Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Santa...Just A Couple More Things Before I Forget!

Dear Santa,
I hope you don't think me rude because I am writing to you again so soon, but I thought of a couple of other things that I forgot to ask you for this past Christmas.  I would wait until next December to send you these revisions, but the odds are slim to nil that I would remember any of them 12 months from now. To be honest, there is a good chance I won't even remember them by tomorrow, so before I forget, here they are:
1. Could you please give me something to help me stop forgetting things?
2. I would also appreciate if you would provide Dave with the same gift, as well. In fact, feel free to give Dave his gift first! The reason I am being so magnanimous is because he is so much more annoying about forgetting things than I am.  This is due to the fact that when he forgets where he put something, he always assumes that I am the one who misplaced it.  I can't imagine why he thinks this because it seems obvious, that with the amount of hours in a day I devote to losing my own stuff, I certainly have no extra time to spare losing his.
3. Additionally, I would like if you could give me one of the "Lifestyle Lifts" that they advertise on TV.  It would make me really happy if, when I get up in the morning and look in the mirror, my appearance looked more like what I THINK I should look like, instead of the much older looking woman who keeps appearing in my reflection.  I wanted to ask you for this last year, but I couldn't think of a reason for requesting this that would not make me appear to be selfish or vain.  After having given it a great deal of thought though, I was able to manufacture one!  I wouldn't be requesting this for myself, you see, but rather, for all the people who have to look at me!!!  In fact, I think it quite selfless of me to make one of my wishes for the betterment of others, instead of myself...don't you?
4. This will be the last one for now, Santa...could you please make my daughters stop sharing stories with me that involve "old people," in the telling?  The reason I ask for this is because whenever I inquire as to the age of these elderly individuals, they are usually my age or younger.  I do not find my daughters' apologies, which they make with a great deal of amusement, all that sincere, so if you cannot help me in this regard, then please, just feel free to give each of them some wrinkles or age spots, to even things up.
Okay, I hope you, the Mrs. and the reindeer enjoy some much deserved rest and relaxation in the coming months.  

Amycita xoxox  

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Having recently read, with great amusement, the TRUE account of what a ten month old baby wants from Santa, I got the idea to write a realistic list of the things that I would REALLY like to ask Santa for, this year. Here goes:

Dearest of Santas,
Hope you have had a great year and that the Mrs. and the reindeer are all doing well!  I am sending you my Christmas Wish List...and this one is a little more authentic than the ones that I usually send you.  That is not to say that I do not wish for world peace, or that a meteor avoids hitting my house; the following wishes are just a little bit more personal.
An Authentic Christmas Wish List from a Woman of 54
  1.  Santa could you please make them stop making all the fonts in the newspapers and magazines so incredibly small?  I am having a very hard time reading them.
  2. Also, along those same lines, can you please ask people to stop speaking in such quiet voices? The only one I can ever hear is Dave...and that is only after I have asked him to repeat himself for the fifth time.  He ALWAYS speaks in a loud enough voice then.  Also, can you please make Dave stop speaking to me in that loud voice...it almost sounds as if he is irritated with me.  
  3. Can you please give me a little more time in a day?  I used to be able to keep up with things but, as of late, I am experiencing quite a bit of trouble accomplishing all the things that I am supposed to do.  Frankly, my house is a REALLY big mess right now and writing this letter to you isn't helping things.
  4. Can you please make the economy pick up so that I don't have to worry so much about my children?  I remember when Dave and I first started out and both of our jobs provided medical and dental benefits; nowadays that is more uncommon.  I want all my daughters to have those things so that I don't have to lose anymore sleep over it.
  5. Speaking of sleep, can you do anything about helping me with that?  I often go to bed totally exhausted, but then, find I cannot sleep at all!  This forces me to watch things like the two hour episode of "Mob City" that I watched last night.  As a result of this, I slept right through my alarm clock going off this morning, and was almost late for work!  Thankfully, my husband Dave woke me up, but even so, I was forced to go into work with NO MASCARA ON!!!!  No mascara is not a good look for me, Santa.
  6. Can you please, and this is a really important one, keep all my family members in good health?  We have been blessed for so long that I have come to expect that.  When they are not well I am consumed with worry about them.  I would prefer if you would do something so that they can all live forever. 
  7. Okay, now as far as things breaking all the time, is there anything that you can do about that?  I understand that things need to be repaired from time to time, but this "all things must break down at the very same time" thing is kind of overwhelming.  Please do something that ensures no other items will break or need repairs, until the items that are already broken have been fixed.  Also, please make this retroactive...otherwise we are never going to catch up.
  8. Also, no more floods in my basement please.  No further explanation is needed.
  9. Can you please keep my pups and cats in good health?  Those animals give me such joy and I appreciate them more than you can know.  I want them to be around with me forever!
  10. Finally, can you keep all my family, relatives, friends and adopted facebook friends safe and happy this coming year?  These people make my life happier because they are a part of it.  They are the salt and pepper of the seasonings of life...without them my world would be very bland!    
  11. Okay Santa, I think that is enough for now... although it would also be great if you could help me to understand how to work things on my computer better.  I put this number thing on for my list and now I cannot figure out how to make it stop...that is why this is listed as #11, when it should have just been a final paragraph.  Alright, I love you Santa.  I will leave some cookies and milk for you on my kitchen table and as always, I will throw some
    Cheerios on the roof for your reindeer.  
  12. Dang it, Santa...I just wanted to sign off by saying Love, Amycita...but now I have number 12 in front of it...please make it stop!  xoxoxoxoxooxo   
  13. PS...Steve Sanderson just reminded me that I should have asked that the Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl while I am still living....I know this one is a stretch, but it sure would be great!   
  14. Blessings...Amycita      
  15. Santa, please put "how to turn off this numbering feature" at the top of this list.               

