Pride takes a holiday

I saw greatness today.

Humility.  Good will.  Cajoling.  Compromise.  Then consensus.

I saw men and women reach across a gulf of ideology, steer into the headwinds of a rhetorical tempest, because they were more concerned about doing right than being right; more about all gaining than some winning.

Yes, it had to do with public policy... but instead of in our nation's Capitol, it was in a frost-bound state Capitol.  Pride took a holiday today.  If it can happen here, why can't the big shots get it in DC?

I saw the best of what I attempted to describe here

But I've been miles from home all week.  And I miss my kids, and haven't gotten road souvenirs yet. Don't suppose this shoe buffing cloth and a packet of gourmet decafe coffee will do, huh?


And now there are two

I'm jonesin' for some twisted steel, and I've got it bad.

366478-263096-thumbnail.jpgI have sat at nine desks in 19 years since entering the workforce... eight of which had been someone else's first.  Today is the first time I've ever had to order a box of these.


I'm down to the last two, now, and they're an unmatched set.  One "normal" paperclip, and one small blue one.  [I hate those.  They're not real paperclips.  They're for people who have "Hang in there, baby." posters and unicorn mugs.  I hate those even more!] 

Here's the point:  I've always been on the receiving end of those little metal nuisances sent via interoffice mail by nameless, faceless others.  They poured in from everywhere, overrunning everything in sight.  It was an embarassment of riches.  Until now...

Now there are two...  The office supply order doesn't come in 'til Tuesday... and I've got THREE MEMOS to get out!!!  Wait!  I think I spotted one in the hallway near the elevator!  And there are two more in that paperclip holder thingy on the copier.  [Is it hot in here???]  Wait, Julie's out today.  She wont miss a couple.  I'll just score a few to get me through.  Hahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!   But it's not like I've got a problem or anything. 

Come Tuesday, everything will be fine.  It's just one little nickel box.  I can handle it.  Yeah, sure I can.  I can switch to a stapler, or scotch tape.    I can quit any time I want to...  


Our eyes were watching God; And you slipped out for a meatball grinder*

Mom_0001.jpg* Or "sub," or "hoagie," or "hero".  We call them "grinders."

The solemn watch had been kept.  Ever since the call went out first thing in the morning, we arrived and assembled.  One.  Then two more.  The fourth.  Then all five.  Our Uncle, your big brother arrived; looking more stricken than we seemed to feel at the time.  Perhaps because he was shouldering our burden, too... that day. 

That.  Day.

The first-born son of your first-born son, at 16 months, played with a choo-choo on the polished slate-like floor, just inches from your bedside.  Running; squealing; making echoes down the cavernous hallway; yet slightly jumpy from the different kind of energy coursing through the "grownups" and suddenly missing from you. 

That.  Day.  The last day the "grownups" would be children. 

Day passes to twilight.  A shattered brother says goodbye.  Then, a suddenly wary grandson is lifted up by his father "Superman style" to leave you a kiss; and upon being moved into a low hover drops his head to lay cheek upon cheek.  His father nearly loses his grip from the blow, but recovers.  (I almost didn't.)  "He knows.  I don't know how, but he knows."

Night closes in.  The five draw together 'round the One. 

Six o-clock.  Seven.  Seven-thirty.  Seven-forty.  Seven-forty-five.  

Your third child.  The second son.  The Beloved One... volunteers to run out to pick up the meatball grinders we ordered. 


"It's okay, Tommy." 

"Yeah, I know.  I'll be right back.  It's just around the corner."

Seven fifty-five.

366478-259377-thumbnail.jpgThe beloved one exits, stage left.  The four draw closer.  Our eyes are watching God...

... And you slip out for a meatball grinder. 

Followed him right out the door, didn't you?  Oh, that was classic!  We should have seen it coming.  I think somehow Tommy did all along.       


Happy Birthday, Mom.



How my morning turned on a Penny

366478-259305-thumbnail.jpgWhy is it that just one song--applied at the right moment--can make all the difference in the world? 

Monday began, in the Southwest corner of the Northeast United States, with fog and 40 degrees at 0-Dark-Thirty hours.  This is after a weekend featuring my daughter accidentally knocking in a couple of tiles into the bathtub wall (a good sign for her future ability to fend for herself on dates many, many years from now).  Unfortunately, this one act by the Apple of My Eye revealed a startling Incongruity-in-Grout:  Wet drywall.  I mean, drywall is supposed to be dry.  That's why they call it that!!!  Well, scratch beneath the surface of a 40 year-old house with a 40 year-old tub and 40 year-old tile... and you have a long-avoided bathroom remodeling project kicking off whether you want it to or not.

Monday dawned needing a recasting of the mood, if not the shower wall. 

Then, on queue, enter XM Radio with the RX I needed... My day turned on a "Penny"--quite literally--with the buoyancy and Bach trumpet "Penny Lane."  That was it!  The fog lifted, the sun came out, and the Beatles Made a little Birdhouse in my Soul*. 

It worked 366478-259309-thumbnail.jpgso well, I threw in Sgt. Pepper's "Good Morning," as a chaser... cut through traffic like a pro and came into work with a post for the blog! 

