In Remembrance of a Life Well Lived

The reality is that you will grieve forever.  You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it.  You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.  You will be whole again, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same…….nor should you want to.  –Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

My family will once again pause to remember Crick today on this the ninth anniversary of his death.   As I continue to feel this need to chronicle and preserve the story that was uniquely his, I am once again sharing this video I made eight years ago as I feel the pictures reveal so much about his bigger than life personality.  In addition, I have included several recollections from family and friends which speak volumes about how this one “glass half-full” life has touched so many.

The heart, like the mind has a memory, and in it are kept the most precious keepsakes.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I remember when Crick took us outside one winter to build, not just a typical snowman, but our very own igloo!!  We built it so big it lasted until almost spring!  He also helped me to buy my very first car, it was a stick shift and he helped me learn how to drive it and, after many hours of practice, he suggested that we take the car for a test drive up Cooke Rd. to see if I could handle it on a hill.  Well…..I couldn’t make it up the first hill and we kept drifting backwards toward the car behind us.  Finally, Crick put his foot over mine on the accelerator and away we went.  I think his exact words to me were, “Well, you can always sell this car to someone else!”.  He would always beg me to walk on his back and promise to give me all of the change in his pocket.  Boy, was I naive, thinking I was going to make a lot of money.  But……..he did teach me the value of a quarter!!!  Over the years, Crick would put a lot on his back for our family.”

“I started thinking about how long I have known Crick…………it has been basically my whole life!!  I remember sitting in our living room on Oakland Park and talking into a reel to reel tape recorder to say “hi” to him when he was stationed in Korea and then he would send the tape back to us so that we could hear his voice.  Crick was also there for Jimmy……there was the day that Jimmy was hiding in the bushes in front of our house and Crick went out to gently remind Jimmy that he was at home and not back in Viet Nam.  Who else but a veteran like Crick could have known what Jimmy was going through. Crick was also there when I was going to enlist in the Army Reserves and he was going to make sure that I ended up in his unit so that he could watch over me………..he even went to the commander to make sure this would happen.  For some reason I never did enlist, but I always knew that Crick was going to be there for me.  Crick has been and always will be one of my brothers!!”

“It seems like a long time ago that Crick and I were standing on the field at St. Michael’s in our wildly unprotective football gear……paper thin shoulder pads, helmets with no face guards or chin straps, and for me,…………fearing the fact that I would have to tackle his older brother, John as he came blasting through the line. Life seems to warp into hyper-speed as we grow older. I must say that although Crick and I were never terribly close growing up, I have fond memories of him: caddying with him at York Temple, the fact that he seemed to instinctively know how car engines worked, and how he always exuded this sort of Gary Cooper type…….tall, dependable, good-hearted vibe, even as a kid. And if his presence is still felt by someone as distant as I am to him, I can only imagine what his presence means to all of those who are truly close to him. It speaks volumes about how Crick has journeyed through this life.”

And so it is that as another year passes, our family continues to honor Crick’s memory by drinking of the “glass half-full” and being “grateful that we are able to put two feet on the floor”.

May his soul, and the souls of all of the faithful departed on this All Souls Day, rest in peace.  Amen

TGW (the good wife)

Happy 72nd Birthday, Crick!

 

Over the past several years, the months of November through January 6th have become significantly bittersweet as memories of Crick flood our family’s hearts with a curious blend of  joy and sadness. Today marks what would have been his 72nd birthday and so for those who remember him, and for those who never had the pleasure (?! LOL) of meeting him, I would like to  share a short video to commemorate this consequential day.  Side note:  I always seem to find myself questioning the re-posting of the videos of Crick which are so special to me, but then I recall this quote,   “When someone dies, you don’t get over your grief by forgetting.  You get through your grief by remembering.”  It is my hope that perhaps a certain video will stir up a memory for us the “rememberers” to keep the one who is gone from us alive in heart, in mind,  and in soul.

 

Last night our family gathered at the Bairds’ home to celebrate Stephanie’s 45th birthday and to remember Crick.  An annual tradition that began seven years ago was the release of 10 helium-filled balloons into the winter sky by each grandchild, complete with handwritten notes to their Papa.  This year we added one more white balloon as we were joined for the evening by Deon, a little boy Stephanie and Joe fostered for nearly a year.  With each passing year, I find such comfort and joy in the knowledge that even though the grandkids are growing older, they remain eager to continue this heart-warming ritual.  Last night as I stood in the cold night air, surrounded by the entire family watching the balloons take flight up toward the stars, I could not help but imagine the smile on Crick’s face as if, in those few magical moments, we were all seemingly united once again.

“No matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.”

Crick may be gone, but he is never, ever forgotten by those of us who hold his memory close in our minds and hearts.

Happy Birthday, Crick!

Love You Always, Always, Always.

 

 

In Remembrance of a Life Well-Lived

 

The reality is that you will grieve forever.  You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it.  You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.  You will be whole again, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same…….nor should you want to.  –Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Today our family will pause to remember Crick at a Mass said for him on this eighth anniversary of his death.   As I continue to feel this need to chronicle and preserve the story that was uniquely his, I am once again sharing this video I made seven years ago.  In addition, I have included several recollections from family and friends which speak volumes about how one “glass half-full” life has touched so many.

The heart, like the mind has a memory, and in it are kept the most precious keepsakes.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I remember when Crick took us outside one winter to build, not just a typical snowman, but our very own igloo!!  We built it so big it lasted until almost spring!  He also helped me to buy my very first car, it was a stick shift and he helped me learn how to drive it and, after many hours of practice, he suggested that we take the car for a test drive up Cooke Rd. to see if I could handle it on a hill.  Well…..I couldn’t make it up the first hill and we kept drifting backwards toward the car behind us.  Finally, Crick put his foot over mine on the accelerator and away we went.  I think his exact words to me were, “Well, you can always sell this car to someone else!”.  He would always beg me to walk on his back and promise to give me all of the change in his pocket.  Boy, was I naive, thinking I was going to make a lot of money.  But……..he did teach me the value of a quarter!!!  Over the years, Crick would put a lot on his back for our family.”

“I started thinking about how long I have known Crick…………it has been basically my whole life!!  I remember sitting in our living room on Oakland Park and talking into a reel to reel tape recorder to say “hi” to him when he was stationed in Korea and then he would send the tape back to us so that we could hear his voice.  Crick was also there for Jimmy……there was the day that Jimmy was hiding in the bushes in front of our house and Crick went out to gently remind Jimmy that he was at home and not back in Viet Nam.  Who else but a veteran like Crick could have known what Jimmy was going through. Crick was also there when I was going to enlist in the Army Reserves and he was going to make sure that I ended up in his unit so that he could watch over me………..he even went to the commander to make sure this would happen.  For some reason I never did enlist, but I always knew that Crick was going to be there for me.  Crick has been and always will be one of my brothers!!”

