Parenting, Playboy and a Trip to the Grocery Store…

Grateful Blog: Day 58: I was still sick today, stuck inside listening to the radio and there was a raging debate on the school shooting inOhioand just what drives kids to do that sort of thing. I don’t know. It’s really saddening. And I have nothing to offer because it’s baffling to me and frankly I never had kids so I feel like I’m grossly under qualified to comment. But occasionally I do wade a toe into the parenting side of things when I’m given the opportunity. But the results are highly mixed.

To wit: When our nieces and nephews were younger, I used to dig when my wife and I would take them roller skating once every grand so often. That was cool. They loved it, we loved it. It felt like as much of a night out for us as it probably did their parents (until we brought them got back from spinning in circles for 3 hours, loaded up on ice cream). Of course then there was that ‘incident’ where my nephew was inAlaskafor over a year, in some remote town. He was all of 21 and of course perfectly corruptible. I don’t know what it says about me but I can admit it now. I sent him a year’s subscription to Playboy for Christmas. He seemed to appreciate it so I seemed to be worth my $15. Given how remote the town was I think the postage alone was twice that. It was probably inappropriate or just plain perfect or maybe both. His Mom and Dad thought it was funny anyways and potentially useful if it kept him from fraternizing too much with the locals gal. But I know, it’s a slippery slope…

Anyways, I tell those anecdotes only to point out that I’m not ENTIRELY curmudgeonly although I certainly aspire to such lofty heights. So recently I was in the grocery store and there was this kid, oh maybe 7 or 8, who was walking down the aisle, arms spread wide, probably playing some sort of bird or fighter jet in his mind. He was ducking, dodging, buzzing and swerving and ultimately took out a few signs. Just plum knocked ‘em right over. He looked back briefly at them, then towards his Mom (who never saw), then back at the signs, and kept going. This wasn’tCarthagein flames or carrying a loaded Glock to his elementary school, it was just a couple of DUMB grocery store signs. Dumb signs that needed to be picked up by someone I might add.

I happen to see the kid on the next aisle down, where his Mom stopped to eyeball something on the shelf. He was still careening over, under and through a new jungle of ‘2 for $5.00’ and ‘Buy ONE get ONE FREE’ signs. I passed by him and while his Mom wasn’t watching I said to him in this real conspiratorial tone: ‘Hey Kid!’ and he looks up at me wide eyed and I said ‘You knocked those signs over!’ and of course he gives me his best ‘What me?’ look. Then I said real authoritative-like ‘Look, you knocked over the signs, I saw you do it. So I tell you what: Go do the RIGHT thing. Put the sign’s back up. I’ll wait here with your Mom till you get back’.

So I don’t really know tonight about the how or the why of school shootings. I know it deeply saddens me and I know it took a long time to get here and it’ll take a longer time to fix it. I don’t think it has anything to do with roller skating or Playboy or grocery store signs or me becoming curmudgeonlier as I get older. I just know I’m Grateful that more kids weren’t hurt in Ohio today, that Playboy doesn’t automatically renew my nephew’s  subscription on my credit card (anymore) and I’m Grateful that kid put the sign’s back up. Cause frankly, if he’d have called my bluff, I had nothing…

Clearing my Throat…

Grateful Blog: Day 52: I don’t normally fall asleep in the middle of the day but today I did. I woke up groggy and a bit perplexed but the news was good. Back in December I starting having weird issues stomach issues in relation to an ongoing battle with acid reflux that seemed to have morphed into sudden weight loss and periodic bouts of not being able to keep food down. Around Christmas I was fairly debilitated, almost confined to bed and understandably frightened. So while I’ve been working my usual 60 hour weeks and frantically planning every last detail of the CD release, I’ve had this looming medical procedure called an ‘Endoscopy’ hanging over my head. It’s pretty simple really: They knock you out, shove a tube down your throat and take pictures. I was pretty calm about the whole deal until this morning and my blood pressure told that tale pretty easily.
The other night during the CD release was so magical for me. There were so many friends and family and fans there to support me. It could not have been better. I was fully present in the moment and I think in the pictures folks are posting on Facebook you see the joy I was having. I tried as hard as I could to put this morning’s procedure whatever implications it might have had out of my mind. It just about 100% worked but nothing in life, as we all know is 100%.
So this morning, I went in, they knocked me out and I slept while they took their pictures. Fortunately I woke up to the same world and the same diagnosis that I had before I went in which is essentially this: “You’re gonna live. Probably a long healthy life.” The lesson that we always seem to learn from these episodes is to never take any single day from granted. They’re too precious. So from Saturday night’s magical show to Tuesday afternoon’s diagnosis, I’ve been living in 2 worlds but we all know better, it’s just one life that we get to live. So while I’m Grateful for such a wonderful show, I’m equally Grateful for some good news today. And in the mean time, I’m Grateful for the not so gentle reminders that every day is magic, that every day there’s something to be Grateful for. That’s why I write this blog. And more importantly, that’s what I believe. Peace—and Good Health to you and yours!     

The Best Christmas Gift…

 
Grateful Blog: Day 31: This year I got a book for Christmas called ‘Life on the Working Man’s Lake: A Tour of Honeoye Now and Then’. It was a portrait of one ofNew York’s ‘Finger Lakes’:HoneoyeLake, in the country of the 5 Confederacies of the Iroquois (a governing body that has been recognized as influencing the very notions of our nation’s democracy). In any respect,HoneoyeLakewas home to many a summer residents who kept cabin’s there starting in the Great Depression for recreation from the nearby cities of RochesterandBuffalo. It’s county where my family grew up. The book is full of memories and family stories, most before my time. But there’s something common that comes out in the telling about the Sears and Roebuck cabins, and the old dirt roads covered with oil (to keep the dust down), that still brings me back to being a little kid, visiting Grandma and Grandpa: Lightning bugs, playing croquet and swimming–and fishing with Grandpa driving the boat. That was probably almost 40 year ago now. It’s a cool little book, a most thoughtful gift form Mom. Last time I was back home we took a drive out there. I again skipped black shale stones across the smooth, calm water and saw the lake for the first time in maybe 20 years. When I opened the book, I found a history I new nothing about. It was cool. My grandfather bought several lots for $15 apiece. That was the price—if (and only if, you ordered a 6 month subscription to the localRochester,NYnewspaper, ‘The Times Union’). It’s hard to believe that now. Heck, it’s hard to believe much of ANYTHING now. Somewhere in the pages there were stories of my family, how my Dad swam a mile across the lake and back (and home to a pretty upset Mother…). The thing was, every memory seemed fresh, like the smell of those oil roads when the heat of the day would bake in them. And then I turned the page to see a photo of my Grandmother I’d never seen before—and maybe the first photo I’d seen of her in the 30 years since she’d died. I couldn’t honestly believe it. Every day I’ve been writing this ‘blog’ because I’ve been trying to stick to a New Year’s resolution to find one thing every day to be Grateful for. My God, seeing Grandma for the first time in forever, before the cancer, when the cottage and summer was still ours…well, Grateful doesn’t begin to describe it…it’s more a blessing, and tonight, that memory is more than enough to be Grateful for…Peace!