Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Uncovering Her Wings

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 8:30
It's going to be one of the ten best of the month.

Today will be a day of discovery for one and uncovery for another.
Uncovery is akin to discovery.  They are loosely related, long lost second cousins once removed, a generation apart.
Where discoveries are young and curious, drawn to the light, uncoveries are wizened and doubtful,  seeking comfort in the dusk.
Perhaps today a foundation can be laid which will begin the process of bridging the gap between the two.
I wonder if, at the end of the day, discovery and uncovery will come together to form a strong bond with which they can, hand in hand, begin the journey of recovery.

She carries the weight of heavy wings on her back so that she can flit and fly. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cathy and I Danced on American Bandstand

 Monday, July 22, 2013

It's steamy out today.

Last week, I visited with my oldest friend, the friend I have known the longest.
My family moved to a new town when I was nine years old.  It was January.  Not only was I the new kid in class, but I was the new kid in class in the middle of the school year.  Not only was I the new kid in class in the middle of the school year, but I was the shyest kid.   I don't remember how or why we connected but my oldest friend and I hit it off.  We were in the fourth grade.
Walking Route To School
Cathy and I lived on the same street but our houses were a few blocks away from each other.   We would meet at the corner and walk to school together.  Together we went through elementary school, junior high and high school. The high school was about a mile from our houses.   Cathy turned 17 before I did.  She was the first to get a driver's license.  When the weather was rainy or cold, she would pick me up at the corner in her mothers big old station wagon with a stick shift.
We loved watching American Band Stand with Dick Clark.  At the time, it was broadcast live from Philadelphia.   Cathy and I wanted to go. I think we were fifteen.  Cathy's mom agreed to drive us.   We stood in a long line.  I kind of remember that we didn't get in the first time.
 We were given tickets for another show.  The next time we went back we made it.   We had decided that it would be best if we brought a couple of boys with us in case no one from the show asked us to dance.
It was a time before VCR's, DVR's or On Demand.  Our friends and family gathered around the TV at 3:30 that day to see if they could spot one of us.   I remember thinking that Dick Clark wore a lot of makeup.  I was surprised to see how they dragged the large prop, a cut out map of the US, onto the set, with teenagers dancing behind it.  That's how each show began.  And so Cathy and I danced on American Bandstand.
Through out the years, in one way or another, we have kept in touch.  Sometimes it was an exchange of an annual Christmas card with short quips on the status of our lives.  Now we keep up through Facebook and we "see" each other every day playing Words With Friends.
The past couple of years we have managed to get together once a year for breakfast as she passes by my neck of the woods on her way to the beach.
The topic of our conversations at these meetings is usually about our kids.  As I reflect back,  I realized that even though our children are parents themselves, we still worry about them the same way we did when they were babies, toddlers, teens and now adults.
I don’t know if it was the heat, because it has been a scorcher of a summer, but at our meeting last Wednesday, I noticed that we both seemed a lot more tired.  Worn out, in fact.
We each questioned when those so called "golden" years are going to kick in.  I think we both came to the same conclusion.  They will not "kick in" without spit and polish and a not so gentle shove from our own two feet.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What I Found in My Closet and Ruth's 103rd

Monday, July 15, 2013
It’s about sixish in the AM
I promised Carol I would be at Curves this morning.  
And a promise is a promise.

The Closet Find
An emergency re-arrangement of furniture forced me to make room in my closet for one of the pieces that needed a new home.  Okay it wasn't an emergency, but we purchased a new bed for our guest room, thus the need to re-arrange. As I was moving things around in my closet I found a small hospital bracelet on the floor behind one of the pieces I had moved.  When I saw whose name was on the bracelet, time shifted and came quietly to a halt. 
The bracelet was so small that it would only fit around my finger tips.  In my stilled mind, images of a fragile and scared little three year old boy sat eerily along side images of a fragile and brave young man fighting for his life.
I sat there on the floor in my closet for a while with the bracelet on my fingertips, turning it around and around.  
It's funny, you know, I would say that I mostly don't believe in spirits, but I felt something, an energy or strength coming from the bracelet.  This past week, prior to me finding the bracelet, I have been having a difficult time.  Perhaps in his typical quiet way, Joe was making his presence known to me.  

At Ruth’s 100th birthday party we watched as she performed the tango and salsa with her dance instructor, Silvio.  Each year since then we receive an invite to attend a birthday celebration for Ruth.  
This past Saturday it was Ruth’s 103rd.  Ross and I were among the guests hanging out under a tent on the deck.   With a theatrical wave of her hand, Ruth came out to join us, saying that she was being summoned to spread her sunshine.  As she made her way around, mingling with this one and that, she grabbed one of the poles holding up the tent and proceeded to wrap her leg around, promising us that this year’s dance would be a little more provocative.  She’s pretty amazing, that Ruth.

