Unconventional Things I am Thankful For

I have a pretty great life. Having grown up reasonably poor I think I have really learned to appreciate the small things. Things like a quiet moment with my coffee before I head out the door to work. We were taught about hard work and No matter what our financial situation was at the time, there really were not any NEEDS that were unmet. My family always found something to laugh about and we still do today.

There are so many things to be Thankful for. Keeping with my recent trend of LISTS Here is my list of some of the unorthodox things I have been thankful for.Toilet paper: Just imagine what it was like without it! What would it be like without it now? It’s a scary thought.

– Toothpaste: By the time the Founding Fathers of the U.S. were in their 70s and 80s (including Jefferson, Washington, Adams and Franklin), they were near or totally toothless. Enough said.
– Deodorant and perfume: Yeah, you know what I mean! You’ve smelled the unpleasantness of those without such niceties and have probably been smelled by others when you went without! Life is simply better when we see our friends coming long before smelling them
– Soap: I have stood and sat by people for whom soap effectively did not exist. Deodorant only goes so far at masking other people’s stench, after all. I’m deeply grateful for it!- I am thankful my kids couldn’t decode my Dadisms, like the fact that “Let’s play the quiet game” really means: “Stop talking, my ears are bleeding.” Or “One day you’ll thank me” really means: “Hopefully, we’ll all forget this ever happened.”
– I am thankful my daughter has not forgotten about when I had her believing that she had an older sister named Katherine who we sent to a convent.
– I am thankful that I haven’t had to clean up pee (kid’s, pet’s, or otherwise) once this week.
– I am thankful for stars like George Clooney, Rob Lowe and Johnny Depp, who make being over 50 seem not so old.
– I am thankful sweetener packets can be used as makeshift floss — in a pinch.
– I am thankful for Netflix, which allows me to watch shows that started six seasons ago and end in a month. (I will be more thankful when there is a Netflix Anonymous.)
– Although it makes me sad because my kids are grown up – I am thankful I haven’t tripped over or stepped on: a Lego, Barbie, ball, skateboard, drum stick, puzzle piece, My Little Pony, or something from a Happy Meal in the last few years.
– I am thankful my kids never realized that I had no clue what I was doing.
– I am thankful for the $20 bill I found in my jeans yesterday — that’s always exciting.

I am forever thankful to my amazing neighbors.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thankful for traditional stuff as well, but it’s super cathartic to mention the stuff that might get you kicked out of Thanksgiving dinner.

And MOSTLY I AM THANKFUL FOR YOU: I’m grateful for people like you who visit my blog and read what I have to say, who share what I say with others and share what they think about what I say with me. I am grateful for you.

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Sometimes You Just Need To Stop For an Icecream

The end of the summer often brings a melanchollie feeling to me. As the leaves turn bright and then fallI ponder the things I wish I had done or wished I had done more of over the summer.

I understand it is just a cycle because I feel the same way as winter leads to spring and the Red Sox head to spring training. I think of the days I SHOULD have gone skiing. Of times I wished I SHOULD have just snuggled in front of the fire with my wife.

Perhaps It is time to stop living with such regret.

I am fortunate to live in an area with a few wonderful local ice cream shops. When they open in the spring there are lines of families stopping to get a treat on their way home from a sporting event. Over the summer you can spot people on their way to or from the beach. In the evening you can see folks on their way home from work. Kids on their bikes and teens and young adults enjoying an ice cream while leaning against their cars making plans for the night.

I drive by at least two of these frozen gems each day. I always have a reason NOT to stop.

  • – Too many people in line
  • I don’t need the excess calories or fat
  • I may stop by later (but never do)
  • I need to rush home (but usually there is no real reason to rush home)

Now the season is over. Dead leaves blow through their parking lots. The sign in the window “See You In The Spring” begins to fade.

There are only so many summer days and only so many summers left. Stop making excuses. Stop and enjoy and ice cream every once and a while.

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So Glad We Didn’t Have Cell Phone Cameras

I spent more than half the summers of my life going to a sleep away gymnastics camp. Starting off as a camper in the early 1980’s, then a councilor, a coach, assistant director and finishing as the director. I worked under Olympian and gymnastics author DON TONRY. I worked with national team coaches from throughout the world. As a coach I worked with beginners through national team members. As a director I brought together the best coaches from through out the world.

