How Would You Know?

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As is so often the case, people will come and go from your life. Especially on this weekend I think of many of those people. I don’t have war dead but my heart breaks for those who do. What I do have is gratitude for their sacrifice and I find myself taking moments here and there over the weekend to pray for them and theirs.

While this weekend is about honoring those lost in sacrifice to our country I can’t help but honor one lost too soon. I tend to question why sometimes but I could almost hear him answer with another question, “how would you know?”. That question was the answer to many a question over the years. I hadn’t thought of him saying that for quite some time.

I was reminded of that question, while watching Grace and Frankie of all things. That question and the concept of relevance. “Am I relevant”, asked Grace and all I could hear in my head was, “how would you know”?

Every person who sacrificed their life for our country became instantly relevant. Not only to those left behind but also to those who live in freedom because of them. A person who lives an ordinary life becomes relevant to those they leave behind also but “how would you know” if you’re relevant among the living?

The fact is you won’t know unless the living say and do something to assure you that you are, indeed, relevant. I believe in that whole heartedly and hope I’m doing enough of that. There is a song about if I die young bury me in satin, lay me down on a bed of roses, sink me in a river at dawn, send me away with the words of a love song. While that die young ship has sailed for me every time I hear that song I think DON’T DO THAT. Don’t come and say and do when I die, come now, say now, do now and think of me now so I know like I know that relevance is real and I am it. I will do the same for you, that’s “how we’d know”.

Many minds will wander this weekend to people who have come and gone from this life and I urge you to have your moments, like at the sound of taps.  But I also urge you to stay among the living where you can be comforted and assured of your relevance and you can do the same in return.

It’s A Legacy Thing

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There are so many things that could be considered legacy things that you couldn’t even begin to categorize them all.  An ordinary legacy thing is something that is, well, ordinary.  The things that are often overlooked, taken for granted, summarily dismissed until something brings your attention back to them, then they become a thing. The ordinary legacy things are always there, always useful, always within reach, until they’re not.

There are legacy thing stories in the everyday tangibles like my screamin red coffee cup or park benches and in the intangibles like birthday parties or on and on.  The choices are endless.

Rather than expound on them in print I thought it might be fun to explore them through video like my screamin red coffee cup.  Not only do I love typing that but I could say it a million times too.

For those of you who receive these posts by email you’ll have to click through to the site in order to see the videos or hear the audios until I figure that whole thing out.  I’m sure it will be a legacy thing at some point.

I expect you’ll enjoy my two cents in two minutes and I’ll not hear the end of it.  Please comment away to make this interactive, I’d hate to see my audacity go to waste!


A Callahan’s Mom


Today it was all about the hot dog. And beer…birch beer. And a piece of the past that we shared so many years ago as a young family growing up in Bergen County. For Mother’s Day we dined at Callahan’s Hot Dogs. Not brunch, no cooking, no fuss just a hot dog, well not JUST a hot dog it was Callahan’s after all. The snap, the flavor, the birch beer, the music it just all came together like a time capsule broken wide open. It was simple, it was heartwarming, it didn’t include my father but enough trains passed by that we were pretty sure he was on one of them. It’s what she wanted to do for her day.

Sometimes you get there. Sometimes a father’s daughter can learn to appreciate her mother because a little dog comes along and makes her into a Gramma. The mistakes aren’t forgotten but they are relabeled into something more palatable, something more relatable.

The reliance has become endearing especially when you find yourself saying you did the right thing, out loud. Me: no it wasn’t the IRS calling. Me: yes do call the police to report it. Me: see even they said you did the right thing. Now it counts…

Most of all you admit you don’t know what you’ll be like when you’re approaching 86 years old. You admit you’re glad that you own the dog she loves as if it were a grandchild. You admit there may be more similarities than differences, our feet don’t touch the ground. It’s a start albeit a small one, no pun intended.

There is gratitude in the passing of time that allowed all things to come to the point where regrets are over taken by small moments. Like receiving the proud sticker that said Callahan’s Mom from the original owner’s grandson who called her Gramma, day complete.

Happy Mother’s Day from a father’s daughter…

Sitting on a Park Bench

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There is something about a park bench, not the eying little girls with bad intent kind of something, but something wistful.  Seems no matter where I am if my camera is with me there inevitably will be a picture of a park bench among the images. Because, yes, I am that crazy “chair loving” woman and a bench is simply a larger version of a chair. But that aside it’s the more public experience that draws me closer, I can better explain that attraction.

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I had the pleasure of enjoying a lovely lunch with friends on a park bench yesterday at the NY Botanical Gardens. Lunches brought from home that become warmed by their confinement in a day pack just taste better. The sun was shining yet it was still nice and cool, the people watching wasn’t too distracting and all the better because the view was breathtaking. As Lincoln once said, every blade of grass is a study.

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I was reminded of the custom of carving one’s initials in a park bench to cement the moment in time. This image from a bench tucked away along the side of a lake.

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I was further reminded of a place I once ran to for some much needed solace that was neither too far nor too close to my home. It was a tiny sanctuary in the middle of my town, around a bend. But even in its smallness the pond and the wildlife it attracted calmed my otherwise chaotic life for a few hours.

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Sharing a bench with someone has led to many a discussion of things both worldly and mundane, of good books and the beauty that often surrounds a well-placed park bench.

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Several years ago it became a custom to dedicate park benches to local parks in someone’s honor. In their name many wonderful and heartfelt inscriptions have been etched on benches. And while those are wonderful I tend to look for the more…truthful…humorous…stop you in your tracks dedications that make you laugh out loud and entice you to sit where this person sat.

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If you need a break in your fast paced, stressful, hair pulling day, find a park bench, grab a hot dog and start the day again. It’s worked for me.