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Bloomfield High School Class of 1973 Memorial Dedication Page

16 Sep

 

Bengals Forever:  A memorial tribute to those that have left us.

UPDATED:  September 2018

bhs-yearbook-cover

Memories, the 1973 Bloomfield High School Yearbook

Cover designed by Patricia Anselmo Daly (’73)

Reaching

Desiring light but enveloping darkness

You search for the beauty

And the life

And the meaning.

~Colette Natalie Lisacchi (’73)

Gone, but never forgotten . . . 

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“No good work is done anywhere without aid from the Father of Lights.”

~C. S. Lewis

Poem for his Friends

So my friend you’re feelin’ down

Someone you once knew is gone

Farther than the longest mile

Gone without a word.

Life is a sacred gift

Taken back for no reason

Going faster than it came

leaving only a sigh.

How you doin’ friend we’re thinkin’ of you

Hold your head up in the morning sun

Look down upon us from wherever you may be

Your life hasn’t stopped, it’s just begun.

So your friends’ memories are never gone.

Sometimes lost but always found

And as time passes day by day

Sooner than you think you’ll meet again.

So my friend, don’t let it bring you down

He is better off then we are here.

So my friend, don’t let it bring you down

He is watching over us somewhere.

~Kenneth J. Brill (’73)

John Mitchell Adams

Mass to be Held Today for John Mitchell Adams.
A Mass will be held this morning for John Mitchell Adams, 18 son of Mr. and Mrs. Kelty Adams of 26 Olive
Street, at St. Anthony’s Church, Franklin Avenue, Belleville.  The youth was reported missing in heavy seas at Seaside Heights last Thursday, and presumed drowned. Marine police and Coast Guard boats searched through Sunday.  The accident occurred about 7:40 p.m. off of the Summer Street beach.  Mr. Adams and two other youths were on a raft which was upset by a wave. Mr. Adams was swept away but the two other youths managed to get to shore.  Born in Wyatt, MO., Mr. Adams moved with his family to Connecticut, then to East Orange and Bloomfield. John Adams attended Clifford Scott High School in East Orange for two years and Bloomfield High School for two years and was a member of the BHS graduating class of 1973.  He had been sworn into the Naval Reserves and was supposed to report for duty on 1. He planned to spend two weeks with friends at the shore first.  In addition to his parents, members of the youth’s family include two sisters, Mary Louise, 19 and Angela, 15 at home; his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Alphonse Condito of 91 Watsessing Avenue, and his paternal grandfather, John W. Adams of the Olive Street address.  Obituary; John Mitchell Adams.pdf.  See link below.

Phyllis (Angelo) Piccirillo

David Aspen

Patricia Caruso

Patrick Cervasio

Thomas W. Corcoran (Drama Club; Acting Club; Vice President; All-School Production; Student Prints; Photography Staff; Chess Club; Intramural Basketball; Intramural Volleyball; Camera Club)

Thomas W. Corcoran, on Monday, September 15, 2003, of Upper Montclair, NJ, husband of Patricia Barry Corcoran, father of Maureen, Leigh Ann, and Heather Corcoran, all of Upper Montclair, son of the late Charles andVirginia Corcoran, brother of Charles of Middlesex, also survived by 15 sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, as well as 23 nieces and nephews.  Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral from The O’BOYLE FUNERAL HOME, 309 Broad Street, Bloomfield, NJ, Friday at 9:00 am.  The funeral service will be held at Riverside Community Church, 50 Union Avenue, Nutley, at 10:30am. Internment Immaculate Conception Cemetery.  Friends may call Thursday 2-4 and 7-9 pm.  For those who wish, in lieu of flowers,contributions may be made to the Jennifer Swift Feldman Foundation, 60 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair, NJ  07043, or the Riverside Community Church.

Kathy Dell’Osso

Michele Mary De Vito

Howard S. Dieterle (J.V. Baseball; Varsity Basketball; Intramural Volleyball)

John Dull

Timothy Dwyer

Stephen Figurelli

Karen E. Fleisher (Display Committee; Guidance Worker) 

Al R. Fleming

William F. Giammearse

Edward A. Gleason

Kevin Robert Greener (Library Council, Display Committee; Wrestling. Outdoor Track)

Maralyce “Molly” Henchey

Maralyce (Molly) Henchey of Montclair, N.J., died on Nov. 21, 2010, at Father Hudson House, Elizabeth, N.J. She was 55 years old. Relatives and friends are invited to a memorial service to celebrate her life on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 12 to 2 p.m. at Frank Halpin’s Brookdale Funeral Home, 1284 Broad St., Bloomfield, N.J. Maralyce was a 1976 graduate of Ramapo College with a degree in psychology. She was an avid gardener. Maralyce was the beloved daughter of the late Ann and William
Henchey; dear sister of Monica Ginsberg of Randolph, N.J., and Michael Henchey and Lawrence Henchey, both of Montclair, and loving aunt of Aaron and Ethan Ginsberg. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Father Hudson House, 111
Dehart Place, Elizabeth, N.J. 07202, in her memory.

Norajean Hughes (Home Economics Club; History Club)

Robert L. Juliano (Outdoor Track)

Joan Kabasakalian (German Club; National Honor Society)

Charles S. Karsh (Valedictorian; History Club; Creative Writing Club; Ecology Club; Treasurer; Key Club; National Honor Society)

Carol Lynn Koslosky (Football Program)

Paul Krie

Donald Robert Krentz (Intramural Basketball)

Joseph P. LaBadia (Varsity Football, Golf, Italian Club; Varsity “B” Club; Intramural basketball);  Birth Date:  11 June 1954; Death Date:  22 April 2005; Localities:  Big canoe, Pickens, Jasper, Georgia, 30143

Kathleen Ann Lataro (Home Economics Club)

Dorothy Ann Leggins

John Lloyd

Thomas James Madden

Daniel Peter McGrath

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Daniel McGrath Retired Bloomfield fireman Daniel McGrath, 61, of Longs, S.C., passed away on Aug. 7, 2016. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a celebration of his life at the O’Boyle Funeral Home, 309 Broad St., Bloomfield, N.J., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. Please express condolences at oboylefuneralhome.com. Born in Newark, N.J., Daniel lived in Bloomfield and the last eight years in Longs. He was a retired fireman in Bloomfield for 20 years. Daniel was the brother of Gerard, Terrance, and Susan.

