Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Daughter Bridget at the Book Festival on the Mall

This is a collage of pictures of authors that my daughter Bridget and I met on the Mall today. Clockwise from around the top they are: Ricky Minor, Music Director for American Idol, Food Network star, Paula Deen, Nicholas Spark, author of The Notebook and Tim O'Brien, who wrote The Things They Carried. Each of them was delightful, friendly and seemingly thrilled to meet Bridget. A great day!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ted Kennedy and Airplanes

I've been reading Ted Kennedy's memoir and enjoying it immensely. One thing recently struck me, though. If I was Ted Kennedy, or any Kennedy, I wouldn't set foot in an airplane.

I'm a nervous flyer to begin with. But, think of what Ted Kennedy has experienced. First, his brother Joe dies in an airplane accident. Granted, flying a plane loaded with explosives does tempt fate, but it's still a tragedy. Then, Ted's sister Kathleen dies in a crash with her fiance'. The one I didn't know about was his roommate a Harvard, a budding Olympic skater, who died in a plane crash going to a Olympic preliminary trial. Then, of course, Ted himself almost died in a crash in western Massachusetts with Senator Birch Bayh. Finally, John, Jr.

Yes, if I was a Kennedy, I'd stay away from planes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My 25th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 25th wedding anniversary. Wow. I could never have imagined - dreamed - hoped - that the adventure on which I embarked 25 years ago today would turn out so well. That day remains a blur to me. Starting with my first - and only - barbershop shave at Lords and Lady's Hair Salon in West Roxbury, MA to the end of the night with my sister confronting a bully towering over her in the Hammond Bar in Brookline at 1 am, I only remember moments, but not the day as a whole. In between those two "moments," I committed myself eternally to my wife, Rita, and she to me. Twenty-five years later that commitment is strong and, in fact, growing. The love endures, the cause lives on and the dream will never die.....(sorry, I think I just channeled Ted Kennedy).

In the past twenty five years, we built a family. Danny (19) and Bridget (15) make us proud every day. They are both smart and reasonably well-behaved kids. But what makes us most proud is their hearts. They both have caring and compassionate hearts. I'd like to think we had something to do with that, but we've all seen excellent parents produce troublesome kids, so there must a bit of good fortune or God's will in it, as well. Suffice it to say, it's a blessing we both treasure.

In my observation, there are two kinds of successful marriages. One is when two people, who are similar, bond in their similarities. They have a joint mission and they accomplish it together. Because they see themselves in each other, they form a mutual admiration society. It's sickening.

Then there are the marriages where couples are different, but complement each other, which produces a somewhat more tumultuous relationship. But, probably a more honest one. That's Rita and me. We are different. I am lazy. Rita works very hard. I am undisciplined and disorderly. Rita is neat and organized. I am self absorbed. Rita is utterly unselfish. I think we've changed a bit over the years. I've tried to make Rita more lazy, without much success. I have made inroads in terms of disorderliness. She has come to tolerate the smallest bit of clutter in the house.

My one regret is that I have not adopted Rita's thoughtfulness and unselfishness. I remain pretty self absorbed. This blog is evidence of that. But Rita is the most "other" directed person I've ever known. She is constantly thinking of others and trying to help in whatever problems, large or small, that they confront.

Of course, I am the beneficiary of this quality of hers in two ways. She's very thoughtful toward me, which is only occasionally reciprocated. But more importantly, her nurturing approach to friends and family has built a community around our family that would simply not exist without her. The older I get, the more I appreciate the relationships I have with other people. And thanks to Rita, we are blessed with a wide circle.

So, happy anniversary, Rita. I love you. And see how thoughtful I am? When somebody asks you what I gave you for our anniversary, you can say...

"A blog post."

How many wives of 25 years can say that?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Ted Kennedy's Grave Site

I visited Ted Kennedy's grave this morning. It was very moving. While there were a few people milling around JFK's memorial, when I first arrived at Ted's, I was alone. It is a simple memorial, just like brother Robert's, a small flat gravestone and a white cross. As you can see from the picture, the outlines of the dug grave are still visible. All three brothers are directly beneath Robert E. Lee's home. It is said that Arlington Cemetery is where it is so that Robert E. Lee could observe the full consequences of his treasonous rebellion against the U.S. Government.

On a more peaceful note, I overheard a tour guide talking about the location of the Kennedy gravesite. Apparently, Kennedy visited the Lee mansion, which has a spectacular view (passed the thousands of graves) of Washington monuments, the Lincoln, Washington and the Capitol. Kennedy observed that it was so impressive that one could spend eternity there.

So, he will, with his brothers.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Public Option

Josh Marshall has a great post setting out where we are on the public option in healthcare.

For me, the situation is bizarre.  It reminds me of the old Yogi Berra quote in talking about a popular nightspot, "Nobody goes there anymore.  It's too crowded."

The Republican position is that "Nobody wants the public option, because everyone will buy it if it's offered."  Then, of course, we'd be at single-payer, God forbid.

Makes sense, right?