Monday, August 7, 2017


"Of course I'll take care of your bunny while you both sail away on a 10 day cruise," I say. "How hard can it be to clean out the cage, refill the water bottle and stick a bunch of hay in the boxes?" I ask myself.

Well let me tell you! For the first few days everything went swimmingly. I'd come in about 9:30a.m. let the little fur ball out while I did my chores, entice her back into the cage with a handful of pellets, close the gate and head back home. Around 6:00p.m. I'd do another check to make sure everything was okay. Since the little dear had been confined all day, I'd let her out, give her a few snacks, and watch her hop around enjoying her freedom for about 40 minutes. I'd talk and sing softly to her, pet her when she came up to me, and loved watching her do flips in the air from time to time. Then back in the cage, out go the lights and bid a good evening until the morrow.

But.....upon returning on Saturday evening for the nightly check, to my horror, I found the cage empty, the gate ajar, and Miss Bunny no where in sight! Since I was instructed to shut all the doors in the basement and the one leading to the upstairs, I knew she HAD to be in the designated basement area. I looked high and low but couldn't find the little bugger. I noticed that the cover on the settee had slipped down from the back, so I assumed somebody had been sitting on it. I knew the guy's mom had intended to stop by on the weekend to check on her darling grandbunny, so I assumed she'd come by and decided to take her home since she, too, had a rabbit in the house.

Case closed, right? WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For some reason, I decided to do a morning run on Sunday in case the little devil had returned. When I opened the basement door, much to my surprise and relief, there she was sitting in the middle of the floor looking as pleased as punch! When I asked her where she'd been, she refused to say. Once I completed the morning ritual, I started to leave when I noticed the cover on the couch was more wrinkled than what I'd remembered. Not wanting our friends to come home to a messy basement, I went over to fix it and...... as I removed it I discovered what Miss Bunny had been doing during the night, BITING HOLES IN THE SOFA AND PULLING OUT THE STUFFING! HOLY HOLES!
Now we were both in serious trouble! I went over to her cage and reprimanded her vehemently, so much so she scampered under her shelter and refused to come out. I attached a zip lock tie to the gate and  left her without any possibility of mending our relationship.

After spending the day watching the Pirates, I decided it was as much my fault as hers and went over to give ourselves a second chance. When I saw she was still in her cage, I cut the tie and let her out. In the beginning, she was very tentative and was not eager to approach me even though I had shredded carrots to give as a peace offering. Finally her curiosity won out, and bunny came to fetch her treat. She then hopped around awhile, but wasn't as active as she'd been in the past. I figured she was just worn out from last night's partying. One thing I noticed though was that she kept going over to the recliner and sticking her face in the pillows stuffed behind it. When I went to investigate, she ran away. NO WONDER! When I pulled out the two pillows I discovered she'd also bitten holes in the one and pulled out the stuffing during her Saturday night bash! I immediately returned her to her cage, zip locked it twice, shut out the lights and went home dejectedly.

If you guys are reading this, I do plan to buy you a new pillow and have the settee fixed. I'm very sorry for my bunnysitting ineptitude and promise to do better until your return.

HOPING YOU GUYS ARE HAVING A GLORIOUS TIME! Don't worry about bunny and me because now that I know what kind of evil spirit is lurking in that fluffy creature,  I'm on high alert and security measures have been substantially increased.

love ya'll

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Mother's Love Denied

Early on I realized my brother was my mother's favorite, but since we lived with my grandparents the relationship between my baba and me greatly compensated for any maternal caring that was lacking. When I left home to attend an all-girls high school, again not having any type of bond with my mother wasn't a high priority.  

Years later when I became a mother myself, I began to realize how much the emotional neglect I experienced in childhood had damaged my ability to love. Thoughts of why my own mother never hugged or kissed me crept into my psyche; Was it the way I looked? What I said? How I acted? 
I started to think about any conversations we might have had that would shed some light on answers to my insecurities. It was then that I realized there had never been a meaningful discussion between my mother and me the whole time I was growing up. How sad!

Fast-forward to 1983 when my mother came to stay with us. Her home was in a declining neighborhood then, and unsafe to be an elderly woman living alone. Before offering to take her in, I talked with my brother, wanting to know if he would be willing to extend her the same kindness. He adamantly refused saying he could never deal with her on a daily basis. Her favorite, right? 

Mother lived with us for 20 years, yet our personal connection changed little. I worked full-time while she managed the household. When I was home, she busied herself with mundane activities or stayed in her room talking on the phone to her friends. 

If it sounds like I'm putting the total blame on my mother for not trying to develop a bond while living in our home, I'm really not. Certainly I could have made an effort to get closer to her, but truth be told, that ship had sailed a long time ago. I had squelched a desire for my mother's love, and although I would always suffer the pain of not having it, I just didn't care anymore.

