Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Back Pages: Dan Viola: Goodbye To A Friend

My Back Pages: Dan Viola: Goodbye To A Friend: We got the news tonight that our friend, Dan Viola, has died of throat cancer. This is a sad time for us, and anyone who either grew up in C...

Dan Viola: Goodbye To A Friend

We got the news tonight that our friend, Dan Viola, has died of throat cancer. This is a sad time for us, and anyone who either grew up in Carmel, NY, or wh has been here, as we have, for a long time. Dan was a local icon, along with Tony Porto, and others who were local innkeepers and restauranteurs, they were local characters, well known and well loved by many. Tony is still with us, and Dan has now left. Dan was a kind soul who had a kind word for most of the people that he came in contact with. He was a soft touch, and I saw him many times feed some poor soul who was out of luck and out of money. He could be tough on you, if it was needed, but most of the time he was and easy going local legend. I met Dan one night when, as many have done, I had a few words at home and needed to get away. I was younger and not very bright in those days. Dan welcomed me into his place and bought me my first two drinks. He was kind and made me feel welcome. I never forgot that. 
As the years went on, we spent many holiday parties at his 52 Yard Line, and many nights just sitting and talking with Dan. Some nights, he would just close the place, and we would sit and talk and joke for hours.
When Dan decided to sell the place and retire, it was like a member of our family was leaving. He couldn't face saying goodbye to all of his friends, so he left a day before he had said, and moved to California. From time to time, we would hear about him. He health got progressively worse as the years passed, but we were told that he always asked about us. 
When we heard, just a few short weeks ago, that Dan had stage 4 throat cancer, we were devastated, but still we hoped that he would beat it. Tonight, we walked into his former establishment for dinner, as we do once a month, and we were told that Dan had died. Our friend, and Dan's successor, Annie, confirmed it. As we shed tears together, Annie and I reminisced about our old friend. Dan touched a lot of people over the years. The names of his places : The White Horse, The Happy Valley, Dan's Place, and finally, The 52 Yard Line, were local landmarks and the places to be on many a Friday and Saturday night.
Dan, old friend, we mourn your passing, but we count ourselves lucky to have known you, and to have been able to call you 'Friend'. Rest In Peace, and if there is an afterlife, save me a spot at your bar, where we can laugh and talk, just like we had always done. Goodbye, old friend. You are truly missed.

John and Sheryl, September 14, 2013 at 09:35 PM

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Back Pages:                         In Honor Of GrandparentsA ...

My Back Pages:                         In Honor Of GrandparentsA ...:                         In Honor Of Grandparents A short Grandparent's Day 'My Back Pages' Theresa and Angelo Zaffino  cir...

                        In Honor Of Grandparents

A short Grandparent's Day 'My Back Pages'

Theresa and Angelo Zaffino  circa 1950

Grandparents are special people. They comfort you when you are hurt or upset. They chastise you when you are misbehaving, and tell you that you are still loved, and all is forgiven. They find that extra dollar in their pocket or purse, even after mommy has said “No, not today!”, for that ice cream or special toy that you wanted, and smile at mommy’s exasperation. “It’s a grandparents right to spoil the child!” they will say.
 Grandparents are often the gentle victims of a child’s wrath when he or she is overtired. Grandparents are forgiving of the eye roll when they attempt to give advise, both from a parent or the child. Grandparents always have a hug or a kiss for a child, even when that child does not want it at the moment. Grandparents are always ready to listen, and give advise, if asked.. or just nod and understand if that is what is needed.
 Grandparents unconditionally love their grandchildren and expect nothing in return but a little respect.
 Sometimes, grandparents are inadvertently put on the sidelines, but sit patiently and know that their time will come. They will fret over the smallest hurt, and burst with pride over every accomplishment. No one could be prouder than a grandparent is of their grandchildren
  So take a moment out of your busy day today and, if you are lucky enough to still have them in your life, give them a call. If they have passed, take a few moments and think about all the good things that they did. Remember how much they loved you. You won’t regret it, and you may find a smile on your face, or a tear in your eye. I remembered mine today, and I had both.

John Zaffino, Kent New York
September 8, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Back Pages: The Miracle Continues- My Quest To Lose 54 Pounds ...

My Back Pages: The Miracle Continues- My Quest To Lose 54 Pounds ...:                                       May 21, 2013                                     September 6,2013 When I last posted, I had dro...

