The school year has ended for St. Gabriel’s in Queens. My father drove us to the Port Authority. My mother, my younger sister Mary Anne, and I are now on our way to my grandmother’s house in northeastern Pennsylvania on a Martz Trailways bus.
For a ten-year-old city kid, all this farmland is amazing. The only sound I hear is Johnny Rivers’ “Mountain Of Love” playing quietly on my transistor radio. I wonder what it’s like to ride a tractor instead of a utility bus. I think I’ll count the cows and horses for the rest of the trip.
Over the course of my school days I had always been quite a reasonably good student. Math and science were the two very definite exceptions to that rule, however. As a high school freshman at St. John the Baptist in West Islip, I somehow got put into a biology class, in spite of the fact that freshman biology was intended for students who were good in science. Mr. Richard Morabito, my teacher, frequently called my mother and complained to her that I could never keep up with the work. He wondered if maybe I should start wearing eyeglasses again. When I was a senior I took Mrs. Joan McGrath’s probability and statistics class. She, like Mr. Morabito, knew that I was a conscientious student but that I just couldn’t handle the subject matter. One of the very last things she ever said to me officially as a teacher of mine was that it would be a bad mistake for me to study math from then on. The next year, as a freshman at S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale, I was a liberal arts major. During my first semester I was forced to take another statistics course. During my first week there the professor insisted upon my dropping out of the course because he knew I’d never be able to pass it. Those are only a few representative examples of the horror story that was my life in math and science classrooms. My late cousin Karen, who was a math teacher, once told me that she could never understand how anyone could possibly be a poor math student, considering that it was so logical. Perhaps that’s my entire problem. I must not be capable of handling courses that are too logically consistent. I appear to require the twists and turns that go with the humanities and social sciences.
Tom, Jim, Burt, Jerry and Wally got together every Wednesday night after work for a poker game. It was an old habit, going back thirty years. Wednesday, for these boys, was a time set aside for gossip, cigars, a few drinks and relaxation. There was only one catch: their wives were sick and tired of all the drinking and cigars. Jerry and Jim came up with the perfect solution though. Each one rigged up a faucet on the fence in his backyard, with a secret compartment for stogies.
“The girls will never figure out our trick,” they assumed.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “You, the Sandwich.”For many years my cousins, Larry, Gary, Joe, and I were on a bowling league with the Knights of Columbus St. Jane Frances de Chantal Council 6526 in Wantagh, New York. We bowled every Friday night at Wantagh Lanes. While we were on the league they gave me the name B.L.T. It only makes sense that were a restaurant to name a meal after me it would have to be a B.L.T. sandwich. Of course there’s no rule that says its ingredients would have to be restricted to bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. I’ve always been quite smitten with Swiss cheese so it could have quite a healthy helping of that on it too. In order to be consonant with the way I operate it could, at least occasionally include things like turkey, chicken, ham, fruit and anything else that may remind people of my lopsided antics. Never having been overly fond of spices I could see how anything with an exceptionally intense kick should be kept to a minimum. I’ve never been able to handle anything too sloppy or sticky. The local Lido Kosher Deli has a hamburger that drives me crazy because it’s so hard to handle, being so extremely sticky. My sandwich, by definition, would have to be plain and simple in that respect. As long as its ingredients include those three primary ones, and it’s reasonably need and easy to handle, it’s quite the perfect edible symbol of me.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Going Obsolete.” Of all the technologies that have gone extinct within my lifetime, I’m not sure of which one I miss the most. I can remember, though, that when I was a kid in Jackson Heights, milk men, and other kinds of salesmen, used always to drive through people’s neighborhoods in trucks. Since I’ve never liked traffic or crowds it would be nice if we could go back to those days. Now we have mail order sales and internet sites that do sort of the same thing, so in a certain sense the convenience is available. I used always to enjoy, though, seeing those big silver colored milk boxes on each neighbor’s front stoop each day in anticipation of his regular delivery from the milk man. Perhaps it would do more harm than good, though, to bring back that specific thing. I’ve never liked traffic and having it unnecessarily obstructed by some character stopping every few feet as he drives down the street would drive me to distraction. We already have that anyway with U.P.S. trucks, school buses and other kinds of vehicles constantly defiantly bringing traffic to a frustrating halt. In my imagination, of course, it’s quite a fond memory and a nice idea.
A few months ago I started going to the local Knights of Columbus, Monsignor Cass Council 2626, on Beech Street in Long Beach. Before that I was in the Assumpta Council 3987 in Luzerne, Pennsylvania. My first council was Our Lady of Perpetual Help Council 794 in Lindenhurst, New York. I got my first three degrees in 1992 and my fourth degree in 1994. When I started showing up at my new council I made sure I spoke to the right people, including Nick, the Grand Knight, and Hank, the Financial Secretary. I haven’t gotten my membership card yet but Hank says that they’ve been in touch with my other two councils and that all has been arranged so that there will be no further problem. The first few times I was there, I didn’t stay for the meetings. I just introduced myself, watched an episode of “Jeopardy”, and left. After a while, though, I began attending the meetings. So far I have been having quite a good time. Eventually I hope to be as involved with this council as I was with my Lindenhurst council. Their meetings are the first and third Wednesday nights of each month at 7:30 p.m.
Logically, in our type of free society, the ability and right to discuss religion and politics should, by definition, be presupposed. Unfortunately, however, such topics have always led to much bitterness and vitriol. We are now living in a country where bitterness and resentment always seem to abound in discourse. As far as I’m concerned I’ve always quite enjoyed a nice polite debate. Because, however, so many people are so entirely polarized, it’s quite impossible for anyone to have anything to say, no matter how reasonable or how intelligently thought out, without his being automatically accused of being either racist, anti-semitic, a hypocrite, or in violation of some other liberal pseudo-civil right. A couple of weeks ago, I expressed my belief about homosexuality on Facebook. Someone on my friend list accused me of being in violation of a most flagrant liberal obsession. When I explained to him that I have no major objection to the Tea Party, and that I may even vote for Ted Cruz, he immediately left my friend list. My niece and her friends just went on their high school’s senior class trip to Puerto Rico. When she got home she explained that they got into trouble, and accused of being racists, merely because they referred to a black policeman as black. Each time I read the comments on Youtube or some other internet site, I see a bottomless pit of accusations of racism, anti-semitism, hypocrisy and all kinds of other things, merely because someone had the nerve to contradict a cherished obsession. Lately I’ve been reading two books about anarchism. Like liberalism and socialism, it’s a worldview that demands acceptance from others, and refuse to treat them with respect in return. There’s something awfully seriously wrong with people these days. http://theflavoredword.com/2015/04/21/calling-all-mad-hatters-speak-up-and-speak-your-truth/ https://theyyouandme.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/humanity-haiku/ https://thelonerose.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/writing-for-me/ https://nicholacmassey.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/polite-company/