It‘s been a couple of very, very trying days, but I feel pretty good today. Well, sort of. To all that sent well-wishes, condolences and such…thanks. I do appreciate it and it did help a tad.
If you never met my brother Ray, I think this e-mail describes him perfectly:
Provided you were not an Eagles fan, or messin’ on ‘im, he was exactly as you said. Always the smile and always nice. Happy-go-lucky.
This one actually brought a smile to my face:
Yes, sir. Right to the very end, I was busting his ball bearings. He couldn’t think of a comeback at that exact moment, but he’d have gotten around to it.
We had a big get-together at his place yesterday. His lifetime compatriot, Andy, and I brought all sorts of foodstuffs. Everyone involved brought their favorite pictures, so we had this morphing collage all day long. Neat, actually. A few cases of beer showed up, as did cakes, sodas, etc., etc.
Truth be told, once his longtime friends from O’Karma Terrace got to reminiscing, it was a nonstop laugh fest. There were white guys, black guys, white guys who think they’re black guys, and one who did a lengthy stint in prison. And when they get sharing stories of old, the language alone would kill most people.
Whatever happened to such-and-such?
Ah, he moved to Pittsburgh, ‘cause they were gonna put a couple of caps in his fothermucking ass.
How ‘bout such-and-who?
Ah, man, he still lives with his retart mom, drinks eff’n 40ies eff’n 24/7 and eff’n looks like he’s a hundred.
Nothing new there.
‘Member when Ron knocked out that eff’n chick at Denny’s for no reason?
Laughs all around.
Yeah, man, Ron eff’n nailed everybody just to make eff’n sure.
Another round of laughs.
How ‘bout when Ray beat up those 11 eff’n pussies from Valley West? Man, I thought they were gonna die from eff’n shock, man!
True story. 11-on-3. He got something like 30 or 40 sutures in his scalp, but, not one of those 11 Wyoming Valley West football players were even remotely conscious when he stumbled away. And, yes, I lied for him so mom wouldn’t know what really happened that night. You know, a bike accident, or some such thing.
(Note to the clueless white boys from the west side: Stay out of the public housing complexes in Wilkes-Barre. Stick to soccer, or the Play Station.)
And so it went. The thing is, every kid who spent any serious amount of time growing up in public housing can remember the substance abuse, the fights, the beatings, the stabbings, the shootings and the times when the cops got the drop on people and busted some heads. It’s not specific to any ethnicity, nor any color, just to the poor kids. The poor kids see the worst of the worst. And if you can survive that environment, what’s left to do but down a few beers and laugh about it? As for the violence, it’s only amusing after it’s conclusion, and if you prevailed.
What all of this reminded me of was that Ray had friends of every possible color, ethnicity and stripe. And while he may have departed without a weighty inheritance waiting to be handed down, he was rich in other intangible ways. If you really want to know what goes on in the world, sign up for poverty. Coughlin teaches you how to spell. Hoban teaches you how to think you’re superior to the kids at Coughlin. Seminary teaches you how to be annoyingly pompous to all. But, if nothing else, poverty teaches you how to survive.
This e-mail made me feel the best about how things worked out this past week:
Yep, despite what happened, I’m pleased that he dropped on by here with only hours left to live. And for what reason? What else…to discuss the players the Giants chose in the recent NFL draft, that’s what. The dude bleeds blue, and bled blue right to the very end.
His widow told me she offered a fitting picture for his obituary, and when I spotted it in the Times Leader earlier this morning, I was pleased. There he was with that unmistakable “N Y” on his cap. Goll dang right!!! BIG BLUE!!!
When I was readying to depart the event yesterday, I had a private chat with his shaken widow, the details of which I will not relay. Well, except to say, that my main concern from here on out will be his 10-year-old son. In all honesty, I don’t think he’s knows which end is up right now. We’ll have to help him sort all of this out, a slow, agonizing process for sure.
But I did say this to his Mom. I had a paltry 3 and a half years of fathering. Ray had about 3 and a half hours with his father. But at least Mason had 10 good years with his Dad. And unlike those creeps that willingly split before him, Ray did not want to leave his son. In fact, throughout all of the recent health issues he’s faced during the past two years, the one thing he said over and over was that he wanted to see Mason grow up. And while we won’t, I will. I’ll see to it. And he will want for nothing. It’s the least I could do.
So, we’ve got the viewing tomorrow night, then cremation, with his ashes staying at home. There is a plan afoot to scatter his ashes at Giants Stadium, but we’ll just have to wait and see about all of that. Somebody mentioned something about running out onto the field during a Giants game, but I voted against it.
Long story short, we’re making our way through all of this. I appreciate all of the kind words, but as always…I’ll be alright.
No, I didn‘t stop paying attention to the goings-on in this city. And this one had me, literally, slapping my knee.
From the Citizens’ Voice:
Last year, Grier filed a lawsuit against the mayor, council and two city attorneys, alleging corruption over the emergency demolition of the Perry Block buildings on West Market Street. He points out that the city voted to forgive $17,494 in back taxes for the Perry Block property owned by Greg and Stephanie Lull, friends of Todd Vonderheid, Luzerne County Commissioner and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry’s incoming president.
Grier claims the city was never reimbursed for the $303,000 it cost to demolish the structures, a deal he calls a “heist.” He said that money could have been used to reopen the Heights firehouse, fix Coal Street Park or clean streets.
When asked about the $303,000, Leighton responded, “Who said they didn’t repay it? He’s wasting his time. I’ll leave it at that. His facts are false.”
Grier, however, says, “My facts are dead on the money.”
Au contraire, Mr. Grier. Your “facts” are just about as skewed as your pessimistic outlook on life is.
Your ‘to-be-opened-only-in-the-event-of-an-election’ crusading is thoroughly amusing at times, if not totally embarrassing. But, it sure would do countless wonders for your beyond threadbare credibility if you knew what the fu>k you were babbling on and on about.
You see, amateur, a lack of documentation on your part is not proof of anything. Facts? You wouldn’t know a fact if it jumped up and gnawed off a couple of those garish-looking tattoos you sport.
You couldn’t remain on life’s periphery. No, you just had to go and get all mainstream on us. And know you’ve gone and made a complete laughing stock of yourself. And right before the big election, no less.
You talk to us about facts, when the fact of the matter is you are pretending to be someone you are not. You want to be elected? You want our trust? Gone are the scurrilous attacks posted on the internet. Gone are the videos interspersed with the scurrilous commentary. Gone is the hair. Gone are the vitriolic attacks. Gone are your chances of being anything other than what you’ve always been: a name-caller, a bomb-thrower and a malcontent.
Yeah, we’ll get to the facts after the real Timmy finally stands up and is held accountable.