Monday, October 11, 2010

Walking Tall

Son, we're lucky in this town. It's a beautiful place to be born. It just wraps its arms around you. Nobody crowds you, nobody goes it alone. For too many Sundays to count - over the course of ten or twelve years - I spent a part of every Sunday from April through September in Nutley, New Jersey. There is a park there (the name of which escapes me) where we used to convene for softball practice. Actually for several years fairly early on in the great softball adventure we played in a men's league in that very same park. I would never disagree with a living legend such as Ernie Banks but as the catcher on our team - among my favorite things to do was NOT playing two every Sunday in the heat and humidity of a Jersey summer.

In addition to many years' of Sundays spent in Nutley, I have spent my share of evenings there as well. Not every post-game celebration took place at the Star Tavern after all. And those that did not more often than not convened at the Franklin Steakhouse on Franklin Avenue. Nutley is home to one of my favorite families too - the Rubinos.

Nutley is home to two young men who just last week made their way home from their most excellent summer adventure. Anthony Greco and Rob Bonora graduated from Montclair State University in May and apparently enjoyed the experience of walking in the ceremony so much that they put their walking Jones to good use. On June 1st, Greco and Bonora started walking East from California. Destination? Home. Reason for walking? To raise awareness for cancer.

Along the way the two young men walked a hairball less than 3,000 miles. They covered 2,912 miles in slightly more than four months. A journey that began on June 1 in California ended on October 7 in New Jersey. According to the Star-Ledger, during their four-month journey Greco and Bonora walked through twelve states during the 727 hours they spent walking. Along the way they destroyed eleven pairs of sneakers and raised $65,000 in donations. Donations will be given to Gail’s Angels, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families whose mothers have breast cancer and whose children have autism; Derek’s Dreams, a foundation for children with Ataxia Telangiectasia, and the St. Jude’s Foundation.

Today is Columbus Day. The day on which we celebrate and commemorate one man's discovery of America. Last Thursday two young men from Nutley reminded us all that there is still a lot of cool stuff to discover in America. And a lot of cool, interesting people too. Including a couple of Jersey boys who decided to do what they could do to lend a helping hand......

.....One step at a time.


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