The Miracle Continues- My Quest To Lose 54 Pounds or More

                                      May 21, 2013                                     September 6,2013
When I last posted, I had dropped from 226 pounds to 205 pounds in about three months time. I was going to wait a while before I posted again, but I felt that I had to post now, since I have now arrived at one of my self-made goal weights.. 200 pounds. I am now well on my way to reaching my goal weight of 162 pounds. I still have a long way to go, 38 pounds more, to be specific, but I now know that it is not only possible, it is going to happen, as long as I stick to what I am doing, and remember to shake. Sensa has given me one tool, and made me realize that I must also use others to achieve my goal. Once I am there, the fight will not be over. I will not pull a George Bush and say "Mission Accomplished", because getting there is just half the battle. Staying at that weight, and perhaps even losing an additional ten pounds is the other half. And like every other war,  pushing the enemy into hiding is easy; keeping it from resurgence is even tougher. It will require vigilance and will power from this point on.
 Having quit smoking 3 years ago after smoking for 52 years, and then finally having started to lose the post-smoking weight caused by the slowing of my metabolism, I know that I can do this. I cannot fall back into old habits of eating like I did when I was younger and working, I have to eat good meals, and watch the amount that I consume, and do some moderate exorcize as soon as I am able. This does not mean that I have eat "Twigs and Leaves",  like so many so called experts say that I should. I can still eat tasty meals that I like, I just have to make sure that I do not over eat. I still will occasionally have what I crave; just not every night. I have to always be aware that it is so easy, and so tempting, to slip back into old habits. It's up to me now.
 So, that's my story so far, friends. I hope that I am not boring you with my mundane story; but this is important to me, and it helps to write it down and put it out there. Than you all for your continuous support and love, it is much appreciated.
 John Zaffino, Kent NY
 September 6,, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Back Pages: Labor Day Blues

My Back Pages: Labor Day Blues: September 2, 2013 Kent New York   It's a nasty, rainy and windy day outside. A fitting start for a day dedicated to the Labor Movement...

Labor Day Blues

September 2, 2013 Kent New York

 It's a nasty, rainy and windy day outside. A fitting start for a day dedicated to the Labor Movement, considering the sorry state of labor in the United States. The once vibrant industrial powerhouse that was the center of the country's economy has all but fallen silent; a victim of the stupidity and greed of politicians from all sides of the political spectrum, and the monolithic corporations who have taken over the country and now decide the course that it will head, at least in the near future. The ghosts of the old robber baron industrialists inhabit the bodies of today's greedy movers and shakers, in the form of the Koch brothers and the Trumps of the world. They care not about the bodies of the workers that they have crushed under their feet in the name of ever increasing profits. They care not for the families that they have torn asunder and driven to bankruptcy by moving all but the last vestiges of the mighty industries to the far points of the globe, where they can hire people who are willing to work for slave wages, and if they are not willing, there are governments more than happy to put their children to work, or to use slave labor from their prisons. These workers are made to work ridiculously long hours, which makes them increasingly susceptible to industrial accidents which result in maiming and death. They work in factories that are not checked for safety, and accidents are a part of the norm, not an exception, as the recent deadly fire in Bangladesh shows. 
 The Robber Barons don't care, they turn a blind eye to it. When something happens, they sternly say that they will launch investigations into the the safety of these plants. They may even close a few, but it's slight of hand. For every one that they close, they open two more that are just as bad, if not worse.
 What they are doing amounts to  murder, in my opinion. They know the risks that these workers undertake, just by accepting a job, or being forced to work under such conditions; yet, they continue to reap the bloody profits and throw what amounts to pennies to charities, and call themselves 'Philanthropists'.  They have managed to shackle the workers in this country, driving untold thousands into bankruptcy; and the have managed to virtually enslave the working classes of these third world countries. 
  Unions in the United States are in ruins, some destroyed by their own greed, most destroyed by the slanderous campaigns of the Mega-Corps, hell-bent in their need  destroy them. The likes of Mitt Romney and his ilk grin, speak with their phony smiles frozen on their faces, and tell people that the union mentality is what destroyed the economy. They lie to the faces of the American people, and the unionless jobs that they must have to keep their megastores and fast food restaurants running, pay wages that no family could live on, with no benefits, while the workers work under dangerous conditions. 
 All in all, it's a sad state of the Labor Movement that I contemplate today, as I sit and stare out at the driving rain and think back to what my father begged me to do when I got out of the Marine Corps 43 years ago. He was tired, and old before his time; the result of working for less than adequate wages as a top auto mechanic for so many years. The dealership charged, at the time, $65.00 an hour for his labor, but paid him less than $5.00 and hour, plus commission, once he made his base salary back in work. He begged me to get a good union job with benefits and a pension, so that I would be secure in my retirement, something, he said, he would not be. I did as he said, and am lucky enough to have a small pension to help me try to struggle through. My father died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 58, a victim of overwork and stress.
 Dwight Eisenhower warned of the danger of the Industrial- Military complex. He warned of how it would, if not checked, be the downfall of the United States. He was a brilliant man who cared deeply for this country. Sadly, what he warned of has come to pass, but it's not too late. There is still time to right the ship.
 So, as you sit out there today, enjoying your barbecue, if you are lucky enough to have nice weather, and are

reveling in what you have accomplished; or if you are one of the displaced and forgotten, wondering how you will get back all that you have lost, think about the workers who came before you. Think about the modern day Robber Barons who care nothing about the Workers that they exploit and then toss aside like  so many used tissues. Remember the politicians who continue to sell you out for their 30 pieces of silver, and then tell you that it's for your own good. Remember, keep those thoughts close to your hearts. It is you, the workers, who can effect change. Remember, as I do, the days that were good to us, the days that they would have you believe that we never deserved. 
 Bless you all, and keep the country strong. Happy Labor Day, everyone.

-John Zaffino