In my more than 30 years at this camp I made life long friends. I fell in love more than once. No matter what happened I knew I could trust these people and they knew I had their back. We did our best with every kid who came to camp. Children who were coming in from their first gymnastics experience to gymnasts who have already competed internationally. Everyone was special.

We had a professional counseling staff to make sure the gymnasts time out of the gym was just as great in the gym. This allowed me to make sure my coaching staff also had a good time. For many of these coaches, this was one of their vacation weeks from their gym. I wanted to treat them well and feel appreciated.

Last night I dreamt about a TOGA party I held for the coaches. I woke up missing all these people. I started thinking of some of the other themed parties I held. An 80’s themed party complete with a DJ. A few times we had a live band play. Even a few bachelor, bachelorette parties! When we wanted a change of scenery we would take a late night hike up to a cliff where the stars were amazing. What I loved about the staff is that they treated others with respect. Things at times got crazy but never out of control.

I thank all of you who were there. Love and Miss each one of you.

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Don’t Expect Teachers to be Substitute Police Officers

From LA TIMES June 2, 2022

Teachers are trained to elevate young minds, not to gun down people wielding assault weapons who burst into their classroom intent on mass murder.

It’s the job of police, who are trained and protected with body armor to confront and stop dangerous people. But it was hard to tell that from the officers in Uvalde, Texas, who dithered outside a classroom at Robb Elementary School last week for more than an hour rather than storm the door and stop the slaughter going on inside. Could they have saved any of the 19 children and two teachers killed if they had acted earlier, as parents urged the officers to do? Instead, police stopped the parents from running into the school to try to save the kids themselves.

It wasn’t the first time that law enforcement personnel trained to save lives in violent situations shirked their duty during a school shooting. In the 2018 killing of 14 students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, eight officers waited outside for at least 10 minutes while the shooting went on inside. One officer later resigned under harsh criticism and another was placed on administrative leave. The school’s armed resource officer — a former deputy sheriff — remained outside for 40 minutes, never entering while the shooting was in progress. He faces trial in September on charges of child neglect resulting in great bodily harm.

So why on earth do some Texas Republicans think that the answer is to arm teachers and administrators?

“We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly,” Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton told Fox News hours after the shooting.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters last week: “If individual school districts want to train the teachers to use firearms in that situation, then I think that’s something they can consider, ” according to the New Republic.

If the people equipped and trained to protect and serve in dangerous situations can’t be counted on to do either, it’s absurd to think that teachers might do better. They are equipped and trained to explain math, reading and history to students, not stop the deadly gunfire that is plaguing our public schools. In Uvalde, teachers slammed doors shut to protect their students. The two who were shot and killed were reportedly trying to act as body shields for the children in their classrooms.

Fans of arming teachers are ignoring the teachers themselves, who for the most part don’t want anything to do with guns in the classroom. Several states, including Texas, already allow individual school districts to permit teachers to carry guns. Only 300 teachers in Texas have done so — less than one in a thousand. Both the Texas State Teachers Assn. and the National Education Assn., the nation’s largest teachers union, are opposed to arming teachers. A 2019 survey by Cal State Northridge of 2,926 teachers found that 95% said no to the idea. Most teachers believed the situation would make schools more dangerous.

They might well be right. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has tracked nearly 100 cases of guns dangerously mishandled on campuses, including a teacher’s loaded gun falling from his waistband while he performed a cartwheel; a student grabbing an officer’s gun; and a teacher accidentally firing a gun in class during a safety demonstration.

Do these delusional members of the GOP imagine that colleges of education will require handgun training, with weekly target-practice sessions for teachers out on the school playing field? Do they also imagine paying teachers at the same level as police officers, whose higher salaries are justified by the hazards that come with the job?

Let’s not forget that police have bulletproof vests to protect them when encountering people with guns. Teachers, unless they are remarkably quick, agile and terrific shots, would be vulnerable to the first bullet fired as well as the daily stress of trying to ensure that students don’t have access to the classroom gun.

We don’t expect police officers to jump in as substitute teachers on a moment’s notice and explain algebraic theory. It is ludicrous to demand teachers become substitute police officers in the rare event of an active shooter in their school. The job of teachers is to prepare young people for adult life. Let them do that without adding the responsibility of being an “armed officer against mass murderers” to the job description.

