This past Monday was Memorial Day. Long Beach, New York, always has such an especially nice parade. As always I made sure I marched in it with my Knights of Columbus Monsignor Cass Council 2626. Alas, when I took a picture of my council’s banner, our number didn’t make its way into the picture. However I got quite a nice photograph of our local division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Believe it or not my ethnic background is only half~Irish.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In the Summertime.” Last winter was nightmarishly long, having lingered well beyond my ability even so much as to attempt to put up with it. My spring wasn’t even somewhat active. So far my summer hasn’t been the least bit eventful either.
I’ve been truly enjoying it all though. Each day I try to walk at least a mile in order to get my requisite exercise. During the cold months that’s an absolute nightmare for me. This past Memorial Day I marched with my Knights of Columbus council in Long Beach’s annual parade. I could never handle that kind of thing during a Thanksgiving parade.
The rain, fog and snow, along with the early sunset and bitter cold, drive me nuts. Road conditions are unbearable. Warm weather makes the little things in life such a pleasure. I go to the beach and enjoy the perfect breeze. Plants are in full bloom. There are cerain minor drawbacks to warmth though. For the past nineteen years I’ve always driven Saturns. My 1992 SC, during its heyday, was absolutely perfect. Over the course of its last few years however, there was a lot of trouble with, among other things, its thermostat. I froze during the cold seasons and roasted during the summer. My current 2001 Saturn, that belonged to my father, now deceased, is still in good shape, so fortunately that’s not a problem. A major advantage for me during the warm seasons is being able to take a nice relaxing drive to wherever I may want to go. As long as my thermostat works I’m plum thrilled.
My nephew Michael and his girlfriend Erin got engaged a few weeks ago at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens. It was an outdoor affair. In May, the kin and I went to Brookly Botanic Garden in Park Slope. That was also outside. Because the weather, each day, was warm I had the absolute time of my life. Cold weather, alas, would have made that impossible.
Even under the circumstances where there are no significant milestones to count on, spring and summer have always been perfect for me, much more relaxing than cold weather. The clothes, food and all sorts of other things are thoroughly to my liking.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “ROY G. BIV.” Red ..flag at the Long Beach, N.Y. Memorial Day 2015 Parade. That’s my Monsignor Cass 2626 Knights of Columbus Council marching. Orange..cones outside the Soup Kitchen on Pine Street in Long Beach. Green..plants in Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lindenhurst, N.Y. Blue.. sky in pictures taken outside. Indigo and violet..flowers at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Park Slope, N.Y. Some of these pictures include more than one color from the rainbow so we may consider that a bit of a bonus. The picture from O.L.P.H. is from when I recently visited Lindenhurst, my last New York address. The pictures from Long Beach were a bit easier because I currently live here. A while ago I visited Brooklyn Botanic Garden and plum couldn’t resist all the fab colors.
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.
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.
Local Irishmen of Long Beach, N.Y., unlike the Irish of many other places, celebrate their ethnic heritage each year not on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, but on the first Saturday of October. Last year, however, it was on the last Saturday of September, in order to avoid any conflicts with the local Jews on Yom Kippur. Because they’re a seafaring region, their patron saint is Brendan the Navigator. The day begins with a parade down Beech Street. The Ancient Order of Hibernians figure quite prominently in the festivities. There are Pipe bands, Irish dancers, Irish music and all the other traditional Gaelic trappings. A large section of Beech Street is cordoned off and there are many food, beverage and souvenir stands throughout that section of the city. As with any other such occasion they have many vendors who show up predictably each year. Local establishments, including Swingbelly’s Barbecue Restaurant and the Knights of Columbus Monsignor Cass Council number 2626, are open to patrons. Tourists arrive from all over the United States in order to see this colorful spectacle. Newsmen from several local periodicals and television networks are always there so they can let people see what’s going on. It’s always difficult to park that day. Anyone in the city had better make sure he is willing and able to walk quite a distance in order to see all the interesting colorful sights.
One day recently I wandered, as usual, into a time warp and met 2004 me for coffee. He was happy to see that I still drink coffee so compulsively. He reminded me of what life was like back then, with all its good and bad news. I told him about what was up ahead of him. He was happy to see that I’m still a lay Carmelite. I tried to explain to him that I still have all the same staunchly conservative ideas now as then, but that by now, they’re more fully developed. I gave him the impression that turning fifty didn’t seem to carry with it any major milestones, that the passage of time would, in many ways, leave me neither in better nor worse shape. I explained to him that both my parents died last year and that that left me with quite a few major irrevocable changes in my circumstances. Having lived for much of the past decade in northeastern Pennsylvania gave me some insights into what life in a radically different environment was like. The internet, of course, was quite a major topic of conversation. My younger persona was quite happy to hear of all the advances that were to transpire during the time between then and now. He got a kick out of all the things people have been doing with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and all the others. He was so happy to know that I’ve been able to keep in touch with all my oldest friends from school for so long. Most certainly, he was quite disgusted when I told him about everyone’s having a cell phone these days. He reminded me of the days when my cousins and I were on the Knights of Columbus’ bowling league, with the Wantagh council and recommended that I get involved in something like that again. He also reminded me that since my anxiety, temper and migraines have mostly subsided into virtual obsolescence, I should by now be hepper than ever.
If a stranger comes knocking and wants to know how he can get to the Long Beach station of the Long Island Railroad, I should ask him if perchance he may enjoy an ice cream cone. If so then he could start his trip by going for a few miles into the opposite direction on Park Avenue, to Marvel. It’s pronounced to rhyme with Carvel. He’ll be headed toward the Loop Parkway, somewhat past there, in case he really wants to go far away. After that he may want to go down past Beech Street to see the several miles of beaches we have around here. Who could possibly even try to resist our enchanting boardwalk? While there he could either rest or exercise. I’ve been there several times since I first got here. On his way back in this direction he may stop at the Lido Kosher Deli, as well as the liquor store, Italian restaurant and pizzeria right next door to the Key Food on Park Avenue. Across the street from them is Associated too. Except for the kosher deli’s French fries I really like all the stuff they have there. Perhaps he could go down to the West End where they have a nice business district with several restaurants, as well as a CVS, and bagel shops. Maybe he could even stop at Swingbelly’s Restaurant, where my niece works. If he happens to show up on either a Wednesday or a Saturday he can go to the Farmer’s Market at Kennedy Plaza. That’s very close to the train station. Of course for good coffee he could go to the Coffee Nut Cafe and Gentle Brew. Depending on his religion he may want to visit either Young Israel or the Knights of Columbus Council 2626. For clothes he could go slightly over the bridge onto Long Beach Road in Island Park and shop at Kohl’s and Marshall’s. By the time he even remembers that all he wanted to catch a train he will have seen much of what really keeps life interesting around here.