Sunday, March 20, 2016


I picked up my grandchildren from school one day last week.  They tumbled into the car, all three talking at once.  I asked that we tell me about the at a time.  After a pause, they all began at once again.  That didn't work.  But, as a Grandparent, key to survival and ultimate "coolness" is to be able to pick up a word or two from any direction and run with any concept that may be close enough to place you in the "you know everything, Mommy doesn't listen" category of civilization.

I did pick up a snippet of news, in spite of all of the chaos.  Tess:  "I have a part in the 'Living Stations of the Cross'!  I ma am going to be Simon of Cyrene!  I help Jesus carry the cross!  You don't have to make a costume though.  Mrs. Macouiscious has costumes."  Whew, I was told that the following week - Tuesday, I could watch the performance at 9 A.M.  Tess, then very seriously unfolded a rather ragged piece of paper with her lines on it.  "Mrs. Macouiscious uses the same papers over and over each year.  If I lose this, I will be out of the Stations and she will be very mad."  I immediately headed to Staples to make a fresh copy of the role.  Now, Tess could turn in the original, aged sheet and she could study her lines from the new one.

Yeah, right!

The next morning, we gathered our wits and raced to the door to get to school.  I was going to drop the Trio off and head back to my home, two hours away.  As we bumped into each other at the door, Tess asked: "Meme!  (may may) Do you have my part?"  I replied that I didn't.  She quizzed her bothers and her Mom.  We all came up empty handed.  Tanner checked Tess' room; Todd did a sweep of the living room; Tiff (my daughter, her Mom) ransacked the kitchen.  Todd and I emptied the kitchen trash from one bag to another and Tanner and Tiff went through the recycle container.  we all sifted through what they call a burn pile.  Neither copy surfaced!  By now, Tess was in tears.  "I can't be Simon!  Mrs. Macouiscious will be furious!  What am I going to do?  Meme! Do you remember the lines, can you write them down?" 


Then, my memory kicked in!  Last school year, when Todd was in Fifth Grade and had Mrs. Macouiscious, there was a four foot statue of Mary, the Blessed Mother in the classroom.  She was missing a hand, her nose was gone as well.  It was old and chipped, in total disrepair.  Statue restoration is expensive and apparently not in the Bishop Fenwick's budget for some time.  My father and mother wanted me to be a Kindergarten teacher.  I grew up to tackle the Triple A - Author, Actor and thank goodness Artist!

I dropped the children off at the door where all drop offs occur, pulled around to the front of the school and buzzed my way into the office (which happens to be across the hall from Tess' classroom).  The secretary was happy to see me and asked if I was staying in town for a while.  I said that I was returning to Kettering, but I had three questions for her.  The Principal poked her head out of her office door and said nothing, but I know that I was to be the morning coffee entertainment for her.

"Question #1 - Are parents and grandparents invited to the Living Stations of the Cross next week?"  Answer with a smile: "Oh yes, Nine A/M. sharp in the gym."

"Question #2 - Tess has misplaced her lines.  Might I ask Mrs. Macouiscious for them?"  Answer with a semi-frown:  "Well, you can try to ask when the class comes upstairs from morning prayer, but..."  Her voice seemed to drift off.

"Question #3 - I noticed that the Statue of Mary in Mrs. Macouiscious' room is in terrible shape.  I majored in Art and Theatre while in college  and graduated with degrees in both.  Would the school/parish be opposed to me taking it home for four to six weeks to restore the statue?  Should I ask Mrs. Macouiscious?"  Answer with a radiant smile:  "Oh, that is wonderful of you to offer!  Here she comes down the hall now!  Go right over there and have a chat with her!"

That's what I thought.

I approached Tess' teacher as the class unpacked their bags and settled in.  I complimented the entire Living Stations of the Cross presentation, deftly touched on lost lines as I slipped in a broken statue comment with the remedy.  I did this all in one breath in one sentence.  Mrs. Macouiscious blinked, shook her head to clear it and process the assault on her mind.  Without  another word from me, she beamed and said that by the end of the day, she would give Tess another copy of her part.  She suggested that if I pick up the children,, a janitor would help move Mary into my car for her voyage into repair.  I said that I could not linger because I had a pressing matter at home, but, on the Monday afternoon, the day before the performance, I would pick up the children, pull to the front of the building and Mary could hop aboard for the trip of a lifetime to my plaster spa.

