DelBloggolo

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

UNCLE FRANK


There are a few heroes in my life that I still keep close to my heart. One such hero from my past is my Uncle Frank.

Uncle Frank was the child of immigrant parents from Sicily, hard working Italians that knew nothing other than hard work and prayer, and underlining all that was family. They raised 2 boys and 2 girls, and from that grew a wonderful family and highly intelligent people. They were warm and welcoming people who, like all Italians, love everything in their lives.

Back in the day, when higher education was a thing one did not necessarily attain if one was from an immigrant family, Uncle Frank missed out also. He was a numbers man by nature and utilized his skills by working for the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a clerk. Then World War II began and Uncle Frank joined the army and fought under General Patton.

As the war progressed Uncle Frank was elevated to Corporal and fought his way through France under Patton’s leadership and by chance saved a cousin without even knowing it.

It seems his cousin Danny was fighting in the battle of the Bulge and was wounded and trapped behind German lines. Under siege, Danny’s unit was fighting for their lives and things were chaotic. Crawling from behind enemy lines, he reached US troops under General Patton, Uncle Frank’s Patton.

At the end of the war, Uncle Frank returned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and decided to go to night school to better his grade in his government position, and slowly worked his way up the various grades.

As a young child, would go off to night school, leaving me with the first impressions of how important education is.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

FEELING ALONE


I awakened in the Meadowbrook Hospital emergency room, overflowing with people and crying babies, my foot twisted in an unnatural way and the pain so severe that I could only sweat and feel this intense need to kill myself!

Surrounded by a few friends, soon the doctors came in to reset the foot. Holding me down they twisted the foot to the correct angle and I yelled out so loud that I quieted all the screaming babies.

Suddenly I sat in the hall with the foot in a cast up to my hip. The raw pain still fresh in my mind, as my friend Phil had slipped by security and was standing next to me. By now the time was late Friday afternoon or early Friday night, the corridor darkened somewhat. THE ONLY THING I HAD WAS MY GOOD BUDDY PHIL, AND THANK GOD FOR HIM, HE WAS SOMEONE FAMILIAR IN THIS ODD WORLD OF PAIN AND CONFUSION!

They rolled me into this large circular room with beds lined along the wall, patents sitting quietly in their places. I fell asleep soon and about midnight I decided to get out of bed, cast and all and go to the bathroom. Aside from being born more than 22 years ago, this was my first time in a hospital. I had to go to the bathroom and so I swung my broken leg over the bed slowly, and as it descended down off the side, the pain became so severe I immediately pulled it back up.

The next morning I awoke and there in front of me was a candy striper, young and beautiful, cleaning the wound and asking me if there was anything I needed. What I needed was to pee, but I wouldn't tell her that. I ordered some breakfast and while she was gone, Phil comes into the room.

"Phil, I got to go real bad and I can't get this leg off the bed!"

"Why don't you use the bedpan?"

"The what!?"

"The bedpan."

Phil stops talking and searches the side stand for the bedpan.

"Did you ask the nurse for a bedpan?"

"No, it is too embarrassing in front of all these people.

Phil screams out to the center of the room…

"NURSE! MY FRIEND JOE NEEDS A BEDPAN!

I spent most of the morning hiding under the sheets. Being this was my first time in a hospital, I never knew there was such a thing as a bedpan, and now everyone knew I needed one!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A LIMP BACK TO THE PAST

It was the first beautiful weather-day of the year in mid-April. No coats or sweaters or winter gear of any kind adorned either my classmates or me.

Attending my life drawing class that fate-filled day on a Friday afternoon, April 14, 1967, it was the last class and plans for the weekend would begin after class. Our instructor decided to have the class outdoors to take advantage of the weather and the afternoon sun was enough to warm the model. Spread out on the lawn of the Chateau that served as the art department, we had out our pads and charcoals ready to draw with.

Leisurely we walked from the lawn to the parking lot to go to my apartment in Hicksville to begin the weekend, I had hitched as rid from one of my classmates and we headed home. As we turned onto Old Country Road in Hicksville the traffic was heavy. The Friday night homeward traffic on a promising weekend made the trip home slow and inevitably long. Light after light we stopped and started again. Finally, we were in front at a steakhouse, the sun behind us. Suddenly the traffic light turned green once again and as we picked up steam a red pickup truck came out from our right and cut in front of us as he ran the light, causing my classmate to swerve to his right to avoid a collision. The reward for his diligence was a collision into a parked car instead!

I remember the swing of the red truck as it headed into the other lane and my going forward as we impacted with the parked car. Leaning back in my seat I thought that I was OK, nothing happened to me. Then I felt a sweat rolling down my forehead and as I wiped it I noticed it was blood.

Suddenly there was this immense pain coming from my right foot as I looked down at it. My foot was grotesquely twisted to the side, a bone sticking out from my sock. Then the realization that the engine was sitting between the driver and me! The windshield was smashed and people were coming over now to see what could be done. Soon a man opened the door, dressed in a business suit and leaned over me, using his handkerchief to wipe my forehead with the blood still rolling down my face. Right before I passed out, the ambulance was sounding its arrival.

Friday, April 20, 2018

WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET

James Manning 1910-1984
Today, 36 years ago, my father-in-law passed on to a better place, one of serenity and a final peace we all seek to achieve someday. So, on this occasion, I decided to visit his grave to get a physical sense of the man. It makes me feel closer to those that pass to visit the site and final resting place where they lay.

To me, it is important to do this because I feel that we can't live our lives without the reminders of those who carried us in their hearts and gave us meaning. We live our lives and don't always think or remember those we love even in their absence. We are locked into a never endless movement of our daily lives, without rest or peace. To not visit him would be to bury him twice, or anyone I loved who passed.

Jim was a man of peace, a man who fed into one's conscience with what he felt was the right thing to do, and he was always right. His heart was that of a good and decent man, who taught his children what was expected of them, giving them only the best he could do. Much of the gifts he gave to his children he gave at a cost, a deficit to his pocket and his health, always dedicated to his children. There was very little he owned other than his home and his love of family. 

He wasn't a big man, there was no bravado, no strutting or posturing, just a simple decency that prevailed in the air around him. So, why do I miss him? I guess it has to do with the dowry he gave me when I married his daughter, it was a lot, and it was his daughter.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

AN OBSERVATION


We spend our lives reaching for wealth at the price of our health, then, spend our wealth to restore our health.

Since I retired over 11 years ago, I have done some soul searching to try to understand the timeline I created, what it showed I value and what it says about me. Looking back I have no personal regrets about my values or where I am today.

As an older person, a senior citizen, I view my future in my memories, my children’s future as it unfolds and my grandchild’s future in my dreams. I think this is a process as well as a symptom of aging.

I made a vow that I would upon retirement read the books I didn’t get to, see the movies I missed, and find new things to do. I have invested heavily in my marriage to make it the best it can be, I have championed and supported my children in any way I can and will continue to.

So, I guess I want to leave this World in a little better shape than what it was when I came into it, and a little better shape then it is now as the days dwindle down to the end.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

CHILDHOOD HERO

I had many childhood heroes, mostly Brooklyn Dodger baseball players. They took me to a fantasy world where I stood side by side with Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese and Carl Furillo.

Later in life, I found new heroes, ones who needed no fantasy, just thanks. There was my Uncle Frank, who came home from the war as a corporal and went to night school to further his position at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

There was Aldo Monducce, a fellow who lived downstairs from me, who went to college and taught me how to catch a baseball. His parents were immigrants from Italy and to me going to college was a big deal that stayed with me for the rest of my life.

As I went on to high school, there were a number of teachers that I loved, Mr. Hall my social studies teacher, and Mr. Giordano my English teacher and advisor to my senior class, who got me interested in reading classics like the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare.

If we go back to my original heroes, there is one that I think I may be the original president of a fan club, that being the great #9, playing leftfield at Ebbets Field, the one and only: Gino Cimoli. Yes, this nobody, who came from nowhere, who did absolutely nothing, was my hero!

Why is Gino Cimoli, my hero? Because he achieved major league status, on my favorite team, and proved that mediocrity is contagious!

Monday, April 16, 2018

HERE’S HOW IT’S DONE… OR ELSE!

Funny, how when we lose our parents they never really leave us. All the years of parental love and devotion came in examples and sayings that seemed embedded in us.