Nancy E. McLaughlin (Home Economics Club; MEMORIES ’73; Literary Staff; Future Nurses of America; National Honor Society; Recording Secretary; Junior Red Cross Representative; Delegate to the Citizenship Institute; S. G. A.; Homeroom Representative)

Henry George Meininger

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Henry George Meininger USMC veteran and former Caldwell police lieutenant, 61 Henry George Meininger, 61, of Blairstown, N.J., for the past two years, formerly of West Milford, N.J., passed away Sept. 9, 2016, at Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, N.J. A visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m., today, Monday, Sept. 12, at Newbaker Funeral Home, 200 Route 94, Blairstown. A funeral service will take place at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the Free Evangelical Church, 11 Lambert Rd., Blairstown. Henry was born on Dec. 9, 1954, in Bloomfield, N.J., to John H. and Phyllis (Lawson) Meininger. He was a graduate of Bloomfield High School, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1974-1977. He retired as a police lieutenant of the Caldwell, N.J., police force, and later as accident investigator instructor. Henry attended the Free Evangelical Church in Blairstown, and was involved with the Solid Rock Day Camp in West Milford, N.J., where he was an instructor of archery and paintball. He is survived by his wife, Christine (Kongsberg) Meininger; three daughters, Anna Pascarella, Krista Dailey, and Amanda Meininger; three grandchildren, and a sister, Phyllis Bedotto. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Henry’s name to either The Solid Rock Day Camp, 37 Stevens Rd., West Milford, N.J. 07480 or the Shiloh Bible Camp, 753 Burnt Meadow Rd., Hewitt, N.J. 07421.

Gerald Oliveto

Richard Pelosi

Joseph Pezzino (Sophomore Football; Varsity Football; J. V. Baseball; Varsity Baseball)

Kathy Pologonia

John Puttorak

James “Jimmie” Quine

James Thomas Romanowski (Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Cross Country, Intramural Basketball)

Bernice J. Ryblewski (Art Club)

Alfred Michael Saia (Intramural Basketball and Volleyball)

Vincent Michael Salvatore (C. I. E.)

Armond Sasso (J. V. Basketball; Varsity Basketball; Varsity Baseball)

Richard A. Saunders

John Scalise (Camera Club; Homeroom Representative)

Thomas Phillip Scaringello

Marla Scott

Dennis Brian Slattery (Electronics Club; Homeroom Representative; Intramural basketball; Intramural Volleyball)

Richard Soper

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Richard Soper Loving father, son, brother Richard Soper died unexpectedly in his home in Bloomfield, N.J., on Nov. 21, 2016, from complications of cancer. A memorial will be held at First Presbyterian Church on the Green on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, with visitation at 1 p.m., followed by the service at 2 p.m. Arrangements are by Van Tassel Funeral Home, vantasselfuneralhome.com. Richard was a loving father, son and brother. He was a man of integrity who endured many challenges in his life. His gruff exterior masked a very loving heart. Richard was born in Bad Axe, Mich., on Nov. 15, 1955, to Ruth Louise (Emery) Soper and Ward Orin Soper. When the family moved back to Bloomfield, Richard was educated in the Bloomfield school system. In 1972 Richard was given an award for bravery when he rescued his maternal grandmother from a home fire. He married in his twenties and was blessed with beautiful daughters, Georgann and Annatalie Soper, whom he loved very much. After living in Florida for a few years, Richard returned to Bloomfield to take devoted care of his parents. He was a loyal employee of Terry Drugs, then Esquire Big and Tall, until his retirement a few years ago. Richard is survived by his mother, Ruth; daughters, Georgann and Annatalie, and sister, Cheryl. He was predeceased by his father, Ward; grandmother, Louise Emery, and brother and sister, Ward Arthur Soper and Sandra Louise Soper. Richard will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him very much.

Published in Star-Ledger on Dec. 2, 2016– See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?n=richard-soper&pid=182920150&fhid=17157#sthash.bYeJPcAK.dpuf

Theresa Spano (Pep Club; German Club; Future Teachers Club; Gym Club; S. G. A.; Dramatics Club; G. A. A.; Cheerleading Squad, Speedball; Basketball; Volleyball)

Terry Spano, Rockette and performing arts school founder, of Roseland, 53 Terry Spano, 53, of Roseland passed into eternal rest Thursday in Hackensack University Medical Center, after fighting a courageous battle for four yeares against ovarian cancer. Services will be conducted from the LaMonica Memorial Home, 145 E. Mount Pleasant Ave., Livingston, on Monday, Sept. 29, at 9a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church, Roseland. Interment will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover. Visitation is on Sunday form 1 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.  Terry was born in Newark, the daughter of the late Michael and Carmella Spano.  She was raised in Bloomfield and moved to Roseland in 1984. A 1973 graduate of Bloomfield Senior High School, Terry auditioned in her senior year and was accepted into the world famous Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. This began a 23-year career that took her all over the world. Terry began her love of dancing at four years of age as a student of the Perry and Keller Dance Studio in East Orange. At Radio City Music Hall, she danced with such famous stars as Liza Minelli, Peter Allen, Liberace, Ginger Rogers and Gwen Verdon. She also starred in the made-for-television movie ‘Legs’, the life of a Rockette, print ads for’I Love New York’, and the feature film, ‘Annie’. In 1988, Terry was chosen to be one of eight Rockettes to co-star with Chita Rivera on a world tour of the revival of the Broadway hit of Cole Porter’s ‘Can Can’. This 2 1/2 year tour took Terry around the U.S. and all over the world to London, Paris, Germany, Australia and for three months, Japan. Terry was a 30-year member of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, Actors Equity and the Screen Actors Guild, voting every year for the Academy Awards. She retired from Radio City Music Hall in 1996 and became the founder and artistic director of the the Roseland School of Performing Arts, showcasing the development of young students in the area several times a year. Through these experiences, Terry gave others her courage to dream of a life in the performing arts. In June 2007, Terry was chosen Citizen of the Year by the Roseland Chapter of Unico National for her outstanding devotion and dedication to the Roseland community. She is survived by her husband of 28 years, John Higgins of Roseland; her brother, Michael Spano Jr. and his wife, Angela, and sons, Ryan, Gino and Michael, all of Roseland, and her many loving family members. In lieu of flowers, donations in Terry’s memory would be appreciated and can be sent to The Sisters of Saint Joseph, St. Joseph’s Villa, 110 W. Wissahickon Ave., Flourtown, Pa. 19031.

