Tuesday, December 31, 2019

IT IS ENDING!


Another crap-filled year is finally over. 2020 promises to be just as crappy, too.

I have decided to try to change my fate if I can on a more positive note. This past year was filled with disappointments, illness and some anger, troubling suspicions and tiredness from all of life. I guess I wouldn’t be disappointed if 2020 was my last year and it finally ends. Diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure all lends them to my demise sooner or later.

Meanwhile, I am still here doing what I did in March, July, my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and will do tomorrow, visit my daughter in a dreary drab facility for half a day.

This New Year’s Eve I’m going to bed the regular time and don’t want to count the minutes or do anything any different than any other night. I could never understand the idea and never got excited about the calendar changing, signifying we are all getting older and are all mortal. Party pooper? Yes, I am this year.

There are few New Year’s Eve parties I’ve gone to in my lifetime. The last one was in the Mediterranean Manor in Patchogue over 30-years ago! That was a full-fledged New Year’s Eve party with party hats, noisemakers, and booze. You need to have just one in a lifetime and then move on. I will look over to the other recliner this year, wish TLW the best New Year ever, kiss her and head off to bed contented she is near. As long as the Little Woman (TLW) and my children are healthy I am happy.

There are people that I will no longer see in life, the ones that disappoint me, make me see shallowness in them or just are users, I wish well. There are new people in life to come and the ones I know and love, you dear reader: that I write to every day.

HAPPY FREAKING NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

CHRISTMAS

Christmas used to be the best time of the year. I looked forward to the coolness of the weather even the grayness of cloudy days. The sounds of the Yuletide cheer, the glorious feeling of warmth and expectation of seeing those you love, all together made Christmas and Christmas Eve so special. My family's ethnic dishes were exciting and delicious, made form love and hard work learned and handed down through the years.

Then something terrible happened that I am trying to live with, the destruction of those good feelings and memories. What happened? Life happened and it is the other side of what my expectations are.

It started about three years ago when my daughter fell and broke her leg. No one seems to know-how. Then the recovery to save her leg and be able to walk again began and it hasn’t stopped since. He hip broke and she suffered pneumonia and terrible wounds, and along the way, cancer of the colon. 

That was the surrounding that would make the horror stand out, the death of my beautiful daughter-in-law while giving birth to her second child. This was six-months after spending the holidays with us in 2017 with my granddaughter here in New York. It was the most memorable I can recall, eclipsing even those of my childhood. I had everyone under my roof for that special Christmas Day and it was magical.

This Christmas as was the last, it was going through the motions, playing on whatever there was to try to look forward to. This year was by far the worst! I was home while my wife went to California to be with my son and his kids. Everybody in that household got sick! A virus ripped through all the grandchildren, my wife, son and the nanny. Merry freaking Christmas! I didn’t go this time because I didn’t want to get a respiratory ailment, again as I usually do when I go!

Instead, I had an unexpected and pleasant surprise when I found out #2 Son, Mike, was coming for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

Friday, December 27, 2019

THE AGONY OF A CHILD WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES IS TWO-FOLD.

Having a child with disabilities is tough enough. For all you do for them they do not understand or notice the struggle you must deal with, the insurmountable climb to understand what you need to do and what is happening to you inside.

Every day I mourn Ellen and I die a little inside each day. It is difficult to see a child suffer, your child suffers and you feel the pain in your body and mind, your heartbroken and your zest for life escapes you.

For the last two years, Ellen has fought broken bones, cancer and pneumonia. My wife and I alongside of her have waged the battle as her advocate and we will continue to. Our lives have been taken over by the need to stay with her in hospitals, nursing homes and rehab centers, hours each day, every day including Christmas.

Yesterday was one of the worse days of my life. She has a serious wound and infection that maybe with her the rest of her life, causing excruciating pain and the fear I have is that the mediation will lose its effect and she will then be in constant pain. Antibiotics have been tried in the past but she rips out the pick-line causing the cessation of the treatment. My argument has been that once they insert the pick-line they secure it with an ace bandage because she doesn’t know any better.

As I visited her yesterday at the Medford Multicare Center, I was informed that the pick-line I requested would be inserted that day. Having arrived at 11:15 am, I fed her lunch and then waited for the EMS to arrive to transport her to Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson. I was informed that it would be an hour and a half before they would come since it wasn’t an emergency! They come about 2:30 pm and off we go to the hospital. I drive myself and when I arrive they are about to process her in. I sign some papers giving the hospital permission to treat her and they bring her to the emergency room at the nurse’s station.

Staff stop by to take blood, blood pressure, etc. and ask me questions about Ellen. Through the course of our waiting, there is a doped-up belligerent individual who is so bad the cops are called to convince him to obey staff orders. Amazingly he left alone as the police leave and he is next to my daughter. I anticipate a struggle with him if he comes near my daughter. At one point he is holding on to her side rail talking to someone, as I am about to edge off my seat and push him away! The staff and security intervene while I settle down as they take him away.

After 3 and half hours of mindless waiting, watching a pneumatic tube being operated by nurses and staff they tell me it will be another 2 hours at least. It is 3 hours later that they tell me they can’t take her because they have too many patients ahead of her, the procedure will occur tomorrow!

As I sat for the 5 hours of useless and fruitless waiting, I started to think of my life and how it is being wasted every day. I do for her what I can and she doesn’t even know what is occurring. She doesn’t realize she is even problematic, living her life in ignorance and not being able to process much beyond an 18-month level! For the last two years, we have given up everything every day for her sake.

