Wednesday, February 21, 2018

64?

It is 64 degrees on the 21st of February.

On my God I am ecstatic. Walking around in a t-shirt, digging on the warmth, Maka has been on the screened-in porch for a while.

How crazy. How very crazy.

But this is just a tease, right? It's gonna get cold tomorrow. We'll get 4 more snow storms in the next month. Temperatures will drop, ice will make life treacherous.

Wait, wait - I am sorry. I am supposed to live in the moment, right? Live in the now?

I am supposed to let the warmth wash all over me and stimulate endorphins and make me feel good. Supposed to revel in how very good I feel today. Enjoy the fact that my brain and body are tricked into thinking that spring is upon us.

Yup. That is what I will do. Roll around in the snow repeating "Holy shit this feels so good and I am so lucky, especially to be living in New England where gifts like this are unpredictable and to be treasured."

Strange days indeed, mama.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Sound Thought Process Prevails

I have made many decisions in my life against the backdrop of this conversation in my brain:

"This might not be the smartest thing to do.

 But it could be fun."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Just When You're Ready To Put A Bullet In Your Brain......................

your family comes through.

My brother invited us to join him and Carolina for dinner to celebrate our 40th anniversary last night. Set it up about a week ago.

We shuttled over to Keene to a fine Italian restaurant. Walked in, told the hostess we were meeting another couple for dinner. Reservation under Ed Testa.

She told us she didn't have an Ed Testa but there was a Craig - party of eight.

Party of eight? Wow, is Craig here with his friends? We were clueless.

Walked into the room to find Ed, Carolina, Craig, Keith and our close friend Jason sitting at a table.

Surprise.

We were blown away.

An absolute surprise that caught us completely off guard and made us so happy.

On our actual anniversary Carol and I ate Domino's pizza and cinnamon sticks in front of the TV. Not much of a celebration, but we have been maintaining a low profile for a while now.

So last night was super special. Excellent food, great conversation and many, many laughs.

Amazing how something like that can make you feel. We are still basking in the glow today. Cannot stop thinking about it. Cannot stop talking about it. Feel so good, so happy.

Haven't had a lot to crow about lately. Been a tough slog.

Suddenly we are sitting in a nice restaurant surrounded by our closest family and one good friend, celebrating our forty years of marriage.

As you get older your options narrow. You do less, you have less, your health begins to get fragile.

It sharpens your focus. Redefines the word appreciation.

You look at life differently than you did decades ago. You have regrets that won't go away, you have dreams that will never be realized. You try real hard to enjoy what you got.

If you have good family you realize you got a lot.

We have good family.

The happiness of last night is a deeply emotional thing that has a very definite physical effect.

I have been tired lately. Carol, obviously, is feeling beat up. She gets tired, even as much of a warrior as she is.

Today I feel good. Noticeably better. I even had to shovel fucking snow and I still feel happy today. I assume Carol feels as good. She seems perky today.

Ed, Carolina, Keith, Craig and Jason obviously knew we were enjoying ourselves last night. But they don't know and cannot know how happy they made us.

A simple thing like being taken out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary, triggering such deeply felt emotions in Carol and me.

We love each other, we love our family, we appreciate our friends.

This is the stuff that counts.

You live your life quietly, and every once in a while something happens that just opens your eyes and your heart.

Last night was one of those moments.

It was absolutely fantastic.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Never More True Than Now

"If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little."

George Carlin

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Truth Never Fades

Forty years ago today I was wandering around thinking: "Holy shit - I'm getting married tomorrow".

Forty years later I am glad I did.

Because of:

Keith

Craig

&

Carol

I am a very lucky man to call these three people family.

The people who are closest to my heart on this earth, in this universe, in the entire recorded history of mankind.

I LOVE you all with everything that I got.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

More Carmen

I once ate ostrich sausage at one of Carmen's barbecues.

I swear he had a black market connection who sold him bizarre foods the guy smuggled into the country. I would not put this past Carmen; he could get along with and deal with anybody.

Carmen had a fine appreciation of liquor. His liquor cabinet was impressive. He turned me on to Armagnac. If you like cognac, give it a try.

He had zero respect for beer. So he always bought the cheapest beer he could find.

He once served us Olde Frothingslosh. The can had a picture of a very fat woman in a bathing suit on it. The slogan on the can said: "The pale stale ale with the foam on the bottom".

The stuff was nasty.

Finally, in my remembrance of my Uncle Carmen, when I spoke of the fact that I am now the Testa family elder, I said: "I am not comfortable being in this position. It feels like it carries with it enormous responsibility".

What a load of shit. The uncomfortable part is true. Very true. But the enormous responsibility part is hyperbole.

I get carried away with the emotions, I get carried away with my words.

There is no enormous responsibility involved. It is more true to say it feels like a suit I inherited that just may not fit me right.

We won't know until the final words are carved into my tombstone.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Carmen Testa

My Uncle Carmen died last Tuesday.

January 23, 2018 sometime between 8 and 8:30. The preciseness comes from his wife Gerry who called to give me the news. She said "Your Uncle Carmen died this morning sometime between 8 and 8:30".

The preciseness felt odd to me. I didn't need to know the time, it was more than enough to know he was dead. But the preciseness also made it more real, more personal. She called me a couple of hours later.

I was reading comfortably in my recliner between 8 and 8:30.

Carmen was my father's brother. He was 12 years younger than my father.

I worshiped Carmen. He was a supremely unique individual, especially for his generation. He had a wicked sense of humor, he was super intelligent, he was cultured, he was upbeat, open and accepting.

He constantly blew me away. My father was a bit more stern, a bit more judgmental, a bit more closed minded.

Carmen was a free spirit.

In many ways, both conscious and unconscious, I strive to be like him. Some of it is a natural extension of my personality. He was insane and flamboyant when he wanted to be. He held an annual barbecue in his backyard every year. A back yard only he could love.

It was directly across from a Logan airport runway. Right across the water. Planes took off and came in for landings regularly. The noise would drive most people crazy.

Carmen loved it. The noise didn't bother him and he loved watching the planes come and go.

At these barbecues he would cook unique food and wear something bizarre. One year he wore a baseball hat with a ponytail attached. One year he wore a green see through mesh shirt. Crazy aprons. I have eaten barbecued yak meat in his yard, barbecued Spam, and eaten salad with peanut butter dressing.

Conversation with Carmen would be stunningly wide raging. He spoke knowledgeably about architecture, engineering, classical music, ballet, religion, and politics.

And occasionally he would blow you away and initiate a conversation about something like porn. "Yeah, I was watching this pornographic movie the other day and..............". Not in a sleazy way but out of sheer curiosity. He had an insatiable appetite to learn, to experience.

I was admiring a Harley Davidson watch he used to wear. It was a big metal watch, with springs on the sides of it like the springs in the forks of a bike.

He took it off and gave it to me. Blew me away.

I wore that thing so proudly. Made me feel so connected to him. Until I broke the goddamn thing. I banged it into something outside and it fell apart. I lost some of the pieces because they fell into bushes.

I regret that to this day, and he probably gave it to me thirty years ago.

I am now the oldest living male in the Testa family. I am the elder.

I am not comfortable being in this position. It feels like it carries with it enormous responsibility. Responsibility I am not sure I am up to.

Years ago I used to listen to Howard Stern a lot. He was talking one day about going to school functions with his kids. He said he always felt like all the other adults were adults and he was a kid.

I identified immediately with that comment. I always felt the same way. You will never hear me initiate a conversation about excise taxes, property values, home improvements, school budgets or any of the other things "adults" talk about.

It is inconceivable to me that I am now the oldest Testa male. Nothing I can do about it.

Except to respect that honor the way that Carmen did. By just being myself. And hopefully do it in a way worthy of respect, and maybe bring a few fond memories and some laughter when I am gone.

Requiescat in pace, Carmen Testa. Uncle Carmen. I worshiped you. I loved you. I appreciated the way you lived your life.