I haven’t noticed any person like properties in any of the machines I now own, though my computer can be as temperamental as anyone. Since I’ve only recently started driving my father’s 2001 dark blue Saturn it’s still kind of hard to tell. I still technically own my 1992 blue-green Saturn SC even though it’s entirely out of commission. In its day it was quite the distinctive character. It was an exceptionally nice sports car and had a sleek appearance. Perhaps it’s because I kept it for long that my imagination started playing tricks on me, but it was like an old reliable friend for me. I first got it in January of 1996 and went everywhere with it. It started falling apart around five years ago though. Over the years it became a perfect trademark for me and people always associated me with that car. It was so quiet and subtle, exactly the way I’d really like people to be. I spent so much time driving it back and forth to work, school, my Knights of Columbus council and everyplace else I wanted to go. Often I’d just hang around in the car, in parking lots, reading and thinking. Since I’m so compulsively punctual I spend a lot of time waiting for things to get started, after I’ve arrived somewhere. All throughout the time I drove this car I spent countless hours sitting in it, merely hanging around and keeping busy. During its last few years unfortunately it got quite seriously nasty. There was a leak in one of the windows and the thermostat didn’t work anymore. Over the course of its heyday, though, my car got me through absolutely everything whatsoever. Maybe more in a passive way than actively, perhaps more in my imagination than in reality, my Saturn SC, took on a life of its own.
Tom and Frank had been the best of friends for thirty years since they were twelve years old in Lindenhurst, on the South Shore of Long Island. They were always in the same class at the local Catholic schools. One morning they went on their annual fishing trip at Captree State Park with their Knights of Columbus council.
As they sat down fishing, drinking beer, Frank said to Tom, “It’s been a long time there,booby!” Neither could help daydreaming about what lay beyond that lovely but entirely too familiar horizon.
The preceding contains some ingredients of my life. I lived in Lindenhurst for decades since I turned twelve years old. I went to Catholic school and was in that K of C council where half the members were named Frank & Tom. The council’s members went on many fishing trips at Captree State Park.
If I could have complete control over all that happens at a party, there would be all kinds of food, desserts and drinks available. Considering how many people and how much activity would be involved, I should have to arrange to have it in quite an exceptionally large hall. The only things that would be forbidden would be smoking and drugs. Lasagna has always been my very favorite food so there would be plenty of it to go around. I could have all possible other kinds of food, ranging from meat and cheese to vegetables and seafood. An infinite supply of condiments and seasonings would also be on the menu. There would be a wide variety of desserts including chocolate and candy and pastries in general. Besides the inevitable coffees and teas of all possible flavors, there would be free flowing alcohol too. I’ve never been able to handle much liquor well but it should at least be available. I was, for a while, a bartender at Knights of Columbus council 794 in Lindenhurst so I understand quite well the importance of liquor for a nice party. Good music, of course, is also quite an entirely indispensable ingredient for a successful event of any kind. At any party of mine there would be an inevitable bottomless pit of 1960’s music, ranging from Vanilla Fudge’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” to Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, filling the airwaves. Of course, I most certainly can’t possibly leave out the Beatles. Maybe, knowing me and my flair for 1960’s style we could even get all the men to dress in bell bottoms and Nehru jackets, and the women in mini skirts and go go boots. Since there are so very many musicians in my crowd, a lot of people in attendance could even play for us. There would be no real need for any specific events or games, though because of all the constant music, dancing, naturally, would be virtually obligatory. I could invite all the people on my Facebook friend list, including all my old friends, teachers, classmates, relatives and many whom I’ve never once even so much as gotten a chance to set eyes on in person. Unfortunately since people among my guests come from such a wide variety of worldviews there would have to be a very strict rule against any kind of fighting. In order to keep things as distinctive visually as possible I should absolutely have to have it all festooned with a lot of brightly colored decorations including balloons and confetti in every possible color. There would be no dress code. Considering all the activity that would transpire, it would be very smart to allow everyone do dress as comfortably as possible. Since it’s my party, and entirely under my control, there would be no time limit. It could last as long as people are available to keep things going. It wouldn’t even have to be for any particular occasion either. It could all just be for the sake of having a really good time.
Junk food has always been quite a major weakness of mine. Whenever I’m anywhere near even the general vicinity of ice cream, cake, candy or any other exceptionally tasty dessert, I go plum out of control. At least it’s not an entirely destructive weakness though. I always tell Mary Anne and Steve about my long standing habit of virtually never being the first one to open any container of food, and that includes dessert of any kind. At my old Knights of Columbus council, Council 794 in Lindenhurst, New York, they used always to have Dunkin’ Donuts at their bingo games. I invariably ended up making sure I got some when I helped at the games. Once in a while I take advantage of coupons I get for discounts at Dunkin’ Donuts and go somewhat overboard. That’s only one example of the many kinds of desserts that can send me totally into a state of rapture. If I were ever forced to live anywhere near the immediate vicinity of someplace like Jitty Joe’s, the famous Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania ice cream parlor, I should end up having to go completely overboard. It’s in Moosic. I truly enjoy all their favors, especially the distinctive ones like teaberry, rocky road, or anything with lots of fudge, nuts and syrup in it. Everyone who’s ever been to Jitty Joe’s acknowledges it as the best ice cream known to mankind. Grablick’s was in West Pittston, in Luzerne County, when I was a kid. Their ice cream was exceptional too, but Jitty Joe’s is quite a worthy successor. I find it quite impossible to believe when someone informs me that he doesn’t like chocolate or some other dessert. Ever since I was a kid, home made apple pie has always been my very favorite dessert, though pie from a store, including apple, isn’t all that good. I’ve already covered this topic before so I shall just refer to the gist of it. I enjoy all kinds of sweet things, dessert in general. The only thing that bothers me is when I get something sticky that either melts or drips down my chin or any other part of me. That’s quite a seriously annoying and frustrating feeling. I honestly don’t think I have any kind of a neurotic attachment to dessert. The best part of my fondness for sweet gooey food is that when my supply has run out I don’t end up missing it to the point of having to go overboard. I have quite a happy healthy relationship with my sweet tooth.
I’m fifty four years old. The older I get the more I’m required to associate with very old people. When I was still actively involved with Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s Knights of Columbus council 794, in Lindenhurst, I was constantly surrounded by a significant number of couples who were well into their seventies and eighties. My oldest living relative, Uncle Frankie, will be ninety years old in August. He was married to my mother’s older sister, Aunt Mary Theresa. My parents both died last autumn when they were eighty. I’ve learned from having to associate with them all that old age brings with it a combination of extreme good and extreme bad. Old people can be quite a source of story telling, humor, wit and insight into bygone eras. Because of all the physical, financial, emotional and other problems that come with the passage of time, though, they can also be very hard to handle. Their habits, because of the passage of time, are so irrevocably entrenched into their lives that they can’t get rid of them. I’ve never liked the Willard Scott mentality, that refers to the very old as a hundred (or whatever) years young, as if to refer to someone as old is somehow an insult. This does a major disservice to both the young and the old as it renders the concepts meaningless. Language must never be exploited as an ideological tool. It must be used only at the service of the truth. To the degree that a culture has been infected by liberalism it inevitably respects neither the old nor the very young, the ill nor the handicapped. I agree with what I recently read in Communio, the International Catholic Review, that the left’s ideas, influenced by John Locke, want a world populated only by young, healthy, autonomous, self-sufficient adults. They want a world where the only people who really count are the kind who are the equivalent of Adam before Eve showed up. In order to be worthwhile, each individual must be entirely self-sufficient. Our culture now puts children into school as soon as possible in order that the state can have as early and as thorough a control over them as possible. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s claim that “It takes a village to raise a child” is lethal to healthy family life. The old and otherwise incapacitated, thanks to the mentality espoused in Obamacare, are subjected to treatment based on what’s cost-effective rather than on the absolute dignity that inheres in each specific individual simply because he’s a human being. We desperately need more people like the little sisters of the poor, at Queen of Peace Residence in Queens Village, New York, and the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, at the Little Flower Manor in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. I’ve never liked the idea of being young at heart, as young as you feel or any other such cliche’. That type of language reinforces the ideas, espoused by the left, that only the young are worthwhile. I like the idea that each age range has a share of beauty, truth and goodness that are intrinsically proper to it. I can also understand, though, that it seems so odd, and gets odder with passing time, that I’m as old as I am now. Whenever I see my sixteen year old niece, a high school junior , or my two nephews in their twenties, I have all sorts of flashbacks to when I was that young. It seems as if it were only yesterday. Minutes go by too slowly and decades go by too fast. I should really like to think that by the time I am old enough to qualify as undeniably old I shall have more of the quick-witted story-telling throwback in me than the self-pitying creep who lets his aches, pains and regrets mess up what’s left of his life. Maybe I shall be like Arte Johnson’s Tyrone F. Horneigh character from “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in”, who’d always hit so hysterically on Ruth Buzzi’s Gladys Ormphby. I’ve always been quite a walking anachronism anyway. By now I know quite well that hep Larry always seems to have ideas that are much better than what real Larry puts into practice though. I should imagine that people will find me quite seriously ornery and cantankerous. They will be expected to put up with even more references to how my current surroundings stack up against Jackson Heights and Lindenhurst, and what the current administration is like compared to those of Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter. Pain and death are as scary for me as for anyone. Eventually I shall have to succumb to them. That will be the hardest thing for me.
Every time I’ve taken a chance on putting three coins into a fountain all I’ve ever gotten to show for it have been three wet rusty coins. I don’t really believe in lucky charms or anything like that. Behavior that leads supposedly to either a lucky or unlucky outcome always to be more of a case of the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy anyway. Having been prone over the course of all my adult lifetime to anxiety and panic attacks, though, I never pass up a chance for a nice security blanket. I’ve always been somewhat amused whenever someone claims that he wants to get involved with me in any kind of lottery, contest or something of that nature because I’m supposedly always so especially lucky with things like that. Amazingly I’ve somehow always been unusually lucky at very minor little insignificant games of chance. Over the years I’ve been known to win small contests and lotteries at work, school or anyplace else where people are willing to gamble. Over twenty years ago, at my cousin Vinnie’s church in western New York, I won a football that had been used by the Buffalo Bills in a recent Super Bowl, with all their autographs on it, including Jim Kelly’s. Since I’ve never enjoyed sports anyway it was only somewhat interesting for me. When I was actively involved at Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s parish and Knights of Columbus council, I won all sorts of little contests at their fund raisers. I also frequently won minor things at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School. In the Scranton Diocese, all the churches in the deanery in which I lived seemed to have their annual fund raisers at about the same time. One year I went to about a to the annual bazaars for about a half dozen of the local parishes and won something really nice at each one. Nobody’s life ever really changes, either for the better or worse, just because he either makes a wish, wears a particular object or article of clothing, or says or does something in order to affect a particular change of circumstances. Such claims are all spurious. If it makes someone feel more comfortable, though, to eat a certain food, to wear a certain article of clothing, or to engage in some particular behavior in order better to ensure a favorable outcome, I say that as long as there’s no real serious expectation that a real connection exists, and as long as he’s just doing it in order to feel more comfortable, it’s a good idea.