Now it's 2017. I'm a mother of three and a grandmother of seven. Admittedly I've not bonded as tightly with my own children as I would have liked, but I have tried. Since they were little, I've made sure to be active in their lives, been present for all their special events, and surrounded them with family and friends throughout their childhood. Since they've become adults, married and being parents themselves, we've become closer perhaps because we're now on the same playing field. As a 'grammy' in the words of one of the seven, "I'm the smartest, bestest grammy ever"! Without much guidance early on, I think I somehow learned to love myself and show love to those most important to me. 

Why am I telling you about the nonexistent connection between my mother and me now? Frequently over the years in ordinary conversations with relatives, friends, or just acquaintances, somebody would remark about their mother's lack of love for them. Occasionally I've heard terrible stories of how a person was abused physically or emotionally or both by the one who should have been their protector. I now realize that there are so many who have lived without that maternal relationship, and I wonder what kind of folks they turned out to be. Are they stronger, more independent, well-adjusted individuals than those who were seeped in their mother's love? Or are they weak, dependent, maladjusted people because of it?

I've decided to do research on this very topic, and eventually plan to put my findings into a book. If you have something to say, please contact me by email: or message me on facebook. Every thing told to me will be confidential, and I will not use anything revealed unless I have your permission to do so.

Realizing how prevalent not feeling love from one's mother is, I believe telling people's stories will be highly beneficial to both the sufferers as well as to those who knowingly or otherwise inflicted such pain. 

Monday, July 10, 2017


First let me say that this post is in no way connected with a particular company or ad campaign. I included the instructions below to merely provide info, nothing more.

I'm at the stage in my life where thinking about my passing pops up now and then in thought and/or discussion. I'm certain I do not want to have a viewing where folks come, exclaim how I  really don't look like myself, (after all, I'll be dead so what would you expect, a glowing, energetic corpse?), shed a tear, say a prayer, and then drop me six feet into the hard, cold ground! Gee, thanks, guys!

For years I've entertained the thought of being cremated and having my ashes sprinkled in the ocean from the Sandbridge, VA. shore. Then I happened upon a bios urn on FB. After reading about how it works, I knew this was for me. Having my ashes converted into a living tree that perhaps for hundreds of years would provide shade, rest, and beauty to so many would be my way of staying alive and continuing to serve others. 

Since I love trees, and have planted more than a few in my time, I figure this method of dispersing my remains is perfect. The only glitch would be as to where to place the 'me tree'. I don't think I want it in my backyard since others would soon buy our home, and have no connection to it's familial value, to them it would be a plain old tree.

Having three adult children with families and homes of their own, I'd be more comfortable with one of them, however I wonder if they'd fight over me, the tree. Two are in the Carolinas, one in Ohio. I guess it would be up to me to stipulate which lucky family would receive my living memorial. I could consider my first born, Joy, but she and her hubby plan to sell their home and travel once their kids are gone. Again I'd be among strangers who have no real connection with that tree in the front of the house blocking their view of the comings and goings of the neighbors.  They'd probably chop me down a.s.a.p! 

Then there's my son, Barry. Although I think he'll stay in his home, he's kind of a fuss budget with the landscaping around his place. There's already a tree in the front, and a bunch of them in the backyard. All are mature and thriving in the Carolina sun so I'm pretty certain he'd be opposed to removing any of them to plant a seedling that may or may not survive in the south.

Lastly, Kristy, my youngest, and the mother of three rowdy boys, will probably be my best bet. She enjoys gardening to a degree, and fortunately for me, her backyard is devoid of much in the way of bushes and trees. My me tree would go nicely there, and as my branches grow wide and strong, her sons will have a natural jungle gym to climb up, jump from, and disappear into its foliage when their dad is looking for somebody to clean the garage.

The only part of my plan yet to be determined is as to what kind of tree I'll be. I'm thinking decorative plum or pear. I don't know how well these types grow in the south, so I'll have to do some research.
Hopefully I have plenty of time to decide, but I'm going to hope on it soon since none of us are promised a new tomorrow!

How it Works

Step 1:   Purchase Your Living Urn® and Select Your Seedling (or baby tree)
(or purchase the version of The Living Urn® without a seedling and simply pick up your favorite tree seedling, plant, or flowers at your local nursery)
Step 2:   After you receive The Living Urn®, fill the Bio Urn with the cremated remains of your loved one (or, if you don't feel comfortable doing that, have your funeral home or crematorium (or veterinarian for pets) fill the Bio Urn with the remains)
Step 3:   When your tree seedling arrives, follow the planting instructions provided with The Living Urn® to plant a living memory (or click here for an online version)
...pour our proprietary RootProtect™ ash neutralizing agent on top of the cremated remains; then, place the soil mix and wood chips on top of the neutralizing agent

 ...and plant - it's that simple!  

