The morning of March 26, I take a Lyft 35 minutes from my urban New Jersey apartment to get my first Pfizer shot. I consciously hold back a relieved sob as I sit for the 15-minute waiting period.
That afternoon I find out a family member is positive for COVID.
That night my arm is mighty sore. The next day it is almost back to normal. One vaccine dose down. One to go.
I’m walking along the Hudson River the next morning when I get a phone call from Mom. Her voice is quaking.
“I’m trying to schedule a…
I can’t quite do justice to how happy I feel right now at Pier A Park in Hoboken, plopped at Alessio’s metallic blue tables, looking at one of the most spectacular views on Earth. This day holds magic in its ordinariness. Few people. Shimmering water. Geese dotting the lush green grass. The Freedom Tower and all it represents.
The cynic would focus on the geese pooping all over the grass. Or the noisy buzz from guys landscaping the fringes of the park. Or the coffee I’m sipping that’s so bracing it evoked a “wow” and an eyebrow raise.
For about 20 years I’ve been an independent contractor. Because of the tragedy of 9/11 and its ripple effects, I came to know the term “income streams.”
And, my word, does it make me happy.
As we approach the 20-year mark for the despicable terrorist attacks that day, I have been reflecting a lot on how they changed my life and how important it is that I apply what I learned then to our current global health crisis, the pandemic.
Both are shattering events that call for emotional strength and soul searching. They beg us to reflect on our current…
I saw my father four times between March 2020 and March 2021. Each time, the conversation began with some version of this.
Me: Dad, you know I’d hug you but it doesn’t seem wise given the pandemic.
Dad: Nan, they’re overblowing it. It’s not as bad as they’re saying.
Me (not wanting to ignite a political debate): Dad, we really do need to be careful.
Dad: I’m 89. I’m going to die of something. If it’s COVID, it’s COVID.
Me: But Dad, it’s an awful death. It’s a lonely death because no one can visit you. The hospitals are crowded…
Why is the cool, rainy weather soothing me so much on a holiday weekend?
Alternate options might be that it’s disappointing me or depressing me or hampering me in some way.
None of that.
Even the gray clouds sans rain on this third day of the Memorial Day weekend give me a feeling of … is it relief?
I have come to realize there are times when sunshine equals pressure. You know the refrain: It’s so nice out — get out and enjoy it!
Truth is, the introvert in me hates that exclamation point and frankly the…
“I’m way too excited about this outing,” I say as I get into my friend’s Volvo recently.
We’re on our way to a diner for pancakes. At least that will be my chosen lunch. And indoors, to boot.
Diner coffee. Diner pancakes. Diner banter. Salt and pepper shakers on the table.
Diner. Diner. Diner.
It was the Malibu Diner in what we call uptown Hoboken. During a particularly rough April when both my parents were battling COVID-19, I had expressed on Facebook this very desire and someone in my little town jumped on the idea. …
It seems many people who struggle to connect with their parents as flawed humans as opposed to authority figures eventually find a natural connector when they have kids. Seeing their parents interact with their grandchildren gives the relationship a new dimension.
That wasn’t my path. Frankly, I don’t completely understand people who take that path, but I spent a lot of time in my early adulthood wondering why they didn’t understand me.
I’m a person who derives great satisfaction, fulfillment even, from connecting with all kinds of people one on one. …
(Editor’s Note: When Frank Sinatra died [May 14, 1998] I was a sports writer for The Trenton Times. I immediately called the paper and asked if I could write an op-ed. After it was published I framed it and gave it to my father for Father’s Day that year. Here you see the shelf he kept it on in his music room, among his treasures. It’s the room I sleep in when I visit. Dad died on April 27, 2021. At some point I’ll feel ready to write a column about him, but in the meantime I want to share…
What are you doing in your own life to deal with racism in the United States?
This is a question I grapple with a lot since George Floyd was killed in June 2020.
Last night while watching the CBS Oprah Winfrey interview of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, I saw how my lens on race has shifted. Finally, a sign of progress when most times I feel like I’m moving at a glacial pace.
There are two main things I’ve done since Floyd’s death to help me understand systemic racism better. One was to start following a lot more social…
There was something about the confluence of events in the last few weeks that set a perfect stage for the magic of a Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama pairing on a podcast.
*Rolls out welcome mat*
First, a rewind.
As Texas dealt with a recent winter weather catastrophe that cost and jeopardized lives, I was disgusted and flabbergasted with the behavior of so many people. Sure, some of those people were Republican politicians in Texas who are supposed to be leaders but instead turned out to be the snakes we knew they were.
But I was more disappointed in…