Then it occurs to me that she is my daughter, not that she wanted to be born, but that as her –parents we are responsible for all this, she is just paying the consequences.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU! A true story

He sat laying in his bed, the room lit only by the light of a flickering candle that bounced the shadows in almost a macabre fashion. The guest was coming and going to pay their respects to my Dad’s cousin’s husband, Dominico. Dominico was a tightwad and a miser, and his three sons hated him, but out of respect for their Mamma, they tolerated him in his old age.

Concetta stayed by her husband’s side throughout his ordeal as she prayed in Italian with her rosary beads, slipping one bead at a time through her arthritic fingers praying for his mortal soul and forgiveness for all his transgressions. Indeed, the local priest from Our Lady of Loreto came, prayed and blessed him as he heard Dominico’s confession.

Dominico started to rally somewhat and called Concetta to come closer. Leaning over she heard her husband of 53-years whisper that she should take the picture of the Virgin Mary down that was hanging over him on the wall and when he dies, place it in his coffin with him. Concetta thought this wonderful that he should feel this way about the Blessed Virgin and told Dominic that their sons would take care of his request.

Finally, late that afternoon while it was turning colder and greyer than the day was already, Dominico slipped away to his reward and would soon be in his final resting place.

Remembering her husband’s request the uplifting mood it gave Concetta, she instructed her three boys to take down the picture of the Virgin Mary and to place it in the coffin with their father. The boys dutifully complied with Mamma’s request but found that the picture was too large and cumbersome to even fit in the coffin, so they decided to take the frame away and roll up the print as this would work.

As they removed the frame they began to remove the backing of the picture, and when they did they found to their surprise $50,000 in large bills. As Concetta said when the boys told her: “That sonnamabitcher wanna to taker it with a him!”

They buried the miser without any frills just a mass and quick dump in the grave. For Concetta, she just took the money and booked a flight to Italy to visit her family in Naples.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

IT WAS ALL SO SPECIAL


As adults, we all have our favorite Christmas memories and they are many. Mine for reason, have stayed with me and seem to get more etched into my mind as the years passing.
The little things that seemed so important are meaningful to me, important yet, shaping my life and making me whole.

Buying a Christmas tree was Dad’s job, and he NEVER did it right, but we loved him for doing it. Dad believed that it wasn’t important that the tree looked like it was left for the fireplace, the price was right, and as he climbed the two flights of stairs the anticipation became great in the hopes that he did it right for once. If you couldn’t see his face as he ascended the stairs, it meant he DID do it right, but if you knew who was carrying up that tree by looking and seeing through it, he got another bargain, and you put away a few strings of lights and a couple of dozen balls.

Of course, if you wanted to see where he bought the bargain all you had to do was follow the fallen needles until they stopped. Aside from the anemic look, the smell was always right, right for the spirit and right for Christmas. Dad would walk into the dining room and place it between the dining room and the parlor, while he went down the cellar to get our tree stand and ornaments. The balls were all the same, coming in; either: gold, green, blue, or red, with these large bulbs in the same colors with a thick electrical black cord that was a striped black and white. The star that weighed down the top was of the same colors, each color bulb on the five-pointed silver star. 
 
Tess and me

The tradition in my house was for my older sister Tess, (Much older) knocking down the tree at least once and Dad having a swearing fit in Italian. We would put up most of the tree and THEN she would do something to knock it down. Dad who was watching his favorite child and his second-born work together, standing on kitchen chairs as we decorated the tree, would, of course, have to come and rescue the whole thing.

Mom was never part of this routine, instead, she would wait in the kitchen for Dad to jump up, my sister to say ‘OOPs!’ and Dad to do his Desi Arnez routine in Italian. 

“ANTHONY, WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE! IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

Mom was the religious fanatic in the household, and Dad was the sinner, or so I thought. Tess my older sister (much older) would wake me up about 1:00 am from a deep sleep and announce that she thought: “Santa was here!” 

“Go into the dining room and see.” She said. 

Me, like the developing schmuck I would later in life perfect, did as she suggested once she untwisted my arm. We would tiptoe out to the dining room where we would find empty boxes scattered in the kitchen and the toys under the tree. Then suddenly there would be a sound at the front door and we would jump, thinking that Santa was taking back the stash when it was Mom returning form Mid-Night Mass. 

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING UP!!!???”

“Who, us? We heard a noise.”

“I’ll give you noise, go to bed!”

Of course, we never did, but Mom HAD to fire a shot before going down.

A few nights before Christmas, Mom would do her shopping along Broadway under the Broadway Junction. She would put on her fur coat and take me along for the walk. As she window-shopped, I would see a toy store all lit up with a set of American Flyers and another set of Lionel trains, running through this incredible scenery, making we want them so much, in their magical wonderland, the smoke coming from the engine, the little man with a lantern standing close enough to the oncoming locomotive I was afraid it would knock him on his plastic ass! For the rest of the evening wanting and dreaming of having a set of trains under my Christmas tree if it was still standing was all I did.

Then the next morning when the trains were under the tree and I was happily playing with them, Mom would make her announcement.

“GET DRESSED. We have to go to church!” She was pulling me away from my trains and making me go to church!! Tess, my older sister (much older) had to do the same thing, so at least I wasn’t miserable alone. This meant I had to sit quietly and listen to a boring sermon and try not to dream of my trains. When the Mass was over, they marched us all over to the school, to our classrooms and they took attendance, and who went to communion! God, how I hated them all in spite of what a great good they did for me!

Dad got to stay home and in bed, and I suspect to this day, once we left for church, he was busy playing with my trains. (At least it wasn’t my sister’s dolls. I hope)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL and might you find happiness in your love of your family and friends. Buon Natale!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

THE GIFT

Once upon a time
As I look back at this Christmas season, my mind takes me to Christmas’ spent in an apartment in Brooklyn so long ago. It is not the gifts I found under my tree, but the gifts that were under my very nose that made me whole and grateful to this very day.