Somehow, this grandparenting thing is a lot of work.  Bottom line, Tess has her part; Mary will have her hand (nose and paint too) and I made a deal.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


One school morning, the Trio (Todd-12, Tess-11, Tanner 8, also known as my grandchildren) and I were rushing out of the door to go to school.  Their Mom,, my daughter, didn't have coffee ready for me, the troops were not wild about breakfast selections.  Next best thing:  Stop for a bite on the way to school.

We jumped into the car after a hurried "'Bye Mom!", snapped seatbelts, blasted "Cake by the Ocean" on the radio and headed directly for...the Marathon Gas Station!  "Don't dilly dally!  We can't be late for school!" I directed the scurrying breakfast seekers.  Ahhh...French Vanilla coffee, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Coke.  Todd heard natural potato chips calling his name.  Tanner and Tess brought Bob Evans Hot Breakfast Sandwiches to the counter.  Reese's Cups, Twinkies, Pringles - A feast!  A Buffet!  A Banquet!  All made to individual order in a flash!  As I paid for the item, the clerk asked the children: "So, your grandmother is visiting us again? I've seen you stop here for snacks after school."  To me: "Are you staying in town long?"  I replied that I was there only for the night and that I thought I'd give the children a nice, healthy breakfast, as grandmothers should.  Hmmm...she laughed.

We had a mobile picnic on the way to school.  By then "Stressed Out" sang through the car's speakers.  Well, the egg, cheese, sausage sandwiches were if not healthy, warm, right?  Todd declared that his was an Organic Vegetarian meal.  Sounds about right to me!  There is protein in peanut butter, so Reese's Cups are such health finger food that GNC should keep them in stock.

Some grandparents keep journals of their children and grandchildren's favorite recipes to pass on to them.  When I write this favorite meal down, I must remember: 1.  Bring along or purchase mints to freshen their breakfast breath and 2.  At the register, ask for an extra bag for trash in order to maintain a nice, clean dining room for a meal on wheels!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


On a Sunday afternoon of a three day weekend, Todd (twelve year old grandson) phoned me.  "Hey Meme! (may may) I don't have school tomorrow.  Tess (his eleven year old sister) is going to a sleep over.  Tanner (eight year old brother) is going someplace too.  How about you pick me up and I'll come over for the night?"  I was elated!  Just think, when he's in college, a sleepover with his grandmother, no matter how cool that I think I am, won't be so appealing.

I pulled into the driveway and to my surprise, Tanner was the first to hop into the back seat with his backpack, electronics and a huge smile:  "I decided I want to go with Todd and you!"  Todd came out, loaded his bag into the trunk, informed me that he was going to plug his phone in to charge, while riding shot gun, declared himself the DJ, found "Uptown Funk" on Sirius Z 100 NY,  then asked what are our plans for dinner.  The boys were thrilled that we were going to have a pizza party at Uncle Nick's (my son, their Mom's older brother, who sports a "No Kids! I Rock As An Uncle!" T-Shirt).

Todd showed Nick videos on his phone, Nick showed Tanner some new magic tricks.  We talked Sonic (who knew that he started out as an air freshener), pizza, computers, You-Tube and so it went.

In the morning, over breakfast, Todd decided that we should go bowling.  Tanner agreed.  Ah-ha.  Bowling?  There is a bowling alley not far from my home.  I had been inside of it during a fundraiser, years ago.  Tiff (their Mom), Todd, Tess, Tanner and I went with an organization to raise money for "Hair For Kids".  They bowled, I chit chatted, ate, drank, bought raffles as Tiff bowled with Tanner balanced on her hip.

The boys were slightly concerned at the  admission desk, when I turned to Todd and asked:  "Do you know how to keep score?"  Todd:  "Earth, swallow me up now!  Meme!  It's 2016!  It's all computers and electronics now!  Maybe you had to keep score with pencils or something in the old days, but, really Meme?  Don't you know anything about bowling?  Didn't you ever bowl?  The gentleman behind the desk stifled a chuckle and assigned us to an alley, right in front of his station.