“It seems like a long time ago that Crick and I were standing on the field at St. Michael’s in our wildly unprotective football gear……paper thin shoulder pads, helmets with no face guards or chin straps, and for me,…………fearing the fact that I would have to tackle his older brother, John as he came blasting through the line. Life seems to warp into hyper-speed as we grow older. I must say that although Crick and I were never terribly close growing up, I have fond memories of him: caddying with him at York Temple, the fact that he seemed to instinctively know how car engines worked, and how he always exuded this sort of Gary Cooper type…….tall, dependable, good-hearted vibe, even as a kid. And if his presence is still felt by someone as distant as I am to him, I can only imagine what his presence means to all of those who are truly close to him. It speaks volumes about how Crick has journeyed through this life.”

And so it is that as another year passes, our family continues to honor Crick’s memory by drinking of the “glass half-full” and being “grateful that we are able to put two feet on the floor”.

May his soul, and the souls of all of the faithful departed on this All Souls Day, rest in peace.  Amen

TGW (the good wife)

 

As Long As I Have Memory….

 

The reality is that you will grieve forever.  You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it.  You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.  You will be whole again, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same…….nor should you want to.  -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

As long as I can dream…..As long as I can think…..As long as I have memory…..I will love you.  As long as I have eyes to see and ears to hear and lips to speak…..I will love you.  As long as there is time…..As long as there is love…..As long as there is you…..I will love you.

This quote was found on a card that I had sent to Crick while he was on deployment in Kosovo in 2004.  A few years later, I accidentally discovered it tucked away in his dresser drawer.  Thank you Crick for saving it.  Notes such as these continue to bring me comfort in the knowledge that, while I was not always the outwardly affectionate, lovey-dovey, huggy person he often wished I could be, nor was he one to be completely at ease  expressing his innermost feelings, we were both able to use the written word as another way to convey the love that we shared.

As today is the Feast of All Souls, a holy day Catholics set aside for honoring the dead, I would like to share a Scripture passage from St. Paul which he wrote during his period of arrest before his execution, from which I always draw comfort:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

TNT………….TGW

Tony, Tony, Come Around Something’s Lost…….

P.S.  I am working on the Cliff Notes to this post (ba, ha, ha, ha)!!  FYI….I am putting this P.S. at the top of the post, in case Christine can’t make it all the way to the end. (Christine’s eyes glaze over after reading 140 characters!!)

As you may note by the title of this post, I will have a story (or two) to tell about how often my family and I pray to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost articles.  We keep him pretty busy and currently have him on “speed dial”!  With a few exceptions (such as the Christmas that I inadvertently threw away Blue Jacket’s tickets and several restaurant gift cards), St. Anthony usually leads us to the objects for which we are searching.  This brings me to the promise that I made in the last post about revealing the mystery of the change purse/car keys.  Remember to keep in mind, as I have stated before, that the only times I ever abbreviate a story, is when my scattered, cluttered, jumbled brain forgets the details.  The details of this drama are forever engrained in my mind.  This, then, is the “Case of the Missing Purse/Keys”:

The story you about to read is true, the names, unfortunately, have been NOT been changed to protect the innocent.

It was 10:30 AM on a Saturday.  The family was preparing to leave for a week-long vacation at the beach.  I had decided to take the car to the gas station to fill up the tank and as I was walking to the car, I noticed the newly mowed lawn and remembered that the lawn mower was out of gas and the gas can was now empty.  Opening the garage door, I grabbed the can, put it in the trunk and headed down the driveway.  I arrived at the gas station/mini-mart stepped out of my car and proceeded to fill up the tank as well as the two gallon gas can.  As I bent over to take the cap off of the gas can, I placed my change purse on which the car keys were attached, on the top of the trunk.  When I had finished, I walked to the driver’s side, unlocked the back door and placed the two gallon gas can on the floor.  I then got into the driver’s seat and drove off with thoughts of cool ocean breezes and crashing waves swirling around in my mind.  Upon arriving home, I left the car running while I put the gas can back inside the garage and then, remembering that I had forgotten something, went back into the house to retrieve the item before returning to my car to finish my pre-vacation errands.  As I put the car into reverse, I looked up and noticed a message on the car’s instrument panel which read, “no key detected“.  A horrifying epiphany ensued…..as I had a keyless starter, that message meant that I must have forgotten to grab my purse (which contained my driver’s license/credit/bank cards/$150.00 “vacation” cash) and the attached car keys from the trunk top. Fortunately, I had NOT turned the engine off!!  I immediately drove back to the gas station taking the same route from which I had just come, searching the pavement along the way for any sign of the purse/keys.  Suddenly, my cell phone rang…..it was Christopher who was checking in to see what time I was planning to leave for the beach.  Hurriedly, I told him how I had misplaced the keys and that I was now frantically scouring the roadway between my house and the gas station.  He hung up and made a quick call to Stephanie to share with her the news of the misplaced purse/keys and to see if she could help in the search.

In the meantime, I pulled back into the gas station parking area and searched the area where I thought I had pumped the gas, but not seeing any sign of the purse/keys, left the car running (good thinking, MM) and walked inside the mini-mart to inquire as to whether someone might have found them and turned them in.  The female manager stated that no one had come forward with any lost items, and so I, who in my youth had envisaged myself as a female Perry Mason (LOL), put on my thinking cap (you know, the one worn by Tom Terrific of the Captain Kangaroo TV show) and began to wonder if, perhaps the purse had fallen off a short time after I had driven out of the gas station and some conscientious citizen, having seen it lying on the ground had turned it in to the CVS pharmacy which was just across the street.  Therefore, I drove over to the CVS lot and pulled into a parking spot, shifted the gear into park, jumped out of the car while leaving the driver’s side door open and the car running (shrewdly realizing, once again, that I could not turn off the engine).  Once inside the CVS, I relayed my hapless story to the clerk.  After checking with her manager, she returned to sadly inform me that no lost items had been turned in that morning.  Kicking myself for being so negligent, I walked back to the car with the opened door and running engine, and as I slid onto the seat, I took a quick glance over at the passenger side only to notice with horror that my large black purse was now gone!!!