I can still hear the echo of those days, taste the essence and be blinded by the moments as they stand out today in my mind.

“La famiglia prima di tutto” was the binding that took all our lives and brought us together in a sacred place at a sacred time. It was watching the many visitors that rang my grandmother’s doorbell and marched in joyously, arms open and mouths puckered for the greeting we all gave and endured. The happy tones were set and the level of sunshine surpassed any we ever knew before. The excitement of seeing cousins and aunts and uncles you hadn’t seen in awhile raised your hearts and souls as high as that sun that shone. In those greetings was the underlining reminder that something good to eat was cooking and we would all share in it, grateful for our heritage.

Often there were people I didn’t know, lonely and maybe recently widows or widowers who came to sit with us and share in some happiness, grandpa in his fedora or grandma in her floral apron, taking a moment from her stove to embrace all who came to our table.

Today I think back as I see my own grandchildren and children and I realize that we all have been given a gift, from the old country or the ‘other side’ that we heard so often. It came in an accent of English that was a struggle to being learned by older people.

I can hear them as they speak enthusiastically conveying love with their smiles, laughter, and the waving of their hands for emphasis. And what were their gifts that day? They brought me a wonder, joy, elation, and pride that I was part of something so special. I can hear them as they insisted on helping grandma cook, setting a table or pouring wine into pitchers with peaches or orange slices, bottles of cordials set aside on a serving table, nuts piled high waiting to follow the pastries standing in wait for the main course to be consumed, all bearing the love of those that sat at the table.

On occasion, there would be the flash of a light bulb from a Brownie camera that would someday be viewed as old and faded but grabbing my heart and soul and taking me back to those wonderful days.

I remember the joy on Dad’s face as he saw his brother and sisters, bringing Grandma into the conversations in Italian, Grandma correcting and telling stories about the past, some involving grandpa, comically, as grandpa waved them off with a smile and we all laughed with him.

The intensity of grandma cooking was accompanied by the flip-flop of her slippers as she ran across her oversized kitchen. Slowly we gathered around that head-to-head double table, a glass of wine or a stolen piece of bread or meatball someone was eating.

Everyone was dressed on Sunday at their best. The women in fancy dresses with aprons, the men with their ties askew as they slowly peeled away to the open collar and tie before we even sat down to eat.

Then the dinner was ready! That big old pasta pot was steaming and the spaghetti was distributed, the gravy dished over it and the satisfaction that you would eat finally arrived. As the dishes came out so did the stories, stories about childhood or jobs or children, some were sad and some were happy, all were listened to with keen interest. What happened on the boat that brought grandma or grandpa here so many years ago, the jobs they held as immigrants and because they were such dependable workers still owned?

Grandma would talk about some child of a friend of hers who achieved college or became a lawyer or doctor, speaking in admiration and respect, someone she admonished her grandchildren to respect because he was educated. There was mention of priests and nuns and stories about her own children, and grandpa would add when he wasn’t arguing politics with a relative. In those days politics was what you read about, not what you were. The emphasis with arms and hands swinging about, voices rising to make it look like Mussolini was one of our guests.

There were always characters that showed up old friends of the family and people I didn’t know. The smelly lady, the communist, some friend of this or that one, there was Italia and her husband, a wiry blond guy from northern Italy with wiry curls that sat in a row along the sides of his head. An abundance of phrases that in broken English made me run into the bathroom so I could laugh and say them a few times to myself, then the next week mom would grow tired of hearing me repeat them.

But most of all: “La famiglia prima di tutto” was what makes me laugh and remember and mostly miss them all.

Monday, December 23, 2019

REVELATIONS!


I had a history teacher back in my senior year of high school and a rather good one; his name was Mr. Richard Hall. Mr. Hall would grab my attention with his technique of speaking to us in our language, mixing in something funny like: “You know, that dance you are all doing now, the mosquito?” This brought the house down, as we knew the dance as the ‘Fly’. He was a no-nonsense man who took his job seriously, to pay attention and did your homework and because of his devotion to his calling we passed his class, we were better than the first day we entered his classroom. He got sick for a while and we missed him.

One of Mr. Hall’s favorite things was to compare some historical revelation for a historic person like being in the room with the twelve Apostles when a ray of light appeared to them as the Holy Ghost.

Today I had the same kind of revelation, the Holy Ghost came knocking on my door while I was on Facebook! There is a picture of #2 Son Mike, and Muscles Marinara Bobby, sitting quietly together, hanging as they say.

The revelation? They are the same! Yes, Bobby was a tinderbox filled with curiosity, laden with mischief and extremely bright, or should I say smart?

When Uncle Mike was a little older than Bobby, he would come over to me with an object of some kind, hand it to me and ask me to explain it to him. It didn’t matter if it was a tool, a toy, or some form of a document; he wanted to know about it. He was a great imitator and aped me a lot. He had to have a briefcase like I had when I took work home, he once made a toolbox with the words: “Del Broccolo and Son” on it, and he always had a mind of his own.

Little Bobby is showing all these traits and I can see where he is going. Like his Uncle, he is constantly investigating, and when he is able to read he will be immersed in the world until he finds an answer and expresses an opinion. Hang on World!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

NOEL, NO ELLEN!


I have started to live my life as a bachelor as TLW (The Little Woman) has flown to Burbank, California to spend Christmas with my grandchildren. I stayed behind because I had a bad reaction to the last visit and didn’t want to get sick again from the flight there so I stay home.