Friday, July 26, 2013


I have not been blogging lately, as life has provided me with many activities to keep me extra busy...such as flooding my basement, while I was visiting my daughter up in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.  There is nothing that takes the vacation right out of you as much as coming home from a relaxing trip, then running downstairs to get something and discovering a pesky flood.  It was caused by a compression coupling coming apart, which joined some plastic tubing behind our ceiling tiles, and although it was just a steady drip, it must have been dripping for many days because the carpeting was completely saturated.  In fact, if it had been cold enough for the water on the carpeting to freeze, I suspect I could have had a wonderful ice-skating rink right there in my basement. After I had completed the process of throwing myself on my family room couch, while holding my head and repeatedly saying "woe is me...woe is me" the requisite amount of times, the arduous task of cleaning up the flood began.
This brings me to the sorting out of the seven million boxes of accumulated junk that we had stored in our basement.  Now, my husband had an "attitude of gratitude" regarding this development.
"Amy, you should think of this as a blessing." Dave sagely advised me. "This gives us an opportunity to rid ourselves of all the unnecessary items that we have had downstairs and never got around to sorting through."
The problem with Dave's theory though, was that I felt that he wasn't sharing that blessing in equal proportions to me... although he would dispute this statement. (You will just have to trust me on this one. Despite his denials, Dave was practically an atheist when it came to this particular blessing. Besides, I am the author of this blog, so my version wins.) I moaned and grumbled as I made my way through box after box; separating the items that could be saved from those that could not, and the items that we no longer needed but that were still in good condition, that I could donate to the Salvation Army.  I still have many more boxes to go through, but yesterday I decided to take the first load of salvageable, but useful items, to the donation center.  Unfortunately, due to a mental lapse undoubtedly caused by overwork, I brought Dave along with me. The problems began to surface, even before we arrived at the site.
"Hey, why are you donating all these duffel bags?"  Dave questioned me in an alarmed tone of voice.
"It is because you have somehow managed to acquire 10,000 duffel bags, Dave. I figured that I could give away five thousand of them, while still leaving you with the other five thousand that you can continue to never use."
"What are you, nuts?" Dave replied. "I need these duffel bags.  These are in great shape."
"Yes, I know, Dave.  That is why I am donating them.  I am sure there must be other men who need to keep thousands of unused duffel bags in their basement and I think it would be generous of us, if we gave them a turn."
Dave then proceeded to remove several of the duffel bags from the "donate to the Salvation Army" pile and place them in the newly created "keep these things I will continue to never use, but would like Amy to sort through again following the next flood" pile.  Things got even better when we actually arrived at the site.  While I was removing the items I wished to donate and had placed in the body of the van, Dave, I discovered, was in the back of the van finding other items he would never use and returning them to our vehicle. I would also like to note that he did so with a speed never evidenced once, during the "sorting through the seven million boxes" stage of this process.
All is well though, because I have learned from my mistakes.  I have always believed in the adage that "the more you possess the more it possesses you" and I will be donating plenty of other items to the Salvation Army...including the ones Dave put back in the car.  I can do that because I have learned from my second mistake, as well...to never take Dave along with me, when I am making my donations.
Hope all you are enjoying a dry summer...at least INSIDE the home in which you dwell. Blessings! ~~Amycita~~