Richard Staub

Richard P. Staub, 54, passed away on Saturday, October 11, 2008. A memorial mass will be held on Saturday, October 25, 2008 at St. Mary’sChurch, 17 Msgr. Owens Pl., Nutley at 1:00 p.m. To send condolences and to sign the guestbook, please visit www.biondifuneralhome.com.  Mr. Staub, formerly from Bloomfield and Florida, currently lived in Nutley and was a butcher and meat manager for Pathmark and ShopRite. Richard is survived by his former wife Louise Staub and his beloved son Richard Ryan Staub. He is also survived by his brothers Joseph Staub; David Staub and his wife Karen; John Staub and his wife Lisa. Richard is also survived by his sisters Mary Hoover, Theresa Sheldon and her husband Gary; Peggy Caruso and her husband John. He is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews and life-long friends.  Arrangements by the Biondi Funeral Home of Nutley, NJ.

Linda Tibbetts

Vincent Henry Tucciarone

Edwin D. Whelpley (Electronics Club; Chips and Sparks Club)

Gail Wilks (Visovsky)

Robert William Williams (Outdoor Track)

A Christmas Baby

22 Dec

Babies have a way of finding ways into the alcoves of our souls, the very places where things are known only to God.  They crawl right up into those hidden areas and something quite miraculous happens.  Those little ones open us wide to the world, while teaching us a little more each day about God.  Think about it. Who touches us more deeply than a baby?

One baby in a room of adults reduces most of us to mere functional illiterates–and by choice!  We become entranced by the bald-headed, toothless, drooling squirmers, mesmerized by their attempts to make sense of the insensible.

I remember talking to my own children:  “You wan Dada to bwing your baba or bankie?”

I won’t go into all the baby-talk, or nicknames my wife and I had for our children.  Some of them are hilarious, to be sure.  If you are like we are, you might still find the urge to pop open one of these phrases from time-to-time, just for the sake of reaction.

There aren’t too many of us that are able to hold back baby-talk when face-to-face with a little life in our presence.  It is almost expected.  I often wonder if grown adults talk to the aged the same way.  After all, both ends of life’s continuum quite resemble each other.  But that discussion is for another time.

In the presence of babies, we sing and tell stories.  For some, these practices begin while the baby is in utero.  Regardless, we talk to them, and we pray for them.  We teach them nursery rhymes as they grow into toddlers, tell them stories of our childhood (and maybe just a bit embellished), and instruct them in right and wrong, as well as share in affection and closing prayers at bedtime.

Remember those fun days?  I am referring to the fun days before they sat on the sides of their beds and cried for no reasons at all, or got quiet when they realize as teenagers they are held accountable.  Recall the moments when we asked them, “What’s wrong,” only to hear in return, “Nothin”?  I surely remember them!  In fact, there are times I’d like to sit on the side of my own bed and cry a little for myself, these days.  It is sometimes a good thing to feel sorry for ourselves, as adults, at least for fifteen minutes, before someone asks for money, or the cell phone rings.

However, I am left to wonder: Why is it that babies bring out the best in us?

I remember their giggles, tiny dimples, gummy smiles, flailing hands and stubby toes, their splashing arms and legs during baths–capped off by their pudgy, solid, yet wrinkly feet.  All of this serves to remind us of life’s simplicities and basic human needs.  Babies also remind us of the necessity of the protection they need, their fragile states, and complete dependency.  The trust they place in adults is astounding. But they learn quickly.  Once they figure out that we are not really perfect, all things begin to change.

If you are like I am, you are torn by those early years, sometimes longing for them again–but happy also not to have to repeat those long nights, illnesses, doctors’ visits, and the like.  Have you ever wished for your children to stay little forever.  Have you ever wanted that?  Nah!  There are grandchildren for those reasons.  Right?  Babies are signals of life.  Life must move forward.  

Babies are reminders that the future is already in the “present”–and the word-play is intended.  Babies comprise the past through one’s DNA and heritage. They consume the present and they portend the future.  Babies are the miracles that are united from one sperm and one egg–gestating over time–to become the “other” us. With each birth of our children we are reminded that “WE” are with us.  We are connected and that’s that.  Here in this sophisticated new millennium we tend to place things which have the sense of the miraculous, such as child birth, into the realm of the ordinary.  Each conception brings into existence an absolutely unique entity, a person of the most distinct, individual “being.”  The truth is we are all unique and the mold is broken with each one of us. However, we have this little nature thing, with which to contend.  And therein lies the problem!

Imagine for a moment that your teenage daughter comes home one day and tells you that she is impressed in her spirit about something incredibly unique.  What if she tells you that an angel of God had told her that she was specially favored among all other young teenagers of the day?  Assume, then, that sometime later she informs you that she is pregnant, yet maintains that she was still a virgin–untouched by any man sexually.  To make matters more concerning, imagine your single, teenage daughter had been engaged to a man more than twice her age–and that the engagement was going to be broken by the man, once he discovers your daughter is pregnant.  I know, I know . . . I see your faces now.  Yet, I do think you know where I am going with this.

Philosopher Paul C. Vitz asks us to “Consider that Mary was pregnant with Jesus today.” I also ask us to do the same.  What are the chances that some of the parents of this pregnant teenage girl would shuffle her off to the local Planned Parenthood clinic?  What would her friends and contemporaries say?  Speaking as one who was conceived prior to marriage, I kind of identify with that last statement, in terms of its implications.  Know that I mean?  No, I am not claiming divinity, personally–but divinity as a delicacy–that stuff it freakin’ awesome!  (It is approaching Christmas, after all)

The prophet Isaiah (ca 800 BC) stated: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

A miracle baby son, a virgin, and the name translated to mean “God with us” (Immanuel) Hmmmm.

