Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A H-O-R-S-E of a Completely Different Color

Today is the final day of April, which I know doesn't really rise to the level of a newsflash for anyone who has lived more than 29 days or so. Yet, it's significant if for no other reason than the book is closing on the last full month in which I will be a parent of a college student. By this time next month, the younger of my two kids (sorry, "unemancipated young adults") will have completed his last round of final exams and will be mere moments away from embarking on his career. I have a vague recollection of playing H-O-R-S-E with Rob and Suzanne on the driveway of our our house on 3rd Street, an event which alternately seems to have occurred just yesterday and about 10 lifetimes ago.

I'd ask where the time goes but sadly I know the answer. For better or worse (usually it's a melange of both) I earn my living in the practice of law. Specifically I represent people and entities who get sued for doing bad things. Oops - I meant to say for "ALLEGEDLY" doing bad things. One of the pure undadulterated joys of my profession is that time is a constant presence in it. Mick and Keith were right - time in fact waits for no one. It most certainly has not waited for me. My professional life has been measured quantitatively as much as it has qualitatively. I'm a slave to the billable hour - the constant by which the worth of those who stand on my side of the court room to earn a living is measured. It is a measurement by which I suppose I can claim to say - at the risk of sounding immodest - that I've achieved a level of success.

With every wish there comes a curse and for me the curse has been devoting less time and energy than I should have to the raising of my children. Thank God for my wife - their mother - who is the emotional centerpiece of our family. The best thing about what I do for a living is that it's afforded me the means by which to provide for the family I love. The worst thing about what I do is that it's subsumed my life more often than not and served as the measuring stick of who I am, which properly it should not.

I spend a small piece of every day wishing that I were a better parent than I am and kicking myself over my inability to do better. At my core I suppose I'm my father's son, which ain't all it's cracked up to be. He was a mercurial and at times a destructive force in the life of his wife and children. In my quest to not be like him, I fear that I became a kinder, gentler version of him: emotionally distant and aloof (hey it could be worse - I could have attempted to consume my body weight in Manhattans made with Three Feathers Vermouth as late, great dear old dad did nightly), but without his belligerent attitude. I'm hopeful that I didn't do as badly at the job as my father did although, candidly, I'm not sure that I ever did any better at it than he did.

If I'm right, then I'm sorry for all I did and didn't do. I'm sorry b/c my kids deserved better than that from me. Mostly though I'm sorry for me. In my almost slavish devotion to time, I forgot that I couldn't stop it. Hell, I couldn't even get it to slow down.

Now, the younger of my two is ready to step thru the doorway to his own, full-time adult life following his sister who graduated from college last year. I'm standing in an empty driveway, holding a basketball in my hands. I have "S".

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So many shades of gray....

Back from 2 days in Charlotte, North Carolina with my wife, son and several friends. The centerpiece of the trip was the Springsteen concert on Sunday night, which was excellent. We were fortunate enough to have the opporunity to stand in "the Pit" about 10 feet from the security railing erected in front of the stage, directly in front of "The Big Man", his saxophone stand and his comfortable chair. I've been lucky enough to see Springsteen a few dozen times over the years but never from as close range as Sunday night. It was outstanding.

It was an evening that began with more than a tinge of sadness. As anyone who pays attention to Springsteen's music at all knows, his long-time friend and the keyboardist/accordianist for the E Street Band, Danny Federici, died a couple of weeks ago. The Phantom had been battling melanoma for the past 4 years. Eventually the wear and tear on his body reached the point where he could not tour with the band any longer. When the 1st leg of the "Magic" tour concluded its U.S. run in November with 2 shows in Boston, Danny left the tour. Charlie Giordano from the Seeger Sessions Band stepped into Danny's place on stage for the European leg and for the 2nd North American leg, which started earlier in '08. Danny strapped on the accordian one last time in Indianapolis in March 2008 and joined his bandmates on stage for 8 songs, including "Sandy (4th of July, Asbury Park)".

I don't know if the fireworks were actually hailing over Little Eden on Sunday night, but there was a lot of love and friendship on display in the arena. Prior to the band playing a song, a video montage was played - to the tune of "Blood Brothers". Although it is a song whose roots precede Danny's illness, its direct appicability to the facts at hand cannot be ignored. "We stood side by side, each one fighting for the other. We said until we died we'd always be blood brothers."

