Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beers at the Hosey with Schmidty

Last night I ended up at the hosey for a couple beers. For those of you who don't know, the "hosey" is a regionally colloquial term for the fire house social club. I don't know how it originated, possibly from the word 'fire hose'. I hear it across the Mid-Atlantic states. I usually have to explain it to anyone outside of Jersey or PA.

Chicken of the Sea Sardines
My hosey is the Summit Station Fire Company where I actually bartended for a couple years. When I go there, I see friends, play the games of chance, chill out with the awesome bartenders Snoopy and Janet, and knock back a couple of cheap brews. One of the gambling games you can play  are the punch boards where you get 10 punches for $1.00. You can win prizes such as a large bag of chips, a box of Tasty Cakes, a mini-hunting knife, a jar of tomato sauce, a bottle of laundry detergent and other pretty crazy odd stuff which you may or may not use everyday.  

Last night, John was on one side of me playing the punch boards for 3 cans of Chicken of the Sea sardines. Now I would've tried the punch board to win a jar of peanut butter, but that's just me. I was hanging out with my good friend John Schmidt on my other side, who also lives in my community, Lake Wynonah, and hangs out at the Lake Wynonah Lodge when I now bartend.

Schmidty (as I call him) will do anything for anyone; he is a true genuinely friend. He's a Vietnam Veteran with a heart of gold and seen things, experienced life to the fullest - the best and the worst. He is an old soul. There are only a couple of other men I consider just as wise as he.

Me n' Schmidty
Schmidty has also become my unofficial volunteer security guy at the Lodge, hanging out patiently until the end to make sure the bartenders are alright. And one more plug for Schmidty, he sings and helped form a Philly doo-wop acapella group, 2nd Chance. Check out their website at .  These guys are so good; they are the Real McCoy when it comes to acapella doo-wop groups!

Anyway, John had just won the three cans of sardines and Schmidty and I began bustin' on his ass for even playing for the them! He shrugged and said he wanted to get them for camping and then I changed my tune because they are actually a really good camping/hiking snack. They are high in minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and contain a whopping 37 grams of protein per 1 cup serving! (You learn something new every day, huh? LOL.)

Schmidty leans over to me and says, "Oh I looove sardines, they are good!"
"Yeah," I began, "they are pretty good, I'm just messing with John. That's actually a good idea, gettin' them for camping. I remember when my brother Adam and I would eat them as kids for an after school snack. We would eat just can after can of them!"
"And Marc, they are so good for you, so healthy," he replied.
"And do you know what the best part of them are, Schmidty?" I asked.
"When my brother and I would eat them, we loved ...."
And we both said at the same time, "CRUNCHING ON THE BONES!"

Schmidty and I started laughing and laughing. We couldn't believe we had the very same strange thought. My memories came flooding back of my brother and I freaking out my sister Sheryl by crunching on the sardine bones and eating them.

Life is full of these incredibly unique and yet odd experiences. And sometimes, you connect with wonderful genuine people you would never expect to like me and Schmidty. Two generations of men, who just enjoy sitting down and conversing about the meaning of life over bottles of beer, laughing (and sometimes crying) about what we've gone through. But MOSTLY laughing. And sometimes talking about ridiculous shared experiences like eating sardine bones.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Twin Towers

This past month marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11, that day of horror where America was forever changed by terrorism with the multiple attacks on our country. I have close friends who were there that crisp September morning. I have friends of friends who lost someone when the Twin Towers fell. Most of us remember where we were that fateful day.

9/11 has become another day in which you ask your friends, "Where were you?" It is reminiscent of the day the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded, the day President Reagan was shot, or for our folks, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. These are days of infamy forever etched in our mind, meant to separate and weaken but they have only succeeded in making us stronger and closer.

Twin Towers  at night, July 2001 (source: Wikipedia)
I have a couple of books on 9/11 and spent the day going through them and watching the historical coverage on TV. The story I want to recount was a special memory I have of the Twin Towers, from the year before.

My memory of the World Trade Center is a rather specifically quirky one. I traveled up to NYC in September 2000, exactly one year before with my best friend David. We were going to spend the evening dining, clubbing and bar hopping, and then take the train back the following day. We traveled up that Monday evening, the 11th of September of 2000,

David and I stayed at the Marriott Downtown Financial Center. now called the New York Marriott Downtown, at 85 West Street in NYC. It was just one half block from the World Trade Center. We had a corner room with an awesome view of the Hudson River. On the other side of the hotel, the Twin Towers loomed overhead to the north.

After some predinner drinks, we ate at a restaurant called Lucky Cheng's on the lower East Side. Lucky Cheng's is a great fun place which hosts an interactive drag show while you eat dinner. The cuisine is Asian fusion with a possible side of insults and great entertainment thrown your way. We had a blast. We the hit the bars and clubs and from what I remember, had quite the evening of merriment and mayhem.

At one point, I got separated from David. Just prior, I remember telling him not to worry if it happened and I'd meet him back at the hotel. At 3:30 AM, I found myself wandering around the Village, not sure actually in which direction the hotel was. I was getting a bit nervous, not being able to find a cab. I was so turned around, I didn't know which way the hotel was! I walked for what seemed like forever, but was probably just a couple more blocks.

Dave and Myself, NYC, Sept 2000
I remember crossing a street and looking across a little pocket park and what did I see off in the distance? The Twin Towers fully lit up at night, shining and rising above all of the buildings. They were a ways off but it was a sign on which direction I needed to go. I let out a deep sign of relief and crisscrossed streets and parks trying the keep the World Trade Center towers in my sights. I eventually was able to hail a cab and made it back to the hotel.

David read me the riot act thinking I was lying dead in the gutter. I took my medicine because that's what best friends are for, right? To let you know when you've fucked up. I was just happy to be back after being lost. I have never forgotten looking up and being to happy so see those gleaming towers even in the middle of the night to lead my way. After sleeping several hours, we got up around 10 AM, checked out, and had brunch nearby.

David and I had such a fun time, we decided to return to NYC the next year, the very same weekend and make it a yearly trip. I booked the reservation at the same hotel one half block away from the World Trade Center for Monday evening, September 10, 2001, and check out September 11, 2001. I don't remember the reason why, but we cancelled the room about a week before. Something had come up. Of course I got through my mind thinking what if??? My thoughts then turn to remember the horror and tragedy which happened to all of those poor souls who lost their lives or were injured that day. G-d bless them.

Well it's been 15 years since the attack. I've been back but I never went back with David. I think its time we take that trip up again and tour the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.