Mom was a teacher, while Dad was more of a demonstrator. The difference was a night and day... Mom had things to say: “The way you make your bed, is the way you sleep in it.” To this day, although I understand the context, I still can’t see it in my mind! Every morning when I make the bed, careful to fluff the pillows, keep the sheets straight and the bedspread turned neatly, everything hurts when I got up!

Dad, like I said, was a demonstrator, which I quickly learned could be to my advantage.

“OK, now here’s what you have to do. Take the brush and dab it into the can of paint, don’t jam a whole lot of paint on the brush and gently dab it along the ring and apply like this.”

Out I go, and of course, my mind would wander, rather than just do as he said and get it over with, I would start out very slow, and sweep over the same spot a few times and outcomes dads.

“Give me that brush, Fongoola!”

He then immediately paints the wall, all of it, the other three walls, the ceiling and the next-door neighbor’s whole house, inside and out, trim and all, giving me a dialogue while he demonstrates the art of house painting. “Here like this, then you gather it like this and then…”

Mom never demonstrated, she took out a wooden spoon, which insured that I would do the task right, only once and to her satisfaction. Mom said Dad never listened to her, she was right.


When Mom wanted to discipline, she used “MM Gentle Persuasion”. One would think kind, gentle prodding, perhaps with a firm attitude. No: that is what I named her wooden spoon. She used to get my cooperation or attention with the instrument. I named all her wooden spoons through the years. There was; “The MM Kind and Firm”, one of her favorites, “MM Or Else”, and the ever-present “MM De-aggregator” and of course, the “MM Terminator” which lasted for a LONG time.

You must be wondering what the ‘MM’ designation stands for. It was my want to name her spoons like the US Navy named their ships. “MM” stands for “Momma Mia’s.”

Before she passed, I thought ‘Why not present her with an “Official” golden wooden spoon; just like the one I gave her for her 75th birthday, but with a Plaque with the inscription: “To Moms everywhere. For Pasta and Obedience, as long as both are needed. The MM Gentle Persuasion II. With Love While Still In Pain, Your Favorite Son.”

I was her only son.

To the day she died, whenever she bought a new wooden spoon, she would come to my house to hit me with it, just to be sure she had quality and hadn’t lost her touch, and remind me that I was not too big or too old to get hit by her.

Some of mom’s favorite usage of the King’s English to help me get on the same page as Mom:

“WAIT, JUST WAIT UNTIL I GET MY HANDS ON YOU!!!

“WAIT UNTIL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME”

“WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE CHILDREN!”

And my favorite…
“I HOPE YOU HAVE A CHILD JUST LIKE YOU!!!”


Sunday, April 15, 2018

SOUR GRAPES. SWEET MEMORIES!


The tree blooms beautifully, in his memory every year!”

If you ever go on Facebook you will find a page called:

You Know You’re Italian When…

On this happy little page, members talk about their heritage, recipes, and share pictures and there’s some guy who writes jokes with an Italian accent! The above quote was posted recently about fig trees where this member added in the comments that her Nonno (Grandfather) died in 1970, and “The tree blooms beautifully, in his memory every year!”

When I read ‘Fig Tree’, it automatically took me back to Grandpa’s backyard and his grape vines. Gramps was a winemaker, the little old winemaker whose wine was considered almost holy. If I shipped a bottle to the Pope and said, “Drink this your Holiness” he probably would.

Dad had strict rules about carrying that gallon of pure contentment: ‘BE VERY CAREFUL OR YOUR BUTT IS HISTORY.

The wine served was usually in any glass vessel that could hold enough of it to make you happy, from grape jelly glasses to goblets, the joy was in the taste, the hard work it took to produce it and to know that it was Grandpa who did this.

With that terrific wine came terrific vinegar. In later years when Grandma would visit, she would bring some of Grandpa’s vinegar, a vinegar I have never tasted since but I wish I could. It made an ordinary or extraordinary salad go beyond the bounds of happiness and great taste!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

THE SOUND OF SILENZIO!


Once or twice a year Grandma Frances would gather the troops for a Mass at Our Lady of Loreto Church on Sackman Street in Brooklyn. The reason was there was a new fundraiser for an occasion such as a bus ride upstate or plane ride to Italy for some fund-raiser for an orphanage grandma organized. I can remember her doorbell constantly ringing or her phone chiming in to announce another wishing to join the occasion.