Springsteen is my favorite musician and I've been following his career zealously for the past 30 + years. Sunday night I was impressed as I usually am with his stagecraft, his musicianship and his energy. I was more impressed though by his ability to share with us, his fans, something so personal and so intimate - the life and death of his dear friend. Bruce is fast approaching 60. He and Danny first met and became friends when they were 17 year old kids. They were blood brothers longer than I've been alive.

The musical question was asked on Sunday night - Does any of this matter any more after all? The answer is self-evident: Yes it most certainly does. Music not only provides the means by which Springsteen sustains himself and those around him financially and provides for his family but it has provided him with the means for keeping his fingers intertwined with those with whom he has shared success and failure, hopes and dreams. It provided a bond thru which he and Danny Federici cultivated their friendship lo these past 40 years and allowed those of us who really don't know either of them to reap the fruits of their hard work.

The likelihood of going thru this life and accruing the type of financial wealth that Bruce Springteen has been able to accrue is not very good. However, the likelihood of living a life as rich as his is within the reach of all of us. All we need to do to stand side-by-side with someone is to be willing to stand up in the first place and to be willing to remain standing.

"But the stars are burnin' bright like some mystery uncovered I'll keep movin' through the dark with you in my heart my blood brother."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

With Tar on my heels and the Phantom in my heart...

Today I'm going to Carolina (and not just in my mind either - sorry JT). Prior to heading out this morning I've been scanning the headlines from the New York Post and other papers commenting upon the verdict in the criminal case against the 3 New York City Police detectives who killed Sean Bell (or the "unarmed man" as he's referred to in every headline and every story as if he was a character from "The Fugitive). I know nothing about the case other than what I've read from the newspaper accounts and other media coverage, which is to say I know nothing. It's a great fallacy that people believe they know all that goes on in any litigation, criminal or civil, simply by following the press coverage. Media outlets don't typically spend time dissecting the minuitae of what goes on in court - such as rulings on esoteric evidential issues, etc. - so it's never more than an incomplete picture that they're painting for viewer and/or listeners.

I cannot comment upon therefore the "correctness" or not of the verdict although I find it sadly typical that Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson immediately decried it as evidence of (a) racism; and (b) what's wrong in New York City. I don't pretend to know a great deal about Senator Obama and I know less about New York's new governor, David Patterson. Nevertheless I can't help but think that our community (all of us) in general and the African/American community in particular is better served with public figures such as those two gentlemen who expressed no outward anger at the verdict, reiterated sympathies for Mr. Bell's family and told the world at large to accept the verdict as we live in a nation of laws. What did Rev. Sharpton do on his radio show? He urged angry protesters to show up at the HOME of the judge who acquitted the officers! Are you F***ing kidding me? Remind me again all that this blowhard and his equally corrupt cohort Jesse Jackson (it takes all of God's energy to run a charity into bankruptcy doesn't it?) have done in their lives to promote equal justice and fairness? Excuse me Rev. Sharpton but I think Steven Pagones is on line 2 for you. He'd like to know where he can pick up his new life to replace the one you ruined viciously with your baseless attacks on him in the Tawana Brawley case.

Forgive me but if Revs. Jackson and Sharpton are playing on the Lord's team, I'm rooting for whoever is pitching for the opposition.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Birthday wishes

Tomorrow is the 56th birthday of the oldest of my five older siblings. My brother Bill will celebrate his birthday tomorrow and I hope like hell he has a tremendous day. I've always been a lot impressed and more than a little amazed by him. He possesses about the sharpest mind of any human being I've encountered in my 41 years on this planet. The dictionary definition of "scary smart" is his picture.

My favorite memory of my brother is one of my first ones, which is my memory of him teaching how to read by the time I was 2 years old. He alternated between using a book featuring "Huey, Duey and Looie" (however the hell you spell their names) and the New York Times. He graduated from Rutgers when I was in kindergarten and I often joke about the fact that I was the only pre-schooler who knew where Vietnam was located and (at least from the perspective of war-era college students) the ins/outs of American foreign policy in SE Asia. Our mother still chuckles telling the story that when I was brought home from the hospital, Bill informed my father and her that they'd had his other four younger sibs to deal with and he was making sure his littlest brother didn't grow up to be an idiot. For some reason I laugh much heartier when Mom tells that story than do my 3 sisters and my other brother.

Happy Birthday Bill. Thank you for all you've taught me and continue to teach me every day. Love you....like a brother!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

They're short the lawyers and the money but have all the guns they need...