While putting on rented shoes, I cleared my murky bowling past by explaining:

"The last time that I picked up a bowling ball and actually tried to send it down an alley to hit pins was when I was a Junior in High School.  My friend, Eileen had a crush on a Senior, Mark.  Mark's best friend was Bob.  Mark and Bob went bowling after school on Tuesdays with the school's Bowling Club.  Eileen said: 'Laura, let's bowl on Tuesdays after school.  Bob thinks you're cute and he's Mark's best friend.'  Well, this fashionista bought a pair of light beige bowling shoes, coordinated outfits and became well acquainted with Bob.  I was relieved when the guys graduated.  There was no way that my all time high score of 27 would improve.  Yes, by the way, I saw Bob for years afterwards, but thankfully, bowling never came up.  I dated another guy who bowled regularly, but, I just watched and socialized with friends while he did."  Todd and Tanner laughed and said that they could just picture me worrying about my hair, make up, outfits and forgetting that I was supposed to be bowling.

Then, the harsh reality that we would be bowling in Todd, Tanner, Meme order set in.  The boys gave me tips, coached, tried finding the right ball for me (I wound up mooching theirs), drank a river of Sprite, cheered, booed, "No Meme!  This Way!"  Guess what?  We bowled three games and I scored 99, 100 and 87!  Todd was the champion - strikes and happy dances.  Tanner pulled in a respectable second, no dancing but plenty of wise cracks.  Me?  I think that Mr. Universe would be impressed with such strength that I displayed to continuously pick up that ball and roll it down the alley...I only slid along with it once!  I did some fancy footwork dancing the "Hey!  Did you see that?  I hit those and the pins fell down!"  Todd's response:  "See, Meme, you can bowl!  Now, try not to go down the alley with the ball and don't get tired have more pins to knock down!"  But, as it is said: No pain, no gain.  I did score, but, I broke a nail!  Oh nuts.

As we returned our bowling shoes and thanked the attendant, his pleasant face crinkled in a smile and said:  "I'm glad that you enjoyed yourself.  Boys, your Mom sure can dance!"  Todd:  "She's our grandmother and man oh man, she can dance way better than she can bowl!"

When I dropped off my two bowling buddies, I thanked Todd for calling me to pick him/them up.  Todd:  "Meme, you make everything fun" as both hugged and kissed me.  Tanner said that he was surprised that I scored at all after hearing my story.  Todd said that I should tell my old friends that I did better than 27 this time.  Me:  "I love you both so much.  But, next time, do you think you could spare a strike?"

Friday, December 25, 2015


Every Christmas season, I transform into Mrs. Claus...shhhhh....don't tell the Grandchildren.  I am hired at department stores, malls, private parties to jingle my bell wreath, spread cheer, sometimes read stories and share cookies.  I love my Mrs. Claus alter ego.  I do volunteer gigs at the local VA and assorted nursing homes.  I dress at home and arrive at assorted venues in costume.