Coming down the first morning I feel the real emptiness of being alone or missing my wife. As I enter my den I usually expect to see TLW sitting in her chair on her I-pad sipping her coffee. Instead, I find an empty chair and loneliness waiting for me in the empty room. The loneliness seems to echo throughout the house.

I can imagine what Christmas Day will feel like, but at least I won’t be alone, I’ll have my #2 Son, Mike, with me and I look forward to that. I will visit my daughter Ellen at the Multi-care Center and try to feed her then home to some dinner for Mike and me.

One thing has changed in the life that I loved, that was the annual Holiday dance at the agency, and since I retired last year I no longer play Santa. The happy participants would lineup to sit with Santa and give me notes about how they wanted mom or dad to get better, or for some special present this year, or to even pose with their boyfriend or girlfriend and Santa. After over 20 years there must be a couple of thousand photos of me as Santa, sweating in that suit, being pounded by the happy people to see me.

Going to bed at night has become a chore, as now I stretch out in the center of the bed, room to roam and roll, unhindered by a sleeping mate who is desperately holding onto her territory along with blankets! This morning I woke up and slept so soundly that the bed coverings were hardly disturbed as all I had to do was adjust my side of the bed! I still miss her.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

ONE MORE TIME!


(Perry Como voice-over)

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
For the holidays there’s no place like sweet home!

Now and then I put on the TV to hear the news and weather or an opinion from a talking head. Not being a TV fan I do watch it on occasions, not that I’m a snob but that there is so little worth watching. There is FOX News and MSNBC, but they both have their drawbacks and inconsistencies. I get turned off every time Al Sharpton (Tiana Brawley) shows up or (Combat Zone) Brian Williams as insincere as possibly anyone could be. Shaun Hannity and Tucker Carlson are both shrills without content but the constant babble of their bias support is not much to see or listen to.

But through the discourse of the House Impeachment hearings, I have a new TV enemy to hate until perhaps January 2, 2020. Hopefully, by that time the Post Office will finally end their insidious commercials that go:

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
For the holidays there’s no place like sweet home!

Three and four times an hour this little ditty comes on, unexpectedly and above all, annoyingly.

Want to keep the cost of the postage stamp down?
STOP THE DAMNED COMMERCIALS!

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
For the holidays there’s no place like sweet home!

SEE THAT? THEY JUST SLIPPED IN ANOTHER!


I sit in my easy chair, reclined to a 45 degree level for the intake of snacks and drinks or meals, when suddenly-
“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
For the holidays there’s no place like sweet home!

Watching postal people who I think are actors complete their appointed rounds in fantasy situations, does not convince me of “Home sweet home.”

If God wanted me to hear Perry Como every five minutes he would at least give me a choice of one of his songs.

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
For the holidays there’s no place like sweet home!

It’s impossible, oh how impossible!

-->

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

GOT A PEN?

Two of many!
A couple of weeks ago while in Burbank, California, I happened to be by the front door when a knock was heard. I opened the door to be greeted by a guy in brown shorts and a package, which he shoved into my face and then handed me a tablet for me to sign off on. Handing me his pen he watched as I signed and before the last stroke of my signature, he was reaching for his pen back. I found his behavior both disconcerting and disappointing. What did he think I was, a common thief? Yet, I was disappointed because I lost a chance for another pen in my storied collection of stolen pens.

Don’t get me wrong, I just don’t go out and steal pens, like off someone’s table or desk, or on a counter-top in a store, no, these pens I acquire are from such cases as delivery guys, doctor’s offices and places where they seem to leave them out. Banks and credit unions with their stupid chains don’t make for conquest since the pens never work, to begin with.

My conscience is clear when I steal a pen as it is a moment in life that is the bad side of me, something I look at from afar, that is the only thing I do wrong as far as I’m concerned. I’m so honest that at 2:00 AM, with no one around I will make a full stop at a stop sign, it is in my nature. I always have Mom’s face in my way, even at 74-years of age.

I guess we all have a little bit of rebellion in us, some kind of bad boy image we don’t really project, but gives us relief from always doing the right thing.

A couple of weeks ago I went to STAT to fight a lingering cold. As I stood at the window to pay, the young lady gave4 me the cost and I noticed a container of pens with logo’s on them. I asked the young lady to look the other way. She asked why and I told h4er so I could take a pen. She laughed and said they are free. I told her if they were then it would take the fun out of my life, so please look the other way. She did and I was able to successfully steal a pen!

When I finally leave this Earth to steal pens in probably Hell, my wife and kids will be in a quandary as what to do with this big collection of ill-gotten pens. I’m hoping they will look to the Smithsonian for help. They have stuff by Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and of course, Al Capone, so why not one more authentic collection from DelBloggolo? They may turn down the family's request because the collection is too large, so, then my wife might decide to throw them in the pit along with me.

Monday, December 16, 2019

IT'S HOW YOU SEE IT

I went to the eye doctor to get a new pair of glasses and check my eyes.
After the eye test, the doctor asked me if I have been hanging upside down in some cave.

Not really.

 My eyes have changed very little since 2015 when I saw the doctor last. A slight change in prescription was all I need. The last time I needed a change in prescription was before the turn of the century! When you say it that way it sounds pretty impressive.

Mom never needed glasses as a rule. She did use them but wasn’t reliant on them like her children and Dad were. Nothing fussy, just something to help her read the fine print as she got older and never needed them for the back of her head with her 20/20 vision.

Dad always wore glasses. When he was born the doctor reached in and got Dad, then reached in again to get his glasses!

Picking out a frame is a very daunting thing for me. I approach the selection case with great trepidation, as there are so many different styles! Plastic or wire, square or round, deep or short? I recall fondly my Mom taking me for my first pair of glasses.