On the same day that Miley Cyrus announces at age 15 that she's going to write her autobiography, the front page of the Star-Ledger has an above-the-fold headline about the 10 year old boy who brought a gun with him to his elementary school in Linden and how the gun went off while in a closet at the school. Huh? When I was 10 years old if you made another classmate mad then he punched you in the nose, to which your response was (a) punch back; (b) run, run like a gazelle or (c) drop to the ground like a bag of wet cement. I'm not sure how often I "chose" (b) or (c) b/c they seemed to be chosen for me as it were, especially (c). I didn't choose (a) very often either - not due to inbred pacificism or cowardice. Rather, it's damned hard to get your opponent to stand there for several minutes waiting for you to regain consciousness. Alas, they'd moved on to bigger and better things by the time I was ready to launch my counter-attack...

The point of the matter is that never once in my school yard days, whether the one absorbing a beating or administering it did it occur to me (or any of my elementary school combatants) that what we needed to do was escalate our level of commitment to the whole exercise by bringing weapons with us to school. I'm not suggesting that this particular 4th grader had malice in his heart when he brought a .380 semi-automatic pistol that he told the police he'd found about a week ago in a garbage can in his back pack along with his Lunchables and his baseball mitt. Does it matter why he had it? The fact is that while showing it to one of his classmates (as the 2 kids stood inside a closet in a classroom) the gun fired and a bullet ended up lodged in a wall.

Miley Cyrus at age 15 is old enough to write an autobiography? The mere idea is laughable. Kids at age 10 sneaking guns to school for show and tell? The mere idea is terrifying. Doesn't anyone buy a kid a turtle any more? They make much better show and tell items. Sure you can't twirl them around your finger like some pistolero but when you tug on its leg, it doesn't discharge ammunition.

Perhaps we need a little bit more of life imitating art than the other way around. I'd rather have to wade thru shelves of crappy autobiographies written by teenagers in the local Barnes & Noble than thru rows of headstones in the local cemetery identifying those whose classmates brought "found" and loaded guns to school....

The Kids are Alright? Sometimes I'm hoping more than I'm believing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Like the buttons on your blouse....

"There is no need like the lack of a friend." It's an Irish proverb and I'm drawn to that thought this morning upon reading several accounts/reviews of the show Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band put on last night in Tampa, Florida, less than 1 week after the death of "The Phantom" Danny Federici and the day after the funeral. The accounts I've seen discussed not only the quality of the musicality of the performance but also the cathartic elements of it as well and the raw, emotional energy of the show. A video clip on youtube showed Bruce and Roy Bittan exchanging a kiss at the end of "Sandy (4th of July Asbury Park)" - for which The Professor strapped on the accordian and played Danny's part - and thereafter Bruce at center stage wiping tears away.

Death appears not to be a good thing - by all reports (if we're all allowed one profoundly deep thought per day......mine is still in the hopper somewhere). For all of its faults and negatives though it does appear to have a somewhat mystical, magical ability to bring people together. I'm not talking about simply family and close friends but, as was the case last night in Tampa Florida, total and almost-total strangers. Is it human nature or mere coincidence that even those of us who are among the most self-reliant (or self-absorbed) and detached seek the company of others when someone near and dear to us dies? We are born alone, we die alone but we seek to mourn in the company of others. It would be easy to say "misery loves company" but I don't think that's what's happening in most cases. It seems to be more a reaction to our own sense of immortality getting sucker punched in the gut by reality, which happens (consciously or not) every time a death occurs that hits close to home.

Courtesy of the indoctrination into his/their music I received from my oldest brother when I was but a wee lad, I've been a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Streeters for pretty much the entirety of my 41 years to date of which I can formulate any memories. I never met Danny Federici and other than an arena or a stadium where I saw a show I doubt seriously that he and I ever spent any time in the same place. I'd be willing to wager that the overwhelming percentage of Springsteen fans had a similar "arm's length plus" relationship with him. Yet last night in Tampa the fans in the joint joined the musicians on stage in honoring, mourning and celebrating Danny as if he was a family member of each and every one in the hall.

There's not a damn thing wrong with that either. It wasn't done so that Joe Everyfan (like me) could have an elevated sense of self or attempt to trade upon some non-existent relationship with one's "heroes". It was done b/c it felt natural and it was the right thing to do. Everyone there last night - from the man the crowd plunked down their money to see to the man in the seat so far from the stage that he could barely see its occupants - came in need of a friend and came to be a friend. All were sad, all were emotional but none left the arena needy b/c none lacked for friendship.

