For better or for worse

The David Brooks interview on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS will become a future Ed Ackerman column in Greater Pittston Progress, I’m sure. But for now, allow me to pass along one of his comments. It’s something that could make your marriage happier, if not downright save it, and therefore cannot wait. Brooks is an author and columnist for the New York Times. I recommend his book The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement. My wife taped the interview and as we watched it Tuesday evening, I couldn’t type notes into my iPhone fast enough.… Continue Reading

On Good Friday

Somehow the thing that struck me most in Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus is his account of Christ’s executioners on the morning of the day of the crucifixion, Good Friday as we now call it. He depicts these powerful men, the “football stars” of their day, if you will, getting ready for what promises to be a big day. They chow down at breakfast much like today’s athletes on game day. After all, they are going to need their strength. Of course, before the day is over, they are going to get a lesson in true strength. And it has… Continue Reading

A gentle giant

My wife got the call Wednesday. Our friend and neighbor Bobby Waitkevich had died. The call came from his sister Margaret (Zellner). It reminded us of the day she called to say her mother was gone. That was close to 15 years ago. We swear it hastened the death of our own mom. She and Mazie Waitkevich were close friends. Margaret cried with us when our mom died and especially when our sister Barbara passed away. She was a few years younger than Barbie but there was a time when those two girls were inseparable. In summer they practically lived… Continue Reading

Tying one one

I don’t drink during Lent, but that did not stop me from tying one on for St. Patrick’s Day. And several people at the 102nd annual Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Dinner Thursday night complimented me for doing so. See, wearing a bow tie is one thing, but wearing a bow tied you tied yourself is quite another. On Thursday, of course, mine was Kelly green. I often say it was Esquire but I believe it was actually in GQ that I read a gentleman should be able to tie a bow tie because at the end of… Continue Reading

On the eve of St. Paddy’s Day

Surrounded on a daily basis by Watson, Feeney, Cosgrove, O’Donnell, Carmody, Corcoran and McAndrew, the first 23 years of my newspaper career had all the Irish influence a lad could ask for … or stomach. And that from a guy with a fair amount of Irish blood (my mom’s mom was a Moran, her proud roots going back to County Mayo and County Sligo.) I shared a memory of James “Spot” O’Donnell, whom I called a 365-day-a-year Irishman, last time out. Here are a couple more. William A. Watson Jr., son of the founder of the Sunday Dispatch and eventual… Continue Reading

Blarney, at its best

With the Pittston St. Patrick’s Day parade behind us, two more gala parades this weekend and St. Patrick’s Day, itself, still six days away, “going green” seems to have taken on a whole new meaning. At least in March. Which must please my old pal James “Spot” O’Donnell to no end. I always referred to Spot, former head pressman at the Sunday Dispatch who’s now in his 90s, as a 365-day-a-year Irishman. When he bought and refurbished an old mansion at Harvey’s Lake in the late ’60s, he named the property “O’Donnell’s Donegal Hill,” and asked me to paint a… Continue Reading

Don’t worry, be happy

By now you’ve heard Pennsylvania has a new slogan. Pennsylvania, Pursue Your Happiness It’s inspired by the Declaration of Independence’s “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Inspired, yes. Inspiring? Well … How many of you can name the last slogan? If you said “The State of Independence,” you’re right. Raise your hand if you thought it was still “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania.” Actually, that was three slogans ago. Four, if you count the new one. With tourism the third biggest industry in the Commonwealth, behind health care and agriculture, a good slogan, I suppose, has value. Which… Continue Reading

March Madness starts here

It comes down to logistics, plain and simple. And logistics means pretty much where to park the car. You don’t wade into the St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza in downtown Pittston without careful consideration as to where to park the car. Yes, St. Patrick’s Day itself is nearly two weeks away, but Pittston will be going green on Saturday, March 5. Which is, like, tomorrow. So the plan better come together quickly. I will be walking in the parade with the rest of my Greater Pittston Progress chums. We, along with our parent company are parade sponsors. When your name is… Continue Reading

Watson, Sr.

I’ve known one “Leap Year Baby.” William A. Watson Sr. came into the world one February 29. “Bill” to his longtime friend and newspaper colleague Dick Cosgrove, “Dad” to his son “Pidge,” who worked right alongside him at the Sunday Dispatch and later inherited the position of editor and publisher, and “Mister” to just about everyone else, was my first editor. I was 17 years old. I remember him saying when he turned 64, “This is actually just my 16th birthday.” Mr. Watson had an uncanny feel for the newspaper business, especially community journalism. When, in 1947, as the shining… Continue Reading