Monthly Archives: April 2012

From Owner to Mother in One Quick Splash!

Yesterday marked one full month to the day that Buddy came into our life.  I have to say that I could not have planned for a better dog.  He is even-tempered, loves people, kids and especially other dogs.  We visit the dog park, “Pooch Pines” just about every other evening where he socializes with an array of other canine companions wrestling and running themselves into exhaustion.

With James away in Arizona all this week, Buddy and I only had each other for company.  Last weekend while I was writing my novel Unforgettable [based on the life and times of my mother], I found myself overwhelmed by emotion as I was forced to relive some very difficult memories.  Quite unexpectedly I found myself reduced to tears at which point, Buddy sensed my distress and jumped up onto my lap to kiss my face.  Then he curled himself around my waist in a “doggie hug” as he looked up into my face in sympathy.  It was very tender and one of those moments when you realize that a dog is truly capable of love and caring.

Well weather-wise in South Florida, this week was exceptional.  From Monday thru Thursday I kept all the windows and doors open to let in the cool temps (upper 70’s) along with the unusually dry air.  We have a pool in our back yard and since day one; Buddy’s natural intuition has kept him away from the edge.  He had no problem walking [or even running] around the pool but always steered clear of the edge.

Well yesterday while I was sweeping up the patio, I noticed a gurgling sound coming from our neighbor’s yard.  These neighbors’ don’t live here full time so I keep an eye on their home for them.  I recognized the sound as the warning that the water level was getting low in their pool so I turned my back for a moment to try to look through the hedge to see if I was right [which I was].  At that moment, from behind me I heard a “SPLASH!”  I quickly turned to see that little Buddy had fallen into the pool.  His pathetic expression was one of sheer panic and total distress.  Clearly he had been shocked by the sudden plunge. 

The only thought that crossed my mind was to make him feel safe again ASAP, so I jumped into the water to retrieve him.  He did manage to paddle [I guess that’s why it’s actually called “doggie paddle”] to the pool’s wall but he was not able to get himself up over the coping to dry land.  I picked him up and put him onto the patio.  I grabbed a bath towel and proceeded to dry him off.  He was still shaken from the experience.  I got a second dry towel and wrapped it around him.  Once swaddled in the soft terry comfort, he lay in my arms like an infant with NO desire to be on his own.  It took a full 20 minutes before the initial shock wore off and I could place him down again.

Well I guess something clicked in Buddy’s head.  He now viewed me as more than the guy he lives with who feeds, walks, bathes and plays with him.  He suddenly saw me as his great protector.  For the rest of the day he was no longer content to sit “by” my feet as I did my computer work but opted instead to “lay on” them.  Each and every time I got up to walk, he literally stayed up against my legs taking each step with me.  Whenever the opportunity would arise, he would leap onto my lap and lick my chin.  I felt like his mother or at least felt that he viewed me as such.

So as we head into our second month together, I strongly feel that Buddy realizes that whatever may have happened in his young life before he came to us, he is here to stay.  What’s more, he will be well taken care of.  Ironically, after he comforted me in my distress last Saturday, I realize the same thing.  Life IS good!

Until next time,

Don

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

An Unexpected Tearjerker…

It’s funny how at times, quite unexpectedly a song can open up a floodgate of emotions. Sometimes, as is the case with me and recording artist Pink’s, “Who Knew?” it can truly come from out of left field.

This particular song was intended to have a totally different meaning than the one it accidently took on to me. It was obviously meant to be a “break-up” song but once one knows my story, they would easily understand how the lyrics reached out to my heart in a different way.

To better understand where I am coming from allow me if you will, to take you back in time. As a little boy, I remember standing in the doorway of my parent’s bedroom holding tightly to my sister’s hand as we watched our father suddenly die in our mother’s arms. The scene had left us both traumatized and shocked, so you can imagine my disbelief when only two and a half years later, Maureen and I were asked to take a seat on our grandparent’s sofa only to be told that our teenaged brother had passed away. Suffice it to say as a child I felt quite fearful to leave my mother, panicking that she may be the next one I suddenly lose. Sensing my anxiety, my mom used to sit me down every so often and PROMISE that she would NEVER, EVER leave me.