Death is a real kick in the butt, it's true. It does have the ability though to remind us that we're really not alone out here. We're not doing a Major Tom drifting thru space. We're connected to those around us. Do we need to do a better job of connecting to those around us while we're here and present to enjoy the fruits of that connection? I know I certainly do and I'll likely struggle with doing it from this point onward as much as I have for the first 41 years of my life. I'll keep at it however. For while I might die old, I might die young, I might die rich and I might die poor, I know that I don't want to die needy and I don't want my wife and my kids to be needy either.

I've always suspected that Harry Bailey was right - his big brother George was the richest man in Bedford Falls.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No More Buffalo....

Here in New Jersey we've abolished the death penalty, which is to say that the State of New Jersey will not put anyone to death any longer. Sadly, the citizenry who administer the death penalty in some of the State's most dangerous areas such as Irvington and Newark have refused to join the abolitionist movement.

There are arguments for/against the death penalty. To me, one of the most compelling reasons in support of its abolition here is that we've not used it since it was reinstated more than 2 decades ago. The taxpayers of New Jersey - including Yours Truly - have been paying to house guys (sorry ladies not trying to be a sexist but our Death Row is strictly a stag affair) for years and years with no end in sight. It's as if the method of execution in New Jersey is "death by boredom". Our death row gang live out their lives in "sweet ennui" (although "Exquisitely bored in New Jersey State Prison" clearly lacks the lyrical panache of "Exquisitely bored in California"). It's beyond tragic that Robert Marshall - the Toms River insurance snake who hired someone to murder his wife Maria (mother of his 3 sons) b/c he needed the payoff from her life insurance policies to fund his new romance - outlived Robert Urich, the gentleman actor who portrayed him in the TV Mini-Series "Blind Faith". Bob Urich gets stricken with a terminal illness. Bob Marshall gets 3 squares a day at the cost of thousands of dollars a year and ends up with his sentence commuted.

We had a "crisis" here several years ago when one of Death Row's more despicable inhabitants John Martini made a big show of declaring that he wanted no more appeals filed on his behalf and he wanted to die. Sure he did - right up until the point when the courts called his bluff and said "OK. It's syringe time." Suddenly dying by lethal injection seemed less enticing to Mr. Martini. He stopped declaring his desire to die and cranked back up the "appeals machine" to keep from being executed.

The only execution of a death row inmate in New Jersey that has taken place since the punishment was reinstated occurred a few years ago when we actually had one of our death row inmates executed....by another death row inmate. Apparently allowing Robert "Mudman" Simon (white supremacist biker dude) and Ambrose Harris (a rapist-murderer who happens to be African-American) to occupy the same space - even for only a moment or two and even with their hands and feet shackled - was not a really good idea. In less than a couple of minutes, Harris stomped Simon to death. One imagines that the currency of life is cheapened a bit when the people trading in it are already on death row. Harris was awaiting execution before he murdered Simon. What punishment was he supposed to fear receiving after he murdered Simon? It's not like he can be put to death twice. Apparently threatening to kill someone twice is correctly perceived as being as vacuous a threat as my father's "I'll take away your birthday" threat was perceived to be when I was a kid.

I hope like hell I'm never "a victim's family member" to whom the concept of what justice is differs significantly from those of us who have never been placed in such a position. It's easy for lawyers, media types and academics to argue the pros/cons of the death penalty. We bring to the argument a detached perspective, irrespective of the passion of our belief. For those who have had one (or more) who they love taken from them by another's act of violence, there are intensely visceral reasons for whatever position they might espouse regarding the death penalty. I've not walked one step - let alone one mile - in their shoes. As such, I'm in no position to critique or question that position.

However, as a taxpayer and as a lawyer who personally questions the inherent value of the death penalty as a "deterrent" (if it's supposed to deter someone other than the inmate you've just executed, then how come we keep adding folks to death row?) I'm in favor of making the Robert Marshalls of the world spend the rest of their lives in prison without the possibility of parole. With the death penalty removed from the equation, the hue and cry surrounding our death row inmates will evaporate and they'll live out the rest of their lives of indeterminate length far away from any TV cameras or print media.

Monday, April 21, 2008

God to the White Courtesy Phone Please....