OMGosh……..what a double “ding-bat” I was to leave the door wide open (to say nothing about the fact that the car could have also easily been stolen!).  Not giving a thought as to how stupid I would be perceived, I ran back into the CVS to inform the clerk that it now appeared that my large purse had been stolen.  She promptly called the non-emergency number to file a report, when out of the blue, a Columbus police officer showed up on the scene.  After explaining the embarrassing saga of what had just occurred, he asked  the manager if he could review the store’s video of the parking lot.  Just then, Stephanie and Luke also arrived having been alerted by Christopher that their “looney-tunes” Mom was on the loose in Clintonville!  Actually, Stephanie and Joe had each gone on separate errands with their kids in tow earlier in the morning, and having learned of my mishap, had driven straight to the gas station where Stephanie put Joe, Mayce and Tommy on the hunt for the lost items while she and Luke sought me out at the CVS.  While the officer was checking the video footage, Stephanie, Luke and I went outside to search through the bushes next to the parking lot, conjuring up images of unsavory thieves who may have found the purse/keys laying on the sidewalk and emptied the purse and threw it into the bushes…….or……perhaps they had spied the open car door and seized the opportunity to snatch the purse from the seat, taken what they wanted and tossed the remaining contents as well as the big, black purse into the shrubbery.

Having seen nothing on the store’s video of anything or anyone suspicious, the officer suggested that he walk back over to the gas station with us to also review their video footage taken during the time that I had been getting gas.  Mind you, both video reviews took nearly 15 minutes each, and in the end, revealed nothing pertinent.  I have to say that both of the managers and their staffs bent over backwards to lend whatever assistance they could in order to help me to retrieve my lost items.  Joe later told me that the gas station manager had even sent his employees outside to forage through the trash cans, and to scour the parking lot and surrounding area in an effort to find the purse/keys.

Not having found any trace of the missing items and no evidence that anyone had entered my car in the brief period that the door had been left opened, the police officer decided it best to get into his car and follow me.  And so it was that a small “motorcade” of me, Officer Dave (by this time we were on a first name basis), Stephanie and Luke, drove slowly back to my house to continue searching over the route I had taken.  Finding nothing en route, we arrived at home and while Officer Dave and I searched the garage area,  Stephanie and Luke went inside to have a look around the downstairs area.   Well………to my relief and mortification they discovered my large black purse sitting on the floor of the living room!  It seems that when I had gone back into the house after placing the gas can in the garage, I had dropped my black purse on the living room floor, gone into the kitchen to get something and then went back out to the car without stopping back in the living room!  Yikes!! At least, one of the mysteries was solved.  I will forgo relaying the look on Officer Dave’s face when he learned of this!!  LOL  The search now centered on the missing change purse/car keys which we by now had assumed must have flown off the trunk of the car as it made its way up the somewhat steep hill leading to my house.  I turned to Officer Dave as we were looking underneath parked cars and searching up and down the street and in the grass and jokingly asked him what he would tell his family when they asked him how his day went.  He sort of smiled (or was that a smirk?) and said that he would simply tell them that it was just like any other day…..I don’t know, but that sounds to me like there must be a lot of crazy ladies on the loose in Clintonville!!

Finally, it came time to admit that all that could be done had been done, and so I thanked Officer Dave for his patience, his understanding and his efforts on my behalf, walked him to his cruiser and watched him drive off.  Stephanie and Luke left as well and then it was time for me to go inside and set about the arduous task of cancelling credit cards, etc.  As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed that my home phone was blinking, and so I checked to see who it was that had left a message.  To my surprise, it was from a man whose daughter had spotted something lying on the hill of my street as the family was on their way to an out-of-town event and had compassionately stopped their car to retrieve it.  Looking inside they found my driver’s license, searched for my name on whitepages and after a few miscues, eventually found my home phone number, but by that time they were already on the freeway.  I quickly called them back and it was  arranged that they would drop it off later in the day after they had returned home.  To think that all the while I had store managers from two locations, their staffs, Officer Dave, Stephanie, Joe, Luke, Tommy and Mayce searching all over for that stupid change purse and keys; the mystery could have been solved within a matter of minutes had someone only been at home to answer the phone!!!  Whew!! After all that had transpired that morning, I definitely NEEDED that vacation!

This recent little drama is but one in a laundry list of tales for which my family could be nominated as a poster family for lost articles.  I am sure St. Anthony would stuff the ballot box in our favor.  I can quickly call to mind a few of the more infamous occasions in which we have implored his help.  For example,  there is the notorious story of Christopher who finally got a brand new bike (not a used one, as was the norm for us), and would proudly ride it to his friends’ homes as well as to baseball practice at the ball field just up the street from our house.  One day he came to me asking me where his bike was and so began the “interrogation”.  I calmly (yes, I am sure that I must have asked “calmly”….it was only a lost $$$$$ bike after all!) questioned if he had checked the garage (you know the place where bikes are supposed to be put away when you are not using them?).  He assured me that it was not there.  Next question…could he have left it at a friend’s house? No.  Next question (maybe at this point, the “calmly” adjective disappeared!)……Where was he when he last remembered riding it? Well, after much thought, he last remembered riding it to the ball park.  When was that?  A few days ago.  And you haven’t seen it since?  No.  Minutes pass……………suddenly the light bulb burns brightly inside his head.  Sheepishly (Thesaurus does not recognize this adverb, but I am using it anyway), he remembers that he rode his bike to the park, but walked home!!!  Needless to say, when he walked back to the park to get it, the bike was gone!  St. Anthony must have thought that Christopher needed to learn a lesson here.  (If you would ask Jessica, I am sure that she would tell you that Chris has not been a “quick” learner!!).  Oh, and then there was the case of the “stolen” Dodge Durango (yep…my family jumps from losing bikes to SUV’S!!).  This particular story has Stephanie’s name written all over it.  Suffice it to say that years ago, after Stephanie began living on her own, she called me frantically one morning to tell me that her car had been stolen from in front of the Clintonville double she was renting with friends.  Imagine, if you will, the “calm” questioning that ensued after this revelation!  Anyway, it was quickly decided that the only thing to do was to file a police report as soon as possible.  Many hours later, the same proverbial light bulb that had eventually turned on for Chris, turned on for Stephanie as the events of the previous night slowly emerged.  She now told her Dad and me that she “remembered” that she had “loaned” her car to one of the friends whom she had been hanging out with the night before.  It seems that this friend who did not own a car, had need of a means of transportation for the following day, and so as Stephanie lived close by, she let the friend take her car and she and some other friends ended up walking back to her place at the end of their evening!  Here is a question:  What kind of friend loans you their car and then files a police report that the car had been stolen??  Fortunately, for Stephanie’s friend, she “remembered” before the police could put out an APB on them!