Last Monday, I was asked by a friend to visit a nursing home.  I went, jingled bells, chatted with residents, distributed goodies with a few elves.  We had so much fun.  On the way back to my gingerbread cottage, I notice that the gas tank was totally empty.  Fumes must have carried me into a gas station.  In New Jersey, a driver remains in his/her car and an attendant pumps gas.  Not so in Ohio.  UGH...So, I got out of my vehicle decked out as the Mrs. of the Season.  Before I managed to get around the car to the tank, a young father and mother with a toddler in their back seat stopped, near the pumps.  "Hey!  You're Mrs. Claus!  Can I get your picture with my son?"  I smiled, said: "Merry Christmas!  Of course.  The little boy was tense and unsure of the prospect of a strange stranger holding him.  I suggested that the mother hold him and Dad snap the picture of us together.  He loved it.  Then, she took a picture of Dad, Toddler and me.  As they were trying to figure out a group selfie, a man pulled up in the biggest pick up truck that I have ever seen.  He jumped out of the tank and exclaimed:  "Hey, I'm running late here!  I need to fill up!  I can't get near the pumps.  What's goin' on here?  Oh my God!  Are you Mrs. Claus?"  I smiled and responded: "Hi!  Merry Christmas!"  Young Dad said: "Hey pal, give me your phone, I'll take a picture of you with Mrs. Claus!"  Pick up truck man:  "Great idea!  My pals will believe me that I'm late because I ran into Mrs. Claus if I have a picture!"  As we posed and Dad snapped, an old, old man in a rusty, rusty, old, old truck came chugging up to us.  He rolled down his window (yes, you could see the motion) and grouched: "What the heck is goin' on here?  I need gas and holy cow!  Are you Mrs. Claus?  Where's your old man?"  I smiled and said: "Merry Christmas!  He's back at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas Eve, so I'm out and about for him."  Old Man:  "Well, honey, you just get back there and tell him that I want my own oil tanker, 'cause, I need gas!"  With that Pick Up Truck man said: "Hey, relax, let me get your picture with Mrs. Claus."  Old Man got out of his car, was putting his arm around me as the longest, oldest, most pristine Cadillac pulled up with an elegant, elderly woman at the wheel.  Her window went down and she said: "I need to fill my tank.  I don't see Mrs. Claus do I?  If I tell my daughter, she will surely take my keys thinking that I'm hallucinating!"  Young Dad, as Young Mom now started chasing Toddler said:  "Come on over here M'am.  Let's get you a picture with the real Mrs. Claus to shut up your daughter!"  So, Elderly Woman eased out of her car with the assistance of Old Grouchy Man.

Eventually, cell phones, cell phone numbers were being passed around.  Group selfie shots, individual shots of potential gas station customers  being taken.  Laughing, talking, singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas!"  Then, Gas Station Manager swaggered out to the congested pump area deeply entrenched in a traffic jam.  "What's goin' on out here folks?  Oh, man, are you Mrs. Claus?  Geeze"   I maintained my character:  "Merry Christmas, Sir!  I stopped for gas and apparently drew a croud."  With this Dad asked Manager: "Hey, buddy, could you get a group shot of my friends here with me and Mrs. Claus?"  Manager grimaced, shrugged, said: "Oh, what the H---" and arranged us for an optimal photo.

Gas Station Manager, then filled my tank, told me to tell Santa how generous he was and wished me a Merry Christmas.  My other new friends, all waved as I pulled out and cried: "Thank you, Mrs. Claus!  Merry Christmas to you!"

Of all of the performing that I have done over the years, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be the MAIN ATTRACTION AT A GAS STATION!

Monday, November 30, 2015


Thanksgiving morning tradition - THE MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE!  I have never missed one in my entire life (and I am not a child).  Every Thanksgiving morning, while my Mom and Grandmother bustled around the kitchen, I sat glued to the television watching the Parade sparkle through Manhattan and round the corner in front of Macy's.  The bands, Rockettes, balloons, the performances from Broadway Musicals and the best of the best - the parade always ended as Santa Claus, in his sleigh, rode down Broadway waving.  I would call out to my Grandmother - "Nana!  Look !"  She would respond, ooo and ahhhh...My eyes would tear as I watched Santa approach...oh how I believe(d)

During High School, I did miss four parades.  I was a baton twirler and our final football game against our arch rival - Passaic Valley was held on Thanksgiving morning.  That was before days of "recording" television shows to enjoy later.

When my children were young, with their Dad, we would watch while enjoying breakfast.  My Mom still made Thanksgiving Dinner, so we could spend the time together watching, until we got ready and went to my parents' house.  When Santa pulled up the rear, yes, my eyes teared.