“Sit down and shut up!” she said.

After the doctor gave me a test I got up and looked into the mirror and pretending to like what I saw. Back in the day, wearing glasses was a sign of weakness. To overcome social pain, I would only wear them in the classroom. Once class was over my pride took over too. I would fold them on the way out of the classroom and drop them on my nose when I entered the next class. I had so many bumps and bruises from walking into things it looked like I was constantly fighting, which helped my image until I grew older and didn’t care anymore and wore them all of the time.

There is much to learn from buying a new frame. How to clean the lenses is most important. You don’t just use a dry cloth that they give you in the case with the new glasses, no, now you need a cleaning spray and then the wiping cloth is used.

Never keep them in cold or warmth, especially in your shirt pocket. Did you know there are different layers of coating on the lenses? That flip box they give you with the glasses? It should be kept to protect the glasses. I never knew that!

I’ve had glasses that made me look like Woody Allen and Peter Sellers or so they tell me, but nothing that made me look like I thought I should look like, me.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the patron saint of immigrants will soon share a place of honor with Lady Liberty in New York Harbor.

"Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us!" His Holiness Pope Pius XII said those words as the invocation was pronounced for the first time at her canonization. On that memorable Sunday, July 7, 1946, Frances Xavier Cabrini was installed into the Vatican Basilica amidst the applause of 40,000 people. Canonization of a saint usually takes place many years or even centuries after that person's death, but Mother Cabrini's Beatific
ation took place in 1938, twenty-one years after her death. Pope Pius XII signed a decree of canonization in 1944, and the ceremony elevating her to the altars of the Church was the first one celebrated after the close of World War II.

Frances Cabrini was born on July 15, 1850, in northern Italy in Lombardy, in the town of Sant'Angelo, the Lodi region south of the Po River. Her parents, Agostino Cabrini and Stella Oldini, were peasants who were both of great faith and piety, which they instilled in their children by word and example. The tenth of eleven brothers and sisters only four of them, one Frances, survived beyond adolescence.

In later years as a nun during her work in Rome, she met the Bishop of Piacenza. The founder of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, an order dedicated to helping Italian immigrants in America. Bishop Scalabrini needed religious women to help and complement the priests of the Institute of St. Charles. He succeeded in obtaining a letter from Archbishop Corrigan of New York, formally inviting the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to establish a house in New York. Then, shortly after that, Pope Leo XIII, in an audience with Mother Frances, asked her to make New York her mission, declaring, "You will go not to the East, but the West!" Instead of China, as she had once dreamed, in blind faith and perfect obedience with a group of her sisters, she embarked for America almost immediately.

Over the years in many of the new foundations she created, Mother Cabrini encountered discouraging obstacles, and her beginning in New York was one of them. Archbishop Corrigan was not expecting her so soon in New York. At their first meeting, he suggested that she return to Italy, to which she replied in obedience she could not since the Pope sent her to New York. To make matters worse, the Scalabrini priests had made no provisions for the sisters, not even any living quarters. The Convent that their benefactress, an Italian Countess, had prepared for the nuns had not met the Archbishop's approval. They were brought to spend the night in a forbidding shelter in the heart of the Italian ghetto with the beds so dirty that they could not sleep in them! Instead, they spent their first night in America awake, peacefully engaged in prayer. The following day, the Sisters of Charity agreed to house the missionaries as long as was necessary and helped them in their first steps through the city.

On the day of her canonization, some 60,000 people visited her shrine in New York and the room where she died in Chicago. Another place where crowds gathered was the shrine in Golden, Colorado. Even today, many pilgrims go to these same places to ask for favors or to express their gratitude for graces received: the Shrine Chapel in New York City, the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Chicago, Illinois, and Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado.

When Mother Cabrini died, she was buried in the cemetery at West Park, New York, according to a desire she had earlier expressed. In the fall of 1933, her body was placed beneath the main altar of the chapel in Mother Cabrini High School in New York City. The chapel was first located in the school until a larger chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was constructed on the same grounds. It is the destination of many who go to pray at the altar and admire the mosaics that depict her life.

It should be with great pride that Italian Americans, in memory of their ancestors who came to America and faced hardships to become Americans would be the patrons of Mother Cabrini as she is the Patron Saint of Immigrants.

America is beautiful, and Mother Cabrini’s examples, work, and piety have made it so.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RED AND BLUE IS BLACK AND WHITE.






The open hearings in the US Senate Judiciary Committee of the Inspector General Horowitz's report have revealed something interesting. Throughout the House of Representative’s two committee inquiries of both the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, the behavior and form of questioning done by both sides of the aisle were so different. The Democrats led under both Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler led the questioning in a very business manner. The questions were direct and to the point, the manner was respectful to the process. The Republicans, on the other hand, seemed to be intent on downplaying the proceedings rather than take an active and serious search for the truth. They lectured without a lesson, sanctimonious without morals, deceitful without question.
Nancy Pelosi has been transparent in her attempts to not railroad the President, wanting to avoid impeachment hearings if at all possible as pressure built to move ahead without all the facts. But Trump being Trump had forced her hand. The phone conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and the question of quid pro quo seemed to tip the scales in favor of Pelosi moving ahead with impeachment.

The denial of truth has been a constant tactic of the Republicans and the president. The number of people who have been convicted from one administration is astounding, the total lack of understanding of his job is perilous, and execution of his job is dangerous, as he has been described as a clear and present danger to the US.

What the Democrats have done is make the hearings apolitical, yet the Republicans try to make it partisan as much as possible. One party seeks the truth, the other diversions.

