This explains everything

Rachael was into the Zodiac. I mean, really into the Zodiac. I did not know this until she approached me about a month into a fall semester more than 15 years ago and asked me what is my sign. “Scorpio,” I said. “Impossible!” she squealed. “Nothing about you says Scorpio.” “Nevertheless,” I answered. She was beside herself. “I have to run your chart,” she demanded. Luckily my mother was still alive because Rachael needed to know the precise time of my birth. After a few days she came back with an answer. “I’ve got it,” she said with much delight.… Continue Reading

The day Mikey was born

I am writing this on Tuesday, Sept. 27, the day Mikey was born. Thirty years ago on this day, my son Michael and the story I made up for my daughter about his birth came into being. I’ve re-told her that story on this date almost every year since. I’ve sometimes called it “The Day Mikey was Born” and sometimes “The Night Mikey was Born,” but the story remains the same. If this sounds familiar it’s because I’ve shared it before. Greta, three-and-a-half at the time, slept peacefully with her grandparents, my mom and dad, keeping an eye on her… Continue Reading

Bingo this

You just never know where a conversation will go. This one started with First Baptist Church and wound up with an uncomfortable reminder of my gene pool. Across the table Wednesday evening at the Tomato Bar, Ron Faraday, energetic president of the Pittston Historical Society, sipped a Miller Lite. I, the somewhat disappointing chair of his board of directors, had just joined him bringing along from the bar a Newcastle Brown Ale. I’m sure part of the reason for our get together was for him to reinvigorate me. And it worked. But I, too, had an agenda. On Sunday I… Continue Reading

Coco’s first ice cream

Alicia was just a tyke when I started dating her Aunt Mary Kay. She became the first family member to meet me when we went out for a burger one Sunday afternoon. When she got home, her mom, Mary Kay’s sister, was waiting at the door. “What was he like?” she was eager to know. “He’s a writer,” little Alicia said. “And he talks a lot about his wife.” I had been divorced three years by then but apparently was not as healed as I thought. That was about 17 years ago. Last Saturday, Alicia got married. Her wedding meant… Continue Reading

On love and marriage

My niece has honored me by asking if I’d do a reading at her wedding tomorrow. Then she doubled the honor by selecting 1 Corinthians 13. No more beautiful or more accurate words on love than those of St. Paul have ever been written. And I’ve always maintained that the first two comments by Paul, “Love is patient, love is kind,” are actually all you need to know about love. Everything else he writes is encompassed in those first two. Patience and kindness are all love and marriage need to succeed. But if I were to add something else, a… Continue Reading

Another 9/11 memory

I did not attempt to write my own 9/11 memory on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. But even if I had, it would not have been my memory but my brother’s. My brother Bill, his wife Gina and their three children were on a private tour of the White House when the horrible news broke. Arranged by Cong. Paul Kanjorski, the tour was in commemoration of the first anniversary of the children arriving in the U.S. from their native Russia. Irina was 10 years old, Masha 9 and Yuri 7. The original plan… Continue Reading

Find the Felittese

Tucked away just off Main Street in Old Forge, the annual Festival of the Felittese is not easy to find. But, oh, so worth it. The 29th festival opens tonight, Sept. 9, and continues through Sunday at the Felittese fairgrounds, 145 Third Street, in the town that bills itself as the “Pizza Capital of the World.” There’ll be pizza at the Felittese for sure, but that’s only the start of it. Reports have it the Felittese volunteers have 4500 meatballs ready to go along with 600 pounds of tripe and 700 pounds of sofrito. My wife is all about the… Continue Reading

The Gospels in five words

About 20 years ago … no, wait, more like 30 years ago, a friend gave me a cassette tape of a Christian preacher. I had about a 45 minute commute to work then so I had plenty of time to listen to it. On the tape the preacher talked about the time he got to hear Mother Teresa speak. There were thousands in the hall and he said you could barely see the little woman at the podium. But when she said she could sum up the Gospels in just five words and extended her hand into the air, everyone… Continue Reading

Working for a living

Be a laborer, great or small, do it well, or not at all My friend and former colleague Sarellen (yes, they made up names 70 years ago too) McAndrew taught me that little ditty when we worked together in the composing room of the Sunday Dispatch for about 20 years in the ’70s and ’80s. Sara, as I called her, did more that recite that poem. She lived it. Her work ethic, learned in the home she grew up in along with her brothers Pat Cawley, former administrator at Wyoming Area High School, and Gaynor Cawley, the dynamic Pennsylvania State… Continue Reading