Most interesting.  The disciple Matthew Levi (1st century AD), the tax gatherer wrote:

“And Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.  But when he had considered this, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’  Now all this took place that which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet shall be fulfilled . . .” (Matthew 1:19-24)

The Christmas holiday (derived from “holy-day”) is about the advent of Jesus, the baby, and the beginning of His earthly pilgrimage.  The birth occurred more than likely during the summer months and there was no snow.  That reminds me, what happens in Australia and Africa, during December in the Southern Hemisphere? I hope Santa’s varicosities aren’t too apparent with those pasty legs of his, filling out those speedo-like shorts.

John 1 speaks also to this event:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1; 1, 14).

This baby Jesus is the gift that keeps on reminding us of our flesh and mortality.  The baby reminds us of our beginning and the blessings we are to others.  But why do we keep Him in a manger?  Why is Christmas about Jesus as a baby only?  Is it because there is no room in the “inn of our hearts?” Maybe it reflects the reality that babies are no threat.  Babies do not challenge the way we live.

Babies are the miracle gifts in-and-of-themselves. But babies do grow up into young adults and then enter mature adulthood.  Apparently King Herod had serious fears of the baby Jesus, for he had all male children slaughtered, age-two and under.  This infanticide occurred in Bethlehem and its surrounding environs (Matthew 2:16). Herod feared all of this talk about the birth of a king, a Messiah, would diminish his sovereignty over the land. So the child Jesus and His parents went to Egypt until King Herod had died. Afterwards, they returned to their homeland.  One interesting piece of trivia from the Hebrew language is quite telling. The name “Beth-lehem,” actually means “House of Bread.” Later Jesus was given the title “Bread of life,” and communion would be taken at “the Last Supper,” to symbolize His crucified and broken body.

Part of the communion remembrance today using crackers or bread illustrates the “broken bread” of life. Who would have ever thought that the bread of life would have been born in a house of bread?  All of this is derived from the Christmas story?  Yes indeed! Another point of interest was that when the wise men came to visit Jesus, He was already a toddler. The Magi were the ones who tipped off Herod, and this was the reason for the age-2 on down slaughter of the innocents.

So, yes we celebrate the baby Jesus. But we really should be celebrating the toddler, at least in my mind.  But no toddler I know would stay in a crib.  I know my own kids did not. As far as my kids were concerned, they kept jumping out, falling on their heads, or something along those lines.  Come to think of it, that might explain a few things. Now my father’s statements to me in my youth ring more clearly.  He would ask rhetorically, “What is the matter with you?  Did you play too many football games without a helmet?” I never figured out “how many” was too many. But back to Jesus.

Some 2,000 years after the birth of Jesus, his infancy still impacts the world.  While some wanted to make Him an Earthly Excellency, believers see Him as their All-Sufficiency, beginning with infancy.  The commemoration of Jesus’ birth is the real reason we celebrate the giving of “gifts” to each other.  Jesus is the ultimate gift to the world.  The reason for the season is ultimately for His pleasin’.

A second gift was given to us by the resurrected Jesus, just prior to His ascension.  Luke, the physician, records in Acts 1:3:

“. . . He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things to come . . .

He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised . . .

” Jesus told His followers: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:15-16).

The Holy Spirit is the gift that keeps on giving.

During this festive season of holidays, may we Christians celebrate like never before.  We live and love like never before.  The baby has grown, lived, and He has changed the world through his death, resurrection and ascension.  Don’t you think it is time to be Christ-like in ways that show we also have left our own “Christian cribs?” My apologies to the hip-hop community.

Dear believer, let us celebrate the holiday as He is NOW in our lives. May we look back to the past, while living in the present–knowing that we have a future with Him.  May our baby-talk grow into a mature, contagious conversation, coupled with a powerful Christian walk.  May this walk evidence movement in the right direction, joined by the fruit of the Spirit.  No, I did not say fruitcake.  Unlike divinity, THAT stuff is so nasty, and is the evil twin of the yule log.

Thank you for reading! OK, where’s my egg-nog?

Feliz Navidad!

Rozhdyestvom Christovom

Buon Natale

Merry Christmas

Help! I Smell Like An Old Person

26 May

HELP!  I SMELL LIKE AN OLD PERSON!

© 2009, Ernie Zarra

My sisters and I refer to the smell as “old person’s smell.”  The odor in the house of my slender, gray-haired 75-year-old grandmother never seems to disappear.  With the windows open, or with them closed, the smell is always there.  Some days the smell is so strong that I am able to taste it.

The “old person’s smell” in Grandma Maggie’s house is actually a combination of several strong scents–at least I think so.  It is so strong that my friends always make fun of me after I return home from visiting.  As a 12-year-old, I hate that.  But my friends and I all share the same problem:  our grandparents houses smell like old people.

           Grandma Maggie has the most wonderful crushed-velour sofa.  Every time I visit, I pounce on the left side with my bottom, and slid into a well-worn corner.  This is grandma’s favorite corner of the sofa.  I stand up in the center of the sofa, when grandma is not watching, and jump up and down, as if on a trampoline.  The springs are so lively that I hear their baritone “boi-yoing” sound, at times, when I jump really high. 

           The gross part of the sofa is that with each plop onto the sofa, my nose catches a scent that is forever part of the pillows.  Grandma’s pillows smell like an old person.   So, when my face touches any of them, I wrinkle my nose and try not to breathe too deeply.  The pillows smell like a combination of moth balls, lilac toilet water, chicken soup, and hand cold cream from the super market.  Old people have funny smells.

           Like her house, my Irish grandmother seems to have a scent that hovers over her all day long.  It is like an invisible cloud of scents.  Every time she walks by, or every time she grabs me for a kiss on the cheek, there is that smell—the old person’s smell!  Now, the smell is nothing terrible, and she is my grandmother.  But sometimes, I am afraid to let her kiss me.  Even her breath has a funny smell.

           Grandma Maggie washes clothes by hand in the large, black, stone wash-basin in her downstairs utility room.  In order to fill the basin, she must turn on the valves for the hot and cold water.  The water from her Artesian well always rumbles and screeches through the shaky, old metal old pipes as it fills the water heater.  The water heater makes popping and snapping sounds inside, as the water begins to heat.

After a few minutes, grandma squeaks and tweaks another valve, and then turns the old galvanized metallic faucet knobs to just where she wants them.  The hot and cold water faucets begin exhaling air.  The water begins to come out, mixed with air, first with a sputter.  Then, it is followed by a loud spurt or air and a forceful flow follows.  Eventually there is a steady stream. 