One year it was a big event, my Dad, Tony, was asked by his mother to paint a Madonna for the church that could be carried ion a procession on a pole. Dad not being a churchgoer did as he was told and we all went off to church one Sunday morning to see the Madonna be paraded out during the Mass, a one-time ordeal for dad.

I happened to like going to this church built by Italian immigrants with marble imported from Italy. It also was a day of pride for me, Dad, my Dad, had painted this masterpiece, and it would be paraded down the main aisle!

There were two events that occurred that day and every Sunday, during the year at Our Lady of Loreto. The first event was the consecration, an event I could wait for, not because I was holy or saintly in any way, but because when the bells rang at the Consecration, a split second afterward, fireworks would go off on the roof to the church! The boom and loudness woke me up to get through the rest of the Mass and the noise scared the living heck out of me.

The second event was the best! Usually, in the front rows of the church, pews occupied by little Old Italian ladies would chatter and go on in Italian, and the priest would shout out during his sermon-"SILENZIO!" This admonition did not silence anyone, after the shock, off went the chatter once again!

Friday, April 13, 2018

GRANDPA RALPH


To us kids, his grandkids, he was Grandpa but to Grandma Frances he was Raphael.

Raphael was a very calm man, serene, almost never said much, but when he did, everybody would pause for the moment and then continue on in life. He was a handsome man, who wore a mustache all his life. In fact, when he was born my great grandfather is rumored to have said: "Che Cosa è quella cosa sotto il suo naso?"

Grandpa was Grandma's right-hand man, handyman, go to guy, and doer of all chores. Grandpa tried to avoid grandma but only during his waking hours.

Grandpa had a grey fedora he wore, it seemed like every moment of every day. I think he was born in it. In fact, it is rumored that my great grandfather (Who had a lot to say) once said when grandpa was born: "Da dove quel cappello è venuto?"

Every Sunday Grandma would go to church at Our Lady of Loretto on Sackman Street in Brooklyn. That's "A Sackaman Streeet, a Brookaleen" as she would say. Grandpa did his praying too. While Grandma prayed for deliverance from the evils of the world, Grandpa prayed that she would leave him alone for ten minutes. So while Grandma was in church, Grandpa was next door at the Republican Club-playing poker.

One Easter Sunday as was the custom, the whole clan gathered on Fulton Street for Easter dinner at Grandma's house. It was never Grandpa's house, always Grandma's house. They came from Hull Street, Coney Island and Patchogue, NY, all dressed in our Sunday best, all expecting to eat heartily and listen to tales of Italy, Naples, and Bari. The men would gather after dinner to play cards and the ladies gossip while the cousins all congregated in the long hallway to play.

This one Sunday dinner was almost ready, but no one could find Grandpa! Grandma was stirring the big pasta pot and ordered one of the kids to go next door to the Republican Club and get Grandpa and tell him to she said to come NOW!

Just then Dad started to relate to me a story about Grandpa.

It seems it was a Sunday long ago and dad was about 10-years old, and Grandpa was missing as dinner was about to be served. Grandma sent Dad out to get Grandpa from the Republican Club to quit his card game and come home to a diner.

Dad followed orders and went searching for Grandpa, found him like Grandma said, holding his cards close to his vest a Napoli cigar stuck in his mouth, a shot of whiskey on the table next to his red, white and blue chips. Dad relayed the info from Grandpa and went home. No Grandpa shows up!

Grandma is furious and tells Dad to go once more and get Grandpa and tell him he better come because she means business. Off Dad goes, returns and still no grandpa!

Grandma makes a phone call and waits by the front door. This is the late twenties when a paddy wagon comes and raids the Republican Club. She goes outside and stands to watch as the police lead out the gamblers one at a time. Out comes Grandpa, who says: "Francesca, dice loro che sono il vostro marito." (Frances, tell them I'm your husband.)

The police ask Grandma if she knows who he is and will she take him home.

"I'ma sorry officer, I'ma no know him."

Grandpa always came immediately after that.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

REMEMBER WHEN?

The World she is a changing. It seems that protocol, respect, and consideration are all out the window these days.

Until recently, when I got an email it started with Dear Joe, or Joe or Dear Mr. Del Bloggolo, but that was until recently.

Letters came in the mailbox, and they too had a proper salutation of Dear Mr. or Sir or even Dear Joe, but that too is no more.

