“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 



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.” 


Collection from “I REMEMBER”:

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


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 :)


In Memory Video: