‘Gumby Lip’

Not a day goes by, it seems, that I am not floored by the talent of our students at Luzerne County Community College. Lucy Shemo, whom I met last fall, impressed me early on with her clear thinking, positive attitude, and unique perspective on the world. Then I saw her writing. Mind blowing, as we used to say in the ’60s. Then I saw her artwork. Even more mind blowing. Yesterday morning she showed me a painting she did of that media icon Gumby. He is posed with his horse which afforded me the opportunity to ask if anyone knew… Continue Reading

There’s always a song

Don’t know about you but my life has a soundtrack. There’s always a song in my head and more often than not, it’s appropriate to the situation. If I’m having a bad day on a tennis court, for example, it’s often because I am violating the first rule of the game: watch the ball all the way to the racquet. I’ll think I’m doing that when actually I am looking away just before impact to sneak a glance at where I want to hit it. That’s a recipe for disaster. Enter the Beatles. In my head I hear the song… Continue Reading

The good (?) ole days

My friend Jonathan looks me up every time he is in town. He lives in New York City but has relatives in Wilkes-Barre and visits four or five times a year. Typically we will meet for coffee and catch up. I taught Jonathan at LCCC and we’ve kept in touch since. I guess he’s about 25 years old now. After earning his Associates Degree he returned to New York, where he grew up, completed a Bachelor’s Degree at Hunter College and currently is writing music. I’m glad he’s writing because he is really, really good at it. We always have… Continue Reading

Just when you think you know someone

Years before I ever dreamed my first marriage would end in divorce something happened that seemed perfectly innocent, even funny, at the time, but may have been a harbinger of things to come. My wife cheated on me. No, not with another lover. With a VCR. A friend had taped the movie “The Best Years of our Lives” one night on PBS and gave it to us with a hearty recommendation. It won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture in 1946 and proved to be every bit as riveting as he had said. We were on the edge of our… Continue Reading

How many adults does it take …

… to change a battery? Answer: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. It was a simple enough request. Could we take a moment to help our friends change the battery in their home security system. They had tried and tried but couldn’t do it, they said. She’s 86 years old and he’s just a couple months shy of turning 100. But they’re far from feeble. Sharper in many ways than we. Maybe this just required a bit of finger dexterity they no longer possessed. Anyway, how hard could it be? “Slide the keyboard up and out.” Those were the… Continue Reading

Pass the comfort food, please

Around this time of year a couple of years ago I waxed poetic after catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror. I thought of that poem this morning as I squeezed into my 34-inch waist jeans and tried to recall when they actually had been loose on me. I blame the season. As I did when writing this: 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… Continue Reading

Retirement, in a nutshell

As soon as Sunday’s Super Bowl ended people started speculating if Tom Brady will retire. He keeps saying “no,” but they keep asking. I know how he feels. I too get asked all the time. My stock answer is, “Retire? I have to get a job before I can retire.” It’s a comment on how much I love my “job” … in quotes because not once in 26 years has it ever felt like a job. I became a full-time college professor in 1990 and have thanked the Lord for the opportunity every day since. And it’s not just about… Continue Reading

My one and only Super Bowl

I went to one Super Bowl. The sixth one. VI in Super Bowl language. It was the first one the Dallas Cowboys won. I can never forget that. Especially now that the son I would not even have dreamed about in January of 1972 (he was born in 1986) grew up to be a Cowboys fan. At the time I was happy for my friend Mack McNulty. Dallas was his team. I can never remember the score. Always have to look it up. It was 24-3 over the Dolphins. I also remember little of the game. What I do remember… Continue Reading

Gimme a V. Gimme another V.

I don’t like pills. I’m no pharmacist, but it’s always seemed to me there isn’t a single pill devoid of a negative side effect that almost makes the cure, or the temporary relief of symptoms not worth it. So, unless absolutely necessary, I steer clear of them. Still, there are times I need relief, say from a head cold, and when I do I’ve taken to an old-fashioned remedy: Vicks Vapor Rub. For me, the best cure for a common cold is sleep, but the hardest thing to do when I am all stuffed up is just that, sleep. Enter… Continue Reading