I absolutely don’t remember any details whatsoever about this picture except that it was taken sometime between the period slightly before Christmas 2013 and somewhat before Easter 2014. I can say that much with absolute certitude for exactly two reasons. One is because that was when I had a beard. For some reason I chose to take a chance on trying to grow as full a beard as possible last autumn. The other reason is because I’m wearing Steve’s sweatshirt from St. Peter’s Prep. It’s a Jesuit high school in New Jersey. He’s on the music faculty and he’s in charge of the band . I only started wearing it around the end of last year when it started getting very cold. There were only two occasions I can remember during that time frame when we took pictures. One was Christmas. The other was for the Polar Bear Club fund raiser on Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately I can’t even try to remember what I was wearing either day. The picture was taken in the living room, where I am right now. I can tell that I was standing right in front of the couch I’m now sitting on because I can see the air conditioner and light bulb in the picture directly over my left shoulder. This picture has been getting quite a lot of mileage as a profile picture. It’s quite a lot nicer than very many other pictures of me. Besides that it’s an interesting change of pace since I’m most certainly not known for wearing a beard. Unlike many men I have quite a nasty time with facial hair. If I let my beard go for only a short time it looks atrocious and I have to shave. This time I really exercised quite a lot of patience and tried to leave it alone for a significant length of time. After a while I got bored and annoyed with it.
Unfortunately I got out of the habit, for a while, of making entries into my blog. A lot has happened since November. The first Christmas since my parents’ deaths turned out fairly well. Steve and I drove Michael here from Long Island City and Sam was here from Hofstra. A while before that Steve and I went to Union Square in Manhattan where, among other things, we got some of the Christmas presents. It was an especially harrowing day for me because we first went to St. Peter’s Prep, where Steve is on the faculty. It’s a Jesuit high school. As soon as we first got there I went to 7:30 a.m. Mass in their chapel. After Mass I met some really interesting people, most of whom were on the faculty. None of the bathrooms in that entire section of New Jersey was functional that day so we were all sent home early. Ultimately, though, I really enjoyed the trip to Manhattan. I’ve always really been interested in that type of environment. We went to a big outdoor market where they were selling all sorts of funky esoteric things. We got much of our Christmas shopping done there and stopped to get something to eat. On Christmas morning we all went to Mass at St. Mary of the Isle Church on Park Avenue in Long Beach. Micheal, Sam and Bridget all wanted to open their presents that day instead of Christmas Eve. Late that afternoon we all went to Mark’s and Laura’s house in East Setauket for a Christmas party. I finally got a chance to meet Laura’s brother Harold. Mark has always told me about Harold’s being as much of a Beatlemaniac as I’ve always been. Harold and I did quite a lot of talking about the Fab Four. Frank and Autilia were there with their kids and I saw a lot of other familiar faces too. Because I didn’t have to drive I even drank some bourbon. I got both my annual Christmas cards too, one from Carole and one from Grace. Unfortunately Carole’s husband Bob died on October 2. I also got a lot of Christmas cards this year which my parents would have gotten. A while before Christmas I first started growing my beard, the first time I’ve ever really let it go for significant length of time. Alas the highlights that were once such a nice shade of red have since turned grey.