Thursday, June 6, 2013


That inexhaustible, leaping, kissing, biting, havoc-wreaking but always lovable, bundle of fur that is Wiley, came bounding down from his home in the Upper Peninsula this past week, to visit me.  Merely 3 months old, and only in my life for just a fraction of that time, he has managed to secure a place in a heart that I was quite confident had already reached its full-capacity.   My heart has been quite happily occupied for the last 11 years by that incorrigible Copper Kitty, whom we rescued while vacationing in Port Sanilac, and for the last 8 years by the two tiny bundles of black fur, Teddy and Scarlett that God blessed us with after our beloved Cairn Terrier Sophie, passed away.  Then, as if it wasn't crowded enough already in there, the neighbor's two cats who absolutely refuse to accept that they do not reside at my house, have also managed to garner more than their fair share of  my heart's affection... not to mention the lion's share of Copper's cat food, as well.  I simply had no intention of falling in love with any other animal and was determined to only "like" Wiley, Olivia and Mike's new Silver Lab puppy...and even "liking" was to be kept strictly from a distance. Wiley however, with blatant disregard for the "no vacancy" sign I had posted, would tolerate nothing less than first class accommodations in the "make room in your heart" department and with complete and unabashed confidence, singlehandedly (or pawedly, as the case may be) found himself a place within it, despite my strongest efforts. He utilized some interesting tactics, I have to admit.  While Scarlett and Teddy won me over with their gentle manners and playful antics, Wiley went with the "tail wagging with such unbridled joy that it knocks every single item off your coffee table" style approach, accompanied by mischief making of such epic proportions, that simply the act of behaving himself weakens any resolve not to love him by virtue of sheer gratitude alone. Most effective of all his tactics however, is Wiley's strategy of rising very early in the morning and waking his first victim, so that, while they are half-asleep and still not able to think coherently, they foolishly leave their bare feet exposed allowing Wiley to seize the chance to sink his incredibly, sharp puppy teeth into the very tender area of their Achilles heel.  This is followed immediately, by said humans attempting to pry Wiley's teeth from off of their tender flesh, while simultaneously screaming, "No bite! No bite!" to no avail; thus affording Wiley the opportunity to latch onto ones fingers, which unbelievably, one has, in desperation, placed inside his mouth! The beauty of this tactic is that when Wiley chooses a different victim the next morning, the first recipient of Wiley's morning greeting is so grateful to him for doing so, that an unbreakable bond is immediately forged.

This week when Wiley bounded into my house, shiny sharp teeth exposed and waiting to bite, it was just what the doctor ordered. Puppies are demanding little creatures and there is no time for grieving, unless you have a very strong Achilles heel.  Then of course, there is that one other "extra" benefit he provides; it being that every now and then, when Wiley is a little sleepy himself, he is amenable to a bit of affection....and as everyone knows, very few things in life help heal a heart faster than the love of two tiny bundles of black fur, an incorrigible cat, the two cats who live across the street from you but who refuse to accept that arrangement, along with the affection of a puppy like Wiley.  Blessings ~ Amycita ~     

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

For My Brother

Grief, as necessary to life as joy, has settled upon me now.  In the days leading up to my brother's passing this past Monday, the first threads of it began to weave its way around my heart, but it wasn't until the day following his death that it actually began to blanket me.  It is as familiar to me as an old friend, for I have known this feeling many times before.  It stands waiting, like an unexpected guest knocking upon the door of my heart, until with resignation I open myself up to let grief in.
I take note of the baggage it carries with it, so indicative of the length of time it will be visiting me.  We will be unpacking the contents of that baggage together, one item at a time, as I come to terms with an existence that my brother will no longer be a part of.  A bit of anxiety causes my heart to race for I know this period will be painful, yet necessary.  Grief's first days with me will be the hardest, of course, but the jagged edges of sorrow will eventually begin to soften with the passage of time.  Finally, one day there will be a morning upon which I will wake up thinking about some ordinary aspect of life, instead of about the brother I so loved and miss. Then, I will watch as grief picks up its empty suitcase and quietly begins to walk away, almost unnoticed, as it closes the door of my heart behind it until the next time we meet again.
I love you Bill and you will remain in my heart until we are together, once more. Until that time though, safe journey; don't tarry if you should hear us crying.  It is just the sounds of those who loved you…unpacking their bags of grief.  ~ Amycita~

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Dear Anna and Classmates,
Thank you so much for choosing us to be one of the host families for your Flat Stanley Project.  I was so happy and surprised when he arrived in the mail!  Since I like to read so much, I was already familiar with Flat Stanley's books. I always liked his stories, because even though he was flattened like a pancake when a bulletin board fell on him one night, he still made the best of things and managed to lead a very exciting life!  After all, who else do you know who gets to go on a vacation to California, by being mailed there in an envelope?  He was able to go on even more adventures when you mailed him to my house and I think he really enjoyed them, as well!  (Well, maybe with the exception of our visit to see the goats, at Frontier Town!)  Thank you again, for letting us be part of the fun!
Lots of Love,
Anna's Aunt Amy
                                              FLAT  STANLEY'S ADVENTURES WITH MY FAMILY
                                                        Dedicated to Anna and all her classmates
                                                With special love and thanks to my daughter, Jamie  

I was so surprised when Flat Stanley first arrived at our house in Washington Township.  We live right on the borderline between Washington Township and Romeo, Michigan. I usually just say I live in Romeo, instead of Washington Township, because more people know where Romeo is. People often visit Romeo because it is famous for all the apple orchards we have, and also for the "Peach Festival" that the village hosts, during the fall.  Here is a picture of Flat Stanley popping out of my mailbox!

I was very excited to take Flat Stanley around town to see some sights. Flat Stanley was hoping to drive, but I couldn't let him because his feet didn't reach the gas pedal.  Instead, I had him sit on the passenger seat and, of course, I had him put on his seat belt so that he would be safe!



The first place I took him to visit was the historic cemetery in Romeo.  It has a large monument in it, which lists the soldiers from the area who died during the civil war. I showed him all the names engraved on the sides of the monument, and told him that some parents lost more than one son during that war. Thinking how hard that must have been for those families might have made him feel a little sad, because he was very quiet after I had finished.  I can't be sure though, because, between you and me, Flat Stanley really isn't much of a talker.

To cheer him up a bit, I let him pretend he was being shot out of a civil war cannon.  It is a good thing that it was still cold outside though, because in the summer wasps like to live inside it, and he could have gotten stung by one!


Next, I took Flat Stanley to Frontier Town.  Frontier Town is a place with some interesting stores, including an old-fashioned general store where you can buy penny candy.  It also has goats in the back of the property, and you can buy goat food, to feed them with.  I guess I should have purchased some of that food, because after I taped Flat Stanley to the post outside the pen and stepped back to take a picture of him, one of those rascally goats stuck his head through the fence and started eating him!!! (Goats really like to eat paper, I discovered!)  I yelled very loud at him to put Flat Stanley down, but goats are NOT very good listeners.  I was extremely sad even though I knew he was only made of paper. I think it was because when you read a good book the characters almost seem to come alive...and that was how Flat Stanley was beginning to feel to me!
Luckily, since Flat Stanley WAS a character out of a book and WAS NOT a real, live, little boy, I was able to make another one!