Now decades later, I was listening to the radio when “Who Knew?” came on.  Although I have “heard” the song a thousand times, I guess I never really “listened” to it until today. If I would have guessed that a song could cause me to be overcome with emotion, I would have at least thought it to be a ballad, not a rock song! In spite of the fact that I basically [thought]I knew most of the lyrics (at least to the chorus) the poetry of the words took me by surprise and brought me back to my mother. Of course when she was making her promise to me as a young boy, she knew there would come a time in my life when she would be gone and my life would have to go on without her. Still my heart was haunted by the lyrics of the first verse…

 “You took my hand you showed me how

You promised me you’d be around

Uh huh… that’s right

I took your words and I believed…

in everything you said to me

Yeah huh, that’s right

 If someone said three years from now, you’d be long gone

I’d stand up and punch them out, cause they’re all wrong

I know better… cause – you said forever… and ever… Who knew?

In my adult life, my mom was my best friend.   She was the best friend to every one of her five children.  We knew her love was unconditional and that there was nothing so bad or so personal that we could not go to her for quiet understanding and guidance.   Like so many other wonderful things we have in life, I look back and find myself guilty of taking my mom and our time together for granted. In the final years of her life, I often found myself too busy to give my mom the time and attention she deserved, but she never made me feel badly about that and always appreciated every moment we spent together.  That’s why the lyrics to the second verse made me ache…

“Remember when we were such fools… and so convinced and just too cool

Oh no… No no

I wish I could touch you again.

I wish I could still call you friend… I’d give anything.

When someone said count your blessings now, ‘fore they’re long gone…

I guess I just didn’t know how, I was all wrong…

They knew better, still – you said forever… and ever… Who knew?

The lord DOES INDEED work in mysterious ways and when I needed it most, he reached out to bless me with gifts that I will be forever grateful to have had bestowed upon me. The day my mom passed away, she had been trying to speak. She needed something, yet her voice was too weak to be heard. I asked her to repeat herself four times, each time getting closer and closer to her face to try and make her voice audible to me.  At the final attempt, my ear and her mouth were almost touching, when exhaustion and frustration got the better of her and she simply gave up trying to ask. Something inside her knew how much I ached to be able to help her. She wanted to let me know that it was alright, so she kissed my face. It was her last kiss… ever. I can still feel it soft, warm and gentle against my cheek, just like her. That’s why the final verse was able to bring tears to this man’s eyes…

“If someone said three years from now you’d be long gone…

I’d stand up and punch them out, cause they’re all wrong and

That last kiss, I’ll cherish… Until we meet again

And time makes it harder…I wish I could remember

But I keep your memory… You visit me in my sleep.

My darling… Who knew… “

Just a little footnote here: my mom use to call us all “darling.” It was just her special term of endearment and everyone who knew her closely, associates the term with her.  Ironiclly the final reprise of this song happens to say…

My darling… My darling… Who knew?

My darling… I miss you

My darling… Who knew… Who knew?”

I do miss my mom terribly but I am also very grateful for all of the wonderful, loving, happy memories that she left us with, as these will be with me forever.  So I guess in a way, she held true to her promise, she IS with me forever and ever… Who knew?

Trudy

Click Here For The Song Who Knew

Now, I’ve got a book to complete so… until next time,

Don

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Friday the Thirteenth

Today is Friday the 13th. If you’re superstitious, you’re most likely under the impression that this is an unlucky day.  But… do you know why?  The reason for it remains pretty much a mystery, however Friday itself has been considered an unlucky day since the 14th century.  Many consider it a bad day to start a journey and various businesses consider it bad luck to start production on a Friday.  When you team that up with 13 being an unlucky number, you’re in for double-trouble!

The modern basis surrounding Friday the 13th and it’s “unluckiness” comes from Friday October the 13th, 1307.   This is the date that the Pope of the church in Rome, in Conjunction with the King of France, carried out a secret death warrant against “the Knights of Templar”. The Templars were killed as heretics.  There Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay, was arrested tortured and crucified.   The Templars never again regained the power that they had held for so many years.

Whether you’re superstitious or not, here are some fun facts about this special day for you to enjoy:

This is the second of three Friday the 13ths on the calendar for this year (2012) January, April and July. 

There is an actual “phobia” for folks who fear Friday the 13th and it is known as “paraskavedekatriaphobia.”  Try and say THAT three times fast!

The crash of Friday, Oct. 13, 1989 was the second largest drop in the Dow history. Talk about bad to worse; that crash doesn’t even rank in the top 10 today!

