Thank you for my wife.
Thank you for my children.
Thank you for a home filled with love, laughter and the miracles you perform in our lives on a daily basis.
Thank you for providing us with your gifts of food, clothing, shelter and health.
Thank you for the chaotic moments that remind us of your glory and your wisdom, as well as your generous and overflowing love.
Thank you for my family members.
Thank you for my Parents.
Thank you for all of my brothers and sisters.
Thank you for all of my aunts and uncles.
Thank you for my friends.
Thank you for my neighbors.
Thank you for our community and the people who work together each day to build a better life for our children.
May you bless each and every one of them with your love and your grace in the days, months and years ahead!
“Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now…”
This morning I burnt my bagel. I know it seems like such trivial moment in my day, but I was frustrated as the smell of sulfur surrounded my senses. I stepped away for only a moment and I ruined it. And now, I was going to throw away food. I hate wasting anything when so many people in the world go without. But I guess that is how my luck is running these days; if I step away for a moment, I’m gonna get burned. (“I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now…”)
Business is still slow. Welcome to the economy! Leads are like an oasis in the desert; far and few between. I believe it will come in time and things will pick up. It has to. I have worked too hard and too long to let it fail now. But as I was quickly packing up my equipment in the middle of a rain storm last week (third rain out in the last four events), I could feel the perseverance and the hope drain out of my body.
Michael pulled his car over to the side of the road as a light rain cascaded over his windshield. The spine tingling squeak of the windshield wipers echoed throughout the car as music faintly droned through the speakers in the background. And with each pass of the vulcanized rubber against the glass, the anticipation of the moment that stood before him began to feel like a twenty-five pound weight that was pressing firmly against his chest. He knew that if he turned down the road and headed for the farm, that he would be passing the point of no return. It was now or never and Michael had to take one final moment to contemplate what he was about to do.
As he slowly brought the car to a stop on the side of the road, Michael put the automatic gear shift into park, pulled out a Marlboro Red and lit it. This was one of the many crossroads he would face in his life and as he took a long, hard drag off of his cigarette, he could feel the adrenalin in his body begin to subside. He took a long look at himself in the rear view mirror of the car and in the reflection of the deep blue eyes that were staring back at him. And in that very moment, he felt a calm, confidant resolve in the actions he was about to undertake. He took another long, hard drag of his cigarette, leaned his head back against the seat and exhaled forcefully as he closed his eyes.
It was a beautiful day. The birds were singing and there was a crisp breeze that wafted throughout the neighborhood as the aroma of flowers rushed in through the open windows. I had been tracking a hurricane that was making its way up the East Coast all week but as luck would have it, a cold front had pushed the hurricane eastward off the coastline of Boston.
I stepped into the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself wryly, “Are you ready for this?!” And as soon as the words left my mouth, a wicked little evil grin of confidence and excitement grew across my face. I had been working toward this day for the better part of a year and now that the rehearsals were finished, lines memorized and the preparations had all been completed, it was time to get this show on the road. I was more than ready.
I felt the nerves well up inside of me as I got dressed. What if I screwed up?! What if I forgot something important?! What if something goes horribly wrong?! And as my mind raced, I looked in the mirror once again and found that my wicked little evil grin of confidence was still planted firmly on my face. So I dismissed the litany of “what if” questions and focused on what was firmly within my control. I took a deep breath, finished getting dressed and walked out into the living room.
“Mom, I’m going outside to play,” I would often say when I was a child. And as soon as I stepped outside our front door, the world was my playground.
I could ride my bike to the center of town where I would meet friends to play a game of baseball, football, kick the can, ghosts in the graveyard or whatever game our imaginations came up with on that particular day. There weren’t any coaches or drills. We made up our own rules and when a conflict arose, we would solve the problem on our own. And yes, every once in a while, the person with the ball would get mad, take their ball, hop on their bike and go home. To which we would just shrug our shoulders and start a new game.
We rode our bikes down to the Shepaug River along Route 67. We would fish, catch minnows, catch frogs and swim. If we were feeling especially daring (especially as we got older), we would swim our way out along the six-foot waterfall and jump off into the raging waters of river below.
Back in June, I had one of the best dreams ever. I dreamt that I owned a helicopter. I was no longer a victim of traffic because I could fly above it. I didn’t have to look for the shortest route between two destinations because I could fly in whatever direction I wanted to go. I was completely free to explore as I saw fit.