Oh dear………I am way, way over my word limit, but as I mentioned earlier, I never, ever retell a story without making it into a never-ending novel…..suffice it to say that this bad habit also runs in the family (channelling Johnny!!). LOL  However, I can not depart from this topic without relaying yet another “lost” item saga.  This one occurred just two weeks ago as I, curiously enough, began writing this post.  This time the focus is on Jennifer.  It was a “Nana TGIF” day.  The school kids were gathering at the end of the school day to recite the rosary at the grotto and as Jennifer had the day off, she planned to attend and said she could drop all of the kids off afterwards.  I was at home enjoying the peace and quiet, knowing that it was soon to end, when I received a picture text from Stephanie.  It was a photo of some of the school kids and they appeared to be searching for something.  Puzzled, I called Stephanie to find out the nature of the picture and she told me that Jennifer had lost her wedding/engagement rings and so some of the kids remained behind with their parents to help her to look for them.  I decided to drive up to the school to lend my Sherlock Holmes sleuthing talent, obviously developed over many years of “missing cases”, to the hunt.  When I arrived, I walked over to where Jennifer was anxiously reviewing her movements of the previous hour with some of the parents.  I passed by students with rakes, others on their hands and knees and still others walking, heads bent low, perusing the ground all around the grotto.  When I approached her, I said to her in….in my best Sherlock Holmes demeanor,  “It is elementary, my dear Jennifer, quite elementary, to not lose your wedding rings in such a large grassy area, especially when it is covered over in thick pine needles!!”  Okay, well, what I think I probably said went something more like, “Really, Jennifer?  Your diamond wedding rings?  How in the world does that happen??  Did they just slide off of your fingers??”  Yeah, that is probably more like how it went down.  Anyway, she explained that she thought that she had been twisting the rings back and forth on her finger and surmised that the rings had then become so loose that they must have fallen onto the ground when she got up from the stone bench from which she had been sitting.  But after carefully examining the area around the bench, only a small wad of paper was discovered.  One of the parents even got on their iPhone to post on Facebook to see if anyone had a metal detector to facilitate the search.  Like any good detective, I questioned Jennifer over and over about where she had walked after she had gotten up from the bench, whether she considered that she may have left her rings at home, when was the last time she remembered having them, etc.  She adamantly assured me that she hardly, if ever, took her rings off.  If ever St. Anthony’s help was needed, it was now and so it was suggested that everyone say a few prayers to him as the search continued in earnest.  After about ninety minutes of combing over the area, everyone had decided that it was time to give up the search and wait until a metal detector could be located.  Jennifer, in one last-ditch effort, desperately called Sam and found that he had just arrived home from Watterson and so she had him look around the kitchen for any sign of the rings.  With a few of us standing nearby, we overheard Jennifer’s deep sigh of relief, and turning to us, apologetically relayed that the rings had been located…..they had been on the kitchen counter all along.  The person who hardly EVER takes them off, had done just exactly that.  Praise be to St. Anthony!!  And praise be to the end of this lengthy post!!!

That. Really. Really. Really. Is. All.

TNT

TGW

 

 

 

I Will See You Again

Yikes!!!  Just last week I published my first blog post in over eight months, and now here it is only one short week later, and I find myself ready to publish another!!!  Actually, it is simply a revision of an earlier post and if you have been following Diaryofanut for the past few years, the post may seem vaguely familiar as I have reposted a similar version of the original every September 5th since 2012.  The occasion is the 47th wedding anniversary of the “dreamcrusher” and the “optimist”….the TGW and the DH.  It seems that I always, always, always become nostalgic around this time of year as it calls to mind so many treasured and bittersweet memories of life-altering moments from days gone by.  Happy 47th Anniversary Crick!

Memory can only tell us what we were,
in the company of those we loved;
it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become.
Yet no person is really alone;
those who live no more, echo still within our thoughts and words,
and what they did has become woven into what we are.
~ Jewish prayer 

This week I have been on a bit of a sentimental journey as today is the 42nd anniversary of the day when the “glass half-full” wed the “glass half-empty” and an incredible journey was begun.  I have countless memories of the “good, the bad and the ugly” (which brings to mind the actor, Clint Eastwood…..which brings to mind an empty chair…which brings to mind a certain political convention……but for today, I will stay on topic, so that you may all rest easy!!  LOL).  The little strips of typewritten paper which I inserted above were several of thirty-eight which Crick had attached to thirty-eight roses he had placed throughout the house to be discovered by me when I had returned home work to celebrate our anniversary four years ago.  Without a doubt, this was the single most romantic idea he had ever conceived!!!  As you can see from the “new-found political activism” mention, the year was 2008……the year I became, not just any “nut”, but a ““right-wing nut!!!  And of course, you will notice the words “stubbornness” and “ways you get mad” (I do believe, he just might have been recalling the “King’s Island Main Street incident”!!!………which, I must confess, was unfortunately not an isolated event!).  I am  quite sure that Peggy and Mark will take particular note of the “NOT my fishing and camping partner”, for no matter how awesome Crick tried to make the idea of camping out in a hot, stuffy tent, sleeping all too close to terra firma, among the creepy, crawling insects, the squirrels and raccoons, and those pesky, chirping birds; I have always, always, always preferred the creature comforts of home.  And foremost among those thirty-eight for which Crick was expressing his gratitude, were our children and grandchildren, for whom we both always, always, always agreed were our greatest blessings.

I actually have been on a mission of sorts the past two days to put together some pictures from forty-two years ago, as my own small way of honoring this day and all of the memories attached to it.  And as I was sorting through the various photos, and a few of the cards that I had kept of anniversaries past, I remembered something.  One year, probably twenty years ago (gosh was 1990 that long ago???), Crick and I had surprisingly presented each other with the very same gift!!  Now this is even more remarkable because we did not always exchange gifts as money was usually tight (due in part to a very stingy financier!!!).  This particular year however, we shockingly presented each other with…………………a cassette (CD’s were just becoming popular, but we obviously were not on the cutting edge of new technology !!!) of  a hit song by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville titled “Don’t Know Much”.  It seemed to touch us both in the same way about how we  each viewed our relationship………and so I listened to it again for the first time in quite a while and realized how perfectly it suited us.  I decided to see if I could put some pictures and the music together in a video format, and this is the result:

TNT  (Till Next Time)

TGW (The Good Wife)

P.S.  Remember that last wedding picture in the video??  Take a look at this picture some 40 years later……only this time the kiss was an opportune schtick to get him out of having to smile for the camera!!  LOL

P.P.S. Recently, I was driving home from running an errand and I happened to be not too far from Resurrection Cemetery and so, out of the blue, I decided to redirect my homeward destination.  Now, I couldn’t begin to explain the rationale for this sudden change in plans except that there was this inexplicable desire for me to do so.  There is one thing about cemeteries……………..they are very quiet…………..and perhaps that is exactly what I unknowingly needed.  Anyway, after spending some time in reflection and prayer at the grave-sites of Crick, my parents and my two brothers, I got back into my car and drove home.  Several hours later, still in somewhat of a rather pensive mood, I was searching in my wallet for an appointment card when I discovered this:

dear husband DH

Call me crazy (and many do!!!!), but I have no recollection of ever having placed this pocket-coin in my wallet.  In fact, I can’t even remember purchasing such a coin and the only explanation for me having it would be that I perhaps gave it to Crick when he went over to Kosovo with the National Guard in 2004.  Over the course of our marriage there were very few situations which would have triggered the giving of such a sentimental token, except for just such a dire situation as his leaving me and the family for nine long months!!!  (LOL)  However this coin came into my possession remains a curious question.  Personally, I believe that it was one of those “God” moments which occur when we allow ourselves to be open to receive His gifts to us.  As Matthew 6:8 tells us; “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” and so knowing that I was in need of feeling Crick’s presence, God blessed me with the discovery of this pocket-coin which brought much desired peace and comfort to my heart.

And so, on this 47th anniversary of the DH and TGW, I hold onto this thought of Marguerite’s from the book, “The Five People You Meet In Heaven”:

“Lost love is still love.  It just takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t hold their hand, you can’t tousle their hair. But when those senses weaken, another one comes to life. Memory. Memory becomes your partner, you hold it, you dance with it.  Life has to end…………love doesn’t.”

I will see you again, Crick.

 

 

The Idiom (NOT Idiot) Challenge

Where in tarnation have winter, spring, and summer gone, maybe more to the point is, where has the “diaryofanut” gone? Truth be told, I have been attempting to write a new diaryofanut post since January.  I have started, stopped, started, stopped, started, stopped, etc. always closing the laptop wondering if my blogging had simply run its course.  Before I proceed, let me ask….have you ever heard the word “tarnation” used in a sentence?  The term “tarnation” just flew into my head as I began to type.  Of course, I then stopped and asked myself….who under the age of sixty would even know of that word.  Actually, I wasn’t even positive of its actual meaning, and so I did what I always, always, always do……I Googled it!! I discovered that in the 18th century when certain curse words, such as damnation, were taboo they substituted another word, in this case “darnation”.  If you are really curious as to how the word became “tarnation” simply follow the hyperlink.  FYI, as I was “googling” I happened upon another link that highlighted some twenty old English idioms and I challenged myself to see how many I could incorporate into this post.

Now, why would I tax my very limited imagination by attempting this formidable task? Could it be that I clearly have my head in the clouds?  Umm..no, I think that was where Crick’s head always was which was why his optimistic/glass half-full/pie in the sky persona literally would drive me up a wall   Why, I do believe I am getting the hang of this challenge, and you all were probably reading this thinking to yourselves that I was obviously mad as a hatter and undoubtedly barking up the wrong tree  OMGosh……I can’t stop myself.  I know, maybe I should just switch gears  (I am definitely on a roll)!! Sheesh, who knew I was such a clever genius….not that I want to blow my own trumpet   I really am going to go back to the drawing board and get this blog back on track.  Let’s see if the idioms follow me!! ba, ha, ha, ha, ha ha, ha!!

I am actually armed to the teeth with pictures from this winter.  I suppose cell phone cameras do serve a myriad of purposes, for without mine, I would be at a loss to explain what it is that I do all day, and why it is that my comings and goings often seem to occur on the wrong day or at the wrong time (e.g. ending up at my 20 hour/month job on the 2nd Tuesday instead of the 3rd Tuesday, but not the 5th Tuesday)!!

I suppose I really should continue this post by first asking a question.  Is anybody still out there??!!  I ask because maybe Elvis has left the building, and I am the sole follower now of this diaryofanut blog.  Whatever the case may be, I am ready to go back to square one and “pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again” (sometimes lyrics to old songs just pop into my head…..if you don’t know the song…..you are a couple of generations apart from me…..count your blessings!!).

I am thinking that as I have been told that I simply can not tell a short story short, and since I do, however, want to document for my family’s posterity certain “hystorical” (combination of historical and hysterical!!) events that have occurred since the last blog post, I will resort to an early “year in review” video montage of a few selected photos from Christmas right up until the start of school/end of summer.  “Trigger warning”…..the very first photos were taken at our adult family gag-gift Christmas party and as political emotions have been quite strained since the election, the Clark family is here to prove to one and all that you can not only remain friendly, but also have some fun while being on completely opposite sides of the political aisle.  Case in point is the picture of cousin Jan’s husband, Ralph, who had to make a trade and give up a much more desired gag-gift in return for a “make America great again” hat.  You would have to be a FB friend of Ralph’s to know how far he was willing to go to extend the olive branch by posing for a photo with the MAGA hat on his very liberal head!  LOL.

Other pictures show myself…..armed with a selfie-stick….and a few willing participants posing for a photo-op as the Clark families gathered Christmas Day at the old homestead. Not to be outdone were the 100 (give or take a handful – we stopped counting years ago!!!) Schultheis siblings and offspring who celebrated Christmas at the Whetstone Rec Center (still waiting for someone to win the lottery and buy a mansion large enough to accommodate us) complete with the annual gift-bearing visitor from the North Pole whose red suit, white beard, black boots and jingling bells signal to all the younger set that the time has come to stop their play and gather at Santa’s feet to learn what is in his big black bag.

Additional pictures in the video include:

  • Tom Brown’s detective murder mystery game night the title of which was “The Player Game” that Tom adapted for our little group.  Word on the street is that he is diligently working on personally writing his own whoodunit to host another game night this winter.  Hopefully, my obsession with the Investigation Discovery TV channel and Dateline on OWN will sharpen my Sherlock Holmes detective skills.
  • cheering Nate on in the Special Olympics basketball state semi-finals’ game
  • Grandparent’s Day at Watterson with Olivia and Sam
  • Mayce and Josh dressed as 100 yr. olds for their kindergarten class’ celebration of the 100th day of school
  • the Clark crowd gathered once again for Easter which also happened to be a NHL play-off date and so everyone gravitated toward the TV to watch the Blue Jackets’ lose in overtime to the Penguins (don’t get me started on sports and Sundays!!)
  • Ryan….finally at age 3 1/2….posing for his 1st ever professional pictures (4th child – ho-hum!!!!!)
  • Luke and Natalie after the junior high play production of “When in Rome”
  • a “fascinating” (ha, ha, ha) x-ray of my foot which lead to bunion surgery in April and hobbling around afterward for 4 weeks in a shoe boot
  • a “burning” ritual, of sorts, held after dinner one night in an attempt to dispel an array of childhood anxieties which seemed to plague a few of the grandkids. Everyone (adults included) was instructed to write down their negative or worry thoughts on note paper and then toss them into the fire pit (I am thinking we will probably need to do it again soon what with all of the political craziness going on in the country!) Shhhhh……the “political” word was mentioned.
  • speaking of anxiety…take a look at the snapshot of the end of the school year talent show in which Mayce was “forced” to participate in singing a song with her entire kindergarten class.  It is very, very, very, very difficult to force Mayce into doing anything (I tell Stephanie often, that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree….trust me, I am proof….. the original apple being my Dad, then me, then Stephanie!) you can see from the picture, that she found her own way to rebel by turning away from the audience for the entire length of the performance!!!!)
  • the launching of lighted Chinese lanterns on which were written notes from the grandkids in memory of Crick for Father’s Day (FYI…the Clintonville Crime Watch FB page was all the buzz wondering what in “tarnation” was lighting up the sky !!)
  • a touching Shamrock Club Flag Day ceremony, not only honoring my brother, Jimmy’s sacrifice and service in Viet Nam, but also the courage, heart, tenacity and kindness that embodied his determined spirit
  • My favorite photo of Katie and students from the Ark children’s home in Thika, Kenya just outside of Nairobi where Katie spent 2 months volunteering this spring, And also, there is a photo of Maddie (sporting a stupid Detroit Tigers’ hat) and her traveling companion, Annie, in just one of their amazing pictures from their month-long tour of Europe
  • vacation in Duck in the OBX, in our favorite community, Sea Pines
  • celebrating Olivia’s 18th birthday…..what???? I have an 18 year-old granddaughter??
  • Josh and Ryan collecting pine cones and killing weeds (the natural way, of course!) or, in other words….how to have fun at Nana’s!!!
  • Ryan who had suddenly disappeared from sight while I was babysitting, (could I have been on my laptop, do you think?) and was discovered attempting to sneak a forbidden oreo by “hiding” under the glass top table (if he is going to become a successful crook…he has a long, long way to go!) LOL
  • The grandkids enjoying one last summer fling together at the park followed by a visit to Whit’s Frozen Custard shop
  • And……back to school again for the grandkids……8 of them now at IC – from Ryan in pre-school through Natalie and Luke in the 8th grade.  Olivia and Sam…..senior and junior respectively at Watterson.  Only God knows how the next nine months will play out.  Fingers crossed!

I feel as though I have just scratched the surface of events, but hopefully there are sufficient memories documented in order to compensate for the diary’s long-term absence.

Interestingly, I am already thinking of a few topics for my next post….one of them has to do with keys!!!!! (Stephanie, Joe, Luke, Tommy, Christopher??), the other topic has to do with letters from the past.  One is quite a long, convoluted story….and I am sure to make it even longer.  Stay tuned.

As I always, always, always like to leave the reader (that is, if there are any!) with something that I have found to be worthy of reflection; I decided that whichever of my devotional books I picked up, and whatever page I opened to, that would be the message I would zero in on.  Here is the result:

I call you to lead the life that I have assigned to you, and to be content. Beware of comparing your situation with that of someone else-and feeling dissatisfied because of the comparison.  Is is also harmful to compare your circumstances with what they used to be or with fantasies that bear little resemblance to reality.  Instead, make every effort to accept as your calling the life I have assigned to you.  This perspective helps take the sting out of even the hashest circumstances.  If I have called you to a situation, I will give you everything you need to endure it-and even to find Joy in the midst of it.

Learning to be content is both a discipline and an art:  You train your mind to trust My Sovereign ways with you-bowing before My mysterious, infinite intelligence.  You search for Me in the details of your day, all the while looking for good to emerge from trouble and confusion.  You accept the way things are without losing hope for a better future.  And you rejoice in the hope of heaven, knowing that indescribably joyful Life is your ultimate calling!                    from Jesus Today

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance.  In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.  I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me.    Philippians 4:12-13

One more thought…….over the weekend I had the pleasure to be with some very special people.  It was a gathering of about 40 of us who went to grade school and high school together.  When I came home, my thoughts turned to Crick (as they usually do at the end of the day), and I was wishing so much that my life with him could have turned out differently in that he could, perhaps, have avoided his early death, if only certain situations had been able to be changed.  It is not a thought I turn to often anymore, but being with others the other night who shared some of our history together, caused it to briefly resurface. And so, I would like to think that my decision to spontaneously choose to share whatever message the page contained, was in fact a sign from heaven; for its message seemed to be tailored perfectly for me today :).

TNT

TGW

P.S.  Did I deliver the goods by choosing to see how many idioms I could incorporate in this blog post?  In retrospect, it did seem to be a good jumping off point.  Now, maybe the next time I return to post on diaryofanut, I will be able to hit the road running and sail through to the end without blinking an eye!  Okay, okay, I am done now with the idioms……knowing when to keep my mouth shut has always been my achilles heel ba, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Happy Birthday Crick

 

Over the past several years, the months of November through January 6th have become significantly bittersweet as memories of Crick flood our family’s hearts with a curious blend of  joy and sadness.  As today marks what would have been his 69th birthday, I would like to plead for the reader’s indulgence as I share two short videos in celebration of this consequential day.  Later this evening, following “TGIFriday” with Nana, our family will gather for dinner and then, as has become an annual ritual, the grandchildren will release ten helium balloons into the night sky in celebration of their Papa. It brings me great joy and comfort to know that even though they are growing older they remain eager to continue this heart-warming ritual, for it is in those few magical moments as we watch the balloons take flight up toward the stars, we are all seemingly once again reunited.

As the videos have been shared before, I did question the posting of them yet again, but then recalled this quote from a blog post from several years ago:  “When someone dies, you don’t get over your grief by forgetting.  You get through your grief by remembering.”  It is up to us the “rememberers”, the people left behind, to keep the one who is gone from us alive in heart, in mind, in soul.

“No matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.”  Crick may be gone, but he is never, ever forgotten by those of us who hold his memory close in our minds and hearts.

TNT

TGW

P.S.   One of these days, I will finish a post I started before the holiday season descended upon me!!!  Hopefully, one day my blog will be like Crick…..gone but not forgotten!!  LOL

 

“Trigger Warning”

Can you believe that I have been sitting on the publishing of this post for nearly three months? I got off to a great start….the finding of the photo below kicked me into gear, but then, I got side-tracked by the chaotic day-to-day  “life of a nut”, to say nothing of the political FB postings I could just not seem to tear myself away from, but I believe that today might just be the day that I finish filling in the blanks.  Here then is how I began way, way back in early August:  “trigger warning” the photo you are about to see may shock, distress, alarm, frighten, annoy, irritate or offend you!!  LOL

What better way to grab the reader’s attention in this crazy, disturbing election year than posting a picture with DH (dear husband) and TGW (the good wife) posing in front of a casino owned by…….stand by…….another “trigger warning”…..danger ahead!….none other than the potential President of the U.S.  Never fear my dear, panicked family, I will not venture into a rant about the demoralizing state of our national politics.  I will simply explain that while searching for a photo for our class reunion, I stumbled across this long-forgotten picture from a trip Crick and I took to the East coast to celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss.  Marred, I might add, by another little “Main Street discussion” during a round of golf, which occurred on the 2nd tee.  To explain……after I had grabbed my driver and walked somewhat confidently up to the ladies tee to prepare to take my next shot, Crick decided to ask me this seemingly innocent (to him) question, “So Mare, where do you think you are going to hit your ball?”.  My reply, “I am aiming for the center of the fairway, of course!”  His retort, “No you’re not, you are aiming straight at those trees on the far right of the golf path.”  Now mind you, this was not interpreted by the “25 year” married wife as a loving correction.  I believe that what my mind heard was, “Where in the H… do you think that ball is going to land? Haven’t I reminded you a kabillion times to approach the ball and stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your body weight evenly distributed on each foot?  Haven’t I shown you to align your body to play the ball off the heel of your left foot, making sure your feet and shoulders are parallel to the target line??????” Obviously, it was not so much what he actually said, as it was the tone in which my ears heard!  Well!!!!!  If looks could kill, Crick would have been dead right where he stood obliviously smiling at me!  As I remember back to the scene of this memorable “discussion”, I believe that I did not re-position one foot, one shoulder, one grip…..I just took my club and swung as hard as I could, whereupon the ball lifted off of the tee and the next thing I was aware of was the sound of the ball smacking a tree way off to the right of the cart path!!!  To this day, I have no idea of the look on Crick’s face as I stomped off away from our golf cart to search for my ball amidst the line of trees and dirt……….I so hated it when he was right, and he never did quite get how the tone of one’s voice could be the end of a beautiful and fun outing!  Remember the song by Simon and Garfunkel…”The Sounds of Silence”?  Well, for the rest of the game, the only “sounds” that were heard other than the smack of the clubs hitting the balls, were “silence”!  The other little part of this remembrance is that there was another “discussion” (an amicable one this time) about where we would spend one of our vacation days….travelling to New York City or to Atlantic City.  I had always, always, always wanted to go to the Big Apple and not just because I have been a life-long Yankee fan.  The lure of Broadway, Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, taxi cab drivers, skyscrapers fascinated me.  Crick, however, wanted the sights and sounds of slot machines, black jack tables, craps tables and roulette wheels….and perhaps….the lure of hitting the big jack pot!!  As the photo attests, Crick won the coin toss, but lost the jack pot…the only “prize” he took home that day was moi’ :).

As my neglected diary has accumulated so many moments in time that it would overtax my senior brain and your patience to not only recall them all, but to provide a written account, I have selected just a few of the highlights and placed them in a video format. However, certain photos deserve a brief explanation. For example, the first photo in the video is of the inside of the Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation in Cary, Ohio.  The basilica is designated as a shrine to Our Lady of Consolation, Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted, and a pilgrimage was arranged by Fr. Hoover for parishioners from Immaculate Conception (Christine and myself included) to travel to the shrine for a day of reflection and prayer.  If you live in Central Ohio, I would encourage you to learn more about this pilgrimage as Cary is only a little over an hour’s drive from here.  Some of us may think, as I did, of religious pilgrimages as taking place only in far-off regions of the world, but we have a designated site right in our midst, a place where miracle healings have occurred over the past one hundred years through the prayers of the faithful to Our Lady.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_and_National_Shrine_of_Our_Lady_of_Consolation

One of the more amusing anecdotes to a highlight shown in the video was a girls’ night out, courtesy of Stephanie, who had purchased tickets to the Columbus Blue Jackets’ game with the Chicago Blackhawks.  We got off to somewhat of a late start (does this surprise anyone?!) and after grabbing a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant, sauntered over to the arena where Stephanie handed each of us our computer generated ticket.  As Jennifer held her ticket out to be scanned she was politely informed that her ticket was for the wrong date!!  Stephanie, hearing this, immediately whipped out her cell phone and began a search of her email to see how that could have happened, but of course, “how that happened” was that she had accidentally selected the wrong ticket date to print out.  So there we were, listening to the roar of the fans and picturing our empty seats, as we contemplated our next move.  We must have looked pretty pathetic, because with a wink and a nod, the ticket taker eventually ushered us all through!

In another photo is a snapshot of several family members as we sat in the stands awaiting my nephew-in-law’s race at Midway Speedway in the “modified A main” which I soon discovered had to be a code word for dirt-car racers, meaning….a dirty way to go deaf!!  LOL

political-cartoon-trump-hillary-cliffAnother “trigger warning”………….political commentary ahead!)……….On a more serious note, I would like to add one final thought.  Regardless of the outcome of this election, we are still going to wake up the next morning, each one of us, and “put two feet on the floor”.  It is incumbent upon us to look forward with hope as we continue to take care of our families, go to our jobs, be responsible citizens and good persons.  “Honesty, honor, godliness, industry, respect for the law, morality, and truthfulness are the wheels on which our entire republic rides” and if we as individuals are lacking in moral clarity, then no matter how well the Constitution is written, how well we are governed, or how much good fortune comes our way, America will no longer be “a shining city on a hill”, “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, or the “last, best hope of mankind” for our children and our grandchildren.

For the Lord grants wisdom
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.       Proverbs 2: 6-8 

TNT

TGW

A Life….A Memory….A Keepsake

 

“The heart, like the mind has a memory, and in it are kept the most precious keepsakes.”                       Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have started/stopped/started/stopped/started/stopped/started/stopped…..well you get the idea……writing my Diaryofanut blog for the past several months.  In fact, I finally had a new post almost ready to publish, but have decided to postpone publishing for just another few days in order to fulfill what has become my own little tradition.  You see today marks the fifth anniversary of Crick’s passing and I continue to feel this need to chronicle and preserve the story that was uniquely Crick’s by sharing recollections and anecdotes from family and friends in order to continue to preserve his memory. To that end I have selected a handful of lovingly hand-crafted “Mr. Jim” messages, a few notes which were left in an “I Remember” basket at the funeral home as well as several insightful messages which were left on the Caringbridge website.  The video contains a treasure-trove of amusing and touching snapshots, all of which I hope will serve to honor Crick and keep his memory alive in all of us who loved him.

Crick drew kids to him wherever he went….even to Korea and Kosovo

“Mr. Jim”:

“The life given us by nature is short, but the memory of a life well spent is eternal.” 

crick-liv-sam-nat-luke-2006

Collection from “I REMEMBER”:

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When someone you love becomes a memory, your memory becomes a treasure.”

crick-and-grandkids-2

Messages from Caringbridge:

“Jim is a remarkable man who brought a smile to my face and always brought smiles to the faces of the children at Glacier Ridge Elementary. He has touched my heart just like he does with everyone he meets.”

“I once thought, ‘Crick could turn a turnip into an apple’.”

“The first two years I thought Crick was crazy.  I just wasn’t used to him and the way he was always goofing off and pushing everyone’s buttons.  Over the years I have come to consider him a really good friend and more like a brother than a father-in-law.  What I have realized the last few years is that he always did understand me.  We could talk and nothing was ever forced, it was always real and he always listened when I needed him to.  He would always take my side when the women would gang up on us, and of course, we would instigate everything.”

“He is a man’s man.  Well, he has not only championed that sentiment, but has done one BETTER………he is a kid’s kid!”

“I remember when Crick took us outside one winter to build, not just a typical snowman, but our very own igloo!!  We built it so big it lasted until almost spring!  He also helped me to buy my very first car, it was a stick shift and he helped me learn how to drive it and, after many hours of practice, he suggested that we take the car for a test drive up Cooke Rd. to see if I could handle it on a hill.  Well…..I couldn’t make it up the first hill and we kept drifting backwards toward the car behind us.  Finally, Crick put his foot over mine on the accelerator and away we went.  I think his exact words to me were, “Well, you can always sell this car to someone else!”.  He would always beg me to walk on his back and promise to give me all of the change in his pocket.  Boy, was I naive, thinking I was going to make a lot of money.  But……..he did teach me the value of a quarter!!!  Over the years, Crick would put a lot on his back for our family.”

“Crick was fortunate to have many of his teenage family and friends as his employees during his management days at Friendly’s (or I should say, we were lucky enough to have him employ us!).  As a freshman in college, Crick gave me the confidence to become a supervisor and while I didn’t believe that I could handle the responsibility, he put me right out there and trusted that I could!  He saw a potential in me at that age that I had didn’t even know existed.  When we were younger he would take all of us kids hiking during our “Clark cabin trips” and using his army “skills” would take us on quite an adventure down some incredible hills.  He would also hand out to us his army rations to sample…………yuk!!”

“I started thinking about how long I have known Crick…………it has been basically my whole life!!  I remember sitting in our living room on Oakland Park and talking into a reel to reel tape recorder to say “hi” to him when he was stationed in Korea and then he would send the tape back to us so that we could hear his voice.  I remember Mom making me clean the basement before his wedding to MM in order to display all of the priceless wedding gifts (wonder if they have any left!).   Funny to think now, that I was one of the altar servers at their wedding!!  Crick was also there for Jimmy……there was the day that Jimmy was hiding in the bushes in front of our house and Crick went out to gently remind Jimmy that he was at home and not back in Viet Nam.  Who else but a veteran like Crick could have known what Jimmy was going through. Crick was also there when I was going to enlist in the Army Reserves and he was going to make sure that I ended up in his unit so that he could watch over me………..he even went to the commander to make sure this would happen.  For some reason I never did enlist, but I always knew that Crick was going to be there for me.  Crick has been and always will be one of my brothers!!”

“I developed a friendship with “Mr. Jim” at Glacier Ridge Elementary.  Our relationship was always  of a fun nature!  I tutored students after school and of course, Jim made us regular visits.   In return, we would pull his vacuum cleaner plug, toss candy wrappers on his tidied floor and turn lights out, to name a few of the things we did to get him to react.  Jim and I quickly became friends and always had fun with our antics.  Yet, we could also have wonderful discussions on life.  He became a real friend to me as we both shared in common the closeness of our own families.  Jim will be missed by more people that we can fathom and I know that Jim will be meeting my Mom in heaven and making her laugh like he always made me!”

“It seems like a long time ago that Crick and I were standing on the field at St. Michael’s in our wildly unprotective football gear……paper thin shoulder pads, helmets with no face guards or chin straps, and for me,…………fearing the fact that I would have to tackle his older brother, John as he came blasting through the line.  Life seems to warp into hyper-speed as we grow older.  I must say that although Crick and I were never terribly close growing up, I have fond memories of him: caddying with him at York Temple, the fact that he seemed to instinctively know how car engines worked, and how he always exuded this sort of Gary Cooper type…….tall, dependable, good-hearted vibe, even as a kid.  And if his presence is still felt by someone as distant as I am to him, I can only imagine what his presence means to all of those who are truly close to him.  It speaks volumes about how Crick has journeyed through this life.”

As the anniversary date always falls on the Feast of All Souls, I would like to offer this reflection from the book of Wisdom 3:1-9 which was read at the Mass offered for him this morning:

But the souls of the upright are in the hands of God and no torment can touch them.  To the unenlightened, they appeared to die, their departure was regarded as disaster, their leaving us like annihilation; but they are at peace.  If, as it seemed to us, they suffered punishment, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their correction, great will their blessings be.  God was putting them to the test and has proved them worthy to be with Him……Those who trust in Him will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with Him in love; for grace and mercy await His holy ones, and He intervenes on behalf of His chosen.

And so it is that our family drinks of the “glass half-full”, each morning, “putting two feet on the floor” and being ever grateful for all of God’s many, many blessings.

Message to Crick…………………….while God has you in His keeping, be assured that your family has you in their hearts…………………..Always, Always, Always :)

TNT………….TGW

In Memory Video: