Friday, September 28, 2007

Ground Rush

We recently had a family meeting around the dining room table. 6 of our 8 were dutifully there along with Eva and Dyda- (aged 92.). Without going into all of the personal details, the purpose was to let those still dawdling in their pursuit of a college degree and a career know that they had 2.5 years to get it done. Mom would be retiring and the Bank of DAD ATM machine would close for good.
There were other issues discussed, I felt it was time that the they enroll in the ecole realite!! And the reality is simply this: the good times that the American economy has enjoyed are soon to be over. We already see it happening and with such suddenness. ---Housing values down, real estate sales down 21.5%, the dollar equal in value to the Canadian Loonie!! One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out: the days of Americans borrowing to purchase what they don't need with money they don't have es no mas.
The times that my kids are to inherit are going to be difficult for establishing careers. My career recommendations? Health Care (all of us old people are going to need it) and Law Enforcement (I predict domestic criminals and foreign terrorists will increase exponentially.)
OK. Call me a "Gloomy Gus." I am not alone. I was reading one financial newsletter writer who recommended that we "buy gold, bury it in the backyard and buy ammo." Talk about gloomy!!
I read a great analogy that encapsulates all of this. Its called the "ground rush." Our life is like skydiving. We jump from the plane, and even though we are falling, we see the scenery, the horizon, our fellow divers and think all is just wonderful. But soon, you see the ground rush. It comes fast. You pull the chute. Hopefully, it opens and is big enough to give you a safe landing.
Oh, my friends, the applications of this analogy are almost limitless: preparing for old age? retirement funds? Your spiritual life? Living your life with no thought of the parachute: is it large enough? I even have one? Oh well..No matter. Ben Bernanke will just lower interest rates another 1/4 % and all will be well. But when we least expect it, the ground rush!!!!
My Dad closed the meeting with just a few powerful words: No matter how bad it gets, you always have your family. We always did things together and we can always depend on each other. And that, dear friends pretty well sums it up. It is like the final scene in one of my favorite movies, Moonstruck. After all the tumult in the life of each member at the kitchen table, it all ends with a toast in Italian..glasses raised..."to the Family!! a la Famiglia." The camera fades and pans to a close-up of an aging photograph of the two immigrant parents who started it all. The End...and I am in tears. "To the Family."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Mourning After...

It must be a "guy thing," but I pride myself on my ability to control my emotions when it comes to death. Maybe it is a psychological defect, but I hold back the tears. However, the mourning after Pavarotti's death was too much for me to control. There I was sitting at the computer watching a YouTube video of his last performance of "Nessun Dorma." The dam broke. Sobs!. Warm moisture running copiously down my cheeks..(tears, maybe?) It was a shameless exhibition. My daughter, Mary, came over and gave me a big hug. "It's alright, Dad." My ever sympathetic wife told someone, " I think your Dad is going through something." How could she understand? Maybe because I am a bass who always wanted to be a tenor. And maybe because the absolute best tenor in any generation was no longer able to thrill us with the majesty of his God-given talent. Believe me, no one can sing "Nessun Dorma" like Luciano.
Well its several days later. I managed to find the lyrics to "Nessun Dorma" and have been singing it in his memory. (What a desecration of such beautiful music). "Hey, Luciano. Save a place for me in that heavenly choir. Unfortunately, you will find me in the bass section." R.I.P