As soon as I was finished, I took him to the library in town.  I knew he would want to know all about his family, so guess which book I took out for him to read?
The next day Flat Stanley and I met my daughter Jamie, at National Coney Island.  She was traveling to California the following day and she wanted to take him with her...this time IN AN AIRPLANE! I think he really liked having the window seat.


While he was in California he attended a conference with some students Jamie was escorting, who were members of a group called Phi Theta Kappa. They are students who get really good grades at college, so Stan liked to hang around with them. Stan knows how important it is to do well at school!

After the conference was finished, Stan took in some of the sights with Jamie.  He got to see the Golden Gate Bridge and a few other places, when Jamie met up with her cousin Matt, who lives in California.


This picture though, is my favorite one of all.  I think it looks like Flat Stanley is a GIANT and he is stepping on the tiny humans who are walking on the beach!  It made me laugh very hard when I saw it!
Flat Stanley had another nice flight on his way back and even had a layover in Denver, Colorado!
When Flat Stanley came back home he really wanted to attend Macomb Community College, like his friends from the conference did. Jamie explained that he wasn't old enough yet, but she let him pretend to get his ID picture taken, so that he wouldn't feel too disappointed.  
After that, Jamie returned Flat Stanley to me for one last adventure.  I work at a preschool and we were having an art show, so I let Flat Stanley dress up like an artist, when he visited.  He posed with some artwork, which two of my daughters drew when they were back in high school.  After that he posed with one of the projects that our preschoolers made.  He looks great, don't you think?  I think he might become a famous artist when he grows up!


Well, I had a few more pictures of Flat Stanley, but unfortunately, I am having trouble downloading them.  In any case, I think you can tell that we had a great time together, and I certainly am glad that he came to our house to visit!  Thank you again, boys and girls...and I love you, Anna! 

I received this thank you letter in the mail today...I love it!

Sunday, March 31, 2013


The house is quiet and peaceful this Easter morning. It is unlike so many Easters before it, when I was awakened by the sound of four little girls giggling together, as they hunted for their baskets.  Two grown up girls spent the night, last evening, but their enthusiasm is much more tempered now, this early in the morning.  When their other two sisters arrive later in the day, the hunt will begin in earnest, as in days past. They will search together for their baskets, while forming alliances if they can; alliances which always dissolve as soon as they find their own.
Now that they are older, the Easter Bunny gleefully attempts to hide their baskets in more difficult places, and spends a great deal of time strategically placing them.  Of course, every year she leaves instructions that no clues should be given during the search, but this never works; the determination to proffer no clues diminishes in direct proportion to the whining. 
The baskets have changed slightly too, over the years.  The Easter Bunny now uses colorful Easter bags to hold the goodies; baskets are more difficult to hide, while Easter bags are flexible and can be hidden more easily.  What's inside has changed slightly, as well.  Since the oldest daughter is 28, the twins 26 and the baby 19, they don't have much use for the bubbles and sidewalk chalk that their baskets always included.  The Easter Bunny has a wicked sense of humor though, so instead, has given each a bag of prunes along with their candy this year, in deference to their old age.
I suppose some would question why the Easter Bunny still leaves these adult women Easter baskets anyway. The three oldest after all, live in their own homes now and the youngest is almost done with her second year of college.  The reason is because of what my daughter Jamie said to me one year, which the Easter Bunny must have overheard.  She said that no matter how old she was she expected the Easter Bunny to leave her a basket at her mother's house, every year.  I guess this idea, that a bit of childhood will always remain in the Valente girls' hearts, must have sounded very sweet to the Easter Bunny, because I feel confident that those girls will still be looking for their baskets every Easter, even when they have children of their own.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


When we remodeled our upstairs bathroom my husband decided that we needed a jetted-tub, to provide us with its therapeutic benefits, for all of our aches and pains.  As with most additions of this nature I find that we use the tub infrequently, at best, despite what the brochure would lead one to believe. The main reason I don't like to use it is that one must wait until the tub fills to 2 inches above the top of the jets before using it, which happens to take an incredibly long period of time to accomplish.  Based on this reason alone, in the year since the tub was installed I have used it only five times, not counting the occasions, once a month, when one must turn the system on in order to clean it with a combination of dishwasher detergent and bleach.  Dave, who had been the strongest advocate for the tub, had surprisingly, not used the tub even once prior to his first time, last week. (Do not be alarmed though, we have utilized the shower with far greater frequency, so therefore, there is no need to be concerned about our hygiene habits.)
In any case, last evening I was having a hard time falling asleep owing to considerable back and shoulder pain, so I decided that this was one occasion when a whirlpool bath was called for. While waiting for the tub to fill, I passed the time by reading all 1,440 pages of the novel "War and Peace" ...twice, and was about to begin my third rereading when I remembered that I had only been filling the tub with hot water.  I put the book down, and began adding only cold water instead, so I could avoid suffering the same fate as a live lobster when immersed in boiling hot water. Although I attempted to direct the cold water to the back of the tub by hand, the results were not very satisfactory, so I came up with an ingenious idea.   The water had now reached slightly above the jets, so I decided to turn them on for a moment, in order to achieve an even water temperature a little more rapidly.  Much to my horror though, as I turned them on the water began to arc high into the air, with powerful plumes that were comparable in size and majesty only to the fountains that adorn the street-side of the hotels on the Las Vegas strip. After overcoming the momentary paralysis and shock, that I initially experienced as a result of  the water pelting me viciously in the face, I fought my way back to the side of the tub, and blindly struggled, until I was able to find the on/off switch to turn the tub back off. Despite the large amounts of  water dripping from my hair and clothes I ran to the stairs to call down to my husband. I  inquired in a petulant tone, as to what sort of madness had possessed him to adjust the direction of the jets in an upward position?
"Oh." he said calmly.  "I moved those around a little to make it more comfortable.  That didn't happen to me though, so you must not have put enough water into the tub."
The fact that he was probably right did little to improve my disposition, as I began the arduous task of mopping up the water on the floor, counter top and mirrors. To expedite my efforts I turned on the ceiling fan and heater to help dry up the water, and turned on all the extra lighting, so that I could better see what I was doing.  After I had finally finished I stepped into the tub exhausted, and hit the button to start the jets up.  About 30 seconds had passed, when the lights, fan, heater and hot tub suddenly ceased to function, due to the fact that I had overloaded the circuit causing it to trip.  I sat in the dark for a couple of minutes, before I heard Dave's voice calling up to me, from downstairs.
"You tripped the circuit, Amy." he cheerfully informed me.  "Just wait a minute and I will go down in the basement and flip it back."
"No hurry." I answered, as I opened the drain to let the water out and stepped out of the tub. "I think I have relaxed enough for one night."
I put on my pajamas and went to bed, where I instantly fell asleep, when my head hit the pillow.  I guess those hot tubs do have therapeutic value after all...one is so exhausted after using them that you forget all about your aches and pains and fall fast asleep.
Blessings ~ Amycita~