Todd phoned me from his home in Zanesville, Ohio.  His Mom (my daughter) was bustling around her own kitchen preparing for the holiday with her in-laws.  I sat on my couch, in Kettering, Ohio, 132 miles from them tuning in the Parade when my phone twinkled (Ring Tone sounds like Tinkerbell coming in for a landing).  "Hello?"  Twelve year old Todd:  "Hey!  Meme (may may), it's Thanksgiving!  Are you watching the parade?  I'm sitting in the living room and the parade came on the television.  I don't know where the kids are (his sister and brother, 11 and 8 years old respectively), wanna watch with me?"  I said I would love to!  With no heads blocking our view, I knew he could  "Are you comfortable?" sounded logical.  "Yep, Meme!  How about you?" Not to disturb the announcing and music, we texted for three hours as each performer, band, group, character, balloon  came into view and clowns tumbled across the screen.   We commented on the patter of the announcers, trivia, facts.  I am not wild about the red power ranger, how about that, Felix was the first balloon, here's Elmo, I don't like that song and what in the world is she wearing!  During commercials, we would grab a snack, something to drink, rehash what we had seen, speaking on our phones.

Commercial break...and then...

Finally, after three hours, as noon came upon us, there he was...Santa Claus with Mrs. Claus!  They sat majestically in the sleigh!  They waved, he repeatedly said: "Merry Christmas!" and there followed a few Ho-Ho-Ho's!  "Todd!  Do you see?  Here comes Santa!"  Todd: "Meme!  This is so exciting!  I'm so glad that we watched together!"  I replied that I would never have it any other way!  "Meme!  He's looking right at us!" (Santa caught the camera angle perfectly) "Todd, I know, I know!  Oh my!  I do believe, I do believe!"  Todd: "Meme!  Happy Thanksgiving!  I love you!  We;ll see you the day after tomorrow for our Thanksgiving,  But, we watched the best thing together!  That was all we need! To be together and have fun, sitting on our couches."  Me: "Yes, Todd, watching together and sharing the first look at Santa for the season!"  As usual, I became weepy.  All of the years past and I wanted to believe with Todd, now, Do you think he does?

Who would have thought, we watched the parade together and were very comfortable!

Monday, November 16, 2015


One Monday afternoon, as I drove along one of Kettering, Ohio's main streets, I chatted on the phone with my daughter, listening to "60's on 6", I thought that my car felt funny.  "Tiff, gee, I'm glad that this car goes back to the dealer next week for it's second and third recalls.  It just is dragging.  I have no pep, life, whatever."  Tiff, who graduated with honors in Anthropology and Archaeology used her fine mind, gave it some thought and offered: "Really?" I turned up the Radio and sang along to "Rag Doll"/

The next day,  in bright sunshine, clear skies and roads, I drove along Kettering's Dorothy Lane.  That happened to be the exact location where I noticed my dragging car the day before.  Oh, the noise and dragging was far worse than the curious car behavior that I experienced on Monday.  I slowed down, turned up the Radio and began tentatively singing "Same Old Song" (I love Motown).  Suddenly, a Red Jeep, roared up to my rear bumper.  A nice man jumped from the Jeep, waving his arms.  He screamed: "Whoa, wait!  Stop driving!  You are going to ruin the underside of your car!  You're dragging a guard rail, or something!"  I jumped out of my car, ran to the rear where he was hopping and pointing: "Didn't you hear that?  Didn't you feel that?"  There was a longish, white thing sticking out from my undercarriage and something jazzy with the rear passenger side wheel.  "Wow!" I said, "I thought that the car was dragging yesterday and something sounded clunky."  Nice Red Jeep Man: "Why did you ignore it?" Me: "Oh, I didn't.  I thought, next week, I'm glad that I am going to the dealer for recalls.  Wait until the mechanics hear/ feel this.  Then, I turned up the Radio!"

Nice Red Jeep Man was about to shake his head off of his shoulders, listening to me when a Fire Truck, lights on and all, pulled up behind his. "What's going on here?  Anyone need help?"  Three good looking, I mean gorgeous, Fire Men approached Red Jeep Man and me.  Do you think that Fire Men have to pass a "drop dead handsome" test to qualify to fight fires and rescue kookie motorists?  Anyway, Red Jeep Man said to the shortest of the trio: "Hey, help me get this thing out from under her car."  As Fire Man Number One helped Red Jeep Man, Fire Men Number Two and Three did their best to raise the rear end of the car slightly and access the damage (none) to the wheel.  Finally, my passenger side narrow lower panel was being held aloft by the victorious "extractors".