It's here cause it's a neat pic
Thursday, July 11, 8:36 PM

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

One Hundred Degrees - A Special Hot Day

Sunday July 7. 2013 10:45
100 Degrees

Our  thermometer registered 100 degrees at around 11:00 this morning.   That’s the temperature on our patio which is in full sun.  But the temps will definitely climb into the 90’s today, for sure.  
Today is our twelfth wedding anniversary.  I kept waiting for Ross to mention it.  I thought for a second that it was no big deal, that he didn’t mention it I mean.  After all I wasn’t mentioning it either.  But I know that I at least remembered.  And I know that he didn’t.  
It was strange because all last week he kept talking about how we should go away for a few days for our anniversary.  He wanted to stay in Cape May at the “Rhythm of The Sea” bed and breakfast.
 It’s where we got married.  The mayor of Cape May performed the ceremony on the enclosed front porch with a few close family members gathered around.   But, at $275 a night, I thought it was way too expensive for a room at the Jersey shore, their smallest room at that. 
Around mid-morning, I finally said something to him.  Something like, “I’m a little disappointed that we are not at least giving some recognition to this day.”  
He didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about.  
He said, “Yeah, it looks like it’s going to be very hot again today.”  
I tried to give him another hint by saying, “Yes, I know the thermometer on the patio is registering 100 degrees, but today is a special hot day.”  
Again he had a puzzled look.  He thought for a few moments.  And then I saw it, the lightbulb lighting up in his eyes.  And I heard it, the ding, ding, ding go off in his brain. 
He literally jumped up from the sofa, and practically ran into the den.  He came back out a few moments later and asked me if I had checked my e-mail yet today.  
I said, “Uh, I’ve been up since 5:30.  Of course I’ve checked my e-mail today.”  
“Why?” I innocently asked.  
“Well, you better check it again,” he said.
Ahh, technology.  Instantaneous anything. 
So, today is our twelfth wedding anniversary.  Ross “remembered" with a sweet e-card from Blue Mountain and an Amazon gift card.  
Even though it wasn’t the most grand of places, lunch on the historic Tuckerton Creek
at the Dockside Cafe in Tuckerton for our twelfth wedding anniversary will be memorable for at least as long as, well, until we forget, I guess.   

He was hanging on the dock.

Monday, July 8, 2013
8:45 AM
Today is my grandson Tyler’s birthday.  He is four years old.  I miss him.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Let's Sell Everything and Live in An Old VW Bus

July 6, 2013
It's going to be HOT today.

We have been tossing the idea around of a trip of some sort.  Well, actually Ross always talks about places that he would like to see.  He teases me with stories of friends who have been around the world, traveling in planes, boats, and RV's and even by bike.   He routinely says that we should sell everything and buy an old VW bus and live where ever we park.

Ten years ago, I would have thought that perhaps, just maybe, we would do that.  But even ten years ago I knew that it was only a thought.
So much has happened in the past ten years.  One of the most dramatic changes is that we are ten years older.
Nowadays, it is an effort to get out of the house to go down the road for a sandwich.
Take for instance today.  It's Saturday.  It's Saturday at the shore.  It's Saturday at the shore when working people, who only have the weekend to go to the beach, or,  who only get two weeks of vacation a year, those are the people who are coming and going from their Saturday to Saturday weekly rentals.   It's a beautiful clear summer blue sky Saturday.  It's a hot Saturday.  It's a hot Saturday, but a much cooler on the beach Saturday.  We, us retired folks, we don't have to go to the beach on such a Saturday as this Saturday.
We talk about going out for breakfast.  But we talk about it for two hours, while we mosey along doing whatever it is that we do.
I finally say, "So what if it's Saturday.  Let's go over to the beach.  Let's just get up and go."
Get up and go means something much different today than it did ten years ago.  Now, get up and go takes 45 minutes.  Breaking that down, that would be 15 minutes to get up and 20 minutes to get ready to go, and ten minutes to finally go.
By now it is thirty minutes past noon.  That would be the hottest part of the day.  I'm hungry.  At this point we are at least in the car heading in the right direction.  The traffic is heavy, of course.  It's Saturday.

We finally make it onto the island.  I'm hungry.  We talk about where and what we would like to do for lunch.  We decide to pick up sandwiches and drinks, and eat our lunch on the beach.  But it's hot.  We stop at White's deli.  The girl making our sandwiches is slower than we are.  Twenty minutes later, we are back in the car.  It's hot.  Ross suggests we go to the lighthouse.  "There are benches along the water," he says.  "We can picnic there."
 Did I mention how hot it was?
We get to the lighthouse and pull into the parking lot.  We ride around the parking lot for three minutes discussing where in the parking lot we should park.  I should say, it was a pretty much one sided discussion, because I really wasn't participating.
We get out of the car.  We grab our lunch.  We walk down the path towards the benches by the water.  And it is hot.  We find benches under a little bit of shade.  I look down and see a swarm of flies, three of them on my leg, having their own lunch.
I say, "Forget it. Let's just eat our lunch in the parking lot, in our air conditioned car."  So that's what we did.  We watch the kids fishing while we eat our lunch.
It's now nearly two o'clock.  We have finished our lunch and are driving over to our beach.  Of course by now there is no parking in the first parking lot.  We pull up to the walkway leading to the beach and unload our stuff.  I wait with our stuff while Ross parks in the third parking lot.
We load up our bags, chairs, umbrella and trudge up to the top of the beach.  We stand at the top and peruse the scene.  Discussion ensues as to where on the beach we are going to settle.  Will we go to the left or to the right?   I pick the right and we begin our descent.   We flip open our chairs, throw down our bags and flop.
It is cool and breezy by the water.  I am cold. But it feels good! I  put on my hoodie and I take out my camera.

