Monday, December 28, 2009
Can it be possible that it was 10 years ago when I wrote this letter to Chris? I guess it really was that long ago. I thought about this letter yesterday when we were celebrating Chris’ birthday by giving him a CD player for his car. I thought it might be a good time to drag it out of the cobwebs because it still has relevance today.
Your life to this point has been very busy, hasn’t it? For a few years now, your Saturdays have been filled with karate, soccer, baseball and skiing. Pretty soon, you will be suiting up for your first year of Pop Warner football. You tell me now that you want to play basketball next winter. Mom and I are very happy that you have so many interests. But there are times when we wonder if we are doing right by you. You will not understand this letter today, but I am writing it so that I will stay attuned to what is most important – that is, allowing you a chance to be a kid and making sure you have fun while playing your games.
It gives me great pride to watch you play your games with all the spirit and zest of a child. Nothing will ever shake the image of you running with all your heart and might to your new position at second base. I want to be sure to remember that this is supposed to be primarily about your smiles and secondarily about my pride.
I know that I bug you about doing things the “right” way, and for that I am sorry. I am sorry for yelling “two hands” every time you catch the ball with one hand. I am sorry for making you play one inning on a day when you did not want to play at all. I am sorry for bragging to everyone I know about how well you throw the ball when I should be telling everyone I know how happy you are to be throwing that ball. Most of all, I am sorry for wanting you to do well for the benefit of my ego.
As your father, I owe it to you to give you every chance to be a kid. And I owe it to you to let you make mistakes without worrying about how I will react. I will try my best to sit quietly on the sidelines and watch you try your best to have fun. But I also promise to stand and cheer when you are in the game and giving it your all. I promise to drive you to games for as long as you want to play. And I promise to stay home and hang out on days when you do not want to play. And if at any point you have just had enough of all this stuff, I promise to accept it, move on and go out for pizza to celebrate your free time.
All I ask from you is one favor: If I start to have difficulty keeping these promises, sit me down and remind me, “Dad, I’m a kid and I just like to play.”
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Christmastime is nigh (always wanted to use that term and sound all fancy and shit) and be you Christian or Jew or Agnostic or a Yankee fan, we wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS! To those of you who are offended by my holiday, I plan to use this space to educate you on some of our more glorious Christmas traditions. When you are finished reading, you are most assuredly going to be heading out to your local Christian place of worship and fill out a “I Wanna Celebrate Christmas Too” application.
You must first get it through your thick offendable skull that Christmas is not only a religious holiday. I know it has its origins in the birth of a baby boy in Bethlehem to a woman who, by all accounts never once did the horizontal hay ride. A miracle for sure and I am not one to deny that the birth of Jesus is the reason for the season. (By the way, I would appreciate it that if you do go to your local Christian place of worship, you don't tell them about my "horizontal hay ride" comment).
Oh the perks: Celebrate Christmas and you will receive full Santa privileges, including the waiver that allows you to lie to your children for an entire month and a half about the existence of a guy who cares if they are naughty or nice. This guy flies around the world in an oversized sled being pulled by 8 (9 on those foggy Christmas eves) flying reindeer. He comes down chimneys with a bag of toys and leaves all kinds of good shit for just two cookies and a glass of milk. Don’t worry if you don’t have a chimney or even a rooftop (ya can’t land a sleigh on a teepee for crying out loud), this fat old guy finds a way in.
Celebrate Christmas and you also are free to participate in Yankee Swaps on what seems like a daily basis. The Yankee Swap is a traditional, non-religious game that encourages you to take presents out of the hands of family, friends and co-workers only to give them a gift you think sucks ass. How's that for spirit?
As a part of this holiday, you will also be free to study and memorize the entire scripts of A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with pride. Ralphie and Randy, Cousin Eddie and Bumpus’dogs will become honorary members of your family. And of course, there is the cast of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Bumble, Yukon Kornelius, the misfit dentist wannabe and that freaky lion king with wings. But nothing warms the heart more than the voice of the Colonel Sanders look-a-like of a snowman singing Holly Jolly Christmas!!
Well, I am running out of space – plus, it is December 23rd and I need to get my ass to the mall. No, I am not going to be shopping. I am going to spend all afternoon carrying department store bags around the parking lot, trying to see just how far a desperate parker will follow me. Hoping to set a record. Wish me luck! And Merry Christmas!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
An undeniable presence in our home and in our family for the past eleven years, the memories will live with us forever. For those of you who have crossed the threshold into our home, you understand what this obnoxious, crotch sniffing, biscuit begging oaf meant to us. I am sitting here today and thinking back on our boy - the same good boy who would stand at the edge of the yard, held back by a monstrous 1 foot garden fence bordering newly planted flowers. We could almost read his mind as he would stepdance at the fence, itching to find a way over it… “I sure wish I could jump over this big giant fence that barely comes up to my chest.”
We have had many visitors and our share of big parties. And one thing is for sure - Snickers had his favorite people…. Butch, Donna, Ray and Diane… the “cookie people.” Snickers loved all company. But these four people held a special place in his heart… never would these dog spoilers darken our doorway without a cookie in their pocket or in their hand. His excitement level would be so high, spontaneous combustion would not have been a surprise. I would be remiss if I were not to mention Eileen down the street and her years of capturing Snickers after he would escape the yard and go on patrol along Hill Street. Eileen's trick and Snickers' weakness? One gently rolled slice of deli baloney. A quick wave of the tasty treat out her screen door and Snickers would be distracted just long enough for the prison guards to catch up to him.
Thinking back, it seems we have more than our share of funny memories. From the moment he was neutered, Snickers developed a twisted fetish for any blanket or pillow that would find its way to the floor, often humping the hell out of it until he could barely walk away. I would often joke that after a love session with his doggie bed, he walked around with the legs of a newborn giraffe.
Last night, we laid down with Snickers with the knowledge that it would be his last night with us. Despite a killer disease running through his body, he will only know love and happiness. And that is how it will be forever.
After today, the gate to our yard will be open, no longer with a reason to keep it closed. It is open to let him run free. Our boy will be gone from our house but never from our home! Godspeed Snickers… say hello to Nipper and Freida for me.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
So thanks to that little voice telling me to do something healthy, I nearly killed myself. But I guess it will keep me busy on Tuesday nights until Sons of Anarchy starts up again next season.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
And I'll never forget the time Obie and I were hanging out on the stage of that fundraiser, checking out some smoking ass in a red dress. Oh mama Obama!!!!
Last spring, the G20 Summit was held in dahntahn Pittsburgh. Since I have family in the 'burgh, I made a beeline to the front door, flashed my Steeler fan club card and was quickly whisked into the room like royalty. After dinner, all the big wigs got together for a group photo. That's me giving the thumbs up standing next to Obie. We tried to look serious, but the guy with the table cloth on his head was passing gas like a full service attendant.....whooooo
So to the hot blonde and her party crashing partner who think they did it first - nuh uh you didn't!
Before I get to the game, did I see that correctly last night? Has our President now taken to making commercials? Gimme a freakin' break please. Catching a pass from Drew Brees on the White House lawn, mixed in with other NFL players and a bunch of rugrat kids. I get it... the United Way is a wonderful charity, but how freakin' whorish of our President to find more television exposure! Apparently, he does not like Peyton Manning hogging all the NFL commercial time, huh?