A Police Man then pulled up.  He swaggered to the new motor community, now gathered in the middle of Dorothy Lane  and said: " Hey" Don't I know you?" he said, pointing to me.  Well, he was instrumental in the wall paper in my room...speeding tickets. "What seems to be the problem here?  One at a time, please!"  Red Jeep Man: "Officer, there is no problem. We have just..." Fire Man Number One: "pulled what looks like part of her car out from under it."  Me:  "I just can't believe that!  I thought that the clunking and dragging were due to the recalls that will be taken care of next week!  I just can't stand the thought that there is something wrong with the body of the car!  I just picked it up from the body shop last week and now my car isn't perfect anymore!"  As I fought back tears, Fire Man Number Two searched for a tissue, but Fire Man Number Three was quicker and better equipped.  Police Man:  "Ma'm.."  Now that made me more angry than sad.  "Did you say that you have just picked this vehicle up from a body shop?  What was the nature of the damage that you had repaired and exactly where on this vehicle?"  As the male tide parted, I walked the length of my passenger side and pointed out the exact replacements and repairs necessary after the West Virginian van wandered my lane en route to see the Pope.  "Whoa, whoa, little lady!" (I kinda liked that better.)  said Police Man.  "Do you mean to tell me that this fell from the same side that was repaired?  Better bring this back to the body shop. This wasn't connected properly.  You probably drove and loosened it until it fell off.  What I don't get is, why did you continue driving?  A sound and drag would have nothing to do with computer system recalls to this vehicle.  I've been reading up on this!"  Unable to answer quickly, he dismissed the crowd, that I thanked profusely.

As the gentlemen prepared to pull away, Mr. Police Man turned his attention again to me: "Now, just satisfy my curiosity.  You drove this car like this yesterday, I understand.  You were driving it today.  What did you think you would do if this continued?  You were dragging pieces of your vehicle!  You stood to ruin your car!"  I thought about it for a nano-second and knowing, honesty is always the best policy, I quickly responded:  "Well, Sir, simply put:  TURN UP THE RADIO!"

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

PAPAL ROAD TRIP (or Francis Trumps WWE)

My best friend Gail were sitting on the porch of her beach house in Ocean Grove, New Jersey having a conversation about Pope Francis I's visit to New York the following month.  "Laura, we saw Pope John Paul II at the Meadowlands, years ago.  If Steve is a Deacon at St. Patrick's why are we not going to see Pope Francis in September?"  That lit my fire and I lunged for my phone.  "Hey, Steve!  You are a Jesuit Deacon at St. Patrick's!  You are on the altar regularly.  The Cardinal will host the Pope right under your nose!  Gail and I need tickets to see the Pope!"

Two weeks later, Gail and I were outfitted with tickets to see the Pope at a meet and greet in Central Park.  We were provided with official letters to cut through various degrees of red tape.  I enlisted a substitute to take my second grade Sunday School Class and fretted about wardrobe.


My phone sounds like Tinkerbell coming in for a landing.  About three days before I was to leave Ohio to journey to New York, my phone twinkled.  It was Todd, now twelve years old.  "Hey Meme! (may-may)  Mommy said you are going to see the Pope!  How could you go without me!  We go to Catholic School!  I feel on fire when we are at Mass!  How could you not let me meet the Pope without me?"  What could I do?  "Todd, don't you have a three day science camping thing with your school on those days?  You would miss it!"  He pierced through cyber space with: "It's a Catholic school, Meme!  Of course I want to see the Pope!"  So, I did what every logical, practical grandmother would do: "Todd, don't worry, we're leaving on Wednesday.  You will see Pope Francis!  Road Trip!"


I phoned Steve.  Did I mention that we divorced fifteen years ago?  "Steve, Todd is coming with me.  I need a letter for him, a ticket for him for whatever.  He's counting on us to pull this off!"  Response: "There is no way!  I just don't think that I can do it!"  Refusing to accept that, I said: "Work your magic, pray, do something.  Todd must come along and see the Pope!  That's that!"  Response:  "Always a pleasure talking to you, Laura.  Just speak up and make yourself clear.  I'll see, but I doubt it."