According to the Huffington Post, people in Spanish speaking countries fear Tuesday the 13th!  Who knew??

President Franklin D. Roosevelt suffered from triskaidekaphobia (Fear of the number 13)  It is said that he refused to travel on the 13th day of any month and would absolutely not host a dinner party with 13 guests.

Speaking of thirteen people around the dinner table; old folk lore has it that if there are 13 people at the table… one will die by the years end… Plus who really has china for more than 12 anyway!

Well Happy Friday the 13th to you all.  Seems like a good night to have a few people over, have dinner and watch a scary movie… as long as it’s 12 or less!

Until next time,

Don

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Ooey Gooey Cheesy Comfort…

Just in case you were wondering, today is National Grilled Cheese Day.  We actually have a “national day” for just about everything from doughnuts (June 3) to pancakes (Feb. 28) to onion rings (June 22) but no other can compare to the soothing comfort of National Grilled Cheese Day! 

Never before has there been a better day for me to relate to.  Just the very mention of “grilled cheese” can conjure up wonderful childhood memories like no other single food in an American boy’s life.  Who cannot recall the joy of dipping the corner of the melted, toasty treat into a steaming hot bowl of tomato soup?  Let’s face it; this is one food that moms never have to beg their kids to eat!  To this very day should I find myself sick in bed; I still long for that comforting grilled cheese sandwich. 

The simple grilled cheese is where our love affair for melted cheese on “stuff” was first born.  If you can melt cheese between bread and it can taste this good; the possibilities are endless.  You can melt cheese with broccoli, macaroni, French fries or just throw caution to the wind and skip the “stuff” and just go for it with a hot bowl of cheddar cheese soup… melted cheese by the spoonful!

On those rare occasions; and I do mean rare… when my BFF Jeanne and I can get together for a lunch, grilled cheese is our guilty pleasure.  And I must admit, I make a few really good versions, however the secret is really in the cheese.  If I am using the traditional American cheese it is a MUST that I use, Land O’ Lake’s WHITE American.  It makes a huge difference.  People have actually asked me what kind of cheese I use because it’s so delicious!  My local market stopped carrying it and I went on line to see where else I can buy it.  Turns out they have it at Wal-Mart of all places.

Whatever cheese or bread you use… I hope you take the opportunity to celebrate National grilled Cheese Day.

Until next time,

Don

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Proof is in the Reading

Today I received the “proof” of my little children’s book “Donald and the New Baby.”

This proof shows exactly what the finished product will look and feel like.  As luck would have it, my sister Sharon; whom this book was written for as a 40th birthday gift, is visiting from New York.  It almost brought tears to my eyes to watch her hold and read the tiny story to her two children.  Sharon became a bit choked-up while reading the dedication page… which I thought was sweet.

The colorful illustrations created by illustrator Brandon Lane, are modern, fun and definitely help to bring my story to life.  I also like the fine job that designer Stan Perl did with the layout, as well as front and back cover design.  The back cover has a “teaser” about the story which reads; “Donald could not help but wonder what it would be like to have a brother.  Little Donald has three sisters and dreams of having a little brother.  When his parents announce that his mom is going to have another baby, Donald gets very excited and starts to plan all sorts of fun things he can do with his new little brother.  But what if Donald gets a fourth sister?  What will he do then?  Find out in… Donald and the New Baby.” 

It is now my job to read and re-read the little book to find any small typos or errors before it goes into print next month.  Also, a decision has to be made regarding the audio version of the book.  You see, the book will come with a free audio download that you can access from a computer by entering the book’s code into the Tate Publishing website.  Once you do this, you can either copy it onto a CD, put it into your i-Pod (to listen on the go) or simply listen from your PC’s speakers. 

I had just assumed that I would be using one of the publishing company’s professional narrators but I also have the option of doing my own narration.  Now this is my conundrum, Sharon feels strongly that for posterity, the story should be told by me, reading it as I intended it to be read.  In a way I do understand why she feels as she does but to tell you the truth, I don’t really care for the sound of my own voice.  I find it to be too nasal and I have often joked that I sometimes sound like Bea Arthur with a cold!  Maybe sometimes it’s best to let the professionals do their job.  What do you think?  Should I bite the bullet and try to do the best I can with the voice God gave me or have a narrator do the voiceover for me?  I only have a few days left to make the decision.  Help!!!

Until next time,

Don

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized