Tuesdays with trash

While it sure seems like we just rang in a New Year a few weeks ago, it is not the speed with which another New Year’s Day rolls around that makes me feel my life is flying by. It’s garbage night. They collect garbage in my neighborhood Wednesday mornings, early Wednesday mornings, which means every Tuesday night, I tie up yet another big green bag, sometimes two, put a lime green sticker on it (lime green is this year’s color) and cart it out to the curb. Then I go to bed and do the same thing the very next… Continue Reading

The Christmas date

If I’m being flippant and someone asks, “What’s the secret to a happy marriage?” I quip, “That’s easy. Marry your second wife first.” But I have a better answer. A serious one. “Don’t stop dating,” I will tell a young couple on their wedding day. I told it to my son and his bride last July. I tell it to my daughter and her husband all the time. Courtship is crucial to falling in love. We go out for dinner, take a ride in the country, go skiing and linger in the lodge over hot chocolate, meet for coffee, skip… Continue Reading

My mom, the sleuth

It’s not like our family was that big, about 12 of us when all the kids were grown and married, but Mom decided one year buying Christmas presents for everyone was getting too expensive and we needed a solution. The solution was to pick a name out of a hat and everyone would buy one present for one relative. A “Secret Santa,” I guess. None of us were thrilled about it, but we went along and tried to make the most of it. One way was to make the selection process a big deal. We did so at Thanksgiving right… Continue Reading

Christmas bells are ringing

Nothing makes me more aware of the rapid passing of time than my involvement with the Greater Pittston Salvation Army Advisory Board. In the blink of an eye I went from the 34-year-old “baby” on the board in 1984 to the member with the second longest tenure. How did that happen? My Salvation Army memories, often shared in my newspaper column, are many. My favorite stars the late Jimmy Condosta, board treasurer in those early years. At one meeting during the Christmas season, Major Ruth Pryce told us about the night the Salvation Army van conked out. It was dark… Continue Reading

Not a Christmas Carole, but …

“Some kind of wonderful” was the headline in the Chicago Tribune entertainment section one day during Thanksgiving Weekend. I didn’t read the headline, I sang it. In my head, that is. Funny how everything I sing in my head is in perfect pitch. Not so when I try to make it come out of my mouth. But that’s another story. The headline was over an article about the premier of the musical “Beautiful” in Chicago the following Tuesday. We were in town to celebrate Thanksgiving with my son and daughter-in-law but had to return home on Sunday. Had we not,… Continue Reading

Dad knew the drill

I saw my Dad in the main character, the one played by Dana Andrews, in the movie “The Best Years of Our Lives.” Like him, my dad returned from hero status in World War II to slim job opportunities. As such, there wasn’t much money around when we were kids. We didn’t know that though. Truth is, we thought we had it made. Especially at Christmas. There was always plenty of good food, plenty of presents, and a finely decorated tree. It wasn’t until I was a grown man that I learned of Dad’s annual Christmas tree routine. While trees… Continue Reading

Putting the ‘X’ in Christmas

My classmates in Leadership Wilkes-Barre (Class of ’99) used to joke that every time I opened my mouth it sounded like an ad for Luzerne County Community College. It became a running gag. Like all running gags it was funny because it was mostly true. Today’s comment harkens back to those days. It may at first appear I am just shamelessly plugging the LCCC student radio station, WSFX. But the truth is, I am trying to do you a favor. See, if you ask me, the best Christmas music in Northeastern Pennsylvania by far is being played on the student… Continue Reading


A hallmark of us Baby Boomers is that we all believe we look younger than our ages. Believe it, heck, we know it. Which makes what I am about to share with you even richer. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I walked out of Redner’s Supermarket only to notice a six-pack of Coke in plastic bottles lying in the parking lot. It was dark and a little difficult to see, but sure enough, it was a six-pack of Coke which most likely had fallen from someone’s shopping cart. I picked it up and wondered aloud what to… Continue Reading

A Duryea legend

“Munda.” Ed Gromelski’s nickname had to have something to do with his stature, his no-nonsense attitude, his depth of character, his physical prowess. It must be Native American, I always thought. Something the Iroquois called braves as powerful and true as Ed Gromelski. Or Eastern European perhaps. A word his ancestors used for the best of their clan. Turns out I was closer on that second one, but far off just the same. “Munda” is just a nickname for anyone named Edmund, Ed’s son Ed, another Munda, told me Monday night at his dad’s viewing. “Well, he redefined it,” I… Continue Reading