Monday, February 3, 2014

Passing

He was in his early 80s. Each year showed in his face, but they were earned years.

He studied agriculture, made it his life.  Not just professionally, no, it was a passion.

This was a man who made it his business to ensure there was protected land in the town he called home.  And he did it in different capacities, from serving on the Conservation commission to being warden of a reservation that surrounded his home.

He was head of a bird club, and volunteered for the Audobon society.

He was a ski instructor.  He and his family owned a local ski mountain for a time.

He served as a call fire fighter for the town.

And then there was the sports.  Whether helping coach high school athletes, or  helping out in the announcer's booth at football games, he got involved.

And then his time came.

The line at the chapel for the wake was out the door.  The town's finest came to pay their respects:  the woman he worked with on the conservation committee.  The couple who strolled the meadow, knowing full well who was responsible for creating it and who loved to watch over it.  People who grew up with his children and their children.

In other news, a Hollywood star succumbed to his demons.  We don't speak ill of him.  He had people who knew and loved him, too.

 I can't help but contrast these two lives:  one, so rich and full, an everyday man whose love of nature, community and most of all family touched so many people, more than he ever knew, a man whose legacy is as much the walking trails in the meadow as it is those he leaves behind, and the other, a famous entertainer whose potential was cut short and who will be remembered as much for how he died as for all the fine performances he gave.

 






Friday, October 18, 2013

Ukraine

My blogger statistics show three people from Ukraine are watching this site as I type this.










....why?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A story

Once upon a time, there was this guy.

He got married.  It ended in divorce.  He was crushed.  It wasn't perfect, but he never thought he'd be a divorcee.

Time went on, and he got married again.  Got divorced again.  He hadn't thought it would get to that point, but well, it did.

He dated around for a number of years.  He got close to one of the women, or so he thought, and that ended  badly.

Do you see a pattern here?

He knew it wasn't all their fault.  He took some responsibility for some of what happened, and in some cases what didn't happen.

And then one day, he got together with this woman, and he thought it would all change.  This seemed right.

But his dating past came back to haunt him.  He thought what had gone before was behind him, but someone forgot to tell the women.

And his current woman, understandably, became concerned.

It was a "Come to Jesus" moment.

It took some humility, some understanding.  It was a tense coupla days.

But they decided this was right.  This was worth the effort.

He was happy again.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hope springs eternal

Well looky here....

Early April, and the Red Sox are atop the division....what's their Magic Number?  The Bruins are keeping it interesting as their short season winds down.

Gotta file my taxes.

As I write this, the big issues of the day are Gay Marriage and the Economy.  They'll work themselves out.  You know where I stand on each.  If you don't, maybe I'll tell you someday.

I've decided to keep this site going for another year, in case I feel the need to share a stroke of genius with you.

I'll be in touch.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking back on '12, with an eye toward '13

A couple of thoughts on this New Year's Eve -

The year never really ends.  It's just one long continuum.

The people who matter the most show themselves.

These are the best of times.  These are the worst of times.  These are average times.  Pick one, there's your reality.

An educated populace is a fine myth.  We like snappy slogans.  We feed on the politics of fear. Nothing new under the sun.

I like 'em young, I like 'em old.  I just like 'em.

Art is timeless, however you define art.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

I can't stay up as long as I used to without becoming a blubbering idiot.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.  Unless you're the one.

You're not always right, but you're not always wrong.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Generosa

"Good morning, what's your name, and where are you calling from?"

"G'mahhhhhning, Michael!"

And that's how it went, every Friday morning for years.  Always on Friday, always in the 4 AM hour.

I was producing the overnight talk show.  Over the years, I learned to recognize certain voices.

Charlie from Brooklyn.  Wolfie.  Tina from the South Shore.  And Generosa, with her distinctive Boston accent.

Generosa's voice was always upbeat, no small trick at that ungodly hour.

We always chatted for a couple of minutes before I lined up the call to go on-air.  She always asked how I was, how the family was; nothing earth-shattering, but after a long night (or morning, if you're a purist) of doing what can get to be a fairly mundane routine of answering calls, making sure the commercials all run - on time - checking on the transmitter and the lights that warn planes that a tower of cold, hard steel could be in their flight path, it was nice to hear a pleasant voice.

I was late to the show as far as Generosa is concerned.  She'd been calling in for years before I started that job, and would do so for years after I moved on to working a different position during daylight hours.

I first met her at a station event.  Much of the time, you feel the voice doesn't match the person you see in front of you. You get a picture in your head, and that picture can be way off.  Not so with her.