I campaigned, phoned, texted just so that he wouldn't forget.  I prayed and whined.  St. Jude has a headache, no doubt.  At Mass I silently ranted prayers for Todd to be able to come to New York with me.  As I stood in the garage working on a painting project, I prayed and prayed and prayed.  Tinkerbell landed and my phone twinkled like a starry night.  It was Steve!  "Bring Todd along.  He's in!  He can come to the Pope's arrival at the Cathedral."  I did the happy, thank you dance as I phoned Todd and told him to start packing.  The next morning, the situation got better...official letter and ticket to go to the Central Park Meet and Greet!  And then, miracles just kept falling into my lap!  We attained yet another ticket.  Gail's sister in law said that the night before, she just knew that she would see the Pope...she did!


We left full of joy and expectations!  Todd took charge of the radio, we sang, laughed, planned our dinner, knew we would make it to the hotel half way in time for a swim in the pool.  We were delayed by an hour and a half by a van driven by a woman who evidently did not see us and side swiped my car in West Virginia.  We were not hurt, the car ran, so we continued.  It did get tiresome for Todd to climb in and out of the car over the console since his door no longer opened, but, hey...we were off to see the Pope.  He reminded me that his brother and sister had the pleasure of a deer totaling my other car, so now, he finally was in an accident with me.  The Road Warrior and I made our way, missing one bus into the City from New Jersey, falling over each other to get the next one and finally met Grandpa, aka, Steve for lunch before THE MAIN EVENT!


Todd watched Pope Francis enter the Cathedral!  He was so thrilled that his legs were pumping to move, but never hit the ground!  As he made eye contact, Todd simply stopped breathing in his excitement and overwhelming awe.

Like a native New Yorker, we hoped the subway to return to the Port Authority for the bus back into New Jersey, missed that one, had dinner at one of the restaurants at Port Authority and managed to knock over four people to catch the next bus out!

True to my form, Gail, Jackie, Todd and I missed a bus into New York on the morning of the Central Park Meet and Greet.  Luckily, another came quickly.  Upon exiting the Port Authority, we lunged at a taxi driver, who was content to compete for the Winston Cup as he careened to the 61st Street entrance of the Park.  The people waiting were nice, peaceful.  There was an atmosphere of cooperation, consideration, party, joy.  Todd befriended a student his age from Ireland where just being twelve and enamored by the Pope (and possibly missing school) was enough of a bond.   By the time Pope Francis came through, three of four of us had dead cameras!  That gave me the opportunity to fully engage with the aura of Francis.  I observed onlookers.  People were crying out:  "Papa!" and "Francis!"  Women were crying, reaching out.  There had been a rather large, solid, inexpressive man waiting.  As Francis passed, he wiped a tear from his steely eye.  Todd, since we were in key, ideal places, simply stood with his new friend, a few feet from our Pontiff and came away with amazing photos!  I was glad that he was breathing this time.  Acting as his agent, I took phone numbers from those around us to send them his pictures.

 His camera, to date is wonkie.  We cannot get the photos!  We have to go to Apple to figure out why!  Can you believe that?  Well, if you are familiar with us, you most certainly can!

Gail, Jackie and I reverently returned to New Jersey while Todd stayed in New York with Grandpa for the night.  On our last day, the boys joined me in New Jersey.  After Mass at my home parish, Todd and I headed West.


As we rehashed and talked about our adventure, kidded about the car and camera over dinner, before checking into a hotel, again, mid way home, for the night we spoke as if we had dream walked through the previous few days.  Still in awe, still feeling the glow of the spirit.


As we settled in, knowing that home was only a few hours away, Todd said: "You know, Meme, it was really nice of the Pope to come all the way to New York to see us and Aunt Gail.  Now it's our turn to visit him at his house next.  And, thank you Meme.  These were the best days of my life!", visit Francis at the Vatican?  And, how about this:  Until this moment, the best night of Todd's life was Road to Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden, in February.  So, the Pope trumps WWE!  And that's how it should be!