opened and stitched, leaving me with a scar and soreness, that when touched, hurts.

I was ready to talk, to admit to anything, just give me something to sign and I'll sign, just end the torture, when the final snip, the final push of my head and the final pain was endured. I'm sure Atilla is proud of his assassin!


Sunday, September 10, 2017

BENNY "DA BUFFER" (YOU SONNAMABITCHER)

Benny's good friend
Way back in my senior year in high school about when Washington crossed the Delaware there was a guy by the name of Benny Galliano aka Benny Da Buffer, (not his real name to protect his sister) who was transferred from a Brooklyn High School to Bellport High School because he was always in trouble. He belonged to a gang in Brooklyn, and often "Jitterbugged" as they say meaning street gang warfare. The reason Bellport was selected was that he had an uncle who owned a factory making clothing in the Bellport area, and his parents figured as far away from Brooklyn as possible was good.

Benny could be a bad influence on the Pope, let alone Bellport High. He had a heart as big as the great outdoors, but sometimes the brains of a fish. Benny's sense of humor was tremendous, and could also improvise Elvis at a moment's notice, and people, for the most part, liked him once you got to know him. He stood about 5" 9" and was slightly overweight, maybe 50 pounds of slight. He had a fat nose and a face for radio (He knew this because his Mother told him so). His eyes were set very close together, penetrating and it made him look like a thug.

I met Benny after a few weeks of school that September and it started as he was transferred from Brooklyn to Bellport. He just gravitated to me and we became friends. I think it was because my shop teacher Mr. Walker assigned him to be under my wing and we got along great because of some similarities (Brooklyn, Italian.) Benny just could not retain anything. Soon he was coming to me for help in English, Math and Science classes for home work and soon we were spending afternoons doing a review of the class work for that day. He begged me to do it because if he failed, he would be thrown out of the house, sent to work in his uncle's factory, and they would take away his shiny new fuel injected Bonneville which he hoped to add an additional carburetor so he could keep all the neighborhoods he frequented, awake and on their toes at 2:00 am. Benny loved to be noticed. Almost every day we reviewed, going over the same things again and again and it started to come together! Benny was learning, Benny's brain was now the size of a whale, and because of the constant review, I was not getting my homework done like I used to. I would have a job after dinner, and when work was finished, I had to stay up late for my written homework to be completed.

June finally rolled along and I check the board in the hall wall next to the Principles office to see who was graduating. As I go I see Benny walking in the opposite direction with tears streaming down his mug. I rush to the board look for my name then look for his. There it stood Benjamin Galliano! "What the hell???" What's wrong with Benny? I go looking for him and find him on the pay phone talking to his father. I go up to Benny and overhear him saying that maybe they made a mistake and forgot to put his name on the list! "Benny, what the hell are you talking about?" I yell. He turns around and says "Joe man, I can't talk right now" I said "Dumb ass, your name IS on the board" And as I say it, I'm starting to smile, and he says to me "Man don't mess with my head" I grab the phone and talk to his dad to tell him that I saw the name. I drag Benny down to the wall, and point to his name, he looks at me and plants a kiss right on my forehead. He was so scared of not graduating, he was blind to the idea of his name on that list!

After the graduation ceremony, I went over to where he was standing with his family. There among his family is this little Italian lady, who grabs him by both cheeks and says: "You sonnamabitcher, you graduate!"

Saturday, September 09, 2017

DAD, I CAN STILL HEAR YOUR VOICE.




Dad wasn't a very fancy man, didn't even finish high school. He didn't even live to see his 75ft birthday, dying from lung cancer. He was humble, and I truly believe he didn't have a mean bone in his body.

Dad loved his grandchildren. When his first grandchild had her birthday on the 17th of the month, for the next 11 months, on the 17th, we had to gather to sing ‘Happy Birthday' and celebrate for the next 11 months as it was a ritual!