I soared with the birds. I flirted with the soft, white, fluffy clouds that lined the horizon. I fought with high winds and thunderstorms as the rain pelted against the windshield of my chopper. I felt the rush of adrenaline each and every time I took to the skies to explore the magical world around me. It gave me a great new perspective on the world below. But most of all, when I wanted to get away from the frustrating limitations of being on the ground, I had a serene place to escape and commune with nature.
I was on my greatest flight ever as I dodged in and out of the rocky ravines of the mighty Grand Canyon when, like all good dreams, the alarm clock rang out and dragged me back to reality. Ejected from the cockpit of my mighty bird, I awoke nestled in the warm confines of my own bed. I fluttered my eyes as the realism of the dream washed over me and for one brief shining moment, I thought maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t a dream. Maybe I really did own a helicopter. Then came the moment of discontent when I opened my eyes and knew that I didn’t own my mighty flying machine. Oh, why couldn’t I have had fifteen more minutes of sleep?!
It was an amazing Thursday night. The grass had been freshly cut and the aroma wafted throughout the infield. A cool breeze was blowing in from left field and as the game went into the latter innings, we were locked in an early season battle that eventually went our way. It was the perfect way to end a magnificent May evening.
When the game was over, I was sitting on the bench laughing and joking with my teammates while I collected my gear. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Stephanie drive up to the field and park her car. It wasn’t uncommon for Stephanie to come out to the ball field to watch my team play, but since we had purchased a house an hour away, Stephanie rarely made any of the weeknight games; especially 6:00pm games.
Since I was a little concerned that something bad might have happened, I started walking in her direction. When she got out of her car and shut the door, I called out to her, “What are you doing here? Is everything okay?”
This past Sunday, Stephanie snuck the kids out of the house early so I could sleep late. Unfortunately, the cat got locked in our room and a blissful late morning sleep was interrupted by the antics of a cat that has come to be known as the Smoke Monster! But the thought was awesome! Who wouldn’t want a morning to sleep late?
When Stephanie came home with the kids, she brought me a large Iced Coffee and donuts! Then the kids ran into the living room and handed me a slew of presents. Coffee Mug? Check. Mike and Ike’s? Check. Golf related item? Check. Books from the bookstore? Check.
But then I opened the most amazing gifts my kids have ever given me. Home made, hand written books that my children wrote and illustrated for me. “D-A-D” by Josh and “I Love My dad” by Chloe.
I am that guy!
What kind of guy? I think the adage that sums it up best is the following statement: “known by many, close friends of a few.”
I talk to everyone. I believe neighbors should be part of a community. I engage people in the challenges we face at home, at work and at play. Life was never meant to be a spectator sport. It requires participation. In fact, laughter, tears, love, joy, sadness and every emotion in between are the byproducts of a life well lived.
My friendship is unconditional. My friends are liberals and conservatives. They are fat and skinny. They are quirky, straight-laced, adventurers, worry warts, hard workers, lazy, kind hearted and in some cases, quite miserly. And I accept each and every one of them for who they are because beneath all of the labels, they all have good hearts; they are good people.
We all have our roads to travel. It’s not my place to tell anyone how to live his or her life. I love my friends for who they are and they get to decide who they are going to be. They get to choose the road they want to travel. And I accept all of them for exactly who they have become.
Back in April, I opened my mailbox to find a large padded envelope. I went inside my house, opened the package and found an advanced copy of PJ Pacifico’s album Outlet. I popped the Compact Disc into my car stereo and discovered PJ continues to pleasantly amaze me with his music. Outlet is PJ Pacifico’s best album to date!
PJ Pacifico has delivered another exquisitely crafted lyrical album. On his first two albums, PJ has always shown his ability to use conversational colloquialism in his songs but on Outlet, PJ has interwoven the stylistically simple with the seductively intricate illustrations of an American poet. On “Home With Me”, PJ compassionately sings “Love somebody/ Set them free/ Never meant that much to me/ When you’re the lonely soul/ Being let go/ It sounds more like a mockery/ It’s the summary/ Of the symphony/ Playing the song of subtlety/ Like the seven silent seconds/ After I asked you quietly/ Will you come home with me?” against the backdrop of his sweetly whispering acoustic guitar as he shares the story of his ten year relationship with his wife. PJ uses his lyrics on Outlet to weave a tapestry of heart, soul and compassion that allows the listener to connect with these songs through common themes that are consistent with those in our own lives. Outlet is proof that true artists continue to perfect their craft. Throughout Outlet, PJ has woven these wonderful poetic expressions into his writing that reinforce his arrival as one of America’s next great lyricists.