In tragedy there is light – Original Poem

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I hugged my child today
The warmest hug I ever did feel
So safe; so warm; so tight
I could not let go

I could not release him into a world fueled by hostility and death
The fire and smoke has clouded my vision of the future

In a moment of sorrow I bowed my head

Humbled by the prospect of peace
Warmed by the heat of a new sunrise
Spiritually enlightened by humanity

My son looked up at me with sadness in his eyes
In a soft trembling voice asked me “why?”

I hesitated as I closed my eyes willing the answer in a way to sooth my child and ease my wounded heart
Words did not find their way to me

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Guided by instinctive love, I looked at my son and said “you”

You are my reason for living
You are my my hero
You are are the happiness I find every morning and the final thought every night

Without you, I don’t know why

You are the meaning of my future not yet written
You are the legacy that will show the world the path to the grace of humanity

I looked at my son and once again began to believe

The smoke is gone now
No longer clouded, I find the strength to rise again and walk, hand in hand with my child to the promise of a new tomorrow.

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Yankee Stadium: A Father Son Journey

It was the final year of the house that Ruth built (1923-2008).

It was a warm Saturday in April, 2008 for the opening weekend at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers were starting the final year at the iconic landmark that not only had been the home to the greatest sports franchise in the world but the inspiration for dreams for nine decades. With the spirits of Ruth, Dimaggio, Mantle, Maris, Howard, Dickey, Mercer, Martin, Rizzuto and so many more in the air, a game at the Stadium was so much more than nine innings of entertainment; it was a testimony the the purity of competition, family, patriotism and legend.

As my father and I spend entered the subway in Manhattan after spending the morning with my brother, we could feel the anticipation as we moved quickly from the underground passageway to that famous above ground stop adjacent to the stadium in the Bronx on East 161st Street. The staleness in the air was subsided by the vision of men and women with Yankee Jerseys cheering and talking as the journey for one final World Series at Yankee Stadium was underway.

As we funneled out of the subway and set eyes on that vision, one can only feel a sense of honor. I know there are seven wonders of the world but if you grew up in the tri-state area, this was one of them. For my father who was a New Yorker, born and raised, this had to mean much more. This is a man who rarely misses a game. 162 up and 162 down. It could be TV or radio but he is there for his Bronx Bombers.

Vendors selling programs, the smell of hot pretzels and beer and one hour to game time. We finally got in and trekked up the ramp to our seats behind home plate. The grass never looked greener. Monument park was a vision with permanent etchings of the achievements of the greatest players in team history and Sam Shepard’s voice over the speakers.

Just a few years earlier we had taken a tour of the stadium, bowing to the immortal words of Joe D as we entered. We walked on the outfield grass, viewed monument park, stood in the radio booth and just absorbed history as we sat in the locker room seeing Jeter next to Ruth and A-Rod next to Gehrig. Words cannot properly express the feelings that rushed through my head (and I grew up a Mets fan). This family commitment has also led us to Legends Field in Tampa, Florida for spring training for a number of games under the sun. This is indeed a family affair.

I remember the game vividly. We browsed through the calendar that each of us received at the front gate and glued ourselves to each pitch knowing that in seven months, on one undermined day, the final game ever would be played in Yankee Stadium. It was not until two years later that the stadium was finally taken down, but when the final pitch came, that was the end. That was our goodbye.

We even got a free subway ride back to Manhattan. What a bonus.

Buildings, stadiums and landmarks come and go. Change is part of life and we must accept that life moves forward. What we take with us are the memories. This wasn’t as dramatic as losing the Brooklyn Dodgers to California as my mother would say, but losing the stadium was losing a piece of my childhood and innocence. As a child, we look to our heroes to help us define who we are and who we want to be. I still remember meeting Bucky Dent at a mall in Jersey, pretending I was Dave Winfield or Willie Randolph while playing at the park and collecting baseball cards til I turned blue.

Baseball is America’s past time. It is also a foundation for family. It has and continues to bring fathers and son’s together uniting on Saturday afternoons to cheer on our teams. Last year, I got a call that I got approved to take on a new challenge at work, one that I was so proud of and worked very hard to develop and justify. Where was I at the time I received the call? I was at the Yogi Berra Museum and Historical Center with my Dad watching the history of baseball evolve before our eyes.

It doesn’t take much to create a lifetime memory between a father and son. Some are meaningful and some are forever stored in the memory bank of our minds. On one warm Saturday afternoon in 2008, my father and I sat together overlooking a wonder of all sport and shared a moment that we will both remember always.

From my very first bike ride in the snow getting the original pack of baseball cards that started my childhood obsession and flipping cards to see what my brother and I would end up with to smelling the grass while the young stars warm up, baseball continues to be a very important part of my life and no thought of baseball ever goes by without the thought of sharing it with my dad.

Thank you Dad for the memories secure in my thoughts and the ones to come in the future..

Finding My Home on the Road – A Journey of Discovery

As the top went down and this father and son team let the sun race down through the glare of our sunglasses, we began a journey with the backdrop of the New England coastline as our guide to an awakening.

Over the next few days we embarked on an excursion blended with culture, history and reunion in this journey taken from the lyrics of a true journeyman to the music of the wind.

Feeling the spirit of our forefathers and the authors of our nation’s history, we walked in Walden’s Pond, followed the Freedom Trail where Paul Revere rode, saw the whites of their eyes at Lexington and Concord, stood on Old Ironsides, sat in Boston Common, had coffee in Portsmouth, NH, felt the academic genius of Harvard University, soaked in the generations of Italians on the North End and trailed the hills of Providence, Rhode Island.

We were exhausted with life.

Each day a new journey, each encounter a memorable exchange.

Katie reinforced that dreams are always attainable
Dana always knows how to make smile.
The staff at In a Pickle in Waltham defined true teamwork and contentment.

The locals know how hard the winters are and the dangers of a fisherman’s life but also bask in the simple pleasures of small town America.

There is a warmth in New England that is difficult to put into works. A simplicity as soft as the waves complimenting the sunrise.

With Dad it was reflecting on World War II, the Civial War, Korea and the the Great War. Each stone etched with names and events. Outside of Quincy Market a reminder of the devistation of the Holocaust while the market allowed the city to give back to the farmers.

Even during recession small business owners survive keeping the traditions of what made this country great intact.

Providence, Newburyport and Portsmouth, each decorated with a unique design culivated over 250 years. The rich colors and structural foundation a standing salute to our forefathers.

Whether the goal was to find out the true meaning of defending the honor of this country, finding inspiration through Henry David Thoreau, meeting people you admire, enjoying the richness of Italian culture and food, seeing a part of the United States that still honors its founding woman and men or just a a trip with your Dad, this road trip gave me much more than I gave to it.