Six months after my wedding in 1962, my father handed me an ultimatum that stated “You are a married man now…you must join the Lodge so you can have a burial plot.” The Lodge was called the “First Kopyczyncer Young Men’s Independent Lodge.” It was formed by the landsmen from my father’s village in Poland.
I tried to put it off as long as possible because I was just married and had opened a dental practice on Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens. My father persisted, so I joined the group for their monthly meetings at Ratner’s Restaurant on Delancey Street on the Lower East Side.
The whole country continues to mourn the deaths of 20 children and six adults who died in last month’s school shooting in Newtown, CT. And while we wait for the motive to emerge and policy proposals to surface, we can speak out now on behalf of families who need greater access to mental health treatment and other social services that ultimately will prove more effective in protecting and strengthening all of us; children, adults and our communities.
As the head of a human services organization, I believe it is part of our mission to inform and educate the public on important issues facing today’s families in a balanced and professional manner. As the result of this tragic event, there will be a temptation to look for quick answers; overly simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions.
For eight years my wife and I have been staying near Whitney Beach on Longboat Key, Florida. For the first time it has two huge tidal pools, which I call Lake Victoria #1 and #2. These tidal pools, stretching for almost half a mile, not only have given this beach the look of a wild coast, but appear to have attracted more birds to this already avian rich beach.
On a recent morning thick fog covers the beach, making it mysterious. Two laughing gulls, a willet, a black-bellied plover and some brown pelicans are early morning habitués. Two ruddy turnstones, birds that turn over anything and everything, looking for a morsel, are at the end of lake Victoria #1. One is preening, the other digging. A black-bellied plover flies. I‘ve seen more of these birds in a few days here than in some winters and wonder if the tidal pools have attracted them.
It’s hard to imagine that the advantage could be so great since relatively few people use these putters. Tiger Woods doesn’t like them and you hardly ever see them employed by casual players. The golfing community seems to be coalescing around the idea that there’s something wrong about these ungainly putters, and that they shouldn’t be part of the game.
I was pleased to hear that the Plainview Water District got so many donations this year for the Toys For Tots program, along with other local collection sites. Unfortunately, I haven’t donated many toys myself this year (although I have in years past), in part because I was too scared to face the crowds and the lines at the toy stores.
Disappointed with my 2012 toy donations, I’ve decided that in 2013, I will buy toys all year round, while the stores are nice and peaceful. I can hoard toys and pretend they’re for me, but then redeem myself come holiday time, when Long Island children’s organizations will see a deluge of fashion dolls, stuffed pandas and coloring books emerge from the depths of my closet. It’s win-win.
Happy Holidays to everyone in the community, and I hope some of you will join me in stocking up on toys next year—what’s not to like?
The Nassau County legislature made a misguided decision, born of partisan politics, on July 5, 2012, to cut $7.3 million from youth, chemical dependency and mental health services for tens of thousands of people.
The decision to defund human services in July led to months of protests by human-services providers, parents and youths. In an attempt to draw wider attention to the impact of the budget cuts, one of the affected agencies, STRONG Youth, Inc., a gang-prevention and intervention program that lost all of its funding, staged a symbolic funeral for youth services at the Hempstead Pentecostal Church, in Hempstead, on August 2, 2012.
In the column “An Abuse of Power,” Ronald Scaglia says that “Now...is our chance to use our ‘power’ to hold others accountable for their actions.” I’d also consider their inactions, and their words/promises. And the first person to hold accountable is Governor Cuomo, who tough-talkingly promised to hold LIPA accountable this time after Sandy—despite his own failure to do so during the 14 months following LIPA’s abysmal performance after Hurricane Irene.
As a lad growing up in the East Bronx, I carried an Albatross around my neck. Like the Ancient Mariner, I had committed an unpardonable sin. My sin: I rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, while living in the Bronx. All those Yankee lovers chose to make my life miserable.
What seemed like every year (except for 1955), the Yankees embarrassed the Dodgers in the World Series. It was difficult to walk the streets without being hooted at by some DiMaggio, Henrich or Charlie Keller fan. I just did what they said to do in the musical, The King and I: “I just held my head up high and whistled a happy tune.”
My wife and I are currently spending our eighth winter on Longboat Key, which is on Florida’s west coast near Sarasota. Most of my mornings start on Whitney Beach across from where we stay. When the beach is bird-rich, a big morning can start soon after you set foot on the sand. This was what it was like one day last winter.
The first bird I see is a great blue heron swooping very low across the sand toward a gray and salmon colored horizon. The heron lands near a person who is looking for shells. The blue seems to be waiting for throwaways, apparently having mistaken the shell collector for a fisherman. Realizing no meal is forthcoming, the hungry heron quickly leaves.
Continuing our voyage on the Adriatic Sea, next was the alluring peninsula of Split on the Dalmatian coast. Split is the second largest city in Croatia. The history of Split must include the Emperor Diocletian. He took power in 284 AD and stepped down in 305 AD. Emperor Diocletian built a large walled palace in the Roman style with an aqueduct, which is still in use. The town today is a paradise for tourists. Split joined Croatia when the Yugoslavian state broke up in 1991. The beautiful port of Split was built along the easily defended and finest harbor in the Adriatic.
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