Sometimes the water looks brown and rusty, so grandma has to let the water run and run to become clear.  Rusty water tastes like metal and has a dirty smell all its own.  Ewww, more old people stuff.

           One late October weekend, while the fall leaves are quickly dropping from their trees, my parents drop me off for a weekend visit with Grandma Maggie.  She lives in the country, where the temperature is always cooler, and the air always fresher. 

Grandma is in the bathroom fixing her hair when I arrive, so I head to the sofa to make my presence known.  I have a routine to follow, you know!  So, I enjoy a few private minutes of sofa jumping.  While jumping, I can actually feel the gusty drafts coming from the window that is directly behind the sofa.

           Before Grandma comes out of the bathroom, I get bored and run outside to enjoy the wind and to play “catch the leaves.”  It’s fun to catch falling leaves and crinkle them into small pieces, by rubbing them between the palms of my hands.  As the wind gusts, leaves fall quickly to the ground, in large numbers. 

I enjoy standing under the large, twisted branches of a 30-foot tall oak tree, which is 50 yards from grandma’s house.  This tree is my favorite tree to climb in and pretend I am a bat, by hanging upside down by my legs.

           The branches of the oak tree are so long that they shade the ground for over 30 feet.  But its branches are also very creepy.  They are shaped like the arms of monsters, with long, gangly, claw-like features. 

           This oak tree is the kind of tree where the roots are like octopus tentacles, reaching out of the ground, searching for whom to latch onto.  At night I am afraid to go near this tree.  But during the day the tree is fun. 

While standing on several of its bulging roots, I try wrapping my arms around the tree trunk, but my arms are far too short.  My arms are always too short.  Old people don’t have this problem.

           The wind is now blowing strongly enough to shake the large branches.  Even three bushy-tailed, gray squirrels are bobbing their furry heads as they cling to the dark-brown, bark-covered branches with their tiny claws.  One gust of wind blows a smaller squirrel right off its branch and it falls several feet onto the ground.   Off it scampers, unhurt. 

           After playing with the falling oak leaves for a several minutes I am bored again.  So, off I run toward grandma’s house.  I decide to enter through the utility room screen door.  I grab the handle and quickly fling open the door.  I step into the soap-smell-filled utility room and immediately the wind slams the door closed, behind me.  I am afraid of that screen door.  I jump forward.  That door always seems to scare me. 

Grandma is leaning over the wash basin in the utility room when I enter.  Her feet are firmly planted on the freshly painted “battleship gray” color floor.  She shrieks and squeezes a bar of soap extra tightly in her hands.  The screen door always seems to scare Grandma Maggie too!

As she squeezes, the bar instantly fires across the room like a rocket, hits the nearest wall, and drops to the floor with a soapy thud.  But that does not matter. 

Grandma picks up the soap and giggles with a high-pitch sound, which almost sounds like her old tea kettle spout as it begins to release steam through its nozzle.  She just shakes her head.  I am watching as Grandma scrapes her dirt-covered overalls across the ribs of her well-worn washboard.  Brown lye soap is being brushed into the stains with a boars’-hair bristle brush.  The clothes are sloshing around in the basin, as grandma dips them in and out of the water. 

Grandma is forcefully rubbing each piece of clothing across the ribbing of the washboard.  I watch her arms move back-and-forth quickly.  Then my eyes open wide.  Grandma’s upper arms have lots of loose skin, and the skin flaps side-to-side, in unison with the back-and-forth strokes of the bristle brush.  Grandma switches hands and her arms really get a workout.  Grandma Maggie sure has old person’s arms and her hands smell like soap—brown, lye soap.

Wanting to get a closer look, I jump up onto a three-step stool and politely ask grandma if I could help her.  She smiles and nods her head.  When she nods, the wrinkles of her neck have a way of bunching up right under her chin.  When she smiles, the wrinkles seem to stretch and disappear.  Grandma Maggie has old person’s wrinkly neck.

           As I stand on the three-step stool, I lean over into the wash-basin to begin my work.  Grandma hands me the bar of slippery, smelly brown soap.  Then she hands me the washboard and her bristle brush.  I rub some soap into the firm bristles of the brush, dip the brush in the basin water and begin to brush away a stain on one of grandma’s kitchen towels. 

           I am so confident that I could easily handle this chore that I rise up onto my toes, grab the washboard with my left hand, and slap the towel onto the ribs with my right hand.

           I begin a rhythmic-like stroke, up-and-down, dragging the brush bristles over the washboard ribs, with only a towel separating the two.  I bear down and, as I do, slip my tongue out of my mouth, to wet my upper lip.  With one strong down-stroke of my right hand, my body weight shifts and I slide off the stool and land head-first into the half-filled wash basin.  I thought I was going to drown.  I was gurgling soapy water and it tasted awful.  I even hit my head on the bottom of the stone basin.  I am afraid of that stool.

           Grandma Maggie lifts me up by my shirt collar.  I am dripping wet and coughing very loudly.  I look over at grandma and she is laughing and smiling, which means the wrinkles on her neck are gone.

           Besides being wet, I quickly realize that I now smell like an old person.  I smell like Grandma Maggie’s house and hands more than ever.  I smell like her!  I am afraid at what my friends going to say about this?  Oh well!  I accomplish one thing by falling into the basin.  I won’t need for a bath at the end of the day. 

Grandma Maggie hugged me later that evening and said I smelled really good.  I asked myself, how can an “old person smell” be good?  Then it hit me.  I was busy wasting far too much time on what I did not want to smell like that I missed something very important.  If being old, and smelling like an old person, was good enough for “my” grandmother, then it was good enough for me.

I am trying to remember to ask Grandma Maggie one question before bedtime.  “What is Fels Naptha, anyway?

Ms. Interpretation

24 May

“He is a fool who thinks by force or skill to turn the current of a woman’s will.”  (Thomas More)

I was sipping my coffee this morning and, in-between paying bills and prepping for the day, a bit of humor emerged from the midst of the mundane.  In other words, my brain was seeking its own entertainment.  Sorry guys, my mind sometimes works to the chagrin of others and this blog will prove to be no exception.  The reader might very well consider most of what I write along the lines of “sigh”-chology.  Be that as it may (I love colloquialisms too), I am smiling at the possibility of the trouble I am going to get myself into this morning.  Want to know why I say “trouble”?  I bet you do!

