My Blog

A big man leaves a big hole…

It’s been a while since I posted anything here.

My apologies – life has been keeping me very busy. In the last few weeks, my Brasileira has returned with me to the US, I lost a dear member of our family, I’ve worked way too many 12 hour shifts in a row and yesterday we got married. That’s pretty much it. What’s new with you?

On July 7, Monica and I left Rio de Janeiro’s airport and flew overnight to Miami, where we landed just after 4am, and cleared immigration with no problems. The immigration officer on duty looked at Monica’s visa and asked us to step into a room where another officer worked at a computer for about 5 minutes before reminding me that I had 90 days to marry Monica (a feature of her K-1 visa) or she had to leave. That’s it. No other questions – he didn’t even speak to Monica.

The flight to PHL was uneventful and the trusty Explorer was at the car park waiting for our return. We arrived home pretty tired from the trip. After unpacking and making a grocery run, I returned a phone call and found out that a member of my extended family had died unexpectedly. We made arrangements to drive to Tunkhannock, PA (NE of Scranton) the next morning.

Just a few words about my uncle. The term “old school” was invented for him. My cousins are about the same ages as myself and my brother. We spent a few weeks every summer at their house in Dushore, PA, surrounded by woods, fishing ponds a barn full of neat stuff – just a paradise for growing boys and a welcome retreat from the both-parents-are working-living-in-suburbia alternative. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that these yearly trips (over 300 miles round trip) were always in my uncle’s car. He drove down to get my brother and myself, just so we could have a slice of rural life in our boyhood. The memories of our time up there are cherished. Joe will never know how much those few weeks meant to me.

Uncle Joe was a man that respected and understood nature. There were always critters of some sort running around on his farm, and he was always willing to show them to anyone interested. I remember sheep, birds, a raccoon, bunnies and other cool things that he was always willing to share with us. He was a patient man – one who could take the time to understand even his dogs. Some of the most well-behaved and delightful dogs I have ever met were found in or around Joe and Claire’s house. There was always a horse (sometimes two) and I remember doing some riding – something that otherwise I would never have done.

Joe was married to his wife Claire for 52 years. What more can you say?

Joe attended mass every week. He was a Catholic, but he didn’t wear that on his sleeve – his entire life was a testament to his faith. He spent a lot of time doing volunteer work to help those who were short of food. He would help anyone, anytime and anywhere.

He was a man’s man. He had big, strong hands that could crush yours in a handshake – but didn’t. Those big hands softly carried many baby birds to safety. He spoke quietly most of the time, and I can never remember hearing him say anything bad about anyone. I remember watching him shoot a snake swimming on top of his pond years ago. One .22 shot was all that it took- from across the pond. He kept in very close touch with his sons – speaking to them every day. He had a mechanical mind and could repair almost anything – he retired from P&G after 27 years in maintenance.

Our world is a much poorer place than it was before July 9. There’s a big hole….






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