Then we cross over to the Senate and Lindsey Graham’s Judiciary Committee, who are investigating the Michael Horowitz, US Justice Department Inspector General report that stated: NO EVIDENCE OF SPYING ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN! Yet Graham shamefully carries on his disinformation campaign and denial of the truth. I wonder what he would have said about things if Obama were the president in question?


Michael Flynn, Carter Paige, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and George Papadopoulos are all convicted and in prison under Trump. Trump and the GOP constantly compared itself with the Obama administration.

Obama - 8years in office. Zero criminal indictments, zero convictions, and zero prison sentences. 

Monday, December 09, 2019

IT CAN HURT

On a good day

After a few weeks of not seeing my daughter, I sense she looks better but her spirit may be broken. If you ever saw a documentary about concentration victims during World War II, you see the same look in my daughter’s eyes. A blank, dull stare that says I know you are there but so what? What is it we are living for?

Her day seems to be filled with nothing, nothing she can do, nothing she wants, and nothing.

As I sit beside her bed she is on her back, sleeping with her mouth open and her arms stretched apart at both ends of the bed. She looks like a Christ-like figure has been rescued from her cross, the agony stretched across her face. The room is dark, the day is dreary and the mood is set for me to witness every day her suffering.

The staff goes about their business in an efficient way, matter-of-factly as they attend to her needs. I wonder if God is finished with this whole trial or does she still have more to pay for. Will Mom and Dad need to agonize more, sleep less and give up even all hope? We go about the day knowing that things are not right and may never be again. All the season is lacking the joys of the past and so we will suffer alone, within ourselves on a lonely Christmas day, void of laughter and good spirit.

On Christmas Day I will try to give my daughter meaning, I will honor her for who she is, my beautiful daughter, one who loves without prerequisites and I will pray for her in my own way.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 08, 2019

‘TIS THE SEASON!


I am sitting here given time to think. Still suffering from an infection in my sinus and chest that has over-taken my ability to want to do anything. It is depriving me of time with my daughter since she is suffering from some kind of pneumonia, and as I just visited the doctor, she advised me not to visit my daughter for my sake, something about communicable pneumonia.

My problem is every visit to California renders me sick as a dog and each day I grow sicker. Within two days of arrival in Burbank, my sinuses start to get a burning that eventually starts a hacking cough to clear my filled lungs. I decided I couldn’t do that anymore. Sadly, I will miss Christmas with my grandchildren. TLW (The Little Woman) will go with #2 Son and I will stay home. What I plan to do is visit my daughter on that day also, and bring some lasagna for the two of us.

Don’t feel bad for me since I am happy to spend the time with my daughter on Christmas day. She needs her family also. I am her family. We will spend the day in good cheer and I will make her laugh if it kills me.

What I am going to do to keep my tradition alive is to go to a local Italian restaurant and order a multi-fish dinner for the 24th and Lasagna for the 25th. I will remember my past and I will remember the past of my children. I will remember all that has past in my life and pray that those that still are here will find the holiday fruitful and fulfilling.

I will try to get my daughter into a jerry chair and we will together, move along the halls of her medical center and wish as many as we can a Merry Christmas, maybe even have some fun, father and daughter.

Let the season begin, enjoy this time of the year and stay healthy as we get nearer to the big Christmas and Hanukah traditions.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

SICKO!

Every time I fly out to Burbank, Ca., I come down with a repertory ailment. It starts as a little dryness in the sinus and soon I have deep chest congestion. The mucus is so thick that it is a very dark shade of grey and difficult to bring up. My body becomes wracked with pain after a while as I struggle to bring the stuff up and expectorate.

The usual modes operand is to finally give up and called the doctor. This comes after all this trouble and the warning from TLW (The Little Woman) that I should.

“Hello, Doctor’s Office.”

“Hi, I a patient of Dr. Whackamole and I need to see him immediately, if not sooner!”

“What seems to be the trouble?”

“Every time I fly out to Burbank, Ca., I come down with a repertory ailment. It starts as a little dryness in the sinus and soon I have deep chest congestion. The mucus is so thick that it is a very dark shade of grey and difficult to bring up. I body becomes wracked with pain after a while as I struggle to bring the stuff up and expectorate.”

“How long have you had it?”

“A week-and-a-half.”

“Oh, my, you should have come in sooner! Do you know how dangerous that is to let it go so long?

“Well, I was away in California for the past two weeks.”

“Oh, you have to start taking better care of yourself!”

Swallowing in the guilt I ask:

 Is there any way I can see Doctor Whackamole today?”

“Oh noooo, he’s booked solid, and besides, he’s not in today.”

????

“Okay, how about Dr. Nestegg, is he available today?”

“Noooo, Doctor Nessegg is booked solid today and there is nothing for tomorrow, absolutely nothing.” (He probably doesn’t want to catch anything.)

“Okay, I go to a walk-in clinic.”

“Yes, good idea, give it to them. Sorry, feel better!”

So I enter the Slum City Medical Walk-in and immediately am taken in by the orderliness and friendliness of the place. The receptionist squints as she sizes me up and down and I state my case, believing that this place will be my only hope of salvation and physical rejuvenation and good health.

“Have you ever been here before?” she asks out of concern, curiosity or record keeping.

“I don’t think so.”

She immediately takes me to a higher plane of awareness as she tells me to go to the I-pad and sign in,

Coming around from the receptionist desk she assists me, asking for my insurance and license gets all my info and tells me to sit down someone will be right with me. Being a married man I do as I’m told, and within minutes a young nurse comes out and calls me a Joseph, which I happen to be and so no offense is taken. She leads me to the examining room and once again I am told what to do and I do it because of the same reasons.

Asking me questions she comes to my parents. I wonder why since Dad is gone since 1991 and Mom, since 2014.

