Walking Distance

When I was 9 years old I had a favorite paperback book called “Stories from the Twilight Zone”, a book of short stories based on the skin and bones for sketches produced on the TV program of the same name.
I had a favorite called “Walking Distance”, the story of a tired middle aged business man that leaves the big city one weekend and simply drives in an effort to get away from his job and the Rat Race in general.
His car breaks down and he gets towed to a local garage for repairs when he sees a road sign for the town he grew up in years ago.
He asks how far it is to the town and is told, “It’s walking distance.”
He enters the Twilight Zone and walks into his hometown of 40 years ago where his mother and father are still alive.

It’s funny that I was falling for these kinds of tender stories when I was ten.
Yeah, I was a weird kid, huh?
Much of my writing loosely falls into the same sentimental category. Go figure.
I started thinking about the last good day I had with my mother and father, sadly the memory has vanished deep into the recesses of my own scattered mind.
The ‘moment’ did happen though when I came to a realization that I could never get those moments back; accepting the idea was painfully difficult but I knew it had to be done.
It occurred to me that I began saying goodbye to the individual pieces of both of them, various facets of their personalities, phrases they often used and the stories they loved to tell.

I remember fruitlessly trying to pull my mother back into my world with my “remember when” queries that all too quickly lost their magical powers.
If I’ve learned anything at all from their tragic situation it’s that life is about seizing moments, grabbing them by whatever means possible and never ever letting them go.
I only wish I’d realized that fifteen years ago, wish I’d accepted their fates sooner, if that makes sense.
But I’m only human and I desperately wanted to believe otherwise.
If I could have several more hours with both of them it would be spent on the back deck of the Goodbye House’.
It would be a warm but comfortable summer night with nothing but a cricket soundtrack and a deep, orange creamsicle sunset off to the West.
My father would be standing by the grill wearing his signature wrinkled Bermuda shorts (or were they seersucker? God forbid), sans shirt with his pot belly exposed to the world with a can of Busch beer in his hand as he flipped burgers and hot dogs.
My mother would be flitting around the kitchen like some culinary Tasmanian devil putting the finishing touches on one of her ‘signature’ desserts.
We wouldn’t be talking about anything in particular; it would just be like it once was.
But it would be different to me because I would mentally file away and lock every smile, every laugh, and every taste and smell living inside that one bittersweet summer evening.
And I would remember all of it again, if I had one more chance.
Maybe the truth of the matter is that those memories are never very far away; in fact they’re easily accessible because wherever I am, ‘home’ is always close by.
Actually, it’s walking distance . . .

~m

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A wee bit o’ the Irish Humour

“The Brothel”

Two Irishmen were sitting at a pub drinking beer and
watching the brothel across the street.
They see a Baptist minister walk into the brothel, and one
of them says, “Aye, ’tis a shame to see a man of the cloth
goin’ bad.”

Then they see a rabbi enter the brothel, and the other
Irishman said, “Aye, ’tis a shame to see that the Jews
are fallin’ victim to temptation as well.”

Then they see a catholic priest enter the brothel, and
one of the Irishmen says, “What a terrible pity …one of
the girls must be dying.”

“Irish Cemetery”

Three Irishmen, Paddy, Sean and Seamus, were stumbling home
from the pub late one night and found themselves on the road
which led past the old graveyard..

“Come have a look over here,” says Paddy, “It’s Michael
O’Grady’s grave, God bless his soul. He lived to the ripe
old age of 87.”

“That’s nothing,” says Sean, “here’s one named Patrick
O’Toole, it says here that he was 95 when he died!”

Just then, Seamus yells out, “Good God, here’s a fella
that got to be 145!”

“What was his name?” asks Paddy.
Seamus stumbles around a bit, awkwardly lights a match
to see what else is written on the stone marker, and exclaims,

“Miles . . . from Dublin.”

“Irish Last Request”

Mary Clancy goes up to Father O’Grady after his Sunday
morning service, and she’s in tears.
He says, “So what’s bothering you, Mary my dear?”
She says, “Oh, Father, I’ve got terrible news. Me husband passed away last night.”
The priest says, “Oh, Mary, that’s terrible. Tell me, did he
have any last requests?”
She says, “That he did, Father…”
The priest says, “What did he ask, Mary?”
She says, “He said, “Please Mary, put down that damn gun.”

“Lent”

An Irishman moved into a tiny hamlet in County Kerry.
He walks into the local pub, orders three pints of Guinness takes them to a table and proceeds to drink them taking his time.
He repeats this two times and then leaves the pub.

A few nights later he returns to the pub, orders three pints of Guinness, takes them to a table and drinks them taking his time. He repeats this two times and leaves the pub. He continues this for several weeks.
Soon the entire town is talking about the “Three Pint Man.”

Finally, one day the pub owner on behalf of the entire town broaches the subject to the man. “I don’t mean to pry, but folks are quite curious why you order three pints each time you come in .”

The man replied, “I have two brothers – one in America and one in Australia. When we parted ways we all promised that each time we had a drink, we would order an extra two pints as a way of keeping up with each other.”

