Irish wit

Speakers attempting to make us laugh tomorrow night at the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Banquet have their work cut out for them if they hope to top previous banquets. One of the best at having banquet-goers rolling in the aisles was the late State Rep. Tom Tigue. (For the record, it still hurts like hell to type “the late” in front of Tom’s name.) Tom’s deadpan delivery made his jokes all the funnier. Here’s one: Pat and Mike were out fishing on Galway Bay. Mike reels in a leprechaun who tells him he will grant him a… Continue Reading

Ah, Mencken

I am too young to remember H.L. Mencken. He died in 1956, around the time I was in kindergarten. But I quote him all the time. I’m not sure how I became aware of Mencken, the writer and satirist for The Baltimore Sun, but I suspect it was through William Zinnser, author of the book “On Writing Well.” Zinsser refers to Mencken often and that sent me in search of him. I quoted Mencken as recently as a couple of weeks ago when my wife and I went to a restaurant for the first time and ran into a priest… Continue Reading

Each snowfall makes time melt away

My wife insists on buying me a snowblower. “Please don’t,” I tell her. In fall, it’s a leaf blower. Or one of those vacuum devices that will mulch them. I implore her not to. Her heart’s in the right place. Which means she’s concerned about my heart. But my heart is the precise reason why I need to keep shoveling snow and raking leaves. Not my physical heart. My spiritual one. See, I never shovel snow or rake leaves alone. I do it with my dad. He died in 1994, just a few days after Christmas. But since then he’s… Continue Reading

I don’t golf, but …

As we do every year, my wife and I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Monday. Mary Kay says this jumpstarts her spring fever. My jumpstart comes much earlier. It’s the first time I see a TV commercial for “The Masters on CBS.” And that happened this year somewhere around the time of the Super Bowl. True, they start plugging it early (the tournament does not begin until April 5) but that’s okay by me. Just the thought of The Masters tells me spring will come again. And although it has come in each of my 68 years on… Continue Reading

Boring is as boring does

I didn’t hear the radio show, but a friend told me there was quite a discussion yesterday after a survey listed Bloomsburg as the most boring town in Pennsylvania? Bloomsburg? No way. When I think of Bloomsburg, the last thing I’d ever think of is boring. Bloomsburg to me is the scene of some of the most exciting times of my life. Of course, those memories are close to 50 years old. The first girl who ripped my heart out and stomped on it was a student at Bloomsburg College (now University). Despite how our relationship ended, we spent more… Continue Reading

Now just trying to live without it

Now just trying to live without it Every time they thanked me for my patronage at the unique little gift shop at the corner of William Street and Main in downtown Pittston I stopped them. I told them my shopping sprees there were purely selfish. I wanted to help them be successful because I wanted them to always be there when I needed them. It was all about me. But, alas, it wasn’t enough. My heart broke when I heard the shop with the unfortunately misleading name “Live with It” had closed its doors. It pains me to drive by… Continue Reading

What might have been

Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’ – John Greenleaf Whittier Which is why I believe a silver medal in an Olympic event can be so painful and a bronze so cherished. This John Greenlead Whittier quote occurred to me as I watched that Canadian ice hockey player take off her silver medal in apparent disgust on the podium following her team’s loss to the U.S. women.She has since apologized for her actions, but I understand. For some, winning the silver may bring too much pain to bear because the gold… Continue Reading

Presenting porketta

Our niece and nephew in Roanoke, Virginia, have always loved us, but now they love us a little more. In addition to presents for their twin boys, Remy and Emmett, celebrating their second birthday, and for big sister, Coco, three-and-a-half, we showed up last weekend with a porketta from Johnny Morgan’s butcher shop, just a few doors away from our home in Pittston. We introduced them to porketta on New Year’s Day, also explaining the tradition of eating pork on the first day of the year. Eat pork and you’ll slide through the year, living off the fat of the… Continue Reading

Hiding the Chinas

Like many of my early childhood memories I don’t actually remember this. I’ve just heard my mom tell it so many times I think I do. My mom, the story goes, had these two figurines of Chinese women. They weren’t expensive, she’d always point out, but I, just a toddler at the time, loved them. And lived in fear that they might get broken. Especially by my mischievous cousins who came to visit from time to time. “Got to hide the Chinas,” I’d announce the minute I heard they were coming and I wouldn’t rest until my mom put them… Continue Reading

If you called it love, it was

A few years ago a friend sent me one of those emails. You know the kind. Take this survey, send it to ten friends. I hate those things. This one claimed if you got your friends to answer all of the questions you will get to know them in a deeper way. Right. No way was I going to pester my friends with this thing. But I did read through the questions and the responses of the friend who sent it. The second last one was: “Who will be the first of your friends to respond to this?” There was… Continue Reading