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Ideas For A Resort

I am currently enjoying a vacation at a resort in the Dominican Republic. The food is generally good, the drinks are plentiful, and the staff are very attentive. There are activities to do every day for nearly all vacationers. From pool (or beach) volleyball to bike rides or beach yoga. There are art classes, cooking classes , dance classes, or even Spanish lessons. Most of the time I just sit and read.
BUT- I started thinking about things that could take this resort to the next level. At least for me. Think of all the things as adults that we wish we could still do. Why do the kids get to have all the fun? There are so many things which they could offer that would bring out the kid in us. Sure- someone may break a hip, but aren’t the best stories derived from at least questionable decisions.

Here is my list of activities which should be offered at adults only resorts.
It seemed like a good idea at the time (Hey guys- watch this!)

  • Slip n Slide. Nothing too crazy, maybe a slight hill involved. At the end- you go through a “sprinkler” that reapplies sun screen.
  • Capture the flag. Only the flag is a 20 year old bottle of scotch to be shared by the victors.
    Super Soaker water gun fights.
  • Zip lines from your balcony to either the bar or pool.
  • A water slide to the swim up bar. (Top of the water slide is a bathroom to encourage people to go there and NOT pee in the pool)
  • Ice cream social. Simvistatin and insulin handed out at end
  • At Secrets Cap Cana, the lobby and bar are on the 2nd floor. There should be slide that goes down to the ground floor.
  • An epic game of tag!

What activities would you like to see at a resort?

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Interview: Tony Retrosi, Swiss national team coach

Tony Retrosi is a gymnastics coach from the USA who owns two gymnastics clubs and runs the consulting company Gym Momentum. Having spent some time in Italy as a consultant with the Italian gymnastics federation, Tony was offered an interim role coaching the Swiss national WAG team following the dismissal of the previous coaching staff in September 2021. He stepped in to coach Switzerland’s best gymnasts last October, alongside 1992 Olympian Wendy Bruce Martin, who has since accepted a permanent role as the team’s head coach, and Switzerland’s most decorated gymnast, Giulia Steingruber, who saw out the end of her contract with the federation by helping to coach her former teammates following her retirement from the sport. Tony’s commitments back home in the USA mean that he can’t stay permanently at the National Sports Centre in Magglingen, where the national team trains, but he plans to continue working with the team as a consultant. Tony kindly agreed to share his thoughts and impressions of the team and talk about their goals.

“Gymnastics federations in many countries have had a very difficult quad and Switzerland did not escape problems.  When Wendy and I were hired, there was already new leadership within the STV (Swiss gymnastics federation). I have not met everyone but the confidence I have in the leadership cannot be understated.  Beatrice Wertli (Director) and David Huser (Head of Elite Sport) provide great leadership. It really is a pleasure to be part of their team. 

Every day I look forward to going into the gym.  The girls work so hard. They believe in themselves and believe they can be great. There will always be setbacks and bad days. But the girls know that tomorrow is another day. There is a mutual trust and respect. I am going to be a total mess when it is time for me to go back to the USA. I have been coaching for more than 30 years. These are some of the best young women I have ever had the pleasure to work with. I came to Switzerland to try to help out a team that needed a coach.  I hoped to make a difference. Instead, I made a family.”

Could you describe what the coaching team in Magglingen looks like right now? Are there any other coaches working alongside you and Wendy? Are there any plans for Giulia (Steingruber) to return as an assistant coach?

“Currently, the coaching team is mainly Wendy and I. We have Dessi (Buergi), our choreographer, a few days a week.  I know STV is interviewing coaches to replace me.  For me, this was always an interim position. Although I absolutely love it here, I own 2 gymnastics clubs in the USA as well as some other business ventures which make it impossible for me to stay.  I plan on remaining on as a consultant and helping out with whatever is necessary in the future. Coaches education has always been a passion of mine. I am hoping to become more involved in that aspect as well. Once a second coach is hired to assist Wendy, they will likely look for a third coach. Giulia was such a fantastic part of our team. She made the transition possible. Currently she is recovering from foot surgery and has decided to take some time away from the sport.  That being said, she stops in the gym every once in a while. She is a valuable resource that I hope will at some time continue on as a coach.”

What does a typical day at the gym look like? How many hours do the gymnasts train? Are there dedicated days for working on floor choreo, upgrades, etc.?

“Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, we have two trainings per day. Morning is typically warm up, event conditioning, beam, vault, dance or floor routines.  Afternoon training is a longer warm up and line drills.  Bars, floor, finish beam and then strength. Having the sports scientists from Magglingen, like Christoph Schaerer, is a great benefit. They set up our strength program. Wednesdays and Saturdays are just one training. We tend to focus on basics and recovery. Every day has a little different rhythm to it.  Different assignments and expectations. .We are just beginning to focus on routines. We have DTB (Pokal) Cup in March that begins the season. Every day we try to leave some time for goals and upgrades.”

The gymnasts on the Swiss national team come from all over Switzerland and speak various languages. Have you and Wendy had any issues with language or cultural barriers? How are the gymnasts adapting to being coached in English?

“We are lucky that all the girls are very good in English. I do speak some Italian but no German or French.  Wendy and I have both learned a good deal of German and Swiss-German. There really have been no cultural issues of any real consequence.  There are numerous things that get lost in translation or mistranslated.  We bought a birthday card for one of the girls, deliberately trying to be cute and juvenile, only to find out that the card said, ‘congratulations on your baby’. Oops.”

What have been the biggest challenges and the biggest surprises for you over the past few months?

“Coming from the USA, we were used to working longer hours at a higher intensity level. The physical preparation of athletes in the USA is just instilled from a very young age.  Here we have learned to work smarter, not just harder. We are also used to having our gyms very crowded. Here we have more space to train and fewer athletes in a group. It is not uncommon for there to be 10 gymnasts in a group in the USA.  Here we have 13 women on our team. The gym now feels busy if there are 30 athletes in the gym (men and women). At my gyms in the USA, there is going to be 30 team gymnasts and another 30- 40 kids in classes all at the same time. What I miss is the mat shapes like wedges, barrels etc that I have gotten used to for drill work. Again, coming from the USA, Switzerland wasn’t really on our radar. I am pleased with the talent level and work ethic.  These girls are hungry. They want to be successful. They have risen to every challenge we have presented.”


What are the main goals for the national team in 2022? And for the rest of the quad? 

“Right now we are staying focused on a good showing at European Championships. There is a lot that goes into that. The new code presents challenges, some gymnasts coming off of injury. We were not able to spend enough time getting back to basics and building strength. We came in (to work with the national team) 10 days before World Championships in 2021. We really are not looking past Europeans at this point. From there, World Championships.”

Some
 of the gymnasts are recovering from injuries, for example Leonie and her knee and Anastassia and her ankles. Can you tell us how they’re doing?

“In gymnastics, some days, it feels like everyone is coming off an injury. Even everyday ‘aches and pains’ can limit a gymnast’s training. Leonie (Meier) is swinging bars and beginning to do some skills on floor and beam. This was a major surgery so she is still a few months out. Ana (Pascu) is making great progress. She does one hard leg event per day. Right now she is tumbling on the rod floor and vaulting into soft landing. Anina (Wildi), who was injured at World Championships, is back at about 90%. It is important when coming back from injury to go slow. If you rush back, you are just going to get injured again. As a coach, it breaks my heart when a gymnast gets injured. We try to get the gymnasts as strong as possible. Strength is injury prevention.”

We’ve recently seen lots of videos of the gymnasts training upgrades and some cool skills, such as Livia’s double front and Chiara’s DTY. Do you think the gymnasts have gained confidence over the past six months and if so, what has contributed to that?

“The gymnasts know that the gym is their safe space. They know that the only way to improve is to get outside their comfort zone.  When we started we focused on strength, basics and drills. Now they have the strength and understanding to do the skills. Confidence was pretty low when we arrived. Now they have swagger. They believe in themselves.  They believe in the process. They believe in the team. Wendy and I are pretty positive people. We don’t push the gymnasts. We lead them. We believe in them.”

We’re seeing more and more European elites going to the US to compete in NCAA. Do you know if there’s any interest in this among the current Swiss gymnasts? 

“Our main focus is preparing a team for Europeans and Worlds.  To share information throughout the RLZs (Swiss regional performance centres) on technique, on philosophy and what we need in gymnasts coming up here. For some gymnasts, they know they are not in consideration for Europeans and Worlds and that college in USA would be a great experience. If that is their goal, we are happy to work with them. But not to the detriment of the overall Swiss program.”

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I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Tony Retrosi

I love classic Christmas songs. I always have. Sometimes what is old and comfortable is new again and finds new meaning.

I am writing this in the beginning of December and I am a VERY long way from home.

I am living and working in the beautiful country of Switzerland. Christmas markets are popping up in every town. Snow is falling. A truly amazing place for Christmas. But I am without my family.

The other day I was doing some planning and I put on my Christmas playlist for some background music. Bing Crosby’s version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” came on. It was as if it was the first time I had ever heard it. The emotional response was deep.

According to Wikipedia it was originally written to honor soldiers overseas who longed to be home at Christmas time. The song is sung from the point of view…

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Leaders Can’t Support the American Republic While Also Supporting Efforts to Destroy It.

MARILOU JOHANEK

JULY 30, 2021 12:20 AM

       

 WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

We used to assume that Democrats and Republicans, all differences aside, at least shared allegiance to the small-d-democratic values that have sustained our republic for over two centuries. We used to assume that the two major political parties in the United States were both committed to a common democracy, including free and fair and accessible elections, law and order and the peaceful transfer of power. We used to assume that both sides were also for protecting the greater good through science-based public health and welfare measures, especially in a global pandemic.

We were wrong. If anything, the last year and a half has shown us that the old paradigm of the Republican and Democratic parties as essential democratic institutions no longer exists. I wish it did. But only one party in the United States, shortcomings notwithstanding, remains dedicated to preserving the democratic ideals enshrined in our founding. The same cannot be said of the Grand Old Party. 

 WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Those who call themselves Republicans today are almost uniformly committed — not to the pursuit of a more perfect union through vigorous policy debate and compromise — but to one man and the cult of personality he inspired. They have made their pact with a malevolent narcissist who nearly destroyed our union by inciting violent assault on the seat of our government to overturn an election he lost. Remember that when you see them posing with the seditionist in campaign photos. 

By actively courting his support, Republican politicians show they’re willing to brush off his outrageous betrayal of the Constitution because they need his MAGA voters to win election. But here’s the thing. You can’t pledge allegiance to a demagogue who refused to accept the will of the American people — and who still doesn’t — and profess an enduring commitment to democracy. You can’t pledge total fealty to an anti-democratic insurrectionist still fundraising off a lie about a stolen election and claim adherence to fundamental democratic principles that ratify the peoples’ will in legitimately held elections. Doesn’t work that way.

Regrettably, Republicans have chosen which side they’re on and it’s not the small-d-democratic one shared by most Americans who were rightly appalled and repulsed by what happened on Jan. 6.  We are the legions of small-d-democrats — regardless of how we voted — who saw the ruthless storming of the Capitol as a militant rejection of government of, by and for the people. It was a show of rank hostility in the name of a would-be dictator to cancel millions of valid American votes in the presidential election.

The anti-democratic politicians who align themselves — and their careers — with the instigator of that assault on our democracy, would rather you forget or doubt what you saw with your own eyes. They want to pretend that what happened at the Capitol wasn’t as bad as it was with domestic terrorists scaling walls, bashing in windows, battering police, desecrating the building, searching the halls to take lawmakers captive or stringing up a noose to hang the vice-president. 

They have recast the rampaging mob as “patriotic” and the badly outnumbered law enforcement under siege as anything but. Those who risked their lives to save the republic against savage attack have been dismissed by Republicans or accused of “lying in wait” to shoot peaceful protestors and insulted by far-right media. The fascistic leader who ignited the insurrection had the unmitigated gall to condemn police who stopped rioters from breaking through the door of the Speaker’s Lobby — as lawmakers dove for cover. There was “no reason” a MAGA loyalist who breached the doors should have been shot, the inciter declared.

Republicans are aggressively trying to deep-six the truth about one of the darkest days in our history, opposing all investigations — even bipartisan panels negotiated by both parties — to expose what led to armed insurrectionists charging the Capitol to overturn the presidential election. But the truth will out even if Republicans persist in portraying the anti-democratic uprising against America as righteous treachery for Trump or float new spin that the attack on the Capitol was justified.

