The last time my face was really red, I had a terrible sunburn. I’m not much of a blusher. Lacking a hugely embarrassing story to brighten your day, here is red of the world.
In flower, cars, trucks and the leaves of autumn. Barns and carousels, bricks, cranberries, and peppers. Red, redder, scarlet. Bricks and bright fabric. Red, my favorite color that isn’t black. Back “in the day” (whatever that means), my favorite “semi-dressup” was a black outfit with a red blazer.
I haven’t worn a blazer in years, but I think I still have a dozen of them in my closet. No wonder I can’t find my tee shirts!
This first picture is odd in the sense of funny. Intentionally. It comes with a back story. Garry and I were at a tribute for a long-term colleague of Garry’s who passed away some months back.
It was not only a tribute to a Joe Day, a fine human being and a great reporter, but a reunion of many people with whom Garry had worked over the past four decades.
This picture includes Garry Armstrong, legendary news guy, and Jorge Quiroga, another legendary news guy who is still working. When both of them were working, they were constantly mistaken for one another. I can see a resemblance, but they really aren’t “separated at birth” twins. Or am I missing something?
Yesterday, we gathered to celebrate the life of a friend who passed away earlier this year.
Our friend was Joe Day. Joe’s name should be familiar to those who’ve lived in New England during the past forty years. He was a highly respected TV news reporter for four of Boston’s major television stations (WHDH, WCVB, WGBH, WBZ). Joe specialized in politics. He covered presidents, governors, senators, congressmen and local elective officials.
But many of us fondly remember Joe’s “people” stories, vignettes about everyday folks living their lives in relative obscurity. That was Joe at his best. On and off camera, he was a modest, plain-spoken guy despite the richly deserved awards he received which recognized his career.
Yesterday, there were smiles and tears as people shared stories about Joe. We were mostly the generation of “old fart” journalists, recalling the days when news wasn’t just a business. Joe Day was at the core of all those memories.
It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces. We have drifted apart geographically and socially in many cases. Sometimes we paused before hugging because we no longer look the way we did in our “head shot” days.
Joe Day’s family marveled at the size of the gathering. It’s one thing to send an email or video tribute. But to turn out in impressive numbers on a hot August Saturday, that says so much about how Joe touched the lives of people around him.
Fame is fleeting and transitory in TV news. Friendship is another thing. Usually it fades quickly after changing jobs, states and retirement. You always mean to stay in touch but it rarely happens.
That’s what makes the celebratory gathering so special. All those folks bonding in their memories of yesterday when our world was young and Joe Day touched our lives, making each one of us a little better just for knowing him.
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. (2.2.3-10)
Both windows face east, and the light is that of the rising sun.
Once upon a time long ago there lived a king who built an amazing castle high atop a mountain in the desert.
From his aerie, the king could see almost his entire kingdom except for his capital city, which lay far to the south. Still, from the great height of his castle’s ramparts, he could see for many miles and it was magnificent.
But there were hardly any people. Eagles flew by. Sometimes one of these great birds would stop and perch on the castle walls, but then they moved on to wherever eagles go. Sometimes a passing mountain goat, looking for greener grasses came close, then wandered off. No one came to visit. It was too far and too hard to reach.
Eventually, the king felt so isolated he barely remembered what it meant to be a king or why he had moved to a place so beautiful but empty. Realizing he was lonely and would remain so if he stayed where he was — after a few more years passed because he was a stubborn ruler and the real estate market for second-hand castles on desert mountaintops was soft — the king abandoned his mountain retreat.
He left the walls and the turrets for the wind, rain and wild creatures to do with as they would.The monarch took his most treasured belongings and returned to his city to be with people, his people. And there, with life bustling around him, he was no longer alone or lonely. Sometimes he missed his castle in the desert and dreamed of it.
Away in the desert, atop its mountain perch, the castle began to crumble in on itself, yet even to this day, if you travel through the desert, you can see it. There it is, high on its perch in the Painted Desert, overlooking a tiny, silvery river. You can visit, if you like.
We are in the midst of dealing with our respective families. It’s difficult and challenging. We love them all but brokering some of these situations often leaves us in “loud conversation” with each other. Which is not fair. It isn’t even our drama.
We don’t have Mom and Dad, Gramps or Gramma, Uncles or Aunts to consult for help. We’re it!
So, I look at the old photos of my family from long, long ago. I wonder how they dealt with these things. They look so young and carefree. I know things were not always easy for them as my brothers and I grew up. I still recall “loud conversations” between Mom and Dad.
1990 in Ireland
I wondered why they didn’t resolve things easily as they did on those family TV shows where father knew best and Ozzie was always at home to deal with family stuff. I even once asked my Mom why our house wasn’t like Donna Reed’s home. You can guess how she replied to me.
I look at my granddaughter Kaity ready to go off to college. I’m proud of her and wish all the good things in life for her. Like so many grandfathers before me, my memories of a younger Kaity fill my mind. Why didn’t the clock stop?
Why didn’t the clock stop for Marilyn and me when we were younger and healthier with some of those beloved family members still around to talk to us.
Silly and naïve questions, I know. We’re the “old people” now. Family begins with us. It’s disconcerting.