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvLikiVraHE My full name is Lawrence. I was named after my mother’s father, who died a few weeks before I was born. Most people have always called me Larry, with the exception of several teachers of mine and a few other authority figures and people whom I’ve been expected to deal with under exceptionally significant official circumstances, who call me Lawrence. My last name is a fairly large Italian name and everyone always has such a hard time when he tries to learn how to pronounce it or to spell it. Although I don’t have a middle name my confirmation name is Joseph. Over the course of my lifetime I’ve been known by several nicknames. Because I grew up having to associate with an Uncle Larry Senior and a cousin Larry Junior, both older than I, we had always been big Larry, little Larry and Baby Larry. After a while I got sick and tired of being known by such a childish name. When I was a kid, my Uncle Frankie had often called me Sam Spade, after Humphrey Bogart’s character in “The Maltese Falcon”. When we bowled together with the Knights of Columbus, my cousins got into the habit of calling me B.L.T. and it’s stuck with me ever since then. I first met Kitti when we were working together at Citicorp Retail Services. Very soon after we first met she started calling me Larrabee, after Robert Karvelas’ character on the 1960′ television show “Get Smart”, so I started calling her Miz Kitti, after Amanda Blake’s character on the 1950’s and 1960’s show “Gunsmoke”. We still call each other those names on e mail messages. Unfortunately I haven’t been active in my current Knights of Columbus council, Assumpta 3987, in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, but when I was really active in my first council, O.L.P.H. 794, in Lindenhurst, New York, there were very many people there who could never remember my name. I ended up getting into the habit of answering to Joe, Tom, Frank, Bobby and several others over the course of the time I was there. Although they have a humorous colorful side names can be very important too since they deal with ontological concerns and give people a kind and degree of power over others. Because I’ve always been involved with the culture war, as a staunch conservative, I’ve always been determined to point out to people how dangerous it is to get into the habit of letting liberals determine for us how we must refer to people, things, and circumstances in general. Names must never be used, from an ideological point of view, as a means of control. He who controls someone’s identity controls his life.
This past weekend was quite active. St. Barbara’s annual feast, held at St. Anthony’s Church in Exeter, started on Friday night. I didn’t bother to go on the first night though because of the torrential downpour. We’ve been getting quite a lot of electrical storms & heat waves lately . I went on Saturday afternoon after I lectored at 4:00 p.m. Mass at O. L. Sorrows (I lectored at St. Joseph’s at 8:30 Mass last Sunday too) . It was a really nice time. I made sure I entered the raffle, as always. I got a root beer ice cream cone too. On Saturday morning I went to the monthly lay Carmelite meeting. It’s always at 9:00 a..m. on the third Saturday of each month at the Little Flower Manor on South Meade Street in Wilkes~Barre. We always welcome new people who are interested in joining us. Sr. Mary Robert & Msgr. Grimaglia were both there. It went quite well. On Sunday St. Monica’s annual bingo game was held at O.L. Sorrows Church on Eighth Street in West Wyoming. Because I always used to help when I was active in my old Knights of Columbus council 794 in Lindenhurst, N.Y., I made sure I called Tom a while ago to ask if I could help. He got me helping Mike & his wife in the kitchen. I spent most of the time selling soda & other drinks after that. I ate a hot dog with chili & later I ate a wimpie. Unfortunately unlike my old K of C council they didn’t have any knishes. They’ve never heard of them around here. I got some cake & a beer too. I even ended up going to the local Price Chopper for some Diet Pepsi. Unlike last year Uncle Frankie couldn’t go this time because he hasn’t been feeling so well. The Catholicism series, on Tuesday nights, has been going quite well so f ar. Br. Patrick, of the Oblates of St. Joseph, does a really good job of things. Daren’s birthday was on Saturday. She died of suicide a few years ago. I made sure I sent a card to her mother, Grace. Yesterday I got an answer from her.
- Alas I can’t remember the exact date but it was on a nice spring day in May 1992 when I first joined O.L.P.H.’s Knights of Columbus Council 794 in Lindenhurst, New York. Those were such exceptionally happy times for me. I even joined their Fourth Degree. I met some exceptionally good people there. Now I’m in the Assumpta Council 3987 in Luzerne, Pa. Unfortunately I have yet to become an active member of my current council but I always want to make sure I renew my membership each year. I make sure I read the council’s newsletter & the Columbia each month too. I have always been quite proud of my membership in our Order because we help the Catholic Church, neighborhoods, hospitals & in general contribute quite significantly to the common good. Today my parish, St. Monica’s, will be sponsoring a blood drive at the O. L. Sorrows Church in West Wyoming from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. I can’t donate blood though because I’ve been sick for about the past five days with a very mild flu. I’ve gotten headaches & a cough. I’ve also been taking medication. Soon, though, I shall be back to normal. Then I can give blood again.