A beautiful memory tree will then grow and keep your beloved family member's memory present in your life!

Monday, June 26, 2017


So on April 30th I ordered online two rocker/recliners from JCPenney to complete the new look of our living room. I was made aware that it would take 6-8 weeks for the products to be shipped. On June 7th, I received an email stating that the chairs were shipped via XPO Logistics and the arrival date was estimated to be June 17th. It is now the 25th and after numerous phone calls, numerous promises, and numerous failures to fulfill said promises, I'm without my purchases AND without the money JCPenney quickly secured from my bank holdings.

Needless to say, I'm livid!!!!!!!!!!!! Everybody I talked to said I'd hear back from XPO in 24 - 48hrs. with the exact time they'd be appearing in my driveway with my long-awaited chairs. Nothing, no calls, nada, nil!

Yesterday I call the JCP furniture shipping department once again and spoke to a chap named Mel. He reviewed the entire case, put me on hold in order to contact XPO, and informed me that because of it being the weekend, staff was scarce and he'd be able to get to the bottom of this dilemma on Monday. Mel promised to get in touch with me today with good news. Somehow I didn't quite believe him so I decided to give JCP Customer Service another try. Alovely woman named Susan answered, and when I wanted their complaint department she offered to listen to my story of woe.

Susan affirmed everything I told her since she'd pulled up my account where everything that had transpires was noted. After apologizing profusely for the inefficiency of all involved, this customer-friendly associate gave me the spill. She told me that this has been happening more since JCP contracted with XPO who somehow often misplace or lose items . How in God's holy name can two rocker/recliners be misplaced or lost?

She advised me to ask to speak to a supervisor in the furniture shipping dept., but when I told her I had, and Mel said he wasn't permitted to give out the names of management, Susan was aghast! Furthermore upon studying my account again, Susan said that it appeared that Mel had closed my case which meant it had been resolved. At this point I was ENRAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before terminating our call, Susan gave me the coveted number for Corporate Customer Service, advised me to wait until Tuesday since Mondays are extremely hectic, and encouraged me to ask for some type of reimbursement due to the lack of incompetency I've been forced to deal with.  I intend to totally follow her advice.

If you're planning to buy furniture from JCP in the near future, I strongly suggest: CUSTOMER BEWARE! at least until Susan in head of their furniture shipping department!

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Treasured Legacy Worth More Than Silver And Gold!

The main purpose for writing my, 'When We Were Kids' series, was to paint a realistic picture of what life was like in the Fifties. More than anything, I wanted my children and grandchildren to know who I was as a child, my personality, my quirks, my joys, and my sorrows. Although these four books are works of fiction, they truthfully portray my life and the lives of my immediate family. Most of the events happened, and most of the folks included in these stories are real, live people although many of them have since passed away.

As each book was published, I gifted my seven grandchildren with a copy despite the fact that two of them were just babies at the time. I figured they'd grow into them over the years. On Saturday morning, my seven year old grandson, Beckham, called me in a dither. He explained that he had just finished reading, 'Playing Hooky,' the first book in the series, and had a lot of questions. Beckham wanted to know: Who 'Danny' was? (my brother) Did the nun really say, 'that there are poor children in China with nothing to eat'? (yes, many, many times) Did the bullies at the creek split open Danny's head? (yes, he had the scar to prove it), Did my Baba stick me in a pan when I was born? (yes, and I wouldn't part with it for the world) and so on and so on and so on!

Eureka! I had achieved my goal if only for this one Saturday morning conversation. However what followed warmed my heart to the core. Beckham's ten year old brother, Liam, joined in and began asking questions as well. Somehow we got on the topic of what things cost back then. The boys wanted to know if an ice cream cone was really only ten cents. I told them about the 'White Palace' Ice Cream Shop and how often we stopped there for cones, sundaes, and their famous 'vanilla cokes'! They couldn't believe that all of those treats sold for less than a quarter.

Now I was on speaker phone, and the questions kept coming. How much was a loaf of bread, a gallon of gas, a car, a house??????????  I tried to be accurate in my answers to the best of my ability. They were totally amazed!

When Beckham asked if the bakery that I mentioned in the book was still there, I replied that it was and that I'd taken his older cousins, Brady and Brenna, on a tour of my childhood home town last spring. Both boys wanted to know why I hadn't taken them, but since they weren't in PA at the time I promised we'd go upon their next visit.  When I said I treated B&B to one of my favorite pastries from the Blue Bonnet Bakery on  Eighth Avenue, they about jumped through the phone!

We continued to talk about the house I was born in, the 82 steps my great-grandmother had to climb every Monday morning after grocery shopping, where my mom and dad lived, and much, much more. Our conversation lasted a good twenty minutes, yet for me, it covered a lifetime of memories.

I know Beckham and Liam and the other five grandchildren will treasure the legacy I've written down for them forever. I also believe they will pass these books on to their own children, and hopefully they will do likewise.

Just a suggestion, but if you think your children and grandchildren would love to know you as you were as a child, write it down and hand them a treasured legacy worth more to them than silver and gold!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Thoughts On Retirement

After yesterday's eleven o'clock Mass, everybody was invited to the social hall to celebrate Father Len's retirement. He's been our pastor for eight and a half years, and having reached the age of 70 a few days prior, was eligible to hang it up, so to speak.  What a great party! Delicious appetizers, scrumptious cookies, and a delightful cake along with plenty of friendly conversation highlighted the affair.Many parishioners shared their personal stories of how Father Len had had a positive effect on their lives in one way or another during his time at St. Elizabeth Seton.  A memory table was set up in the back of the hall with photos depicting the good pastor's life from birth to present day. Countless comments about what a sweet baby he was, how cute a youngster, and how long he wore his hair as a teen swirled around from an adoring fan base. Father made himself available so that we could say our good-byes and wish him a well-deserved and peaceful retirement.

Since the party, I've been wondering about what people think of leaving the work force in general, and about my own retirement in 2000. When to retire is a huge decision, and one that needs to be carefully planned out before taking that leap into the unknown. Of course, one's financial situation should be of paramount concern. Without having saved enough money to provide the life style you're accustomed to, can have devastating consequences. When passing through the check-out line at Wal-Mart lately, I've noticed a number of seniors standing on their feet for hours in order to make ends meet. Social Security and pensions don't seem to cover a person's bills these days, let alone provide any extra cash for a few simple amenities. When casually talking to them, many of these folks lament the fact that they may never be able to quit working. My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Besides the money aspect but just as important is the mental and emotional factors involved. Most people considering retirement have no idea what it is they will do afterwards. Without a plan, a good many find themselves floating on the sea of confusion and disillusionment. They don't have anything to fall back on, no second careers, no hobbies, no interests. They lose contact with their former coworkers and find themselves alone and lonely. Depression can quickly set in, robbing them of the energy to find any joy in what was promised to be their 'golden years'! How sad!

I retired the first of June, 2000, and although our finances were in order,  I must say it was a shock to my system! I've always been an early riser, so after reading the paper and drinking my coffee, I was faced with many hours of trying to come up with something meaningful to fill my day. I'd clean, cook, shop, and read. The problem was that I'd done all of those things before AND managed to work a 10-12 hour day! I enrolled into a real estate course, took exercise classes, and scoured the internet searching for an outlet that would fulfill my needs and spark my mind. For almost three years feeling lost and without true purpose, I became depressed.

Fortunately after one of my aerobics sessions, I bumped into an old friend and as we talked, she invited me to a musical performance she and her group, 'The Harmony Singers' were putting on in a few weeks. That one chance encounter became the pivotal point that changed everything for me regarding retirement. Not only was the group phenomenal, but many of the participants were around my age. Once again being in contact with folks that shared experiences much like my own provided me a social circle I desperately needed. As an extra bonus, the singing, dancing, and acting lifted my spirits and within the next year, I became a certified member.

From then on a positive momentum was born. I became a first-time grammy, adopted a sweet puppy that remains attached to my hip at all times, started a second career as a children's book author, and began volunteering in church and community events. My outlook on life is now one of anticipation and excitement. Although I didn't relish the first years of retirement, perhaps they were indeed necessary in order for me to move forward. I won't lie, I would have rather avoided them altogether, but if that is what it took to get me to the joys of today, then that dark period was certainly worth it.

Oftentimes when I find there aren't enough hours in a day to do everything I had planned, I wonder how I ever managed to hold down a job, too. Funny how things change dramatically and yet somehow still stay the same.

Good luck to Father Len and all the new retirees! My hope is that this new phase in your lives will bring joy and challenge every single day. However, if you have a plan unlike myself, you're probably way ahead of the game! I wish you peace, joy, and love!

Monday, May 22, 2017


The man that I married 49 years ago is still the man I'm married to today. Back in 1968, Barry was funny yet serious, thoughtful yet forgetful, generous yet thrifty, and outgoing yet humble.. I think those four qualities were what I liked most about him then and continue to appreciate now. Because of these attributes, he's always been able to provide all the necessities of life for our family and then some. He puts everybody and everything ahead of his own needs and wants. Actually Barry has a hard time allowing himself even the most mundane of items. Last week while shopping at Wal-Mart, he mentioned he probably could use another pair of workout pants, but didn't buy any. I had to literally drag him to the Tee shirts to pick out a few he's talked about for months.

So for his birthday this year, I decided I was going to buy him something he'd never dream of getting for himself. We have a 32" TV in our family room that has poor sound and seeing the number of pitches in a ballgame is next to impossible. Sooooooo...on Friday, my neighbor,Ben, his buddy, Stricko, and I drove to Wal-Mart and picked up a 50" SAMSUNG 4K UDH TV with all the bells and whistles. Tonight Ben and his wife, Delcie, are going to knock on our door and yell, 'SURPRISE!' Ben will hook everything up, and, voila, a happy, happy birthday present for my hubby that will totally knock him off his feet, and one that he absolutely deserves!

Monday, May 15, 2017


My nephew, Christopher, my brother's only child, has been either in juvie, jail or prison for more years than he has been free. At the age of seventeen, he began his illustrious life of crime when he mugged an elderly woman for drug money. First he went to juvenile detention, then upon turning eighteen, he landed in county jail. Since that first stint, Chris has bounced from jail to rehab to jail to rehab until he finally made it to the big house, state prison in Hautsville, PA where he currently resides.

Christopher is now thirty-seven years old with nothing positive to show for his time on this earth. His father and mother have passed, his girlfriend is in jail as well, and his two daughters are in foster care.

I received a letter from my nephew last week saying he'd be out in November, 2018, that he has turned his life around but has nowhere to go or no one to depend on. I assume Chris is playing his trump card, 'make Aunt Flo feel guilty enough so she'll let me stay with her,' but I don't intend to cave. Every single time he's professed to have given up his life of crime, he's duped the folks who were kind enough to give him a second, third, fourth......umpteenth chance. I might not be the brightest bulb in the pack, but I'm not that stupid!

Chris was adopted, and from what we were told, his biological parents were addicts. I'm certain he was born with both alcohol and drug syndrome, and has had a propensity for both since birth. I suppose you could say he never really had a chance from the get-go, but I respectfully disagree. My brother and sister-in-law provided a great home, sent their son to a good school, and made sure all of his needs were met. Hell, this kid had everything he ever wanted and then some! His extended family adored him. We were always together for birthdays, holidays, vacations, and ordinary pop-in visits.

He had it all, but Chris chose a wasted life. The first time I visited him in jail, I posed this question, "Will this be the one and only time you'll be here, or will you be like that gray-haired guy down in the common area twenty years from now?" He looked me square in the eyes and promised he'd never be jailed again.

Well it's been exactly twenty years and he remains behind bars. What a waste!

Monday, May 8, 2017


Last week we had a new floor installed in our livingroom, and carpeting for all three bedrooms, the hall and the stairs. Floran, born in Romania, and Nick of similar descent, laid the flooring with acute precision. Each plank and molding, every placement, cut, and connection, was set as if painted on a canvas then carefully scrutinized before executing another 'brushstroke.' These men were in no hurry to finish the job but rather had intentions of creating an exquisite masterpiece.  They worked in beautiful harmony, seeming to know each other's needs without a single word spoken. As I marveled at their expertise, I couldn't help but think of how devoid our country is of skilled craftsmen today.

Dave and Brennan planned out the carpet installation before even bringing one roll of product through the door. They prepared each room so that they could work efficiently without having to spend time on moving furniture more than once. They removed the old stuff quickly, and then began to seamlessly transform each space into an elegant, plush surface. Watching Brennan cover the stairway with such artistic accuracy, I was again reminded that in today's high-tech world people who work with their hands have somehow been relegated to the uneducated unfortunates. THIS COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH IN MY OPINION!

Funny how things that are relevant to my point of view seem to pop up exactly when needed. In this morning's Tribune-Review, Debra Erdley's front page article, 'No catch' academy offers security, substantiates everything I've presented in this post's first two paragraphs. According to Erdley, The Apprentice School in Newport News,VA, one of only a handful in the U.S., has been training young men and women for over 100 years to become skillful in shipbuilding-related jobs. This educational institution is closely aligned with Huntingdon Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding, turning out professionals who can not only do the required work but do it to perfection.

Each year The Apprentice School receives over 4000 applications, but unfortunately can accept just 250 lucky high school graduates. Now here's the 'no catch', these chosen few pay no tuition, but are considered to be Huntingdon Ingalls employees, are paid a salary, and are guaranteed a job upon completing the four year program. No student loans to burden them over a lifetime, no sir-ree!