I remember there was this one caller, who shall remain nameless, who came on like a vixen.  From her breathy voice and suggestive, flirtatious conversation, she put a picture in my head of someone who must be a cross between a runway model and a soft porn star.

I saw her at a later event for the station. Let's just say I'm never afraid to admit when I'm wrong.

Generosa was almost exactly as I imagined, an older woman with a twinkle in her eye and a non-stop smile beaming from a face that had seen a lot over the years.

I came to learn during my tenure on the overnight shift that some of the listeners formed a community of their own.  They correspond, they call one another, get together every so often.

This station reached halfway across the country at night.  The station had what was known as a clear channel, which meant that no other station could broadcast on that frequency and interfere with our signal.

That was one reason why someone in Pennsylvania or New Jersey or parts of Canada could all listen to us in the middle of the night.  This was before satellite radio and the widespread  proliferation of cable and satellite tv.

It also apparently added to the size of the group that kibitzed "off air."

Those whose common bond was a talk show or a radio station probably had different reasons for developing those relationships.  Overnights can be a lonely time for those who don't sleep well, and a local program can be a lifeline in the darkness.  Perhaps that's where some of it started.

I do know that Generosa was a valued part of that family.

She passed away early this week.  She had just turned 100 a few months ago.

She was one of many for whom the station mattered. She took a keen interest in every facet of it, but particularly the overnights.

I remember the last time I spoke with her.  The overnight host who'd succeeded the man I worked with had been let go, and I got word that he was coming back!  I know how upset Generosa (and others) had been with the change.  Their friend, that familiar voice in the night was gone.  It spurred a grassroots effort that proved successful.

When I got the word, I looked up Generosa's number and called to tell her the news.

Never mind that I was late to that party, too.  I'd just found out, but she already knew!  Someday we'll find the mole in our operation.  But I digress.

We hadn't talked in years, but it was as though it was a Friday morning all over again. We chatted for a bit, and then she paused.

Generosa?  You ok?

Michael, she answered, this is such a wonderful day!  I heard a sniffle, and I had to get right off the phone or I was going to lose it too.

I was sad to hear of her passing. It wasn't a total shock, but to me, Generosa was a big part of what I still consider the best part of radio.  Live and local, especially in the middle of the night.  Whether it's an impetus for sparking in-person contact between listeners, or it's just a steady voice in the background, letting you know you're not alone.

I know, you may think I'm  romanticizing radio a bit.  I've been thinking as I write this of the movie American Graffiti.  Seek it out if you've never watched it.

UPDATE: It's Monday morning, November 12th.  Morgan White, Jr. is hosting the overnight show this morning.  Generosa's daughter, Fran, is on the line, and caller after caller is getting the chance to express condolences, remembering her.

Godspeed, Generosa, and I hope you find a good station up there.











Thursday, October 25, 2012

For God's sake

Keep God in your heart, and at arm's length from government.

I posted that as my Facebook status recently.

A relationship with God should be a personal one, if you have one at all.  There are those, however, who think that their religious understanding of God should be the way society as a whole should live.

You know who they are.  They tell you that such-and-such is the way the world ought to be - because it's in the Bible.

Or the Koran.

Or the Torah.

Have we forgotten how many wars have been fought in the name of God?  Make no mistake, those battles are not as much about prayer as they are about control.  That's what organized religion is.  A battle to control the faithful.

The idea of God has been used for centuries as a tool of control.  For some, there's a comfort in religion, in the idea of God promising an eternal afterlife if you play by the rules. For many people, once they move into adulthood they leave that idea behind and try to make their own way.  Many of those same people often return to God late in life, perhaps hoping to reserve a seat on the Glory Train at the end.

In this country (the US), I see organized religion as an attempt to circumvent government in some cases.  Preachers of whatever religion that object to the law of the land (abortion is the easiest example) lecture the followers about living to God's word.

To me, it's shameful that politicians try to appeal to voters by saying how strong a believer they are. There's a certain moral code most people live by:  they don't kill, they don't steal from others.  People shouldn't wag their fingers at others because they think God is on their side.  If a person has a strong faith, why proselytize?  I think that person has the right to pray, to perform all the rituals of their faith.  But that does not give them the right to legislate that faith to others.

I don't want to point fingers, but look at the clergy child sex abuse cases that have come to light in recent years.  People of "faith," diddling children.

Lawmakers and advocates ought to support their arguments with facts, not point to a book that may or may not have been divinely inspired and say "That's the way it oughta be.  It's right there in the written word!"

Keep your religion to yourself.  Live a good life.  Keep God and politics a country mile from one another.