This is who and what the Grand Old Party has become. Members willingly abandon their integrity to appease a serial liar on a power trip. Jan. 6 was his practice run around electoral democracy. He’s not done dreaming of an American Reichstag moment. That’s how gravely the nation’s highest-ranking military officer interpreted the threat he posed last time. Six months ago, Republicans had a choice: Expunge a clear and present danger to our rattled republic for the sake of the nation or bow to a brooding nihilist in denial. After a minute, the Republican pilgrimages began in earnest to Mar-a-Largo where the ambitious now routinely put career over country to grovel for favor from a fascist.

Republican senatorial candidates in Ohio are falling all over themselves to win the coveted endorsement of a leader who incited his followers to thwart an election and go after his vice-president for refusing to sanction his scheme to keep power. Really? Statehouse Republicans answered the insurrection by using Trump’s lies about rigged elections as an excuse to suppress voting with new legislative hurdles disguised as election “integrity.” This is not a pro-democracy political party, folks. 

It’s safe to assume that those who proudly stand with an insurrectionist or enable him to plot anew with their silence do not share any allegiance to our small-d-democratic values. 

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To Maddie and Chase, Happy Earth Day

To my two children, Maddie and Chase, both stewards of the earth. My daughter the wildlife biologist an environmental scientist my son the outdoor educator. I wish that I had left the earth in a better place for you I wish that I had done more when I was your age.

I certainly appreciate the woods, the land, the water, and the sky. I wish they were cleaner for you. I wishI could’ve done more. I feel sorry for my generation because so many didn’t appreciate the environment until it was too late. I know we didn’t do enough. My hope is with your generation will.

Happy Earth Day

Dad

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Vernon Boardman. RIP My Friend.

It was early fall a few years ago when I met Vernon.  I was sitting alone at Breaking New Grounds having a coffee and he was sitting at the next table sipping his iced latte writing out cards. Never did I think that over that coffee that day I was going to make a great friend. 

Over countless coffees we carried on conversations about travel, politics, music and the people around town.  To me it seemed like everyone knew and loved Vern. Sitting with him at a coffee shop was like sitting at the cool kids table at lunch. 

I wish we had time for one more coffee. 

Vern passed away Wednesday March 3rd after a period of declining health. He had been in the hospital for a while and although  I was unable to see him in person, like many of you,  we often spoke on the phone. In our last conversation we joked about him coming to the gym with me. His final words to me were, “if something happens to me, will you remember me?”  I told him “Of course”. I thought he was just being dramatic. He knew his time was limited.  I would give anything to see his smiling face enjoying his iced latte at Cup of Joes.  All I want is just one more coffee with him. 

Vernon is a Portsmouth legend. When he walked down the street he said Hello to everyone.  He knew everyone in every store or gallery.  The last few years were difficult for him because of his neuropathy. Holding a pen was difficult, but he never missed a holiday to send out hand written cards. You knew you were somebody if you received one of the cards his sister Diana made! I have kept every card he sent me because I knew the time and energy it took him write them out.  Vern would tell you that it took time for him to walk from the bus stop to Cup of Joes because he walked with a walker. Yes, he walked slow.  BUT- he also stopped to talk to everyone. 

Vern had a love for music and travel. We spent hours talking about it. From Jazz to Disco to Rock and Classical. If you were talking about a musician, Vern probably had the CD, maybe 2 of them! He was so happy to share his music. I once mentioned that my son was a Jazz piano player. The next day when we met for coffee he handed me an Oscar Peterson CD and told me which track was his favorite. After a few days I went to return it and he said I could keep it. He had mistakenly bought two of the same a few years apart. I asked him how many duplicate CDs he had. He laughed and said, “Too Many.”  

Because of Covid restrictions his family doesn’t know when they will be able to have a grave side service for him. I will be organizing a “Coffee Party” some day later this spring where we can all get together have a coffee and share our best VERN STORIES. 

His sister has asked me to extend their sincere THANKS to everyone in Portsmouth for their Love and Friendship of Vernon.  I will share information as I get it. If you would like Vern’s Father’s mailing address to send a card please e-mail me. tretrosi@mac.com

I ask each of you today to make sure you have time to get a coffee with a friend. You never know when it’s going to be the last. 

I miss you Vernon. Rest in Peace. 

Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,

spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts

for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck

of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,

hull and spar as she was when she left my side.

And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”

there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices

ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

Vern and my cousin Alessia from Italy
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