Having salvaged the last game of an otherwise lost weekend in Baltimore, the Yankees are moving on to Chicago to play 3 games vs. the White Sox. The mere mention of Chicago always seems to bring a smile to my face. It's not b/c of any intimate knowledge I have of the town - having seen only those parts of Chicago that one can see from the runways and terminals of O'Hare Airport (ok, as well as from 913 viewings of "The Fugitive") - but rather the people with whom I associate Chicago.

I went to college in Boulder Colorado in the latter half of the 1980's. Life at CU-Boulder was simply fantastic. It turns out that Boulder is not only some sort of magnet community for a gaggle of attractive California girls but that it also attracts a large number of kids from the East Coast as well as Chicago. My favorite thing about folks from Chicago - other than the fact that they were universally really cool in a very down to earth way - was that none of them actually lived in Chicago. The "party line" as it were was that all of them lived in a John Hughes-ian suburb of Chicago such as Hinsdale, Glen Ellyn or Lake Forest. Apparently every college student emigrating from Chicago to the world beyond was given the same intelligence briefing - "When asked where you're from, say Chicago. Give up your actual location if and only if you're asked the critical follow-up question 'what part?'"

One of my favorite Chicagoans (Chicago-ites (?) - I'm not sure b/c unlike Rev. Jim Ignatowski I've not monitored the C-SPAN coverage of the Chicago City Council to see how the vote turned out) was my down-the-hall neighbor my freshman year - Scott "Boo" Bouchard. We lived a couple of doors down from one another in Farrand Hall as freshman. As luck would have it, it was the 1985-1986 school year, which was the year that Boo's heroes - the Bears - stomped the living crap out of the entire NFL en route to winning their 1st Super Bowl. I don't know who enjoyed the win more -Boo or Jim McMahon.

I think of Boo from time-to-time (not merely whenever I see the Bears on TV). He is one of the life lessons I carry in my head about the perils of getting so caught up in today and worrying about tomorrow that we forget about yesterday and all of the days that preceded it. As is the case for me with a number of my close friends from college, I'd fallen out of touch with Boo in the almost two decades since we graduated. Truth be told, we'd fallen out of touch prior to graduating from CU in 1989 as he moved off campus his second year and the focus of his "boulder" life shifted to a new group of friends as did my own. The past several years, given the ease of e-mail, we'd taken to catching up by chatting on a semi-regular (1x a month) basis. It was nice to hear how he'd been and what he was up to but for me the whole thing had a tinge of "Where Are They Now?" to it. I don't know whether he felt the same way as I never asked.

The opporunity to ask is gone forever as it turns out. In an issue of the Coloradan - the quarterly newsletter/magazine the Alumni Association churns out - last year I was glancing thru the Obituaries on the inside back cover when I stumbled across "Scott Bouchard '89". Apparently while Boo was a relatively young man - he can't be old b/c he's my age after all - he'd battled some tough health issues for a number of years and finally lost the battle, leaving behind a wife and a little girl. He died before reaching his 40th birthday.

Maybe it's not just the Yankees 1st trip to Chicago this season that brought Boo back from the recesses of my mind this morning. Maybe it's the presence of God's messenger Pope Benedict XVI in New York these past several days that made me think of Boo and other examples - to this agnostic anyway - of God's fickle nature. Had I been able to secure a little face time with the Pontiff and been afforded the chance to ask 1 question I'd have asked him to explain the rationale for God killing good people at tragically young ages - such as Scott Bouchard - and for relentlessly and viciously trying to kill good, deserving people - such as my mother-in-law who is enduring her 3rd bout with cancer in the past 5 years - while allowing less than desirable folks such as Mr. Bin Laden to live and to thrive. When that question is posed to my mother-in-law, devout Catholic that she is, she answers "it's all part of God's plan" as if that (a) justifies it; and (b) provides a satisfactory explanation.

Pope Benedict XVI met on Sunday with 2 dozen or so people who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and consecrated the ground at Ground Zero. I suppose that his presence there is supposed to be of some comfort to those families who lost one or more of their members that morning but I'm not sure, if I were one of them, it would. I'm afraid that if I were one of those unfortunate folks, then my 1 question to the Pope would have been "where the hell was God that morning? What was possibly going on in the universe that morning that commanded more of his attention than this?"

It's my understanding that Pope Benedict XVI speaks a number of different languages (perhaps even XVI different languages). No matter. I'm sure his "alibi" for God's inability to prevent and/or decision not to prevent what happened that morning is equally unpalatable irrespective of the tongue in which it is spoken.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

When Everyone Old Ain't So New Again....

