A blog about a life awakened and rejuvenated around Western New York.

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It was a blur. From start to finish, the day went by in the bat of an eye. A strategic move, bringing home base to a central hotel to make the travel from hotel to Glen Falls Park to Church (St. Gregory the Great R.C. Church, Williamsville, NY) and to a reception at the Hearthstone Manor (Depew, NY), a smooth undertaking. Despite traffic and construction, I think it went off without a hitch. A blurry hitch-less piece of work.

It had been a year and a half in the making. I was “invited” for a cup of coffee by my oldest daughter’s boyfriend of three years, Ryan. He needed to ask me something. Now, I’ve never been on a turnip truck, so falling off of one wasn’t an option. I knew the question. And I knew my answer.

And as I said, we had 18 months to prepare. But it came so quickly (and was over so soon) that I didn’t get a chance to enjoy it completely. But I guess I have plenty of time for that (God willing). My family had expanded by one, the son I hadn’t had until now. A sportsman and a sports fan. A Dave Matthews, Zac Brown fan (and as we found out, John Mayer… not so much) But we have one major thing in common that goes a long way in making this connection work.

We both love my daughter, Melissa very much. And now it’s his turn to take care of her in the way she’s become accustomed. In a very simple way, but fully and completely. Not a bad proposition, since he’s had a running start at it.

Now I can sit back and catch my breath for a while. I have another daughter that will take my breath away in due time. Keep the oxygen handy. NEXT… !

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It was an amazing 24 hours. The whole week really. Melissa had come home to be married out of our house like she always dreamed. We ate meals as a family. We watched movies together (wedding movies, needless to say). 

Cold, wet skies pocked the approaching days, and in a way we prayed for better weather. It poured as we entered the church to rehearse. Step here, do that. Don’t do this, the wedding party goes here… And it seemed to go smoothly (a precursor to the following nuptials). Dinner and a gathering again as a soon to be newly formed family. Drinks and laughs and food and long glancing looks.

Her mother looks contemplative. She knows our daughter will join the ranks as a wife and somewhere down the road, a mother. They’ve had their battles, both headstrong and driven. Melissa was too much like her mother, as much as neither would admit it. As much as they both hoped they would be.

And I was as melancholy as I had become as the big day neared. Mixed emotions, I guess you would say. Melissa was our first born. She was my helper, my right hand. She cared for her sister while mom worked nights and I tried hard to keep the ship afloat. Her chosen field (teaching) came to her naturally, again in her dealings with Andrea, her junior by seven years. The girls liked to play school. And in acting as teacher, Melissa did indeed teach her sister, how to read and write long before she had been enrolled at school.

She was my biggest fan. She enjoyed my music and was my best critic when it came to my verbal scribblings. I knew my poetry was good when I was able to elicit tears from Melissa through the touching beauty of some well chosen words. For a while it felt like I was losing that.

But all I was losing was the daily connection we had come to rely upon. None of the rest really changed.

The morning of the wedding moved like a high speed movie. Disjointed scenes, random clips of a pre-scripted show. Hair appointments, and dressing, photographs and in the milieu of time, a wedding happened. Me, on wobbly legs escorting this beautiful woman (the second time in my life) down an aisle to a new life. No practice was really necessary, she knew what to do all along. It was as if she were leading me to where she needed to be. I had been replaced. And she couldn’t have chosen a better man.

But in reality, it was he that made the correct choice. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple of kids.

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It’s been a week since I last posted. You see, I’ve been distracted, but I’ll go back and fill in with thoughts or profiles or attractions. I had done so well, and then it hit me squarely between the eyes.

My oldest daughter is getting married tomorrow. The past week was filled with preparations, last minute changes, fittings and gatherings and a whole mess of panic as it ebbed and flowed. But sitting here now I still find no relief.

The girls are off doing girly things (nails and the last blasts of tanning) before the rehearsal. And I find myself as Steve Martin did at the beginning of “Father of the Bride”; lost in a chronology leading to this day. Twenty seven years passes quickly when you aren’t paying attention.

We’ve spent a lot of time together the past few days. Family meals at a full table were reminiscent of days past. Conversations and melancholy rambles and getting on each others nerves occasionally. (Old habits die hard). Evenings were special, as we watched every “wedding” related movie in our DVD library. Looking back at it, I think we’re ready to begin this new phase. It will be different for sure.

As you get older, the phrase “Time Flees” takes special meaning. But for one day, I am willing it to stand still.

I can hear God laughing now.

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I wrote a piece of flash fiction this morning about a young man’s relationship with a grandparent. For the curious, flash fiction is basically a short story. And the premise for this bit of muse has festered for the past few weeks.

Since I started posting to this “journal”, each day becomes a new page in my life story. And after 57+ years, a lot of pages have gone unwritten. I hope to somehow make up for lost time.

(But, back to the grandparents…)

My eldest daughter Melissa is getting married very soon. And for as much joy and pride she (and her sister, Andrea) has given us, I feel a twinge of sadness, that I’m sure comes with the territory. But no story comes without those little twists.

