LEGO Pley Time

BR&SJ enjoying Lego Pley

BR&SJ enjoying Lego Pley

Do you have a favorite catalogue?  You know the one which you actually are happy to see taking up space in your mailbox? It’s the catalogue where you flip through EVERY PAGE AND READ EVERY DESCRIPTION! If the SATs were based on the information found in that catalogue, you would have gotten into Harvard.

Okay, so you know what I mean now? My children, consumers that they are, have a favorite catalogue. Really, they fight over who gets to look at it, and the last edition was half torn before it disappeared into the recycling bin.

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My Father’s Tie

My tie is frayed. I should get rid of it. I have many ties. Getting rid of one should not be news.

My father's tie.

My father’s tie.

On November 10th, 1997, I was speaking to my father. It was a memorable conversation.  The Eagles were playing the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

At that time, I was living in Brooklyn and my parents were living in Philadelphia. So, my father and I were talking on the phone. Of course, I called during halftime. I was taught well.

I called to wish my father happy birthday. He was 65 years old. He was coughing a lot so our conversation was brief.  He was in a hospital bed. The doctors were running some tests. Anyway, we spoke a bit about the game, and he was more optimistic about the Eagles than I was.

I should have known right then that something was wrong.

My father died the next day.  I did not make it back home to Philadelphia in time.

While he had been sick on and off for the previous few months, no one – including the doctors – were clear on what was wrong with him or the extent of his illness.

The shock was great.

My father and I could always talk about sports. However, other topics were not always as easy.  We did not bring out the conversationalist in each other.

As I got older, our range of conversations deepened and so did our relationship.

My father and I were out one day.

“Hey dad, check this one out.”  We were in Today’s Man (Wiki – Today’s Man) on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia.

My father had asked me to come clothes shopping with him. He liked my taste in ties. He may have just wanted to hang out. My mother might have encouraged him to ask me. She also liked my taste in ties.

“I don’t know.”

“Okay,” I answered. I put the tie down. He ran a few of his tie choices past me. I showed him some more.

Eventually, we walked out of the store with a couple of ties.

His death was just a few months later.

My mother encouraged me to take my father’s ties. And I agreed to do so.

I wore my father’s ties sparingly.

I wore one of the ties on what would have been my parents 38th wedding anniversary. I wore one of the ties during the Passover Seder the following April. I wore one of the ties on his birthday the following year. The ties were always my first consideration at formal family gatherings, holidays, and bar mitzvahs.

Over the years, the ties never fully entered my rotation (between work and the Sabbath, I wear a tie six days a week). However, my father’s ties started appearing more regularly.

A few years back one of my father’s ties was showing wear.  It was brown and blue and matched a lot of my clothes.  I liked it. And it had been my father’s. I thought about keeping the tie as a memento.

I eventually got rid of it. I still had one of my father’s ties left, I told myself.

I wore that tie this past Sabbath. When I took off the tie, I noticed it had grown worn and frayed. If it were any other tie, I would have thrown it in the trash. But this is the last of my father’s ties.

It’s been over 16 years that he has passed, and the tie itself is nearly 17 years old. My father’s tie has served me well. I’ll never wear it again. I tell myself these things as I try to convince myself to get rid of the tie.

It’s part of my memory of my father. If I throw it out, it will be like throwing out a piece of my father. I could let it sit on the tie rack even if it never gets worn. All I’ll have left is his worn business card in my wallet. I tell myself these things as I try to convince myself to keep the tie.

I don’t know what to do about my father’s tie.

Who Else Wore My Bathing Suit?

My new bathing suit.

My new bathing suit.

I’m not a prude or a germaphobe.

Okay, I wash my hands often. So what. Something wrong with clean hands?

And yes I like the house to be clean. Spotless would be nice. But I have two children whom I have grown to like. I’ve chosen them over cleanliness.

Let me rewind. The plan was to visit my mom and spend the Sabbath with her. We would leave Sunday morning sans BR our 9-year-old, who is staying with my mom for a few days.

Sunday morning came, and we were ready to leave. However, SJ our 6.5-year-old had other plans. He insisted we stay and go into the pool at my mom’s condominium.

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The Need for Speed

Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go, go, go.

The last couple of Sundays I have been out of my house just after 7. I’d love to tell you a great story about an adventure. Maybe, I met friends and we went fishing and talked about life and stuff. Well, besides the fact that this sounds like a sappy beer commercial, and I don’t like fishing, it’s not true. I could tell you that I had to be out early because I am training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. That would be a lie too: the only way I will get there is if I buy a ticket.

I WONT BE THERE

I WONT BE THERE

No, the reason for my early ventures into the day was to partake in that chore I have mentioned in the past: food shopping (http://larrydbernstein.com/food-shopping-shopping-shopping/ & http://larrydbernstein.com/contribution-to-greatness/). As you can imagine, I had the roads nearly to myself on Sunday morning. Part of my trip (about 2 miles) to the supermarket includes a highway where the speed limit is 50. How could anyone expect me to go at that speed? I wanted to turn it up. You know what I mean. You have your favorite driving song on – “Running Down a Dream” by Tom Petty or “Radar Love” by Golden Earring or “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane (or nearly anything by Bruce if you are like me) – and an empty road. Now, I ask you again, could I really go just 50 mph? No way!

When I was 23, I accompanied my aunt down to Charlotte, North Carolina. My aunt, who was in her 50s at the time, was going to Charlotte to attending a three-day racecar camp. Anyway, to quote Tom Cruise or Maverick in Top Gun, you could say my aunt felt, “the need, the need for speed.” As part of the camp, she got to drive around the track in a racecar at unbelievably high speeds. After the two days of training, she did one lap and got scared. It was too much speed.

Courtesy of Google.com

Courtesy of Google.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O1ZhHts8MI

Back to my shopping trip: When I got to Shop Rite – in record time, mind you – it came to my mind just how much of a rush I am always in. I am perpetually in “the need, the need for speed” mode.  My odometer is always burning high whether I am zooming down an empty road, briskly walking up the block, or pushing my boys to “Hurry up! Let’s go!”  I wondered, “Why am I always rushing?”

Not everything is an open road. Sometimes, I need to stop and smell the proverbial roses. The food will get to the shelf, the boys will get to school, but the moments I zip by will surely be gone.