The pub owner and the entire town thought this was wonderful and were pleased that the brothers meant so much to each other. “The Three Pint Man” became a celebrity not only to the town but to the surrounding area.

One day the man came into the pub and orders only two pints of Guinness. The pub owner poured them with a heavy heart knowing in his soul that something dreadful must have happened. The news spreads around town and people are offering prays for the “Three Pint Man.”

This went on for a few weeks and the pub owner says to the man, “I want to offer our condolences due to death of your brother. We are all heart broken. You know the two pints and all.”

The man ponders this for a few minutes and replies, “You will be glad to hear that my brothers are alive and well. It’s just that I, meself, have decided to give up Guinness for Lent.”

“Vat O’ Guinness”

Brenda O’Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door.

“Brenda, may I come in?” he asks. “I’ve somethin’ rather important to tell ye.”

“Of course you can come in. You’re always welcome here, Tim.” says Brenda. “But where’s me husband, Shamus?”

“That’s what I’m here to be tellin’ ye, Lass. There’s been a simply tragic accident down at the Guinness brewery…”

“Oh, God no!” cries Brenda. “Please don’t tell me…”

“I must, Brenda. Your husband Shamus is gone. I’m dreadfully sorry, Lass.”

Finally, Brenda looks up at Tim and tearfully asks, “Please tell me how it happened, Tim.”

“Aw, Lass, it was terrible. Poor Shamus fell into a vat o’ Guinness Stout and drowned.”

“Oh my Sweet Jesus! But please tell me true, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?”

“Well, no, Lass… not exactly.”

“No?”

“No, fact is, he got out three times to visit the men’s room.”

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, folks!

And a tip o’ the hat to this Lass
For tomorrow is her birthday (39! . . . same age for the past five years!)
Breithlá sona duit!

~m

 

Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State and . . .

Just wanted to put up yet another “thank you” post for being so damn generous with your comments.
I wanted to make my way around the “bloghorn” but will never do it all tonight.
I’m only human.

A few notes of interest, if you look to my side bar you will see a little jpeg of Joe Jackson (musician).
If you click it, it will open Adobe Reader on your computer (assuming you have it installed), and download his essay as a .pdf file.
I don’t comment much about smoking on the blog but I feel Jackson’s essay should be read by smokers and non-smokers alike.
I think it’s absolutely brilliant.
You may feel differently.
I’m not going to address my stance on smoking right now.
Just know that I smoke.
And I enjoy it.
And I pay exorbitant and unscrupulous taxes because of my habit (which is absolute bullshit).
To the US government, tax something else for a change, for cripes sake.
Just imagine if the government started taxing Budweiser and Happy Meals the way they tax tobacco these days.
Would people be a bit angry?
Think about it.
Click on the philosopher above to visit Jackson’s website.
There’s some great stuff to be found there.

And now for something completely different;

Last week, I woke up in the middle of the night after falling asleep early and came downstairs to the sound of ‘beep-beep-beep-beep’.
My wife was laying on the couch pointing the cordless phone at the TV and pressing the “call button” on and off.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Trying to turn this friggin’ thing down,” she said.

“You can’t do that with the phone, dear, ” I said, as I took the phone out of her hand, turned off the TV and guided her upstairs to bed.
Ah, sleepyheads can be funny sometimes.
I think she may have called China a few times though.
Check out the Jackson video below.
Classic Joe.

~m

Game of the Century

You didn’t think you’d get away without something about my Patriots, did you?
I’m not going to jinx them by saying the game will be a blowout or that Eli Manning will choke or that Tom Coughlin will gag on his Motorola headset microphone.
No, I’d never say that.
I will however say, how cool is Gisele?
I can see why Brady loves this woman.
I saw this picture online and immediately fell in love.
Pretty face, awesome smile, flat tummy, blue jeans, blonde hair, and a Boston Red Sox shirt.
How in God’s name do you improve on that?
You just can’t.
Whatever happens, I pray it’s a great game.
And I pray the Patriots silence, for one and for all, those that say the G-Men will prevail.
G-Men? Sounds like a transsexual metal band.
On the menu? Chili, shrimp cocktail, chips and dip, Guinness, cigars . . .

Wanted to take care of a tag as well.
I’m not a big tag guy but Deanna has asked and I’m delivering.
She’s a favorite commenter here at S&M and has a nice blog herself.
Without further ado . . .

Name seven famous people you’ve met (or weird facts about yourself)

I’m going with the famous people but there’s more than seven so I thought I would just list them. I would usually be a bit more creative and tell you a bit about each encounter but I’ve been riding too many single level trains this week making writing virtually impossible.
In no particular order here’s my personal list of “brushes with greatness” . . .

