Raymond De Souza, K.M., of EWTN, is on my Facebook friend list. Unfortunately I found out, by way of a post of his this afternoon, that there is big trouble afoot in the Scranton Diocese. My parents were both from northeastern Pennsylvania, and I lived, for around seven and a half years, in the Borough of Wyoming. I was a parishioner at Our Lady of Sorrows (now St. Monica’s) in West Wyoming. I have always been rather fond of northeastern Pennsylvania so I was quite disappointed to find out that St. Peter’s Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese, on November 23, 2015, hosted an interfaith service during which the Moslem god, Allah, was invoked.
Besides that, and other Moslem references, a woman was allowed to read the Gospel.
Considering how controversial Islam has always been, this service must have raised quite a large number of eyebrows. According to all I’ve been reading about the service, and the comments on Mr. De Souza’s page, Bishop Joseph Bambera may have quite a difficult time explaining the decision to allow such an event.
One of the first things that struck me as significant after I’d been in Long Beach for a while is the unusually large number of exceptionally tall men here. Since I, unfortunately, don’t happen to be one of them, it’s always gotten on my nerves. The women’s height doesn’t seem to be the least bit distinctive but there are so many very tall men. Maybe it’s only my imagination but I seem to see them everywhere. A major advantage of life around here is that no matter where one may go, he’s always within only a mile from the nearest beach. One of the major disadvantages is that we’re so close to Kennedy Airport that there’s a disgustingly large amount of time in each day during which the incessant sound of jets flying overhead can be heard. I’ve always despised noise so it gets me crazy. I had that problem in Wyoming too, having lived right down the street from a small airport, and close to the Scranton Wilkes Barre Airport. The disproportionate number of oversized men is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. It’s just a really odd quirk. I know that they’re not all originally from here so you can’t really say that there’s necessarily anything in the local environment that contributes to their height. It’s just quite a lopsided coincidence.
In the borough of Pittston, Pennsylvania, each August, they have a tomato festival that attracts people from all over the country. While I was still living in Wyoming, a few miles away, I always made sure I attended it each year. Last year’s festival was especially nice. As always I made sure I drove my 1992 Saturn SC down River Road, to Main Street, and into the city where I ended up parking on Broad Street right behind St. John the Evangelist Church, my mother’s old parish on William Street. From there I walked over to one of the local parking lots where they have the food stands and most of the main attractions of the festival. As always, when I went over to the San Cataldo Society’s stand, the really big guy who’s in charge of their basket of cheer reminded me that he recognized me from the year before. At the souvenir stand where they were selling things that specifically refer to the festival, and that advertise it, I couldn’t help noticing a particularly nice pair of flip flops with pictures of tomatoes on them. Unfortunately I’ve never been in the habit of wearing flip flops so I didn’t bother to buy them. A few minutes later I met such an exceptionally lovely lady dressed in traditional Pennsylvania Dutch garb. She was giving out free samples of home made cake and asked if I wanted a slice. As I was sitting down, enjoying my cake, Monsignor Bendik, the long time pastor of St. John’s, passed by. The monsignor is at least in his late sixties and people have always given him credit for being among the wisest priests in the Scranton Diocese. He was helping with the parish’s fund raiser at their nearby stand. The next tomato festival is coming up in only a few weeks. It’s always during the last week of August. I’m so very sorry that I shall have to miss out on it from now on.
Ever since the end of last year, right around the time I first came to Long Beach, I started trying to walk at least a mile each day. At first I settled for a round trip of at least a mile per day. Now I frequently walk at least a mile in each direction per day. It would have been so nice if I should have come up with all this spunk when I was still in Wyoming. Right next to the Midway they have a fine looking levee where the scenery is quite perfect. The reason I should like to be able to do all this walking in that kind of environment is because there they have a really nice path, like a track, where the distance is marked by the quarter mile. Around here, unfortunately, I don’t know of anyplace like that so I have to do quite a lot of guessing about distance. I often go to the website Mapmyfitnes. There I can type in all the addresses I need and find out how far I walked each time. Unfortunately both my feet, especially my left, have been in extreme pain for the past quite a while so I don’t exactly have the time of my life doing all this constant walking but that’s what makes me even more prone toward taking such extreme pride in it.