I notice a trend form younger people that start off their emails with "Hey", and I just know that I will start getting letters with the salutation of Hey.

A few days ago my wife handed me a piece of paper she found in my mailbox. It read:

"Hey I noticed the Mercury sitting without plates. If you want to sell it running or not please call me Ben @ 631 555 5432 thanks."

Once again ‘Hey" and the rest of the note is with all the capitalization and punctuation as is in the original note.

Not only are we losing the ability to write in script, we are losing the ability to even use full words. I wonder what the final result will be like when everyone starts signing their names with an ‘X'?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

SOMETIMES I CAN JUST GET LUCKY!

Today is TLC’s (The Lovely Courtney) birthday! Being 29 is always magical and she is incredibly magical, after all, just meet her daughter, MY granddaughter, Darby Shea.

I think I am lucky since I have a daughter-in-law whom greatest talents lie in her ability to be creative, both as an artist and mother, showing all that creativity is her soul.
If you see her child, you see a kind and intelligent child, with the sense of an adult in many ways. That sense is being honed into an adult that will contribute greatly to the world someday.

But Courtney does it quietly, with grace and some humor, maybe a lot of humor, she needs it to put up with her father-in-law.

Soon, she will be giving the World another great gift, a son, who I hope has all his mother’s traits and some of his dads, too.

Thanks, Courtney, for giving me such a beautiful grandchild, and then once again, going through the pains of labor to the make the world even better.

Love,
Joe and Ellen

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

THE KISS (BACI LANGUAGE)

It was a vacant lot that sat between to apartment buildings in the middle of the block. If you passed it, you wouldn't notice it much except to say it is vacant. But for such a sight, the sparsely growing grass somehow mixed with crushed stone, as a grayish cast was evident. But come Sunday afternoons in the late spring through the early fall: it was a hangout for old Italian men. The lot was an arena to contest personal skills, maybe brought over from the old country.

About 6 older men would appear, with rolled up sleeves and Di Napoli cigars perched in their mouth, mechanically tossing a small black ball toward a gaggle of larger balls that sat at the other end of the court. As they tossed each time with surgical-like precision, with mechanics like a major-league pitcher, a slew of Italian curse words help it along, where it would finally rest at or in some cases next to the aimed at balls. A chattering of laughter and Italian emoted from this small crowd, as they applauded or derided the attempt of the rivals roll.

These wonderful old gentlemen had carried their love for life from the dinner table to the Bocce court, a glass of wine in hand.

Sometimes if I was outside at Bocce time, I would lean against the chain-linked fence and try to figure out what the rules were, but at 7 or 8-years of age, I never understood it because my observations inevitably led to the cast of characters that brought the game alive. There were fedoras worn to block the sun, di Napoli cigars to perfume the masculinity of the sport, and the red wine to toast its poetry.

In my fascination one Sunday afternoon, after my macaroni dinner with meatballs, braggiola, salad, and roasted chicken, and a couple of slices of orange from the pitcher of grandpa's wine, I headed downstairs to that magical world of my childhood and once again came upon the Bocce game in progress. One old gentleman was in fine form, letting off a slew of words I did not understand, and one stood out the most. I decided to ask Dad what it meant, and so returned to the apartment and found Dad half asleep on the couch watching the Dodgers. Mom was in the kitchen cleaning up and so I announced loudly:

"Dad, what does %#*)^# mean in English?"
Dad jumped out of his skin and Mom came running with a wooden spoon yelling:

"Where did you learn to say that?" laying the wooden spoon across my butt suddenly. "DON'T YOU EVER USE THAT LANGUAGE IN THIS HOUSE (Whack) you understand me? And if you do I'll give you the rest!" (Whack)

To this day I have yet to use it, however, I do incorporate similar sentiments when addressing frustrations on my own. Bocce was a lesson learned from the wooden spoon, a lesson many a young Italian-American boy learned.

My parents did love me, and I have the wooden spoon BUMPS to prove it. However, I learned the distinction between Bocce and baci.

Monday, April 09, 2018

CAN WINTER BE FAR BEHIND?

This has been an incredible March and early April. My area of the USA, the northeast, has had enough snow and ice to fill at least three winters of snow. It seems that every week we are facing a severe winter or storm warming.

In the past four week s we have had 4 or 5 major snowstorms, the last one I just gave up shoveling and went to sunny California where the sun shines brightest because of a little cherub I know who lives there.

My brother-in-law is planning on coming out to visit us in July and I'm hoping the weather clears up by then, as we are so far into spring yet the snow is still a constant threat. If it does snow or the snow is still lingering he may have to park in the street and take a chance with the snowplows.

For some reason, the baseball season has started and the weather is not cooperating, yet these money hungry S.O.B.'s schedule games at night with frigid temperatures and leftover ice. Putting your investments at risk with an injury to the players and the lack of interest from the fans to attend the games.

Of course, like football, there must be nothing like a nice cozy fire with hot cocoa to watch a baseball game.

At the rate that we are going here in the northeast, winter will just slide into winter and we can only hope for an early spring in 2019.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

THEY'RE COMING FOR ME!



My GP
It seems every year the doctors get together and start bothering me. The dentist, the eye doctor, the GP, the heart doctor and make my life miserable.

All these doctors mentioned will crowd their scheduled office visits maybe inside of two weeks because they hate me. The ways things happen and with my luck, they will even call in a gynecologist!

Here is how everything works: The GP sends me to the eye doctor who may or may not take a pass, where he will send off the baton to the dentist, who will plan out weeks of appointments and his vacation for the Fall.

Now it usually gets interesting. The dentist then calls the heart doctor to mention that I batted my tonsils twice while my mouth was open and I was drooling. If you ever went to a cardiologist, then you know what this means: TESTS! Lots of tests over months of time must be planned. After all, he has to plan his vacation for the winter.

There will be scans, probes, and stress tests, enough for you to not be able to breathe again ever. While they are torturing me, the GP will call me to tell me I need to go for a colonoscopy!

The best thing about all of them is when they walk into the examining room, the first thing they ask is how I'm doing.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

WHERE TO GO FOR PRESIDENTIAL FACTS


Your 'Go-to source for Presidential Information.
I was watching a segment of News 12 LI when a reporter started to ask about how much the general public really knew about the past President's p0f the United States of
America.
Three men were projected on the screen and people were asked to identify them. The ‘They' were the youth and onset of middle age people. Both men and women were asked to identify the three presidents and they could only name one, George Washington.
Then the reporter asks who of the following were either Presidents or not.

People such as Polk, Tyler were not identified as president while people like Franklin were called a president.

Of course, there were the trick questions: (A photo of Franklyn Delano Roosevelt). Reporter: "Can you identify this man as a president or not?"
Respondent: President Roosevelt?
Report: Which one?
Respondent: Uh…???

Frankly, (Either Pierce or Roosevelt) I am a little concerned about the education that is being meted out on Long Island. Stuff that I had to know even if I missed every day of classes in my youth I should still know, yet these young people have no idea of.

I think the government should open an ‘Office of Presidential Information' that would be available to answer presidential questions, trivia, and facts. It needs someone with competence to head this new department, and I would immediately nominate my daughter-in-law Courtney Hyde Del Broccolo and as her #2, Darby Shea, my granddaughter.


Friday, April 06, 2018

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE"

"

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

You make me happy when skies are grey
You never noted how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms
When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head, and I cried

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You never noted how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

It’s funny how life can be. Whenever I hear the song ‘You Raise Me Up’ I think of my daughter. It just seems to me to be her song from me. The other song that affects me and reminds my of a child is ‘You Are My Sunshine’. I used to sing to get my son Joseph to stop crying. Both songs have deep meaning.

When he was dying and would be in pain or discomfort, he would cry as a 1-year old would. I would take him and hold him on my lap and sing the song. Whenever I got to the part: You make me happy when skies are gray, he would stop crying and smile! It never failed for his Mom or me.

I remember one Saturday morning, as he sat in my arms in North Shore University Hospital, staring out the window wondering what was in store for him, I sang that song to him as he lay in my arms attached to tubes and quietly dealing with the pain. He slowly looked up and smiled once again, it made my day, my whole day and a woven memory in the cloth I will keep forever.

Today it’s been 39 years since he was born, the song will still bring that memory home to me, and I will remember his round little face and feel the pain in my heart. Funny how similar it is to the pain I feel when I see my daughter. I don’t know if the pain ever goes away, ask me when I’m dead. But to tell you the truth, you have to live on, you have to dance and sing and laugh and be happy, because life is so unpredictable.