Every April for the past decade or so, part of my ever more frustrating pursuit of my rapidly receding youth (I turned the page on year 41 this February) is my participation in a lawyer's softball league. I'm not much of a player but I'm reliable, which is to say I pay my share of the fee on time, I make it to all practices and I don't miss any games. Candidly I think I'd be of greater use to my team if I didn't show up on such a consistent basis but since my friends who run the team are too nice to ask me to do that and I'm too self-absorbed to suggest it aloud, my roster spot for the 2008 season is preserved.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Man on a Tractor with a Dog in a Field

It's Saturday morning and once upon a time - though never in my professional life - Saturday was 1/2 of the "weekend", presumably meaning it was time spent away from work. For me, not so much. Whether by choice or necessity, my available options for generating sufficient income to support my family are limited to....well, pretty much what I do now and nothing else. I was reminded again last night watching the end-of-series handshake as my beloved Rangers vanquished the Devils in the 1st round of the NHL playoffs of what my mom told me when I was a boy - I'd never play in the NHL unless I learned how to skate on something other than double runners. I never did and so in spite of the natural openings in the Rangers lineup thru the years upon the retirements of Rod Gilbert, Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, no phone call. It's ok though b/c I've been mad at Emile Francis for about 30 years anyway for trading Eddie Giacomin....
I'm the youngest of six. That strikes me as a humorous way for a 41 y/o husband and father of 2 college-age kids to describe himself but then again I have older siblings who still refer to me as either their "little" or "baby" brother. History really does exist in the eye of the teller I suppose.
Technically speaking I reckon today represents the end of this week and what a week it was. Professionally I've had better weeks. As a lawyer you sometimes end up in a spot where a client ignores the advice for which they're paying you b/c (much like most of us I suppose) they don't want to hear bad news and then when they get hit square in the face with the proverbial creme pie of bad news they scream at you for allegedly not telling them to duck. I landed squarely in such a spot this week and while it'll likely be a spot more akin to a gravy stain than a blood stain - it'll never leave that plain white t-shirt altogether but it'll fade to an almost imperceptible level over time as opposed to destroying the article of clothing completely - for present purposes I can see it and smell it clearly.
Personally though it was a hell of a good week. I did something that I've spent far too little doing his entire life - spent quality time just hanging out with my 22 y/o son Rob. He's finishing up his final semester of college - living, working and going to school in NYC. Wednesday night (coincidentally the same day of the week as the aforementioned gravy stain assumed its presently prominent position on the collar of my t-shirt) I went into the city and he/I went to watch the Yankees/Red Sox at the Stadium. It was a hell of a good evening - noteworthy really for its complete absence of a big event during it. We just sat in the LF bleachers and watched baseball together. We spent the night just watching the game and talking.
It's fascinating to me as a parent to see how a child is no longer a "child". The maturity both of my kids demonstrate clearly is a trait passed along maternally. Basically, upon graduating this Spring he's off into the working world and while he's still uncertain whether he's going to start out somewhere fairly close to home (such as D.C.) or somewhere not so close (such as the Southwestern U.S.), we all know he's going to be moving "away". It occurred to me not too long ago that but for the brief period of time between graduation and commencement of the 1st professional stop when he'll be living home (at the 'rents in NJ) he'll likely never live home again. It hit me that when i wasn't looking, my life has morphed into a Harry Chapin moment. "Cats in the Cradle" anyone?
The title for this little missive is lifted verbatim from a song by a country artist, Rodney Atkins, who my wife Margaret and I saw perform in May 2007 at Carnegie Hall (how'd he get there - practice, practice, practice of course....we simply took NJ Transit into Penn Station and then an Uptown Train) as the opener for Martina McBride. It's a great little tune preaching a simple lesson or two- spend more time cherishing what you have and less time worryng about what someone else has. Happiness is how you define it - not how anyone else does.
Like the eldest of my siblings, my oldest brother Bill, I am an enormous Bruce Springsteen fan. I'm excited that this time next week Margaret, Rob and I are going to be in North Carolina getting ready to see him/E Street Band play in Charlotte - a trip made possible by a friend's incredible generosity. I'm saddened though by the fact that Danny Federici, an original E Streeter and Bruce's friend and bandmate of 40 years lost his battle with his particular form of cancer on the 17th. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was right when he said, "I don't think there's any point in being Irish if you don't know the world is going to break your heart."
-AK