Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gone to the "other side"

"Ghost" is an entertaining movie which hit the box office in 1990 starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, and Whoopi Goldberg.  Sam, Patrick Swayze's character, met with an untimely death at the hands of a "mugger" only to find out, as the movie unfolded, that it was not a random act of violence but a planned event orchestrated by his coworker and friend, sadly for his own selfish, financial gain. This is what sets the stage for contact between the world as we know it and the "after life" or the other side.  However, at one time or another, most of my family has gone to the other side, and "miraculously", they have all returned to tell of their experience.  Allow me to explain.

Several months before I was born, my parents realized that they needed more room for their expanding family, so they moved the family to a quieter neighborhood and larger home.  My sisters have related stories of dancing in the empty spaces of the new home before the move and imagining which rooms would be theirs.  Naturally, my parents got the master bedroom, but the other rooms were commandeered in order of age.  That meant that the two rooms that were once the maid's quarters and separated from the main part of the house by the second stairwell, logically became the older siblings new digs.  To this day, those rooms still are referred to as "so and so's old room".

The stairwell that led to those back rooms created a natural boundary between the front of the house and the back, and as you would expect, the two sides of the house have a connection through one of the bedrooms as well.  Consequently, we began to refer to this part of the house as the other side.  Over the years, for some reason or other, nearly all of us have made the other side of the house a resting spot for some period of time.  This is what makes the other side truly a domain unto itself; it remains connected but separate.  And for those of us who have actually gone to the other side and returned, it has oftentimes provided that much needed respite from life's occasional disruptions.  There certainly is solace in knowing that a place like this really exists!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Caught" out in the cold

The NFL playoffs are well underway with several of the second round games wrapping up this evening.  As a New England Patriots fan, the outcome of their game appears to be a mere formality at this point.  However, in the infamous words of Yogi Berra, "it isn't over until it's over".

Although New England winters are typically harsh, especially in January, this one has been rather mild by comparison to most; but tonight the temperatures have dipped into the single digits which can make playing football outside considerably more challenging.  In spite of the frigid weather, the Patriot's offense fired on all cylinders, as did their defense for that matter, and with it, they tied a number of offensive records. Even my dad, who prefers watching baseball to football, was in awe of the complete team performance turned in by the Patriots tonight.  It just goes to show you that sometimes getting "caught" out in the cold can score big points with the fans and in this case, for the home town team too.  Go Pats!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's in the Cubby Hole

When my daughter was young, I remember reading a story to her called, "The Bear Under the Stairs.  The story was about a young girl who had this typical childhood fear about a monster bear under her parents stairs.  To appease the bear, she routinely threw banana peels into the dark abyss where the bear resided in order to avoid the bear's evil wrath.  Who didn't have one of these childhood "monsters"?  My siblings and I called the monster in our basement the "boogie man".  However, unlike the scary cave inhabited by the bear under the stairs, the cave under my parents stairs was affectionately called, the cubby hole.

Our cubby hole served as a storage area for card tables and chairs and at times, the vacuum cleaner.  However, when the weather outside turned foul, the cubby hole served as our "tree house".  "Systematically", we removed all the contents of this coveted space, and there, we set up camp for the day and then just let our imaginations run wild.  There are plenty of memories "stored" in that cubby hole for sure.

During the recent holidays, while preparing the family dwelling for the celebration, my sister asked where the extra card chairs were; when I said they were in the cubby hole, she smiled and then laughed as it triggered her own memories of this indoor shelter.  As for me, I prefer to think of our small cubby hole as just a little, childhood wedge of real "escape"!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions for the New Year

New Year's has always been a time for merriment and celebration with Time Square residing at the epicenter  of those "parties".  However, when the sun rises, it's just another day, with one exception; many people look at this day as an opportunity to erase past mistakes or failed commitments.  This is the year for yet another resolution, but this time it will be different for sure.

Unfortunately, for the majority of individuals, the legendary NewYear's resolution is broken shortly into the new calendar year.  Many times, the excuses for failure are as creative as the resolutions themselves.  Well, I would like to propose this.  Make your resolution, not just for this day, but every day for the rest of your life.  Since many of those failed resolutions are focused on healthy lifestyle changes, I hope that this is the year that you are successful with those worthy resolutions.  The clock is running, so good luck and Happy New Year to all!