“Did either of your parents have high blood pressure?”

“Hmmm… I think, my Mom had it if I’m not mistaken, said I gave it to her!”

“The doctor will be with you shortly” and she leaves me alone.

The seven most evil words are thus spoken: “The doctor will be with you shortly”

Alone I read all the charts on the wall, the beauty of a walk-in clinic and a few ‘DID YOU KNOW?’ posters. I check all the equipment and wonder what each thing does. I wait and wait some more, then getting disgusted I decide to wait. Then it dawns on me from experience that the best way to get the doctor to see you immediately in the waiting room is to touch something, maybe play with the blood-pressure toys or even open some drawers. As I am about to do so, she walks in, and nice, kind, over a six-foot doctor, beautiful and filled with questions. At this point, I only had a respiratory ailment but was willing to look for more!

“What have you been taken so far for your condition?”

“About two boxes of Kleenex and some Mucinex every hour.”

Continue doing what are and wipe your chin. I will prescribe some medication for you to take. Hope you feel better.”

And so my dear friends, life is over. No more Joeseph, no more Delbloggolo, and no more coughing. CIAO!


Friday, November 29, 2019

THE LONG DISTANCE FASHIONISTA

Sitting in the mall in Burbank as my grandkids were in the playpen with other children, a lady was sitting alone with her nose in her cell phone. Two young women, her daughters perhaps, came over to her said something and went into a store across the way. I could see them at a clothing rack with a couple of tops they were holding up. The two young women started signaling frantically to their mom. I watched and decided to signal them if I should get their mother’s attention? They reacted with enthusiasm, yes!

So, I leaned over to the woman seated and mentioned their daughters were seeking some help. She looked up in shock then laughed and thanked me. The two girls started holding up tops for comparison so I offered my opinion, which made them hysterical.

Then a few moments later a second attempt at comparisons and I offered a second opinion, more emphatic than the last. They took both my suggestions and with good humor. It’s nice to be a respected fashionista!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Growing up in an Italian American house, the tradition was an important part of my life. Certain holidays such as Easter and Christmas, and of course Christmas Eve with the seven fishes were all so important to me.

When it came to Thanksgiving, it had a different shine on it, one filled with icons and an Italian flavor.

Mom had a certain roasting pan and cover for the turkey that she took out once a year. When the pan came out, it was Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving only. It was a heavy cast iron pan with a cover, black handle on the cover and boat-shaped.

Ben Franklin wanted it as the national bird, and a lot has been written about it. It floats by Macy’s in the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, and it is used as a derogatory name for some bad thing or idea. Yet, turkey is the one thing most people are sure to have at the end of November.

 It supposedly looks up in the sky with its mouth open when it rains and drowns doing so, (a fallacy), and it is considered stupid as birds or animals go.

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

Every now and then on Thanksgiving Day, we would all sit at the table, and someone would decide we needed to say grace. Now we were good people that didn’t pray all that much since we were busy arguing or yelling at each other. My father and uncles would squirm and feel uncomfortable even as they discarded their jackets and sat in their shirtsleeves with my mother and aunts watching for one of the men to say something embarrassing. “Eh, Tess, passer the polpette!” or “Who’s a gotta the stuffin?” or “Eh, Tony, passer the vino down a here already.” Followed the collective Amen.

Conversations always had one radical in the mix, usually someone who married into the family and not of the same persuasion when it came to politics. “Whadda you somer kinda oo Communista?” This was followed by a wave of the arm, and “AH! You no wanna to hearer the truth.”


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

Me, I never really cared for turkey, and neither did my grandmother, who would make a turkey for everyone else on Thanksgiving Day, and a capon for herself. Grandma Frances was one of a kind. After the pasta, the gravy meat: Braciola, both pork and beef, meatballs with raisins and pine nuts, and sausage: both hot and mild, then came the turkey, along with the Italian stuffing and the usual mushrooms. After which, we had a salad, finoccio, pastries, nuts and fruit, and fennel, all accompanied by homemade wine and demitasse cups filled with rich black Medaglia d’Oro coffee. If you wanted “sauce” you got out the Italian liquors. If you looked to cover your pasta, it was gravy. If you sat at the table and said: Pass the sauce” while holding up your plate of pasta, everyone took a turn slapping you silly. (Hey, it was a holiday. We were all in good cheer.) If you added: “Please” we made you eat in the garden with the squirrels.
 Grandma had three rules on that day:

 1. Bevuta: drink
 2. Mangia: eat e’
 3. Non fart

 But you can have your turkey as for me give me the Italian stuffing. Grandma and Mom and now my wonderful wife all made it for me. The sausage, diced or chopped mushrooms, pine nuts, raisins, eggs, and mushed Italian bread in milk all came together and I was then and still am now, in Il Cielo Italiano. If I don’t get it on Thanksgiving, I’d go into a room and close myself off and sob.

Usually whoever didn’t make it on Thanksgiving Day, such as distant relatives and friends, showed up the day after apologetic, stating they missed everyone and promising not to do that again next year.

 HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM TLW (THE LITTLE WOMAN) AND ME!

 P.S. The day after Thanksgiving is the day I asked TLW to marry me, over 49-years ago! (Poor girl!)

So, have a Happy Thanksgiving, eat a lot, including dessert, drink as much as you like, just don’t burp out loud or cut the cheese.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

LILLIAN' S CIGARETTES


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

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


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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

-->

Monday, November 25, 2019

THE JOYS OF GRANDFATHERHOOD.