It’s so hard to believe right now, but summer will soon be upon us, and I’m truly looking forward to it. I simply can’t stand cold weather. Although I don’t, so far, have any specific plans, I shall be so happy just basking in the warmth of the sunshine. Ever since I was twelve years old I’ve always lived very close to water. Long Beach is well known for its beaches. I can take a half-mile walk down Lincoln Boulevard each day, and go to the beach. Even if I don’t go into the water, the boardwalk can provide me with quite an amazingly impressive view. In Wyoming I lived very close to the Susquehanna River, and it was very quiet and very enjoyable, with such fine scenery. In Lindenhurst I was right across the street from a few nice canals. They were also known for being so epecially picturesque. Since I’m still fairly new to Long Beach, and quite unfamiliar with it, the summer months will give me quite a nice opportunity to get out and to travel more throughout the city. Although I shall absolutely dread the traffic congestion because of all the people on vacation, it will all be worth it. I was always quite involved with my parishes in Queens, Lindenhurst and the Wyomings so now I can take advantage of the warm weather out here to start getting really busy with St. Mary of the Isle too. Maybe I shall go to northeastern Pennsylvania to to see my father’s relatives for the long Fourth of July weekend. Perhaps then I can relive our infamous blueberry picking fiasco of yore. I’ve been doing so much walking lately anyway. Out there, especially in the nearby Poconos, I shall be able to do a lot more walking because there are a lot more wide open spaces. Besides all the fattening food and crowds on the Independence Day weekend, the main thing I may have a bit too much of a problem with will be the sunburn. Because I’m a bit pale complected the sun, if I’m not very careful, can take quite a toll on me, mostly if I spend a significant amount of time either in a pool or at a beach. Over the course of the past eight years in the Wyomings I got a chance to meet a lot of people and to make quite a few friends. I can even visit them too. Most certainly I shall have to visit my mother’s relatives. I’ll say hello to Uncle Frankie and Fran, and all of Aunt Lauren’s family. If things really work out well I can even take a few trips to Jackson Heights and Lindenhurst to visit my old stomping grounds. Most importantly of all the weather will be warm. All I really want now is to have as much sunshine as possible. Unfortunately it will be my first summer since my parent’s deaths. I shall have to get used to each set of circumstances, as it comes up, without them. That will be the only seriously sad thing. As much as I dislike change, it’s an ongoing inevitable occurrence. Both good and bad keep happening. Instead of complaining, I can consider my first Long Beach summer as yet another lopsided adventure.
I’ve never had any one specific sweet food or dessert that can be classified as the only one that’s simply irresistible, although home made apple pie , ever since I was a kid, has always been my very favorite pie. I’ve always had quite an insatiable appetite for chocolate and other flavors of dessert. My one and only advantage, when it comes to this problem, is that I’ve never been especially compulsive, in a neurotic kind of way. When the absolutely ultimate ice cream, candy or whatever is, alas, all gone, I’m quite content to wait until the next time it’s available, though I know that very many people have such a hard time with that. My problem is that until it’s gone I can go nuts constantly absent mindedly eating it. Whenever there’s a significant amount of candy, ice cream or some other nice dessert around I always wander over to it and keep incessantly eating. When my cousins and I used to bowl together with the Knights of Columbus in Wantagh I was quite notorious for my habit of incessantly eating Cheez Doodles, simply because they were constantly there. The last time Mary Anne, Steve and I drove to Pennsylvania, to spend a little while in Wyoming, we stopped at such an especially nice old fashioned candy store, Sweet Expressions by Geri, in Denville, New Jersey. It was like a kind of ultimate fantasy land for me, filled with such overwhelmingly enchanting colors and smells. The entire time I was there it took quite an enormous amount of will power for me not to buy anything significant. It’s the kind of place someone would expect a real Willie Wonka to have. I’ve always been overly fond of things like chocolate, marshmallow, caramel, rocky road and anything rich and creamy. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups can drive me crazy too. In Moosic, Pennsylvania, there’s a really nice place named Jitty Joe’s. They sell the best ice cream I’ve tasted since Grablick’s that was in West Pittston when I was a kid. As nice as Mr. Softee and all those other kinds of ice cream companies are, Jitty Joe’s has everyone beaten. They have all the flavors I’ve referred to, and very many more. As smitten as I’ve always been with desserts and all the sweeter richer foods life has to offer it’s quite a good thing I make sure they’re not constantly available.
For over seven and a half years I lived in the borough of Wyoming, in Luzerne County, in northeastern Pennsylvania. Because of my never having owned a computer during that time, I was in the habit of going daily to the Wyoming Free Library on Wyoming Avenue, next door to the Methodist church, close to the Eighth Street intersection. I soon became a part of the library’s collective peresonality and image. In most respects it was quite a very nice friendly environment frequented by a cast of decent likable offbeat characters. My one grudge against the people there was that they appeared to have had absolutely no respect whatsoever for the need for peace and quiet. I grew up in an environment where the obligation to maintain strict silence at all times, in both public and school libraries, was considered utterly sacrosanct, and the older I get the more I resent noise. There was a certain very nice family there, who showed up regularly, who really bothered me in this respect. Ultimately they were quite the likable friendly bunch. They were always so nightmarishly annoying though. The husband and wife showed up at least a few days a week, often with at least one of their kids. They were entirely too loud and talkative. Although there were signs in the library that specifically forbade the use of cell phones on the premises that rule was never enforced and they took every possible advantage of it. One day a few years ago I happened to have overheard a cell phone conversation between the father and one of his sons. The son had been sent to jail for either drinking, drugs or some equivalent offense. I can’t remember which it was. All his father did on the phone, for the course of quite a very long time, was yell and complain, and make explicit references to the specific problem. Besides the fact that excessive noise has always made me crazy, the subject matter of the phone call was hardly the least bit fit for public consumption. Predictably I cringed and got frustrated. It’s a confusing predicament to have to be in. Do I politely affect a couldn’t-care-less smirk and shrug? Do I give someone like that a mean nasty smirk, which I tend to do spontaneously? I’d always recognized that these characters were very much on the colorful side anyway but this was entirely ridiculous. I became so resentful and frustrated. His behavior showed an utter lack of prudence and tact. This wasn’t even an isolated incident. He and his wife would frequently say things, within earshot of others, that drove me crazy. The constant airing of their dirty laundry in public made me feel uncomfortable because I’ve never really looked forward to hearing all those private personal things about the dark side of strangers’ lives. Especially since they were always so very charming and friendly with me, it got me crazy. I knew they weren’t really bad but their tendency to be so loud and to let their guard down in public was enough to drive me entirely out of my mind.
Mother’s Day went really well this year. Although my mother has been going so frequently to chemotherapy and getting physical therapy for the past few months we all had such a good time. Mary Anne came in on the bus for a few days. Neither Steve nor any of the kids was available. Recently Steve, Mary Anne, Bridget & Sam, along with other members of his family went on a trip to Europe with his mother Barbara. They will be there for a while. I gave blood a while ago at St. John the Evangelist Church in Pittston. It was my first donation since I gave blood there last December. Last Saturday morning there was another men’s meeting for the Guardian of the Redeemer Group at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, St. Monica’s Parish, in West Wyoming. Over the course of the past week Larry, Rose, Krissy Krissy Krissy, and Krissy Krissy Krissy’s daughter Natalie came to visit us from Massapequa. A few days after that Gary and Maria came in for a visit from Massapequa too. I’m always so very happy to see my Massapequa cousins. Memorial Day went really well too. I went to the annual parade on Wyoming Avenue and Eighth Street. Gino and Eric marched in it with the Cub Scouts. Yesterday I had such an interesting time. On Sunday I read in the Dispatch that Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, and his wife Rosalynn, were coming to the Wyoming Monument on Susquehanna Avenue to make a speech and to accept some awards. Yesterday I went to see them. It was so interesting. I heard their voices and saw them from a distance. Unfortunately it was so very crowded and it was raining but I couldn’t have had a more enjoyable experience. I parked in the Midway parking lot among lots of buses. I was forced to walk quite a distance but it was worth it.
Around the end of October I got my flu shot at the CVS at the Wyoming Avenue Midway in Wyoming. The pharmacist who gave me the shot was quite a really nice blondie, a really nice looker named Caitlin. It only took a few minutes with a little paperwork to fill out. I got it in my left shoulder. All went well. A few days later, though, I started getting really violent headaches on one side of my head. They lasted for about six days. It was during the time of the annual St. Jude novena at O.L. Eucharist Parish in Pittston Junction. I showed up for most nights of the novena in spite of all the pain & aggravation. The novena worked out really well. All the same people show up each year so I see many familiar faces. The weather was really nice most nights. It was the fifty fifth year of the novena. When I went back to the drug store a few days ago to get something I asked the pharmacist about my headaches & she said there didn’t seem to be any connection to the shot. She assumed it must be from either sinus or an allergy. That’s what I’ve always assumed too.