It’s a Small World

Last Thursday night was a great example of the Disney song, It’s a Small World. I will try my best to explain a small portion of this night, and I apologize now if it does not seem to translate.

I need to start by saying that StormFrog, the digital company I work for, is fortunate to work with some pretty amazing companies. The newest of which is a Cleveland, OH based company. We have logged many hours on I-90 meeting with our client. The marketing director knew I had spent some time living in Michigan, specifically the Detroit area, but we never did get a chance to talk about the connection. I myself was born and raised.

She and her coworker came to Rochester, NY for an all day Friday kick-off meeting and while in conversation over dinner Thursday night at the Wegmans restaurant, Next Door Bar and Grill the subject of our Michigan connection came up. She told me she and her husband lived there… A time in Ann Arbor, another stint in Birmingham. I shared that my Aunt JoAnn lives in Birmingham and she casually mentioned that her father-in-law worked as a columnist for the local paper and that overall she enjoyed her time in Michigan. Me a former paperboy asked her who her father-in-law was and I was surprised at her answer. “He was Joe Falls” She says… “Um, wait” I respond, “Joe Falls was your Father-in-Law”, “Thee Joe Falls? The legendary columnist and reporter for the Detroit News?”

“Yep” she humbly responded.

I was stunned. Now as a former paperboy I used to read the paper before I delivered it, and the columns of Joe falls, Mitch Albom, and the daily box scores of the Detroit Tigers defined my summers and after school routines. (Notice I never said I was a good paperboy).

We spent the next ten minutes reminiscing of Ernie Harwell and the Detroit Tigers, Tom Monahan, the Unions, the paper strike, and the small patch of Tiger Stadium field turf my Uncle Joe ripped out of the ground when he and thousands of other fans stormed the field after the Tigers won the World Series in 1984. Planting that small patch of grass in the back yard of my childhood home solidified my love for a city, a baseball team. Frankly for baseball itself. During our conversation I was a kid again. Recalling a time when life was care free. Time spent at my Grandma Mayernik’s house, listening to the Tigers and Ernie Harwell on the radio and drinking Pepsi. Man those were good times.

And her Father-in-Law was Joe Falls, former Detroit columnist who saw everything first hand. Oh the stories he must have had.

Now Pepsi is replaced by 2 Red Stag Manhattans. Care free summers are replaced with responsibility and deadlines. While I wouldn’t change a thing it was nice for a short moment to come back to being 11 years old. To be a fan again. To be awestruck by a man who I never once met, but knew what he stood for because some 25 years earlier I used to read his communications of the written word. And now I get to work with his Daughter-in-Law. Good times—potato salad. The last time I was in Tiger Stadium was on May 15th, 1999 and it was my Father-In-Law’s birthday that day. 1999 was the last season before the new Comerica Park opened in 2000. The photo at the top of the post is the view from my seat, and this picture hangs in the hallway leading into the office in my house. As irony would have it, the Cleveland Indians were in town. (Cleveland beat the tigers 12-7, boooo).

And though I won’t know for sure, I bet Joe Falls was there covering the game.

It’s a small world after all…


Let Me Walk By And Smell You.

Aaron has this habit.

He smells me.

I catch him doing this more than he realizes. Every time we are sitting on the couch together: He smells me. Occasionally when he walks by, he stops to sniff. Morning hugs, he takes a wiff. He has said on many occasions that he likes the way I smell. “I smell like a Dad” he says. I tend to disagree since my perception of a Father smell is one laced with of Carhartts, Marlboro Cigarettes and fresh cut wood.

I am none of those.

What AJ unknowingly realizes at the age of nine is that smell is powerful. It has the power to captivate. Illicit memories. At times repulse and at it’s best drive emotion. For me it’s the smell of hair that I love. What Aaron also doesn’t realize is that every time we sit on the couch together, when I stop him in the hallway as he tries to walk by, or every morning hug I have been smelling his hair. I’ve been taking a wiffs ever since he was born and getting high off the scent.

I know where he gets the habit.

10 and 2

Keep your hands at 10 and 2 my Driver’s Ed teacher used to tell me. Good advice that I need to adhere more often. It seems that with the birth of the multitasking revolution I am finding it harder and harder to follow this one simple rule. A rule that at its core is designed to keep me safe on the road. Ah, but I have this smart phone. This smart phone is magic. In fact I am writing this blog post from the WordPress App on my iPhone (from the couch, not the car). Pretty amazing toy we all have access to.

It tells me when I have email. A gtalk message. A text. A calendar alert… and oh yeah, a phone call. It’s way to easy to look.”oh I’ll look just once, no worries.”

Now I have been driving for awhile, and while I’m arrogant enough to think that I’m not distracted. The truth is I am. And more importantly I need to set the example for my kids. I admit… I have texted “i’m on my way” or “just leaving now” texts with the kids looking on.

Do as I say. Not as I do. Right?

Well, as the parent I need to set a positive example. As a result, I am joining the Ad Council of Rochester and taking part in “Put Down Month.” Which means just that. When I am driving in my car this month, I AM PUTTING THE PHONE DOWN. The text, call, email, Facebook post, tweet or anything else that makes my phone go buzzzzzz CAN WAIT. I am going to keep my hands at 10 and 2, and reinforce to my kids the need to stay focused while driving a half ton weapon on four wheels. So that when my kids are in a similar situation they will hopefully do the same. I’m not sure what I would do if something happened to them while they were distracted as a new driver. I dread the day one of them turns to me and says “well, you do it. I thought it was okay.” The Ad Council goal is to get 1,000 people to join this event. One. Thousand. People. Log in to Facebook and join the cause with me.

So, right now it’s… Do as I say. And as I do. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Black Sheep

Aaron said something pretty funny on the way to the Easter Vigil Mass last night. It was about our Dog Max’s stuffed black sheep that came with him on Christmas Eve last year. That’s the day when Santa, good old St. Nicholas, decided to drop a dog on our doorstep.

Yep, our new dog Maxwell Birkenstock came to us on Christmas Eve. I haven’t really wrote about him very much, I mean the nature of his arrival, or that fact I do now have a dog living under my roof. That will be for another post. This post is about the black sheep.

If Max had a favorite toy this would be it. The black sheep was as big as he was on Christmas Eve. He would drag it by the ears around the hardwoods while tripping over it every other step. Max is bigger now and he still loves that black sheep. In some cases he shows it too much love. Every so often it becomes an awkward moment when Max is “loving” his toy and Aaron innocently says, “Aw, how cute! Max is hugging his favorite sheep!” Joey responds with a quick 14 year old response of a laughter filled “Yeah, he’s hugging it alright. Look at him go.”

Aaron said in the car last night on the way to Church that he realized why Santa brought the black sheep with him on Christmas Eve. He said “Santa is really St Nicholas, so it makes sense that he would bring a sheep with him. Because Jesus was a shepherd, and St. Nicholas was one of his saints.”

A nice revelation from a nine year old on the way to church. I’d be lying if I said I made the connection earlier.

He then followed it up with “Or maybe he just happened to have one
on hand in the sleigh… yeah probably.”

Happy Easter.