Robert Cray, Billy Joel, John Hiatt, Peter Cetera, Joe Cocker, Steven Tyler, Joe Sample, Steve Gadd (Musicians)
Lenny Clarke, “Bobcat” Goldwaith (Comedians)
Carlos Fuente, Litto Gomez, Rocky Patel, George Padron (Cigar makers)
Dwight Evans, Rich Gedman (Boston Red Sox)
Stephen King (author)
Ethel Kennedy (non-classifiable for many reasons. There may be a future post on Ethel)

There are more but I’ll stop there.
Google any name an prepare to be amazed.
I’ll be far away from the blog for the rest of the weekend.
Have a great Super Sunday, folks.
Talk to all of you next week.
I pray to God I’m smiling.

later gators,

~m

Just Evyl and me

Evyl and I have decided to offer our services to all the gentlemen types currently surfing the web looking for something interesting to read, watch or do.
We’ve started something of a manblog to be sure but it has so much more to offer than that.
At Evyl and Smoke there will be no syrupy sweet posts, no sentimentality and a no holds barred policy; a very different place than here at Smoke and Mirrors.
Oh, and absolutely ‘no bullshit’.
This is a place where I can let my hair down
(funny, so to speak, even though we’re two guys with cueball noggins)
Women, cigars, sports, beer, booze, good eats, guy gripes and chili recipes will rule the roost.
Both of us aren’t quite sure where this thing will go but it’s been a blast so far and we’ve decided to finally go public with it.
We’ll leave it up to you as far as linking to us.
We are, first and foremost, gentlemen. 😉
BTW- We decided on an anonymous system in terms of posting and commenting thinking it might offer a bit of devious fun because you’ll never really know who is who.
I’m honored beyond belief to team up with the likes of Evyl.
He pulls no punches yet you always know where you stand.
For now, I’ll just welcome you to our new abode: Evyl and Smoke
Stop by and at least say hi.
And yes, it’s most definitely a guy thing.
And that’s alright by me . . .

~m

Sherlock’s Doppelganger

I was sent an email from my good writing friend Deb Woehr.
The email had some truly amazing pictures.
I sent it to many people.
If you didn’t get a copy, leave a comment and I’ll send it on to you.
What amazed me ( and my wife) was the picture above.
I swear to God, it looks exactly like my male cat, Sherlock!
Maybe it’s his identical twin; a feline doppelganger of sorts.
Too cool.
I’m off next week and plan on reading, writing, drinking some beer, smoking some good cigars, watching some movies, raking some leaves and cooking alot.
(a pot of Guinness Chili is already on my mind)
Sarah has been bugging me for Chicken Parm. (on its way, for sure)
I’m off starting Sunday but on Monday I truly start my “vacation” with a massage from my good friend and fellow blogger Yvonne.
Good God, I can’t wait. {and she knows that :0)}
Not sure what’s up for the blog but chances are I’ll be around in some capacity.
Have a great weekend, folks.
Go Sox! Go Pats! Go Celts! Go Bruins!
It’s great to be from New England these days . . .

~m

Sherlock's Doppelganger

I was sent an email from my good writing friend Deb Woehr.
The email had some truly amazing pictures.
I sent it to many people.
If you didn’t get a copy, leave a comment and I’ll send it on to you.
What amazed me ( and my wife) was the picture above.
I swear to God, it looks exactly like my male cat, Sherlock!
Maybe it’s his identical twin; a feline doppelganger of sorts.
Too cool.
I’m off next week and plan on reading, writing, drinking some beer, smoking some good cigars, watching some movies, raking some leaves and cooking alot.
(a pot of Guinness Chili is already on my mind)
Sarah has been bugging me for Chicken Parm. (on its way, for sure)
I’m off starting Sunday but on Monday I truly start my “vacation” with a massage from my good friend and fellow blogger Yvonne.
Good God, I can’t wait. {and she knows that :0)}
Not sure what’s up for the blog but chances are I’ll be around in some capacity.
Have a great weekend, folks.
Go Sox! Go Pats! Go Celts! Go Bruins!
It’s great to be from New England these days . . .

~m

Buffalo Theory

One night at Cheers, Cliff Clavin explained the”Buffalo Theory” to his buddy, Norm…

“Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this. A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members…. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers!”
Props to Beuks for the find.
~m 

Alive and . . .

Just to let you know I’m alive and well.
There just hasn’t been enough time to put together anything worthwhile
for you to read.
I spent all last night trying (unsuccessfully) to install Norton Systemworks on Sarah’s laptop.
I “chatted” online with several analysts in India before finally reaching someone named Arun who solved my problem.
I found that chatting is a hell of a lot easier than trying to talk with these guys on the phone.
The ‘puter problem is now solved and I’m going to try and get back to normal soon.
This post is a confession of sorts (yes, I know, another one)
The warm summer nights mean two basic things to me: cigars and beer.
Sorry to say blogging has taken a back seat.
In a few short months the weather will change and I’ll find myself back inside looking for a pen and my journal.
I changed my header so that you’d know I was still alive.
But I’m still something of a suckbag because I’ve replied to no comments and visited virtually no one.
I do apologize. If only there were 36 hours in a day . . .
One last note, my left thumb was infected.
I went to Urgent Care Sunday night after getting back from Boston.
The doc got out a scalpel and went to town on my digit before squeezing out
a bunch of disgusting spooge.
I’m currently on antibiotics and I think I’m going to make it.
Don’t give up on me just yet.
I may even surprise you all with a comment or two tonight. Maybe. :0)
Oh, and a bit on the picture above?
I thought it was strange.
Just like me . . .
~m