For years I've been saying that college is not for everybody and should only be considered if going into a specialized area of education. Too many college graduates come out of school with no more clarity of what it is they want to do than when they first entered their respective hallowed halls of higher learning. There is a viable alternative however, one of providing our young people with apprenticeships that will produce skilled craftsmen for hundreds of workplaces in need. More and more schools like the one in Newport News, whose missions would be to set up training courses to meet the needs of our country's growth and development are the way to go. Bricklayers, plumbers, oil riggers, electrical engineers, flooring experts, and carpet installers to name just a few are in high demand, and would be better educated with hands-on experiences taught by a master craftsman instead of sitting in a college classroom for hours on end merely reading and listening to what their prospective careers will entail.

On a personal note, living in my Zedo's house from birth, I had the distinct privilege of watching him build furniture, fix leaky pipes, and wire electrical outlets flawlessly. He cemented walkways, created trellises for grapes and climbing ivy, put in a retaining wall, and grew a garden that could feed an army, and he could do all of this by acquiring those skills from watching and learning from his father. My Zedo never spent a day in college, and yet he was a master craftman in building, plumbing, wiring, masonry, and agriculture.

Let's return to the days of yore when apprentices became masters that provided our country with the skilled workers needed to complete the jobs in all areas with precision and beauty!

Monday, May 1, 2017


Last Friday I posted this little story on my FB page. I never imagined what happened next. Over 1500 responses poured in with people saying how touched they were by this one act of kindness and thanked me for sharing it. Mostly though, folks expressed their sadness over the fact that there were so few such cases of generosity in the world today. Their lamentation got me thinking. What if everyone who has experienced something wonderfully unexpected posted it for all to appreciate? Perhaps then our views of just how much goodness exists all around us would expand our hopes for a better tomorrow. So please take a minute or two to tell us about your 'wonderfully unexpected' moment. You'll never know just how much good sharing it will do for your family and friends. Thanks, love ya'll

An Act of Kindness:
So my hubby and I are in McDonald's waiting in line behind a big, hard-working man. He turns toward us and asks, "What do you want?"
Now I can see that the man is talking to the fellow behind me, but Barry thinks he's talking to him. "I'm not sure yet, but I'll probably go with a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit and a coffee," says my clueless hubby.
"Okay, and what can I get for you, ma'am," the man offers me along with a great big grin!
I find this whole episode amusing, and go with it. "Make mine an egg McMuffin and a soda, please."
The fellow behind us wants a McGriddle, fries and a large coffee.
When the cashier starts ringing up the total, the hard-working gentleman reminds her to include our order as well. When I try to dissuade him, he assures me that it is his pleasure. His coworker tells me his boss is very charitable and actually looks for ways to be generous. "To refuse his kindness would be offensive," he tells me.
We graciously accept, and as we talk we find out these two strangers who are no longer strangers work in flooring. I told them that I intend to pay it forward.
If you are looking for flooring of any kind, see:
Doug Fricks
Forsure Flooring, LLC
Liberty Boro.
After hearing this story, you know Doug will treat you with and honest estimate and give you the best possible price. And tell him the two old folks from McDonald's sent you!

Monday, January 30, 2017


Every six weeks or so, I pick up 'Ms. Clairol' and together we get rid of the white rows cropping up all over my head. After about forty minutes, I'm young again!

If only there was something that worked as well for my Shadow. She's a fourteen year old, black Lab
mix with a face as white as snow. When I look at her, I see only gray sheaths covering both her once beautiful brown eyes. She sleeps most of the day now and eats sparingly. When waking up from one of her many daily naps, she limps around before being able to walk normally. As soon as I mention going outside though, her tail wags like a windshield wiper on speed! Occasionally Shadow will run around the yard if she spots the groundhog that lives under the neighbor's shed.

After retiring, I had a lot of time on my hands and decided to get a dog. On December 10, 2002, my hubby and I drove out to the country, answering an ad we'd seen in the newspaper. When we finally found the place, we realized we'd wandered into a puppy mill situation. There were cages outside filled with animals of every size and breed. The noise coming from these poor creatures was deafening. The house was shuttered and looked to be deserted. We both got out of the car and walked up to the front door. I had to knock at least five times before a washed-out woman appeared. Without any intention of inviting us in, she quickly stepped onto her porch. When we explained why we had come, without a word she went back in and came out with three adorable puppies in her arms. I had made it perfectly clear from the beginning that we wanted a female, but this lady wasn't going to give away a 'puppy-maker' without a fight. She handed me the largest of the litter which happened to be male. After a cursory inspection, I immediately gave it back, but not before I gave him a big smooch on his tiny head. When she told me they were all males, I started to return to the car, but then did a one-eighty and asked to look at the runt. I figured I could at least give one of these puppies the home it deserved. Well, what do you know, the runt just happened to be female! After realizing she'd been exposed, the old bag stuck out her hand for the $60.00, and ran up the steps without so much as a thanks.