Well, hold on tightly.  Here is my first crack at trouble:  I think women interpret things so very differently than men interpret things.  In fact, women have a higher tendency, or let’s call it a gift, an intuition, to “read into things” much more deeply than we men read into things.  I think most readers know exactly to that which I am refer. 

As a result of this intuitive “reading,” women may be more prone to misinterpretation.  Now, if you are interpreting what I just wrote, you missed the part where I said women MAY BE MORE PRONE.  Make no mistake about it, women do not corner the market on misinterpretation.  Men are also prone toward this!

Uh oh!  I can hear it now.  “What does he mean by that?” 

See what I mean? 

All the men are nodding their heads in agreement, folding their arms and loving that someone finally told it like it is.   The women are trying to figure out some elaborate and grand interpretation. 

OK, stop.  STOP! 

Men are more apt to take things at face-value.  We say, “I love you,” it’s precisely what it means.   If we say “I love you,” we are not thinking compared to whom, or more than so-and-so, or she is better to love than Gertrude.  When we love we are not saying it to have you think, “OK, what does he mean by this, and how much does he love me?”  We are not trying to get something from you.  How shallow is that?  We mean it at face-value.  Too often, men cease using the words and resort to love-actions.  Actions speak louder than words, and are often less misinterpreted.

Allow me to illustrate.  Women love diamonds.  They are told that “Diamonds are forever.”  Marilyn Monroe sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”  We get it.  We really get it.  Women love stuff.  By contrast, man’s best friend is “dog.”  We love our dogs.  We love our women.  Face-value, ladies!  FACE-VALUE.  We don’t love our women like we love our dogs.  And we don’t treat our dogs like we treat our women.  (I can hear the mumbling and gossip now. “Yeah, they treat their dogs better.”  See?  You did it again)  Now, just pretend you understand and we’ll buy you a diamond ring, or a set of earrings.  There!  Is that better? 

There is truth in the statement that sometimes men think you love them as you love your diamonds.  Thus, we believe that you conclude we love you like we love our dogs.  Speaking on behalf of most men (and I surveyed millions of men just this morning), we separate the things and people we love.  This is called compartmentalization.  We love stuff.  We love people.  These are different loves.  Get it?  Cool!  You keep this up, and we are going to throw in a necklace with the ring and earrings.  Are you smiling yet?

Second point to be made is this:  Women see body language, and they interpret.  Not only do they interpret body language, but women interpret another woman’s interpretation of body language.  Nuances in words are interpreted.  Looks are interpreted always seeking meaning and even motivation.  Mind if I ask just what language is being used to “interpret” these things?  For men, it’s seems kind of foreign. 

OK, play a little game with me this morning. 

It’s spring.  The birds are chirping, trees are blooming (No allergies are allowed in my game), and you are young all over again.  A guy sees your gorgeous visage, closes his eyes and drinks in your perfume.  He is lost in the rapture of your voice, and you are both 17, once again.  You watch all of this.  Your heart is touched.  He opens his eyes, saunters on over to where you are seated.  He smiles and says, “I think I’m in love.”  Your eyes meet and you smile. 

INTERPRET PLEASE! 

For the guy, at that moment he thinks he is in love.  What do YOU think?  Is he is love with you?  Is the young man in love with someone else, something else?  WHAT?

Do you hear wedding bells?  Are you seeing something that he does not see?  Is he a keeper?  Is he even yours at all?  Do you size him up, like a pair of shoes?  Does he have the potential to be an excellent father and grandfather?  Is he going to be rich?  I am waiting for an answer.

“The so-called weaker sex is the stronger sex because of the weakness of the stronger sex for the weaker sex.” (Anonymous)

Women and men are different and that’s the way it is supposed to be.  Our brains and hearts are wired differently to complement each other, and not just for the couple’s benefit, either.  Raising children is a chore done best with both male and female present.  No apologies for that.  Children in schools have female teachers so much more than they have male teachers.  Students are taught from female perspectives more than from male perspectives.  I wonder what to make of that (flipping the tables on you).  But we’ll save that discussion for another time.  You bring the remote and we’ll bring the earrings. 

I am just lost this morning how Ms. Interpretation and Ms. Construe have become best friends–soul mates, as it were.  Men should take a lesson.  A good place to start is in the kitchen.  Consider the old Home-Economics teacher who “espoused” . . .

“Help your wife . . . When she washes the dishes, wash the dishes with her.  When she mops the floor, mop the floor with her.” 

Stop interpreting ladies!  We mean well.  For once, just once, would you mind sitting up nice and tall, open your mouths, begin to pant like our presence touches your existence, and look at us like we are sovereigns?  We have diamonds! 

Oh Baby!

16 Dec

Babies have a way of finding crannies of love that we hide from others.  The alcoves of our souls hide things that only God, Himself, knows of and can pinpoint.  Yet, there are those little ones who open us wide to the world–even if guarded, as such.  Think about it.  One baby in a room of adults reduces most of us to mere functional illiterates by choice.  We become entranced by the bald-headed, toothless squirmers.   

I remember talking to my own children.  “You wan Dada to bwring your baba or bankie?”  I won’t go into all the baby-talk, or nicknames my wife and I had for our children.  Some of them are hilarious, that is for sure. If you are like we are, you might still find the urge to pop one of them from time-to-time, just for the sake of reaction. 

There aren’t too many of us that are able to hold back baby-talk when face-to-face with a little life in our presence.  We sing to our babies in the womb.  We talk to them, and we pray for them.  W teach them nursery rhymes, tell them stories of our childhood (maybe just a bit embellished), and instruct them in praying before bedtime.  Remember those fun days, before they sat on the sides of their beds and cried for no reasons at all, or got quiet when held accountable?  Recall the moments when we asked them “What’s wrong,” only to hear in return, “Nothin”?  I surely remember them!  In fact, there are times I’d like to sit on the side of my own bed and cry a little for myself, these days.  It is sometimes a good thing to feel sorry for ourselves, as adults, at least for fifteen minutes, before someone asks for money, or the cell phone rings. 

