‘Little Boy Blue’

‘Little Boy Blue’  lived near my family…close to the roof that covered my boy’s heads for most of his young life.  He grew from small into tall together with the two of my own.  I remember a pack of skinny lads dressed in baggy white pants of polyester.  Baseball teams were named after crawling reptiles in green or striped jungle animals outlined on the front of uniform shirts.  Mothers hoped elastic waists were tight enough to keep them from falling down to ankles or knees.  Each spring and summer and well into fall they’d sit on the bench sloshing down bottles of colored Gatorade between seven innings or more.  After one or the other slid into home-base, hands often slapped ‘high-fives.’  Miniature clouds of cocoa-colored dust burst above caps of red.  Poof!

Over the years, Little Boy Blue developed into a strong, caring and protective young man.  Knowing his buddy lived with diabetes, he watched over him throughout the years.  When my son was twenty-two, this man of young protectiveness, called me.  I rushed over.  With a face as white as chalk and eyes limp and closed, my son was clearly in danger.  Able to respond only to my voice, a bird’s sized mouth opened, allowing me to spoon sugar under his tongue.  Thank God for his friend in blue!

On another occasion, my son’s then fiancé telephoned his very best friend, the same one who wore blue.  Worried, she said, “I can’t get an answer by phone.  Please, will you go check on him?”  With no questions asked, this young man in blue raced to my son’s side, where luckily everything was fine.  Still, as always, my son’s tall friend of sweet soul was there for him.

A few years ago this young man of huge heart fell in love, marrying a delightful girl he met in college.  Her quiet demeanor together with kindness was the perfect match to his love of life and God.  Together, our family attended their glorious wedding, helping to celebrate their future of anticipated joy.

Yesterday, at my grandson’s Christening, the Godfather in ‘Blue’ was missing.  Having just been relieved from an all-night shift at work, he was home in bed.  I’m sure he preferred to be at the church service to fulfil his duty.   Instead, physical and emotional exhaustion had taken its toll on him.  His young wife, the beautiful girl chosen to be Godmother, smiled lovingly when speaking of her dear husband.  “It’s been very difficult the last fifteen days,” she said, measuring her words carefully.  “He needs to rest.”

It is not lost on me that some people do not look to see the other side of a policeman’s life.  First and foremost, this cop truly did choose his profession to “Serve and Protect.”

For this ‘Little Boy in Blue,’ I know it to be true.



The One Who Knows

I’m still in Arizona soaking up the sun, visiting my father, my brothers and my maternal great-aunt.  My Aunt Shirley is a tiny treasure, no more than 90 pounds who my mother left to me (and others) when she passed on.

My aunt is the youngest of eleven children who recently turned eighty-eight years old.  One would never know.  She’s truly an anomaly in every sense of the word.  Not because of the number of years she’s lived on this earth of ours.  Rather, because of the way she’s lived those number of years on this earth of ours.  She is one of the few people I’ve ever met who can honestly and with conviction say, “I have no regrets, I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”  Is she sick?  No.  Is she on her death-bed?  Hardly.  Ha, this ‘young’ woman in my life is sassy and sharp, quick-witted and strong in spirit.  The best friend and ‘therapist’ I could ever hope to have in life.  I have told her so……..even the ‘therapist’ part.   She laughs it off, but it is true.  She is so wise and she’s seen so much in life.  She knows just what to say when to say it, and how to put her thoughts into words.  I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

On New Year’s Eve, I had dinner with her in a small restaurant where we split a white ceramic plate of rare, pink prime rib.  She ordered an “Absolute” martini, straight up with twist of yellow lemon floating on the side.  I joined her with a Lemon-Drop.  A “Kool-Aid,” drink she said with a twinkle in her eye as we clinked our glasses to the next day, the next year of hopeful, 2014.

She told me stories I thought could only be read in books.  Things I might write about myself one day, or at least, I wish I could!  As she smiled and reminisced, she got that far off look. It was obvious even without words the joy she lived all those years ago.  How she loved that smashing time in her life!  The music she listened to, the movies stars she saw in the flesh or the places she visited and the people she met.

By the end of the evening, Aunt Shirley was drinking a cup of coffee.  I was on my second and last martini (the one I never finished), asking silly questions.  “Aunt Shirley, will you go to church with me tomorrow?”  “On New Year’s Day?” she asked.  “There is no church tomorrow.”

She always has the right answer, she always knows…….