Every Saturday night I think of Dad to this day. He insisted on a steak dinner on Saturday nights, and on Sundays, pasta. A big bowl of soup on Monday nights, and on Sunday evenings, he would send us out to the deli for cold cuts on the corner of Somers Street and Rockaway Avenue. Dad would then make the best sandwiches I ever had, with left over salad and mayo. Dad was the master. But come those summer evenings! Then his genius really took hold! He'd get a tall glass and fill it with cream soda, vanilla ice cream, and cantaloupe pieces. Sometimes he'd add a little milk and chocolate. God, I miss those days!

Mom was the religious person in the house, the reason I never got arrested, but unfortunately, Dad would get a hold of me and re-taught me a prayer or two. For example, the "Our Father" Dad rearranged the pray where we said: "Give us this day our daily bread" to: "Give us a steak and our daily bread." I prayed it that way almost into High School!

He was a great storyteller, stories about my grandparents and his childhood, about people who had nicknames and why they had them and had a wonderful sense of humor. He had a remote control and would be delegated to the bedroom to watch TV. Mom would watch TV in the den. When she nodded off, he would sneak to the doorway and put on the ball game. She would wake up and wonder what that was doing on her TV. Dad would say something about Mom to get her riled up, or they would tease each other, and even a bit of playful fisty cuffs would occur, with Dad running away for his life!

Every time I watch a ballgame, I think of Dad. He took me to Ebbets Field to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers play. We would watch the games on TV and he loved Jackie Robinson and the Italian boy, Carl Furillo, and all the other Dodgers. He taught me to love the game and tried to make a pitcher out of me once. One day, he got a rubber ball and squatted down in front of my Grandmother's house, and told me to pitch. I threw the first pitch, Dad missed catching it, and smack into his face it goes! "OK, that's enough for now!" said Dad.

Helping people was Dad's passion, and taking me along to assist him was part of his gift giving. We did almost everything together, including working together when I was in high school and college. He would help widows and people down on their luck who he thought needed some kind of help. He lent money and my time very freely. But he taught me that no matter how bad things were, they could be worse, just look at so and so.
Looks like one of his cars!

Like I said, he didn't have much, never owned a new car until late in life, his last car. He got his dream house, finally, and saw a couple of his kids get an education and was blessed with a lot of grandchildren. I named my first son after him because I wanted the name to last another generation, and somehow I knew it would make him happy, if only he lived to see his grandson's achievements, and his name roll by on the credits of the Big Bang Theory, there would have been no living with him. He would have adored my daughter-in-law Courtney and of course my beautiful grandchild, Darby Shea. He loved my daughter, Ellen, giving her attention and amusing her, and then when my last son Michael was born, I gave Dad a picture of Mike that he hung in his living room next to the front entrance, and every day going to work, he would pat it and say: "Hi Mike!"

I really hope he is up there, sitting in front of a TV with one of his favorite snacks, watching the Brooklyn Dodgers have a big inning, satisfied that his life was one of the good works and positive things that have occurred, that all his mistakes are understood and forgiven, that he was the only father I could have ever had and loved.

Happy Birthday, Pop!


Friday, September 08, 2017

A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS!


Recently, on the first day of school for the locals, I drove down my street and saw four young ladies standing at a bus stop. They looked about high school age and about the same age. Those four young ladies told me a lot, mainly that we are losing our grip on things.

The four stood about 3 feet apart from one another and had very dour faces, filled with gloom, sadness, and disinterest. But the attitude was not enough, they were all staring at their cell phones, no one was engaging in conversation. No one would look at the other, just into their cell phone. How sad! Then I realized they were all overweight, which leads me to believe that there is no activity in their lives other than looking at their phones. I know that sometimes being overweight can be hereditary injustice visited upon the innocent, but all four?

As I continued down the road, there on the corner was another bus stop, this time occupied by three fellows. I'll be damned, but they were indeed engaged in conversation, they looked light-hearted and happy for the first day of school, ready to board a bus that will officially end their summer. THEY were all thin!

As I pulled up into my driveway, I couldn't help but wonder if there will ever be any dating in high school in the future? Will the girls ever be pulled away from their cellphones and learn to converse with not only themselves but with the boys? Is this the beginning of zero growth in our population? Stay tuned, we may be a dying breed.