Why do babies bring out the best in us?  A giggle, two tiny dimples, a gummy smile, flailing hands and stumpy toes, their splashing arms and legs during baths–capped off by their pudgy, wrinkly feet, capping off the ends of their soft and supple smallness.  All of this serves to remind us of life’s simplicities and basic human needs.  Babies also remind us of the necessity of the protection they need.  The trust they place in adults is astounding.  But they learn quickly.  Once they figure out that we are not really perfect, all things begin to change.  If you are like me you are torn by those early years, sometimes longing for them again—but happy also not to have to repeat those long nights, illnesses, and the like.  Why can’t they stay little forever.  Have you ever wanted that?  Nah!  There are grandchildren for those reasons.  Right?

Babies are signals of life.  They are reminders that the future is the present.  They comprise the past through one’s DNA and heritage.  They consume the present and they portend the future.  Babies are the miracles that are united from one sperm and one egg–gestating over time–to become the “other” us.  With each birth of our children we are reminded that “WE” are with us.  We are connected and that’s that.

Here in this sophisticated new millennium we tend the place things which has the sense of the miraculous, such as child birth, in the realm of the ordinary.  Each conception brings into existence an absolutely unique entity, a person of the most distinct, individual “being.”  We are all unique and the mold is broken with each one of us.  However, we have this little nature thing, with which to contend.  Therein lies the problem!

Imagine for a moment that your teenage daughter came home one day and told you that she was impressed in her spirit about something incredibly unique.  What if she told you that an angel of God had told her that she was specially favored among all other young teenagers of the day?  Assume, then, that sometime later she informed you that she was pregnant, yet maintained that she was still a virgin–untouched by any man sexually.  To make matters more concerning, imagine your single, teenage daughter had been engaged to a man more than twice her age–and that the engagement was going to be broken by the man, once he discovered your daughter was pregnant.  I know, I know . . . I see your faces now.  Yet, I do think you know where I am going with this.  The philosopher Paul C. Vitz asks us to “Consider that Mary was pregnant with Jesus today.”  I also ask us to do the same.

What are the chances that the parents of this pregnant teenage girl would have shuffled her off to the local Planned Parenthood clinic?  What would her friends and contemporaries say?  Speaking as one who was conceived prior to marriage, I kind of identify with that last statement, in terms of its implications.  Know that I mean?  No, I am not claiming divinity, personally—but divinity as a delicacy–that stuff it freakin’ awesome!

The prophet Isaiah (ca 800 BC) stated:  “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)  A miracle baby son, a virgin, and the name translated to mean “God with us” (Immanuel)  Hmmmm.  Most interesting.

The disciple Matthew Levi (1st century AD), the tax gatherer wrote:  “And Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.  But when he had considered this, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’  Now all this took place that which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet shall be fulfilled . . .” (Matthew 1:19-24)

The Christmas holiday (derived from “holy-day”) is about the advent of Jesus, the baby, and the beginning of His earthly pilgrimage.  The birth occurred more than likely during the summer months and there was no snow.  That reminds me, what happens in Australia during December in the Northern Hemisphere?  I hope Santa’s varicosities aren’t too apparent with those pasty legs of his in those shorts.

John 1 speaks also to this event “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1; 1, 14).

This baby Jesus is the gift that keeps on reminding us of our flesh and mortality.  The baby reminds us of our beginning and the blessings we are to others.  But why do we keep Him in a manger?  Why is Christmas about jesus as a baby only? 

Is it because there is no room in the “inn of our hearts?”  Babies are no threat.  Babies do not challenge the way we live.  Babies are the miracle gifts in-and-of-themselves.  But babies do grow up into young adults and then enter adulthood.  Apparently King Herod had serious fears of the baby Jesus, for he had all male children slaughtered, age-two and under.  This infanticide occurred in Bethlehem and its surrounding environs (Matthew 2:16).  Herod feared all of this talk about the birth of a king, a messiah, would diminish his sovereignty over the land.  So the child Jesus and His parents went to Egypt until King Herod had died.  Afterwards, they returned to their homeland.

One interesting piece of trivia from the Hebrew language is quite telling.  The name “Beth-lehem,” actually means “House of Bread.”  Later Jesus was given the title “Bread of life,” and communion would be taken at “the Last Supper,” to symbolize His crucified and broken body.  Part of the communion remembrance today using crackers or bread illustrates the “broken bread” of life.  Who would have ever thought that the bread of life would have been born in a house of bread?  All of this is derived from the Christmas story?  Yes indeed! 

Another point of interest was that when the wise men came to visit Jesus, He was already a toddler.  The Magi were the ones who tipped off Herod, and this was the reason for the age-2 on down slaughter of the innocents.  So, we celebrate the baby Jesus, but we really should be celebrating the toddler, at least in my mind.  But no toddler I know would stay in a crib.  As far as my kids were concerned, they kept jumping out, or falling on their heads.  That might explain a few things.  Now my father’s statements to me in my youth ring clear.  He used to ask, “What is the matter with you?  Did you play too many football games without a helmet?”  I never figured out “how many” was too many. 

Some 2,000 years after the birth of Jesus, his infancy still impacts the world.  While some wanted to make Him an Excellency, believers see Him as their Sufficiency, beginning with infancy.  The commemoration of Jesus’ birth is the real reason we celebrate by giving “gifts” to each other.  He was the ultimate gift to the world.  The reason for the season is ultimately for His pleasin’.

A second gift was given to us by the resurrected Jesus, just prior to His ascension.  Luke, the physician, records in Acts 1:3:  “. . . He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things to come . . . He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised . . .”

Jesus told His followers: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:15-16).  The Holy Spirit is the gift that keeps on giving. 

During this festive season of holidays, may we Christians celebrate like never before.  May we live and love like never before.  The baby has grown, lived, and He has changed the world.  He died, resurrected, and ascended.  Don’t you think it is time to be Christ-like in ways that show we’ve left our own “Christian cribs” (apologies to the hip-hop community)?  On Christmas, are we going to ask our families to pass the milk or pass the meat?

I dare say when we celebrate our own birthdays we do not present each other with kind notions of the time we spent in the crib.  We celebrate our birthdays as we are now.  I also know a little about this, having a birthday in the same month as the Christmas holiday.

