Tony Timonte’s death makes years melt away

I bumped into Dr. Sam Rizzo at General Hospital the week before last and in the course of our conversation he brought up remembering a little boy in the yard next-door when he was just a tyke and how the two of them played separately but together on either side of the fence between them. I knew he would bring that up because whenever he sees me he brings it up. See, I was that other little boy. That memory and dozens of others came rushing back in the last few days since I learned of the death and attended… Continue Reading

Oscars ‘Foster’ fond memories

You don’t forget a name like Foster Ritchie. And I am lucky enough to have two of them to not forget. I met Foster Sr. first. He showed up in my backyard the very day I moved into a home in Forty Fort in 1983, telling me “You got yourself a well built house there, son,” and offering to loan me any type of tool any time I needed it. He had no way of knowing how tool challenged I am. One day he invited me over to his garage where a tarp covered what could only be an automobile.… Continue Reading

‘Snow day’ a tough call

What ever happened to Doppler Radar? That’s what I want to know. All we hear about now are American models and European models, and which will prove correct. Not that Doppler Radar was all that impressive. I recall thinking when it first made the scene that what it seemed to do was tell us if it were raining or snowing outside at that moment. In other words, it replaced the good ole hand out the window. I also recall thinking that when I was a kid I had my own version of Doppler Radar. It was the street light on… Continue Reading

Can’t be vain on Ash Wednesday

My Uncle Eddie happened to be visiting a few years ago on Ash Wednesday, and as I donned my coat and told him I had to excuse myself because I was off to church to get ashes, he quipped, “Well, I hope the priest doesn’t have any trouble finding your forehead.” Real cut-up that Uncle Eddie. By then, my forehead was pretty close to uniting with the back of my neck. Gee, was it that long ago that under similar circumstances my mom had said, “How do you expect the priest to put ashes on your forehead with that Beatles’… Continue Reading

Love is silly

Love is silly. If you don’t believe me, you haven’t been shopping for valentines. It’s difficult not to feel silly when buying a card with a cute little bunny, or puppy, or kitty cat expressing your “wuv” for your sweetheart. “Wuv?” Do you ever wonder why we talk baby talk to our partners? The answer is rather simple. How else would you talk to someone you call your baby? “Babe,” Sonny and Cher sang, “I got you, Babe.” We all knew what they meant, but did we ever wonder why? Why we call our love interests Babe? A quick internet… Continue Reading

Big Gene

“Are you Ackerman?” Gene Guarilia asked after working his way through a crowd in the back yard of Thomas R. Kelly’s home in Duryea, surprisingly in search of me. I did not have to ask who he was. He was head coach of the first-ever Pittston Area basketball team, but more than that, he was the guy with the four NBA championship rings. It was the night of my high school graduation, June something, 1967, and we were at Mr. Kelly’s (he was our principal) for a party. His daughter, Janet, was our classmate. “That was a heck of a… Continue Reading

An ‘ode’ to comfort food

If summer came right after Christmas how trim and fit I might be. I’d eat berries for breakfast, salads for lunch and then tackle un-trimming the tree. I’d pull on my gym shorts and sneakers and off I’d go for a run. All those leftover holiday cookies would be so much easier to shun. The prospect of donning a swimsuit would be motivation enough for me to ignore that big box of chocolates or have just one, instead of three. But the gods had another idea which to my waistline has not been kind. Christmas ushers in winter and a… Continue Reading

Good advice from Mary C. Granahan

“You learn a lot in 100 years” was the theme of Dodge’s 2015 Super Bowl commercial. To tie in with Dodge’s own 100th anniversary, the commercial featured centenarians giving advice on how to live to such a ripe old age. “Always tell the truth,” one said. “There are miracles all around you,” added another. “Keep your eyes open,” offered another, “and your mouth shut.” “Never forget where you came from,” said one more. As I watched the game and the commercials I had no idea there was an email waiting for me from my friend Tom Granahan. He was writing… Continue Reading