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Over the years, an old gray tee-shirt of Dave's regularly makes an appearance whenever I am doing the laundry. Although it has shrunk, due to its frequent trips to the washer, it maintains an interesting collection of stains, in spite of those trips. Adding insult to injury, a few holes have now appeared alongside the collar of the shirt, yet still, despite its torn and tattered appearance, Dave refuses to allow me to retire it. I suspect that he overlooks these numerous flaws and defects, because it possesses one particular attribute of which he is particularly fond; the quote emblazoned on the front of the shirt which reads BASEBALL IS LIFE...the rest is just details. 
Dave's love of baseball began at an early age.  The trips to Belle Isle, with his maternal grandmother, Grandma Lucy, included excursions fishing together while listening to Tigers games on the radio.  He remembers sitting with his mother in the kitchen, his mother carving a juicy summer watermelon, while the Tigers played as well.  He also would lay down at night, transistor radio by his ear, to be lulled to sleep by the soothing voice of Ernie Harwell, those nights when the Tigers played late. I suspect these happy memories, and the people who shared them with him, have as much to do with his love of the game as the game itself.  
Dave started playing softball as a member of the Green Briars, at about the age of seven.  They played on the gravel at Trix Elementary School in Detroit, and aspired to one day prove their mettle and advance to the real diamonds adjacent to Trix on Wishegan Field, as well as on  Hielmann field and later Bessie. The ultimate goal was fast pitch hardball and somewhere along the way, Dave's potential as a pitcher was noticed and he began to work hard to live up to it. 
Dave would spend hours practicing his pitching on a strike zone he had created on the side of the pagoda that rested in the middle of Wishegan field; rain or shine he spent many an hour there, throwing the ball over and over, honing his skills. He would also be invited to play pickup games with his older brothers, but so fierce was the  competitive spirit of this 10 year old that he would become unhinged at any mistakes made by the older players and would scream and chastise them for their errors. Eventually, his brothers' friends suggested that the irritating younger brother no longer be invited to play, as they found it extremely annoying to be coached by someone's younger sibling; a memory that still causes me to chuckle, whenever it comes to mind. He received guidance from many fathers too, who generously devoted their off hours to coaching, and the impact they had on his life and his skills, still lingers with him to this day.  The names come to mind easily... their importance in his life that great:  his own father, Mr. Carlone, Mr. Cofield, Mr. Masnick, Mr. Vizzaccero and Mr. Haner.  I am sure there were others, as well, and I sincerely hope that they realized the importance of all the contributions that they made during those days.  So many children, on so many teams, learned lessons from these men that would remain with them with for a lifetime; validating the fact that the time they spent coaching was truly, time well spent. 
Perhaps the man that had the biggest impact on him though, was his coach Mr. Pilarski.  Mr. Pilarski was the principal at St. Raymond's Elementary school in Detroit, but also found the time to coach baseball, as well.  He, himself, had played in the Minor Leagues, and had not only valuable insights to share about Dave's pitching, but also the ability to motivate and encourage him to reach his full potential during the one year that he coached him when Dave was in the eighth grade.  It was for the CYO League, and every year since 1965 Assumption Grotto had won the CYO League Championship.  There were ten games played that season and Dave pitched for every game but one.  After his first victory that season, Mr. Pilarski pulled Dave aside and handed him the game ball from the win.  He told him that it belonged to him, and that he knew that at the end of the season he could have all of them, because he was that good a pitcher. His prediction proved correct, and after the final out that year, Dave had the game ball from all nine games that he pitched in; their only loss that season was the game that he missed due to an ear infection.  St. Raymond's won the CYO League Championship that year, in 1972, and the victory is still sweet, even in his memory as a man of 54.
This past summer we attended an Osborn High School reunion and I listened as Dave chatted with a man with whom he had played ball with in those days.  Their reminiscences were wonderful to listen to, and it was clear to me that those days spent playing ball and practicing, left an indelible mark on both of them.  It happened again the other day, when Dave and I ran into another player from those days who had played for Assumption Grotto.  He greeted Dave and me by asking me if I knew how great a pitcher Dave had been   Once again, the names of those they had played with, and the fathers that spent time coaching them, came to mind easily as they shared their memories of those very special times.  It is clear that Dave was not the only young man whose life was impacted by the game, and by those with whom they interacted.  Those days are imprinted in their memories and their reflections on them still bring them great joy.
Dave still loves baseball and follows the Tigers.  He can recite the names of all the players from every season they won the World Series in, and the statistics and important plays relating to each game.  He still rants and raves at the television, not unlike the 10 year old boy who chastised his older brothers and their friends so many years ago, whenever someone commits any error or perceived mistake during the game.  The love of the game still exists within him, as well the competitive spirit that is always needed to be a winner.
As I, once again, fold up the tattered shirt, a gift from his daughter Jamie, bearing the statement BASEBALL IS LIFE...the rest is just details, I recognize the reason why he never wants to part with it.  Baseball had a great impact on Dave's life when he was young; helping to mold him into the man he would later, grow to become.  It strengthened his love of family, taught him the value of discipline and a good work ethic, and the importance an individual can have on the life of a youngster anytime he or she is willing to give of their time. So I guess we will hold on to that shirt until it literally falls apart at the seams, because as with so many men of Dave's generation who grew up on the eastside of Detroit, its words ring true; BASEBALL IS LIFE...and the rest is just details.  
~Blessings, Amycita~