Eleven months after we were married (no shot gun necessary here), Melissa was born. Having her so early in our married life gave us little time together before it needed to be shared with another person. DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a COMPLAINT by and stretch of the imagination. It only illustrates that the three of us, Mel, my wife and I had to grow up together. At times, Melissa did a better job of it that than we did.

In her first nine months of life, Melissa had all she needed, being spoiled by both sets of grandparents. She was well dressed and entertained, spending an equal time with both families. Living a stones throw from home during her first four years, the opportunity presented itself to visit home as often as possible, with baby girl in tow. Melissa would “get to know” my mother very well.

Mom doted on her. Melissa was mom’s third grandchild, but you wouldn’t have known it. She treated her like her first. On Sundays after church, the three of us would stop for coffee and a visit, and mom would light up like her dreaded “Christmas tree” when she saw Melissa.

“My Missa!” she’d coo. “My good Catholic girl, My Missa!” as Melissa was dressed in her finest frilliest frocks (Say that fast a few times).

Mom promised to teach Melissa how to cook, and sew and crochet (mom’s afghans are legendary, adorning the back of the couch and the back seat of my car to this day, twenty-eight years after the fact). Mom for the first time in a long stretch looked forward to that Christmas, with two new baby grand-daughters (my niece Katie having been born a month before Melissa) to celebrate.

We never anticipated mom passing away from a brain aneurysm on Christmas Eve that first year.

Melissa has grown to a fine and beautiful young woman (both of my girls have, actually). She has become a wonderful cook. She doesn’t sew at all and her crocheting phase was short lived (having been taught by my mother’s sister, Anne who had become a surrogate grandmother at one point). We’re fairly certain, Mom has guided my daughter in “absentia”.

But she is loving and caring and will make a fine wife and somewhere down the line,  an excellent mother. She continues to be a source of joy and pride. There’s no hiding the fact that Dad will walk a misty aisle when the day is finally here. My wife’s parents are still with us, and will share in that day. My mom and Dad will be looking down proudly from their Celestial perch. Hidden in the peal of wedding bells will be the sound of my mother’s murmur, “Missa, my Missa!” loud and clear.

I can almost hear the bells from here…

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At different times, I’ve called myself a poet, an author, a composer, playwright (other people have called me other things… but, that’s not important right now). There are times I’ve felt like all those things, but… most times not.

Don’t ask me why that is. I like to write, but a lot of the while it doesn’t feel like it. A writer has an attitude, for lack of a better word. Being inspired does take some doing. Sometimes, I’m just not into it lately. Something was missing.

Enter Film Noir. Those old B&W movies have their charm still today. Surely, they’re campy and cliche by today’s standard, but what isn’t? With a mind set on random wandering, I flipped on the television. Scanning the channels, I came across one such movie. The guy portrayed on the screen was a reporter. Sleeves rolled, cigarette dangling from his lip. His hat perched back on his head, press credentials stuffed in the hat band. (I told you it was cliche). He sat at his trusty typewriter tapping out copy for the latest edition.

For some reason this struck me in an odd way. The guy looked like he was writing his ass off. But, more importantly, he SOUNDED like he was well on his way to becoming ass-less. That old typewriter sound intrigued me to no end. My mind, in its own inimitable way thinks in mysterious ways at times. I didn’t FEEL like a writer because I didn’t SOUND like a  writer.

Long story finally short: I came across this application that adds the clickety-clack of an old typewriter to my computer keyboard. The kicker is the carriage return with the bell at the end. The sound excites me and it inspires me; makes me want to write more. I feel old school with a technological advantage! I’m sure it will get annoying at times and will invariably drive my wife insane (that’s not a drive… that’s a short putt). But until all of that happens, at least I’ll sound like I’m writing my ass off.

Yep, it sounds like he’s writing again…


P.S. The application is called Qwertick, in case you wondered.

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I don’t get it. I never did. But since I’ve never conformed to “tanning”, I’m willing to live vicariously. “Tanning” in quotation marks. Oh, I’ve gotten tanned before, but that usually meant I was outside doing something in the sun and my pigment happened to change. I’ve rendered myself anywhere from golden to burnt-to-a-crimson-crisp, and all points in between. It was hardly ever a deliberate and conscious act.

But with a wedding just over two weeks away, my daughters had talked my wife into going “tanning”. They wanted to look even better than usual for my oldest daughter’s nuptials. The works. Spray tan and the illuminating coffin. Throw in the tubes and bottles of solutions and lotions all meant to deliver three bronzed beauties at the end of the process.

The first session went well as far as I could assume. I had managed to fend off the three in getting claustrophobic me into the chamber, so I had that going for me!My girls being “veterans” of the crisping process explained the nuances to their mother, while the technician programmed her time of exposure. It would take a bit for coloration to “pop”.

I’ll tell you about my wife. Fair-skinned does not aptly describe her. She is a combination of albino and pasty. She goes directly to char; she rarely tans. And as I had described a few days back, tradition surrounds me. As her color started to pop, someone forgot to tell it to stop.

Such a lovely scarlet resides where her pale palette once existed. Not the look she was going for (I hope). It will even out, my daughters promise. I count on their being right about that. Otherwise, I’ll have to find two other tanning neophytes to join her and they could give the Blue Man Group a run for their money. Here comes the sun… break out the SPF!