I know I do silly things sometimes, but I do them because I love life in spite of the bad breaks that come down the pike. But those horrific breaks are balanced by good and wonderful breaks too. My other children, a truly wonderful and loving wife, one that has made a home for me, one I don’t wish to leave and never did.

Maybe the tributes to motherhood need clarity. Maybe they, mothers, should be celebrated on their children’s birthday. Those of us born should not take the bow, the mom that suffered through 9 months and childbirth should be celebrated. It should work so that if you have a birthday, you buy your mom a present.

Maybe when that same birthday occurs, Dads should reach in and buy Mom the present, for making it possible to be a father, and a parent, telling her ‘thank you’ for creating my family.

I know that little Joseph is now 39 years old today. If he had lived I know he would have been suffering just like my daughter, so maybe he was lucky. Sounds crazy I know, but if you think about it, in 100 years from now no one will remember or little care. But if it weren’t for my wife I would have never met Joseph, would never have had some truly beautiful memories along with other ones. But at least he lived.

So, Happy Birthday Joseph, we will always love you, and maybe, just maybe, someday I can sing that song to you and see your smile once again.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

WHO'S THIS?

GOD she's beautiful!
Last month I had a meeting to attend in Syracuse. No one should go to Syracuse during the winter and neither should I. If you want to go somewhere in the winter, go to Florida or Southern California.

I have a beautiful little Granddaughter who lives in Burbank California who's birthday fell the same time I had this meeting in Syracuse. I had to make a choice, fly or drive up to Syracuse, or fly to little Darby's birthday party, I did the responsible thing, I went to see my granddaughter!

As the representative to the Board of Governor's meeting in Syracuse, I needed someone to take my place, so I enlisted the alternate, my fellow board member and the next president of the board, Ken W., or as I call him: "Running Muskrat".

So, off to JFK Airport and JetBlue, I check in and my wife and I decide to have some dinner before we board for a 6-hour flight to Burbank. Finding a nice restaurant we decide to sit outside the restaurant at a table. We order, our food comes and in the middle of it, I hear my name from the people moving past our table. Looking up who do I see? Why its' Ken W., Running Muskrat smiling at me. Where was he off to, why Syracuse of course?

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

DON'T LET THE STARS GET IN YOUR EYES.

Last year at my granddaughter Darby's 3rd birthday, her parents threw her a party, inviting all her little friends and their parents from her pre-school along with friends of the family. The guest list was large and it was a beautiful party. It had a theme, ‘Puppies" where about ten puppies showed up for the little kids and their parents to play and handle the dogs under the watchful eye of the company who rented the puppies.

As I looked down the driveway that day of the party I saw this tall fellow with a little girl about my granddaughter's age was walking towards me. It was Darby's best friend Wyatt and her daddy, Ashton Kutcher!

My wife, TLW (The Little Woman) and I met Mila Kunis, Kutchner's lovely wife as well as their younger child that day, a wonderful family.

This year my granddaughter had a 4th birthday party, a rather interesting donut theme. Everyone from last year's party came this year except the Kutchners.

During the week we were invited to take Darby to her pre-school, which we did. Packing up all her gear we drive to the school, went into the building and this magnificent little girl introduced us to all her little classmates and teachers. There #1 Son Anthony, TLW, and I got a tour of her classroom and the grounds.

As we went through the different rooms, there was another parent with his child and a toddler who he held by the hand, nearly bumping into TLW, she looked at him and continued about the tour. It was Mr. Kutchner himself! TLW never realized it!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

DONUTS, BALLOONS, AND BUBBLES

It was a Saturday morning and the first day of our stay in Burbank at #1 Son’s house. It was also the day of the big birthday party for my lovely granddaughter, Darby Shea (La Principessa). It was billed: “The Donut Party” as once again my beautiful daughter-in-law outdid herself with a theme. Last year was a puppy party where little kids got to play and hold little puppies.

It was a week of donuts, balloons, and bubbles, as the party featured all three, selecting a glazed donut you picked your topping and there you are your perfect donut.

I love donuts, always have, and my two favorites are powdered sugar and glaze, and I think my granddaughter loves them too!

But grandpa was busy having a donut, a bagel, and some apple cider while blowing bubbles for La Principessa. A four-year-old has many demands from their grandpas, and so did my princess. Grandpa do it again, Grandpa make them bigger.