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Five days ago I was struck down by a terrible virus that I contracted from a friend of mine on Facebook...and I literally mean me, not my computer. The friend had posted on her page that SHE had just recovered from a "vicious 24 hour stomach virus" and that she was waiting to see if the rest of her family would soon be suffering from the same.  I replied that I was sending good thoughts her way; bravely risking my own health, by typing on what proved to be her highly contagious thread. Sure enough, 23 hours later I was struck down with the same exact malady... except my illness lasted for four days, so I am guessing that others must have commented on her status as well, causing me to reread the contagion thrice more, when I received their notifications.
The onset of my illness was quite sudden.  On Saturday, although I had a headache, I had a productive day and even enjoyed a late-night chat online with one of my extremely humorous friends. Finally though, fatigue and the headache forced me to say goodnight and I went to bed oblivious as to what lay in store for me the next day. I shan't go into the gory details for we have all suffered the woes of  stomach viruses, but, suffice to say, that when I awakened Sunday morning it was by the full force of the enemy combatant germs which had staged a surprise attack on my body while I innocently lay sleeping.  My friend had not been exaggerating about the viciousness of this particular virus, and, whenever I wasn't retching with alarming frequency into my ever-present 28.7 ounce empty plastic Folgers coffee container, (an idea that I am considering marketing because I think it really was rather ingenious ) the only thought that gave me hope was the fact that I would be returning to good health in a mere 24 hours.
Much to my dismay however, the first day passed and then the second with my symptoms abating only slightly. By this I mean that I only needed to keep my Folgers can in close proximity to me, as opposed to actually carrying it with me everywhere I went.  By Wednesday though, when I was forced to cancel a very important appointment that I had made 7 weeks earlier, I truly began to feel discouraged.  I thought to myself how awful it would be to always feel this sick and said a little prayer for anyone who might suffer that way on a daily basis... I also began to contemplate the distressing possibility that I soon would be joining their ranks. Ever the optimist though, with great resolve I decided to will myself back into good health by doing a little cleaning, albeit in very short spurts.  I would clean for 3 or 4 minutes until utterly exhausted, then stop to rest while bemoaning my fate.  Once completed, I would summon up the strength to get up and clean a little more before again repeating the resting and bemoaning sequence.  By mid-afternoon I decided I was never going to get better and started worrying about the entire rest of my existence and how I would ever manage to make it through life, in this pitiful condition. I felt overwhelmed and anxious, as the burden of my never-ending 4 day illness weighed upon my shoulders.  Bereft, I finally laid down once more and fell asleep. In the evening when I awoke a few hours later, I discovered, much to my surprise, that I was feeling a little better!  I was filled with joy and jumped up to share the news with my husband who promptly told me to lay back down, which turned out to be very sage advice because all that joy and jumping was starting to make me feel a little queasy again. 
Today dawned though, and I awoke feeling like my old self again.  I felt extraordinarily grateful to have nothing more than the normal aches and pains that I have grown accustomed to over the past few years.  They seemed familiar and manageable, and, somehow, I felt blessed to have them.  A few minutes later though, I was distracted from my musings when I heard a familiar sound; it was my husband bemoaning his fate, as he awoke to find that he too, had now been attacked by enemy combatant germs during the night while he slept.  Fortunately, I am now feeling well enough to take care of him....from a distance, and while simultaneously attempting to disinfect our entire house from all traces of what will now be known as, "The Vicious 24 Hour Facebook Virus."  : )   ~ Blessings- Amycita ~