We can't believe fourteen years have gone by. It's been me and my Shadow and my hubby ever since. Notice the order in which I place the loves of my life! She practically trained herself in a week's time and has been the joy of our lives every hour of every day.

I know the time is coming when we'll have to say good-bye. I can't imagine her not being by my side.
I know there is a beginning and an end to everything, but when you have someone so special in your life for so long, it will be devastating when it will be me without my Shadow.

Monday, January 23, 2017


Let's face it folks, our Pittsburgh Steelers just didn't have what it takes to win an AFC Championship game yesterday. They were out-played on every level. Big Ben's passes weren't as sharp as they've been for most of this season. He either sailed them over the heads of the receivers, or didn't have enough on some of them to hit the mark. In many instances, receivers were suffering from 'dropitis', unable to hold on to the ball when it mattered. At times, they seemed as though they were moving in slow motion, or just weren't on the same page as their quarterback. The Patriots were successful in keeping Antonio Brown in check for most of the game. With the exception of DeAngelo Williams, the running game was nonexistent. Le'Veon Bell couldn't find his rhythm, and left the game in the first quarter due to injury. The offensive line as a whole was lethargic. Our kicker, who made six field goals last week to win the game single-handedly, missed an extra point!

And where oh where was our defense! It seemed as though they were running around in circles, usually behind #15 as he either made huge yardage, or worse yet, went in for a touchdown. Tom Brady had so much time he could have filed his nails before releasing the ball while the Pittsburgh defense grappled ineffectively with their opponents. Playing zone defense against the Patriot's quarterback was just plain stupid, yet Butler stuck with it throughout the game.

Yes, the Steelers were out-played, but what was apparent almost from the start was that the entire team seemed to be played out! There were no smiles, high-fives, or even general excitement. It was like watching the 'walking dead'! What was especially disheartening to me was their lack of passion, something that was key to their success over the past eight games.

Of course, I wanted our hometown team to win. Personally I can't stand the New England Patriots! But if we didn't beat them, at least I wanted to see a competitive effort. Sadly we lost, and I truly believe we beat ourselves. We were out-played and played out!

Monday, January 16, 2017

If Only We Had Met

As a Nation, today we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. As I drank my morning coffee, my mind drifted back to the Sixties when I had just turned 20 and watched this great man speak of a time when there would be equality for all peoples, no matter their race, religion, or culture. I was mesmerized by his demeanor, his words, his passion. Many times I wished I had had the opportunity to actually be present during one of his speeches. Everything he said rang true with me, From a young age it was very important to me for everyone to get along, share ideas, and work together without discord or intolerance. I lived in a town where blacks and whites owned homes in the same neighborhood, went to school together, where fathers worked side-by-side in the mill, and mothers shopped in the same grocery stores. When I went away to high school, Mary Alice Bates became my good friend who just happened to be black.

I also remember the marches led by Martin Luther King with thousands of both blacks and whites in stride behind him, trying to impress upon our country the need for change. Many were sympathetic to the inequality that existed in the US, but many more were determined to keep the blacks down, insisting they weren't deserving of equal rights since they had been born into slavery and therefore were subordinate to the white race.  I can still see the ugly riots that ensued where policemen, with raised clubs, beat and handcuffed the marchers usually without cause. My heart broke for those who had to suffer the terrible violence and unjust imprisonment simple because they wanted what all
God's children deserved.

And I definitely recall the terror that coursed through my body the day Martin Luther King was shot and killed. I felt paralyzed and totally confused by the news. Why would anyone do such a horrific thing to a man of peace? That notion kept rolling around in my brain and eventually made me very angry. A wife was now without her husband, children no longer had their father. I suppose I related so strongly to their plight, since my dad died when I was three, leaving my mom a widow, and my brother and I, orphans.

Something I'd never considered before began to take over my thinking this morning. What if only I'd met Martin Luther King when I was in my twenties? Would I have been among his followers, marched with him, and spread his message to both the choir and the disbelievers? Would I have been willing to be beaten and imprisoned for my participation which many thought to be civil disobedience? Would I have continued to fight the fight of inequality even after Martin Luther King was murdered?

Since my only involvement in his cause was through the news media, I will never know exactly what I would have done back then, but I do know that my mission to educate the young about the beauty of diversity was borne out of this great man's beliefs and sacrifice. There is only one item in my personal bucket list, to witness world peace before I leave my earthly journey. And the only way to achieve this lofty goal, is to begin teaching youngsters not to fear difference, but to embrace it. If we all join in striving for peace and harmony among all peoples, I know in my heart, the way Martin Luther King envisioned it, that world peace is indeed possible!