Spending quality time has not been difficult these past few days. As I sit in an outdoor lounge outside my resort accommodations. I am digesting the past few days with my grandchildren and it is wonderful. In front of me sits the Pacific Ocean, there are dog-walkers, bike-riders, and joggers, all in a constant stream under the palm trees that line the path along the beach, on guard as centurions at their watch. Lazy seabirds of all sorts glide the cerulean sky and the clouds are truant, perhaps already finished for this day in the middle of the morning.

But my thoughts go back to last evening as I waited for my din  The shellfish fresh, the sauce needing additional bread to sop it up and the linguini not over-cooked.
ner, one that was most masterfully created by the Chef at C&O Trattoria in Venice, Ca. Linguini de Frutti de Mare needs love, freshness, and creativity to successfully pull off, and this one was.

But the best dish at the table was my little granddaughter, Darby Shea. Her intelligence and of course, beauty was all I needed to be captivated and amused. Her quick wit and charm, her need to draw all made it compelling for me to listen and take part in her world. We drew pictures together, some upside-down, we played tic-tac-toe where she beat me, and we played tricks on each other.

Across from me also was my grandson, Bobby ‘D’ as he is now called, instigating some of the things we developed together and when I responded to his prompt, he laughed like an old man does who finds something funny, his whole being in motion at once. The food, the company and the atmosphere were perfect.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

NEW LIFE, OLD JOY

When he first saw me, he took a second look, realizing it was me from Facetime. His eyes lit up and he ran toward me and we hugged. His eyes say, Hi Grandpa and he immediately went to his favorite thing I own, my cell phone.

His eyes seem to say that life is all we have, and love is all we should give. His eyes sparkle, delight, and laugh, yet he is a child borne of tragedy. As he entered this world, his mother, my beautiful daughter-in-law passed from this world.

As I watch him and his beautiful sister who is so much her mom Courtney, I feel the pain of knowing that he will never see his mother and that she will never witness this beautiful soul as he so enjoys every moment of his life.

I see Bobby, as I would want to see him, as he is, bright, smart, handsome, and making my old age worth the while, it is worth all I ever suffered to meet and hear him call me. Watching my little granddaughter Darby and her zest for life, the many talents she is exhibiting and the beauty she exudes makes me proud and in awe of her, they are amazing children that love each other.

Marveling at my son Anthony as he holds up best he can and the way these children are so attached to him gladdens my soul, I know he can make it better and he does.

I will try to stop questioning why these things happen in life that seems so unfair, and instead, praise the things and embrace only all that is good.

Friday, November 22, 2019

A SPECIAL TIME

November 221963, is the day President John F. Kennedy shortly after noon was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.
As his motorcade slide by the Dallas Book Depository, shots rang out in full view of the many curious and faithful admirers of the president and his beautiful wife, the First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Governor John Connelly was wounded in his wrist as he sat in the front seat of the Presidential limo.

It was the fall of 1963 and President John F. Kennedy and his political advisers were preparing for the next presidential campaign.

There was the press that said he was politically in trouble, his administration was not as successful as the party hoped and as a sitting president looking for a second term, things were not assured. As he and Jackie sat exposed in the back of the limo, rifle shots rang out that ended the presidency of President Kennedy and ushered in a new era of violence. Soon, Bobby Kennedy the President’s brother and the Attorney General was also assassinated as he campaigned for President on April 4th in 1964 at a hotel in Los Angeles after a campaign rally. To add anguish to the American republic, the sting continues when on April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was also assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Names such as Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, and James Earl Ray became well known almost house-hold names that Americans were forced to learn, they were the assassinates.

After viewing the US House of Representatives Impeachment Inquiry, I realize just how important the rule of law is, the peaceful transitions of administrations without violence or revolution is something as a nation we should hold dear and precious. The thing that makes America great is not promises but our Constitution as the law of the land, and we need to defend it. Protecting ourselves from both foreign and domestic enemies is essential.

We now have a US Senate that will need to face an inevitable result from the inquiry, will it run a trial based on truth and the rule of law? Will partisanship overcome the truth, or will the sworn oaths of the Senators took to protect and defend the Constitution prevail?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

IN HIS OWN WORDS

Ambassador Gordon Soundland
Ambassador Gordon Sondland gave his testimony yesterday in the House Impeachment Inquiry. I don’t know much about the ambassador but I do know it takes guts to just sit ion those hearings under the lights and cross-examined by two hostile sides.

Regarding the inquiry, the words: we all need to convince us were spoken by Sondland, “Quid pro quo” the trigger that makes the statement, the President of the United States engaged in unsavory, illegal, behavior. ‘EVERYONE’ knew there was a quid pro quo, what else do we need? He then went on to name not only POTUS, VP Pence, White House gatekeeper Chief of Staff Mulvaney, Secretary of State Pompeo, and of course, Attorney General Barr along with Trump's private attorney Giuliani.

So, we have gone this far and I wonder what more there is to convince the highly partisan Republican Trump supporters. Can it be any plainer than where we are now, situated with the players, the documentation and admission of both the President and chief of staff in their own words? Does this not convince the American people who have already been told of the tales of the White House staff trying to reign in Trump's erratic responses?

The Republicans state that since Trump took office there has been this movement to remove the man from office. Why is that? Because early on he was dangerous, his relations with Russia’s Putin, North Korean strongman Kim Jung Un and other dictators, the Helsinki meeting between POTUS and Putin that went undocumented and to this day we know nothing about. The long parade of constant turnover in his cabinet, the Mueller Report that sent so many in his campaign to jail, the sleazy foul-mouthed and immoral consideration of women, all lead the majority of Americans, and it was a majority that voted against him only points out why. Collusion, obstruction, it is all self-evident for the last three years, and the obstructers of Justice, by the far the biggest culprits are: the Republican Party.