I look around and I realize that our world has become so very narrow.  The people on the beach are the new "just beginning their vacation week" people.   But they
look the same to me as the last week's people.  
The view doesn't change. My photos seem to be the same. The sea gull, the sailboat, the ghostly ship in the mist, the EPA helicopter, the lifeguard and the fishermen They might as well be stock photos pinched from the net.

 Okay but maybe not this one, because this one is the coolest of the bunch.

After an hour, I am bored and we begin the discussion of when we I would like to leave.
We are back home by 4:00. We step out of the car and it's hot.  We unpack and scurry to get inside into  the manufactured cool and breezy air.
Yeah, I figure if we start planning now, we might be able to get a trip together by November.  And it's probably not going to be in an old VW bus.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Fourth, and The Fifth and A Special Treat - A Jimmy Story

Thursday, July 4, 2013 8:00 AM

It was just Ross and I today.  

We had a light lunch at the Diary Queen in Barnegat Light

Then checked out our beach. 

Not too many folks on the beach, especially for a Fourth of July.  Usually, even for our little out of the way spot, it is towel to towel, but not today.
It was misty and breezy, perhaps that's why.  Anyway we were just visiting, not staying.

The day ended with a phone call from my son and a typical Jimmy story.

Here is just his side of the phone convo.

"So I have bags of fireworks.  No, now I'm not talking about little firecrackers.  This is major stuff.  My stuff will put Milltown's fireworks to shame.  Ya know, I'm like the John Gotti of our neighborhood.  You know, he used to put on a show every year for his people.  Yeah, very funny, but I'm not gonna get arrested.  Don't worry, I know what I'm doing.  Yes, I know enough to keep the little kids out of the way.  Ma, come on.  Okay, okay, I'll call you after it's all over."

Later on, phone call number 2.  Again just his side of the convo.

"All done.  No problems.
There was about 30 people there watching.  Well, maybe 20.  But people were pulling up, sitting in their cars.  But get this.  And I swear to God this happened.  You can ask the 15 people that were there.
So, this elderly woman pulls up in her car.  No, we weren't shooting them off in our yard, we were shooting them off in the school parking lot.   So, anyway getting back to this old woman.  She must have been 65..., well maybe 70.  She rolls down her window and starts yelling at us.  I walk over to her car.
 I say, "Is there a problem, Ma'am?"
She says, "You know this is illegal!"
 I say, "It's the Fourth."  "What's the matter? "
She says, and I tell you I couldn't believe what she said, she says, "You are scaring the deer."
"Whaat?"  I asked her to repeat it, because I didn't believe that's what she said.  "You're scaring the deer."
"I'm scaring the deer?"
Can you believe that? I'm scaring the deer.  Unbelievable.
I told her, "Look Ma'am, don't worry about it.  We are wrapping up here."
She took off and was yellin' out the window, "I'm reporting you to the cops."

I don't think I need to tell you my side of the conversation.  Mother's I think you know what my responses were.
I have to admit, I breathed a sigh of relief after the second phone call and I did laugh out loud at the "scaring the deer" part.

Then just before he hung up, he told me that he found another bag of fireworks.
"Darn, I was lookin' all over for this.  These are the best ones.  I'm gonna go finish these off.  Talk to you later."


Friday July 5, 2013 8:47 AM
Heat Advisory
Temp in the 90's

We did something special today.  We visited with Anne and Domani.  He is such a joy, that kid.  I just love him too much.  We had lunch at the Diner in Jamesburg.  Then went to target to buy some summer fun.  Oh, yeah and some big boy underpant(ies).  (As Domani insists on calling them. )
Quote of the day:
"I running around like a cwazy person."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Prickly Old Woolen Sweater

Tuesday, July 2, 2013  2:26 PM

Wednesday, July 3, 8:30 AM

Grief can be loud.  It stomps its feet and shakes its fists in my face. It is surly and follows me where ever I go. It is prickly and wears on me like an old woolen sweater.   It tosses and turns me in my troubled sleep.  It wakes me up at one and two and three AM.
Grief does not come in shades of gray.  It is blacker than black.

Life's struggles and troubles will, at times, overpower this grief.  It stares it down and shoves it to the side.  It can lull and numb this grief into a glazed hypnotic state.

Grief will not stay away.   It sneaks up and whispers, “I’m still here.”  It chants its soft mantra until I am too weary.

I was sad yesterday and I am sadder today.

I miss my son, Joseph Christopher.  I will never understand why he is not here today, like he was just yesterday, with Domani, to collect sea shells, build castles in the sand and chase waves on a hot summer day.

And so I gave in and gave up.  I cried and then I slept.