This day might not end so badly after all!

(*TMBG is my "In Case of Emergency, Play This" CD.)


From today's headlines

366478-259332-thumbnail.jpgRipped from this morning's edition of the Hartford Courant:

"Unruly young people kept Manchester police and the security staff at Buckland Hills mall busy Saturday night."

I'm trying to imagine the conversation on the police radio:

"Ida know, Sarge.  So far, they're still ruly and kempt, but I think things are starting to change.  Better send backup."

[Got any other "un" words that make no sense??  Dont' be abashed, post 'em here!]


To my Panasonic, Whom I slept with

366478-256425-thumbnail.jpgYou were IT, man.  My first.  We were inseparable.

At night, from under the pillow, you brought me baseball, static, "W.. da-da-da.. QQW... Nonstop Music!" Charles Osgood, "Midnight at the Oasis," school cancellations, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."  Hell, you even brought in Baltimore when the sun went down.

And every morning, you somehow got yourself back up on the headboard, hanging by your strap. 

I thought of you the other day, glancing up at the DVD screen hanging from the ceiling of the Family Truckster.  The kids dig it... the name's the same, but it's not you.  Not YOU.  My supersonic.  My Panasonic.


A new slice of 'Toast'

366478-250035-thumbnail.jpgThere's nothing that can start an argument like philosophy, religion or politics. 

I'm branching the blog out a bit, pulling together a new slice of "Toast" that pull together a collection of things I've heard (or said) along the way.  It is a study on the roughly 200,000 words in the English language, and how they've moved me when arranged in a certain way.  This is the beta version, posted just before a week of frenetic business travel.  I hope to flesh these passages out a bit to include why they speak so loudly to me.  But so far, this is the only stuff that has stuck to the wall.  So Vox On, baby!  With Poets, Priests and Politicians. 


For this, he'll ring twice...

This was my Mother's favorite joke:

One beautiful sunny morning, Mrs. Smith was at home and she heard a knock at the door.

Charlie.bmpIt was Charlie, the mailman.

"Good morning Charlie!"

"Goot morning, Mrs. Smith.  Just wanted to let you know that I've decided to retire, and tomorrow will be my last day."

"Oh, Charlie, congratulations.  But you've been our mailman nearly 30 years, I don't know what I'll do without you.  You've practically become one of the family.  Why don't you stop in tomorrow so I can say goodbye."

"Sure thing, Mrs. Smith.  See you tomorrow."

The next day, Charlie stops by.  Mrs. Smith invites him into the kitchen, whereupon he sees a freshly baked cake with "Farewell Charlie" written on the icing.

"Oh, Mrs. Smith, you shouldn't have."

366478-249155-thumbnail.jpg"Now don't be silly, Charlie.  You sit right down and have a slice with me."

After cake, Charlie says his thank yous, and begins to get up from the table.  "Not so fast, Charlie," Mrs. Smith says.  "There's something else."  And she hands Charlie an envelope.  He opens it, and pulls out $50.00.

"Oh, Mrs. Smith, you should't have."

"Buy yourself that new fishing rod you've been talking about."

Charlie is near speechless, says his thank yous once again, and starts for the door.  "Not so fast, Charlie," Mrs. Smith says, batting those bedroom eyes.  "There's something else.  Come with me."  And she takes Charlie by the hand, leading him upstairs to the bedroom.

After a sound thrashing of passionate lovemaking that nearly drops the house, Charlie lies staring at the ceiling.  Breathless.  Speechless. 

366478-249158-thumbnail.jpg"Golly, Mrs. Smith, you shouldn't have... but I'm so glad you did.  That was.... that was.... amazing.  I really don't know what to say..."

"Why thank you, Charlie.  It WAS rather nice.  Actually, you can thank my husband for it."

"Wha....?"  Charlie is stunned.

"Well sure," she says.  "When I told him last night that you were retiring and said that I wanted to do something nice for you after nearly 30 years of braving the wind, rain and snow, why Harvey looked up from his paper and said 'Screw him,  give him fifty bucks!'...


... "The cake was my idea."


See Shells (By the Seashore): A Tribute to a Friend Who Went Her own Way

Sail on.JPGThey were all surprised when you said you were going.
"Is she running from?" or,
"Is she running to?"

For years, we all steered a similar course;
Tacking, running, reaching.
Now and then we'd go off chasing our own wind, but horizons never separated us.
We'd wait for the fleet to regroup at each marker.
And sail on.

Now you've tacked hard-a-port.
Forgive us if we feel like you're the one who has changed course after so long traveling together.
We're blind to see if it was us.

(It's like riding on a train.  Look at the guy in the car in front of you through the glass doorway.
Your car is steady... his is moving up, down, side to side.
He's looking back at you thinking the same thing.)

Who among us can claim that you're running too fast; reaching too far?
For who among us can claim to know where you were before we met, or where you're bound.

Sail on.

Shells Bells.JPGWhat is it worth to have a friend that you don't have to TELL to?
You can just BE with...
Because she's IN all your good "tells" and "tales."
And will be in plenty more.
Such a friend as this... is you.
And such a friend we'll stay.

Sail on.
And I'll soon see Shells... by the seashore.


My crush