See you today at Bart and Urby’s

When I was young I could not understand why my mom called so many women by their maiden names. Now I’m old and I get it. So, forgive me when I call Loretta Reddington Loretta Reddington. She probably hasn’t been Loretta Reddington in a long time, but she still is to me. Besides, that’s not the important thing. Not today anyway. The important thing today is Loretta Reddington asked me to be a guest bartender later at Bart and Urby’s tavern in Wilkes-Barre. Loretta Reddington is an old high school friend. I could never say no to Loretta Reddington. So,… Continue Reading

Thinking of an old friend on Phanatic’s birthday

A host of things make me think of John Watson, my friend and newspaper colleague who died way too soon a few years ago. The Gramercy Restaurant. John and owner and chef Mike Augello were best of friends. March Madness. John Watson was a big basketball fan and a heck of a player. Supertramp. Not sure if this was John’s favorite band but I remember him liking them at a time when I did not know who they were. The Presidential Inaugural Address. John always bought a New York Times the following morning because they ran the address in its… Continue Reading

Brain freeze

“Slow down,” I heard a female voice say, “you’re going to get brain freeze.” I was getting out of my car at the post office and could not help but smile at the well intentioned warning. You could hear the love in the young lady’s voice. “Good advice,” I thought. “Brain freeze,” or as I’ve always called it “cold eye,” is something with which I am quite familiar. I turned in the direction of the voice in time to hear, “Hey, take your time. I know what you’re doing. You’re gonna finishing yours and then you’ll want mine.” By the… Continue Reading

Those homonym blues

You never fully realize how hard the English language is until you work with a student for whom English is a second language. This particular student is an excellent story teller. She’s “a compulsive observer of the human condition,” as the saying goes, which is a fancy way of describing how she loves watching people being people. In doing do she draws delightful and insightful observations which she conveys in the most interesting ways. All of which means this person is without question a writer. If only she didn’t have to write in English. I hasten to point out that… Continue Reading

When the world used to stop

I miss my grandmother most on Good Friday. Ironically, it was a day I did not particularly enjoy spending with her. This was my mother’s mother. We called her Nanny. My mom and her siblings always referred to my Nanny as “a living saint.” They were probably right. The only time in her life Nanny did not live in poverty was in her old age when her grown children were able to pamper her. Her husband, my mother’s dad, died when my mom was only 13 and the eldest of six children. But my mom always told us Nanny spent… Continue Reading

My own creation

I often say my food weakness is bread. God, how I love good bread. But if pressed, I might have to reconsider. My true weakness might be cheese. Jason Sabatelle had a sample of his store’s own provolone on the counter the other day and after taking a little nibble I brought home a good size chunk and had a heck of a time not eating the whole soon after I walked in the door. The seed for this binge may have been planted earlier that day when I got into a mouth-watering conversation with a fellow cheese lover. In… Continue Reading

A most wonderful time of the year

The Masters. I love the Masters. I enjoy it far more than any Super Bowl and, I dare say, even more than the World Series. And this from a guy who’s never touched a golf club. Most of my adult life, but especially as I got into my 40s and 50s and 60s, I was asked all the time why I didn’t play golf. My flippant answer always was (and is) something like: I still play tennis. I’ll take up golf when I can’t run around any more. But I’d often admit the real reason is that, even after more… Continue Reading

Very, very good to me

Baseball’s back. All’s right with the world. “You gotta be a man to play major league baseball,” Roy Campanella is quoted as saying, “but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you too.” That little boy part applies to fans as well. Baseball touches the little boy in me. The season opens and just like that I’m a little kid lying on the floor in our tiny apartment in Browntown doing my times tables in my tablet while praying Lew Burdette and the Braves (still in Milwaukee then) will beat the Yankees. They do. Or I’m 14 years… Continue Reading