Then she visited me in the guest room where we stay, and this time she was looking for balloons she knew we had. First, we blew them up and let the fly, then I took one, blew it up and let it fart lowly.

Then outside we went, this time to draw in cooler chalks on the patio floor, where so many artistic renditions of childhood fantasy are done. A full day.

As for Grandpa, it was the best time I’ve ever had with a sweet little loving girl I call “La Principessa!”

Monday, April 02, 2018

SPENDING THE BEST TIME EVER


Recently, my wife Ellen and I headed out to California to celebrate my granddaughter's birthday, an annual event that was recent #4 for her. Her Daddy, $1 Son, celebrated his the day before, but he is a big boy so, we celebrated him too.

The hardest part on the trip out west is the flight time, it is six long hours on a long tube that is filled with germs of all kinds and usually I catch them. Not unlike our last trip out there I indeed caught something.

The flight itself makes me nuts as if I sit too long my feet and legs result in restless foot syndrome or restless leg syndrome, being packed in a small confined space that I pay a lot of money for.

With all the complaints I have, the best was the landing. When you arrive at Burbank International Airport or Bob Hope Airport, you walk about three weeks to the luggage carrousel to watch all of the luggage on the plane go by you until the last piece comes out and it is yours. This is an exaggeration only in terms of time, not walking.

Once you have claimed your luggage whether it is yours or not, you begin the odyssey to the car rental. This journey requires you pack a lunch and some water, as it too is an investment in a long, long walk to get your rental car. Being how I am cheap, we decided to go to Dollar Rental. It isn't really cheaper than the rest but you feel good knowing you are not paying for the big names.

You begin your journey by walking across a busy traffic area, were a policeman and lights make you stop just as things turn red and the flatfoot hollers: "STOP!"

You begin the long wait until the next day when the light turns and the copper is tired of holding his arm up. Then, with the majority of the population of both LA and Burbank, dragging a very heavy suitcase of presents for La Principessa, you cross to get to the other side of the street. Now you must walk over brick sidewalks that are narrow and lead you to an escalator about a mile and a half away, the wheels of your luggage rattling over the bricks making for a noisy walk. Then the real work begins, taking either an escalator or elevator to the second story walkway to the car rental area, where such luminary car rentals such as Avis, Hertz, and Economy reside, ready to make you fill out the long form of your Income Tax with a schedule A, B, and C. To get to the rental area, you must take about 4 moving walkways, where we stand and watch the young people pass us by while walking. I hate these people.

As we glide along past the different car renters we look for Dollar and finally as we reach the edge of the building, there it is, DOLLAR CAR RENTAL, with a little sign that says: "Dollar Car Rental is located downstairs." Bastards!

I drag my ass all the way up and across this stupid system they own in Burbank, only to find out that it was right there when I got on the escalator!

Pray for me, my language has gotten terrible.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

BROOKSTONE AUTOMATIC WINE OPENER

Here I am endorsing a product on Del Bloggolo! I do this because I find the product ‘productive'! How's that?

I have changed my dietary needs and regimen to include more wine and fewer Manhattans, this is due to changing my food habits to combat diabetes. Recently my wife Ellen found an amazing book published by the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association called: DIABETES & HEART HEALTHY MEALS FOR TWO.

The book gives you truly great recipes for some almost gourmet meals that not only satisfy but are delicious. I have stayed on this diet for weeks and have not regretted it or missed the old way of cooking. It utilizes spices and cooking techniques that really work.
Believe me, I don't stay on diets for long and never have for more than a week. I've tried many such as Weight Watchers, Atkins and even some of the many exercise gurus who have sold themselves and their systems on TV. None of them have worked for me.

In the two weeks time, I have eaten a different dish each evening and there are many more to try yet. Funny thing is, women chefs created all. Good for them.

Then there is the wine. You must have wine if you eat elegantly, and so I do. I introduce to you the Brookstone Automatic Wine Opener, a gadget that ranks right up there next to the wheel. This amazing gadget does many things for a wino such as myself. First, it cleanly cuts away the foil seal, liberating the bottle top for you to then attend to uncorking the bottle, which it does automatically. No muss or fuss, just the wine! It's good in America, and it's good to be the king!


HAPPY EASTER!