Dear believer, let us celebrate the holiday as He is NOW in our lives.  May we look back to the past, while living in the present–knowing that we have a future with Him.   May our baby-talk grow into a mature contagious conversation, coupled with a powerful Christian walk.  May this walk evidence movement in the right direction, joined by the fruit of the Spirit.  No, I did not say fruitcake.  Unlike divinity, THAT stuff is so nasty, and is the evil twin of the yule log.

Thank you for reading!

OK, where’s my egg-nog? 

Feliz Navidad!

Rozhdyestvom Christovom

Buon Natale

Merry Christmas

Choices

1 Dec

Choices

By Ernie Zarra, 2010

They say it’s time to make a choice

‘Tween going right, and what is left

And with each choice, a still small voice

Emerges from the cleft.

 

Choose ye, O soul, which path to take

The marvel of the will

With good the outcome, it to make

‘Tis better than standing still.

What’s In Your Closet?

16 Nov

They we were, in our darkened kitchen, just a few short years ago.  My wife, our daughter, and her visiting friend—surrounded by all sorts of “goodies.”  We were huddled around the kitchen table for an additional and unconventional kind of holiday goodie. 

But first a little background.  A few years back, our daughter was home from college for the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family.  It was such a great time.  The day was peaceful, the food delicious, and the fellowship fun.  Fun, that is, until someone suggested that I break out the old 16mm film projector.  I winced at the suggestion.  However, I am such a softie when it comes to those kids of ours—and my daughter is no exception.  So, when she began the “please dad,” routine, I gave in and headed for the closet under the stairs.  I hate the closet under the stairs.  That closet has a door for a reason.

When my kids were very young, I made up this story that a spanking machine was hidden in the deep, dark recesses of that closet.  Not sure why I said that, but it seemed to work as a deterrent for awhile.  They stayed out of the closet.  The door stayed closed and everyone was happy.  Happy, that is, until I acquiesced to the heart-tugs of the day in question.

There I stood, like a man about to head off to war—a real dilemma on my hands.  Finally, I decided to tackle the challenge.  As I opened the closet door, I was one sorry man.  How in the world could so much junk be piled in such a small closet?  I live with a group of wonderful people, but let me tell you something.  There is a philosophy that pervades my busy family. The philosophy is this:  “What we can’t see can’t hurt us.”   Sheeesh!  The converse is equally as true.  Things fell down onto my feet and I let out frustrated, “ouch!”  Snickers were heard from the kitchen. 

“Funny,” I yelled.  Snickers turned to cackles.  For a second, I thought I lived with a bun of hens.

Instead of going through the accumulated piles of junk and discarding what is NOT needed, my family loves to just transfer messes to other vacant spaces.  Believe me when I tell you this:  THE CLOSET INTO WHICH I AM STARING IS TOTALLY FULL!

There I was, dealing with someone else’s junk pile just to find the projector. 

“Happy Thanksgiving to you too!”

The deeper I dug into the middle of the pile of papers, furniture, blankets, etc., the more I became frustrated.  I was frustrated now for a little different reason.  I was realizing most of the junk I was tossing about was MINE–ALL MINE!  I could not believe I kept all that stuff.  I was surely glad no one was videotaping my search for the distant past.  But being the man on a mission, I kept my discoveries quiet.  A guy’s got a reputation to uphold, you know.  [Now, I am snickering]

Anyway, let me get to the point.  I did find the projector and the old reels of film in the same box.  I yanked the box from its mooring, which was between two chairs.  I snatched up the box and paraded back into the kitchen like some sort of hero. 

Soon, we would begin the trip down memory lane.  I thought to myself, “this is going to be fun.” 

There is something special about the clicking sounds that accompany the showing of 16mm films, as the projector labors to advance the film frame-by frame.  There is a certain synchronicity that is almost mesmerizing to the listener.  One good thing about silent 16mm films is that running verbal commentary does not at all harm the viewing.  Some people can be so rude to the elderly who just like to reminisce out loud. 

I guess the reasons I am sharing this story are highly personal and somewhat simplistic.  You see, as the projector clicked and clacked, I watched my own life roll before me.  As the images flashed on the screen in faded colors, I began to stare at my wife.  I then extended gazes to my daughter and my son.  Amidst the comments of how skinny and young we were, the baby baths and tricycle rides–and the laughter about our clothes and hair styles–there were so many nonverbal sensitive moments.  I felt a little like a god, watching his creation adore the very objects which I adored, and in which I played a role in making.

As the last film reel neared its end, I was struck anew with the reality that none of us is immutable–yet can love and be loved consistently and unconditionally.  Our lives are but whispers, non-ubiquitous and momentary, yet here we are–STILL!.  Our whispers are slowing and our ubiquity not as prominent.  The years do take their toll.

There is something about the past that provokes a sense of urgency.  For me, that night, the past cut through the present clutter of life and allowed me to resurrect reality in fresh ways.  Definitely, I am little heavier.  For certain I am a lot older, and a little grayer.  Despite these realities, I am a whole lot more appreciative.  I appreciate my wife and my children so much more.  I am struck with a line from Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”  Senator Jefferson Smith, speaking via his filibuster in the Senate, stated:  “I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these senators didn’t start out life as boys.” 

Some people find skeletons in their closets.  My life is no exception.  It’s just that some of these skeletons are a little younger and a lot more nimble, so as to hide themselves in life’s clutter.  There was no spanking machine at the back of the closet.  There was only a box of memories that gently patted my heart. 

This Thanksgiving will be the first holiday without my father.  He passed away from nasty brain June 6, 2010.  I plan to wear my specially made cremation jewelry, so as to keep him with me as I carve the turkey.  It was my dad’s gentle hand of guidance that showed me how to carve the delicious bird.  I am sure when I get to those special parts of this year’s ancient film festival, where my dad appears, it will bring both old and new emotions to an emotional junction.  But it’s all good.  It’s all purposeful.  It’s all from God.

God’s gift to us is people.  God’s gift to other people are our memories of them—the likes of which can never be kept hidden in a closet. 

What’s in YOUR closet this holiday season?  Care to make some special memories during this year’s holidays?  It might very well be the last ones you will ever make.  Go ahead, I dare you.  Open the door . . .

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