Saving the Moon

What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) It’s a Wonderful Life

I was driving home from an errand last night, Wednesday. It was around 5:15 when I looked up in the sky. I was struck, nearly dumbfounded with what I saw – the biggest whitest moon I ever saw. For a moment, I convinced myself that I could reach up and touch it or at least drive to the horizon and be enveloped in it.

As I drove home, I had to continually remind myself to look at the road and be aware of the traffic. Driving 101 – right? Well, yesterday, this basic driving necessity was truly a struggle. Instead of giving the road my full concentration, I followed the moon which seemed to be moving as I moved. I imagined G-d was playing volleyball.  I remained mesmerized and marveled over nature the whole ride home, “It’s so huge, isn’t it especially bright, is it following me home?”

I had to share this beautiful moon with my family.

I walked in, and my wife was sitting at the kitchen table working.

“Come outside. I have to show you something.”

“What? Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, yeah. Just come. You have to see this.”

“It’s cold.”

“Just put on your jacket and come with me. Trust me.”

She got on her jacket and followed me outside. I brought her to a spot where you could the moon was visible. I put my hands on her shoulders and said, “Look at the moon. Isn’t it amazing?’

She was quiet for a moment, taking in the amazing sight. She smiled, “thanks for giving me the moon.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Now, let’s go back in the house. It’s cold.” We walked back together.

Later I brought SJ outside. It was after his shower. He wore his winter coat. He was shoeless so I carried him on my shoulders.  When we got outside, I said, “Look at the moon. Isn’t it awesome?”

“Wow, it’s so big!”

“Doesn’t it look like you could touch it?”

“Hmm. I don’t know. I’m cold. Let’s go inside.”

“Don’t you want to look at the moon some more?”

“No, I just want to go inside.” He wasn’t impressed.

Later on, I took BR out who was dressed similarly to SJ. BR decided to walk. When we got outside, I said “Check out that moon. Look how big it is.”

“That’s it? You brought me out here to see the moon. I’m going back in.”

“Don’t you think it looks huge?”

“I’m going back inside.”

I guess the children aren’t ready for the moon. Well, my version of Mary liked it, and so did I.  Next time, I’ll save the moon for my wife and me.


Slow it Down

Tick, tick, tick. I am a slave to the clock. I call it productivity. I say I am proud and feel accomplished when I get things done. And I am. Yet, I am still a slave to the clock.

I’d like to blame my mother. No, I am not in therapy. But it is true, Dr. Freud. My mother is crazed about getting things done and says the same things about her sister and her mother. I would add my brothers to this list as well. So, I guess you could say it runs in my family. I was brought up on this concept.

I wish I could stop it. There are repercussions you know.

I check the clock 50 times a day. When I was younger, I used to stare at the clock. I decided some numbers were happy numbers and some were sad. For example, the five was happy because the bottom curl looked like a smile. Now, I think the five laughs at me as I curse it every morning when it makes me up. But that’s another story.

I walk fast enough to consider entering the speed walking competition in the Olympics. This is not a good date trait. My wife rarely holds my hand. She doesn’t like feeling pulled. She goes for the arm in arm. I think it’s to slow me down.

This Thanksgiving was different. No, I don’t mean the abundant food and houseguests.

I slowed down. And I liked it.

I was speaking to a friend of mine at 11:15 on Sunday morning. He excused himself. He had to get off the phone as he and his family were eating together.

“What are you eating? Breakfast?”


“At 11:15?”

“We are taking it easy today. Everybody slept in.”

“Okay.” I hung up slightly confused.

And jealous.

Why can’t I be that at ease? I would feel guilty that the day is half over, and I have accomplished little.

Well, I thought I had been taking it easy over the weekend. However, my friend’s actions inspired me to slow down more.

It was a struggle. But a worthwhile struggle.

I go back to wondering. Why am I in such a rush? Yes, I know I said it is genetic thing, but there has to be more to it.

I am going to psychoanalyze myself for a moment here. You know that bumper sticker, the one who dies with the most toys wins? I disagree with that completely. I think it is stupid.

No. It’s as if I am trying to prove something. Often the hardest person to prove things to is oneself. If I keep busy, I will accomplish. If I accomplish, I will find fulfillment. Fulfillment – isn’t that what life is about?

I don’t have all the answers. I just know it felt good to slow down. It’s something I need to do more often. In fact, I may eat breakfast at 11:00 next weekend and then go for a stroll with my wife – hand in hand. Okay, we may have to run after the kids, but I am not going to be happy about it. For me, that’s an accomplishment.


To The Parade

My older brother NG, cousin HW, and my father were at the Fern Rock Station in the Olney Section of Philadelphia. It was New Years Day 197-. We were excited.

We had spent hours at the Mummers Parade. The parade is a Philadelphia tradition which began in 1901. The Mummers Parade is an all-day affair featuring different divisions: Comics, Fancies, String Bands, and Fancy Brigades ( We watched the different divisions shimmy up Broad Street. They wore garish feather costumes, danced wildly, and played outlandish music. I loved it. I loved being there with my family.

And now you know my roots. I am a parade person. I love parades. The Mummers set a high bar. So, I am not interested in just any parade.

BR first attended the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a 7 month old in an infant carrier. We were living on Central Park West so my wife and I took our young son a few blocks south and watched some of the parade. I loved it. He was indifferent.

Tomorrow morning, BR and I (SJ is invited but seems uninterested in attending) will once again head to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is our fourth straight year and has become a Thanksgiving tradition.

I love the parade. BR enjoys the trip – the bus, the journey through the tunnel, and the teeming streets of Manhattan – as much as he likes the parade. Yet, to see the excitement on his face as another giant float turns the corner and makes it identity known is priceless.

Add the parade tradition to my list of reasons for Thanksgiving being my favorite American Holiday. I hope one day BR will take his son to a parade and think back on our Thanksgiving trips into Manhattan. I have so much to be thankful for.

No Digression

The Eagles suck. Really, really suck. The Sixers have gotten off to a mediocre start with their star centered injured and out for who knows how long. The NHL is on strike and therefore no Flyers games. The Phillies are coming off a mediocre season and are in the quiet part of the offseason.

So, sports is out.

The election is over. There are no more polls, advertisements, or speeches. Barack Obama, for better or worse, has been reelected. The Senate and House of Representatives remain nearly unchanged.

So, the political races are over.

What am I to do?

I am on the computer. Maybe, I’m creating an assignment for students, writing a blog entry, creating a story. My mind wanders. I’m distracted. Or maybe, I’m just stalling. Semantics I suppose, but I digress. The point is I am leaving the productive mode and entering wandering mode. I click a button and am suddenly surfing the world wide web (by the way, I always wanted to learn how to surf. I think I’ll put it on my bucket list under learn to play the harmonica. There I go digressing again).  I’d like to think this digression is actually part of the creative process. Research if you will. It keeps my mind active.

Who am I kidding?

For every time that I am doing true research there are 15 times where I am feeding my overactive mind with useless information. Do you know how often I pop on WordPress? Way. Too. Often.

So, what else should I do? I don’t have a ton of interests. I hop on Yahoo and see the ‘big’ stories. By the way, the latest headlines are Theron’s shocking haircut and small room’s big surprises.  Despite my wanderlust, I think I can stay away from those ‘big’ stories.

Ahh, self-control feels good.

If something doesn’t come along soon, I might stay focused. I might find myself cranking out work quicker than I could skim through another useless article. I think I might become Super Productive. Maybe, I could get a cape and a theme song.  This could be good.