Monday, January 9, 2017


OMG! Did you see the AFC Wild Card game between our Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins yesterday? It was the ultimate in professional sports teamwork by the Steelers that I've ever seen, and I've been watching football since the first Super Bowl season. From the head coach down to the water boys, if indeed there are water boys, everyone contributed to the 30-12 winner over the Fish! And that included the players who never got on to the field, those who were injured and not even dressed, and those who perhaps didn't even make it to the stadium but were cheering their hearts out while watching the game on television or whatever device they used to bear witness to this unbelievable contest.

I've chosen not to name anybody in particular because in my opinion, they are all deserving of mention, and if I tried to give them all credit and inadvertently missed one, I would feel horrible. Every person connected to this important win is worthy of the game ball, and since getting a sliver of the leather wouldn't work, this special honor should be presented to the entire team and staff. 

As the game progressed, my heart swelled and I grew prouder with every pass, run, catch, kick, punt, and play. It's as if all these guys were working as one unit in their efforts to succeed. Every one on the field at any given time was committed to doing their job for the good of all. There wasn't a single inflated ego to be found anywhere at anytime during the entire 60 minutes. That just goes to show that by working together as a team, nine times out of ten, you'll win together as a team!

From the legendary veteran to the year-after-year soldiers, to the humble rookies, to both the awesome offense and the unstoppable defense, to the coaches and staff, I salute your determined efforts on and off the field. By working together, you've not only given the team the chance to win a seventh Super Bowl, but you've shown our youngsters that teamwork is the best path to success. You've impressed upon them the need to be responsible for doing your job and doing it well. When every person is committed to performing at their personal best, good things happen. 

I can't wait until next Sunday when the Steelers go against the Kansas City Chiefs. Whether they win or lose, I'm sure I'll witness the same commitment and dedication to teamwork as I did yesterday. Of course I'm hoping for a win, but seeing ultimate teamwork like no other once again will make me just as proud!

A side note worth mentioning:

This summer I had the privilege to meet many of the Steelers during a July practice at St. Vincent College. These men were well-mannered and showed respect to a let's just say mature woman. They didn't talk down to me or my grandson, and reflected a humble spirit that caught me off guard. I guess because of their national status, I was expecting a polite brush-off from most of them. Never happened! Although they had just finished two hours of grueling drills in the hot sun, and were starved and ready to chow down, every one we spoke to in the cafeteria made Kaden and I feel that we were deserving of their time, and that the food could wait. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Resolution vs Purpose

Yep, it's that time of year again when we resolve to spend less, eat less, complain less. And, of course we promise to save more, exercise more, and be more involved in helping our fellow man. We usually come up with our New Year's resolution on New Year's Day. At that moment our decision seems logical, practical, and doable. We feel excited and determined to stick to it for the next 364 days, but after a week at most, we've given up trying or have forgotten our choice all together.

Resolutions are good in and of themselves, but are oftentimes made without much thought or planning. We know there are areas in our lives that need to be changed, but simply having the intention to alter certain behaviors will not result in positive outcomes. What is missing in most resolutions is commitment. What seems like a good idea at the time quickly slips away if not
built on a solid foundation.

Commitment is more conducive to purpose, and whether we're aware of it or not, we all have a purpose in life. At birth we have been assigned a specific course of action that needs to be fulfilled in order to make the world a better place than it was before we arrived. This notion may seem ludicrous, but I believe that without a purpose, we'd just be meandering through life without doing anything constructive until the day we died. What a sad commentary on the human, don't you think?

No, we're not aware of our purpose as babies, nor are we usually conscious of it during childhood, but as we mature, whether because of what we've learned or experienced over time, a reason for living in each of us begins to emerge. Situations arise that draw us in, and keep us interested. Before long we find ourselves totally involved and willing to do whatever it takes to make something good happen as the result of our tireless efforts. It's almost as if we are being pulled along by some magnetic force, and we wouldn't think of severing that connection, At this point, our purpose is realized and our commitment has been defined.

Now we must continue to set goals despite constant obstacles being thrown into our paths. Not all of our decisions to reach specific milestones will work, not all of them will even get off the ground, but because we believe in our life's mission, we will never stop trying, we can't. It's like running a race that involves passing the baton to a teammate, we don't dare drop it because everyone is depending on us to do our part, actually the fate of our world is at stake.

So instead of making a superficial New Year's resolution, if you've not already discovered the purpose for your very existence, take the time to contemplate why you were put on this earth, and begin taking action to fulfill your mission. If every human being would realize their true purpose and commit themselves to striving to reach certain goals in 2017, we'd be well on our way to world peace in the very near future.