Blissful Moments With Just the Right Amount of Terror

A rare occasion: all seems well aboard the Barrel of Monkeys

A rare occasion: all seems well aboard the Barrel of Monkeys

My dad would have turned 60 this week. He exemplified all the phrases the French use to describe an excellent human being – joie de vivre, je ne sais quoi…OK, I’m out. Je ne parle pas Francais. (Thanks, Google Translate!) But you get what I mean. You really and truly cannot find a soul on God’s green earth that had met my dad and didn’t love him. Well, except for the people he cut off on the road and on the sea – not the world’s greatest driver of cars and certainly not of boats, as you’re about to find out. To honor this occasion, I solicited happy memories and hilarious stories of my father’s many mishaps. I was shooting for 60, but I should have known this request would far surpass my expectations.

Below are submissions from family and friends presented in no particular order and with minimal editing, save for some snarky insertions from yours truly. Because most people had several stories to share, I tried to keep these in bite-sized chunks. To me, the most astounding thing is that there were so few repeats of stories, except the broken wine jugs and the fruit flies. You’ll see common themes: lots of vacation follies and a lot of people sensing they were in danger while out on our old boat, the Barrel of Monkeys. Yet, we all kept taking trips and setting sail – not wanting to miss the adventure. I stole the title from AJ’s story, the last of the bunch. I promise it will make sense when you get to Uncle Anthony’s stories.  Continue reading


Some Angst, Some Thanks – the Usual

Last week, I had a few really vivid dreams. In one of them, I had a wiener dog. It was awesome. In the other, though, I walked around Boston with my dad. In some ways, it was also awesome. Let me explain…

Today marks five years since his death. This past September began my fourth year in Boston. Sometimes I forget that just about everything in my life has changed since then. Were he to come back for day, he would find my day-to-day completely unrecognizable. And so, in a weird way, I actually kind of enjoyed this dream I had. Its premise was that he didn’t actually die on Nov. 27, 2009, but for some reason had been in a coma since then and recently woke up, a little bit like a bizarre Encino Man sequel starring a middle-aged attorney. He and I strolled Boston, I pointed out various landmarks that figured into my new life and we stopped for beers are several pubs along the way. We talked all about beer and he seemed pretty impressed with my new fermentation-filled life. Even though it technically never happened, it almost felt like closure. Continue reading

Happy Birthday Dad

Well, times certainly have changed.

Well, times certainly have changed.


Today, my dad would have turned 58. Since he’s no longer with us, I wanted to do something to mark the day (pun actually not intended) and yesterday had a stroke of slightly selfish genius. Whenever I would come up to Massachusetts to visit Ryan, Dad would always – without fail – ask if we went to Pizzeria Regina. We never did during the long distance days, but have split pies on several occasions since I moved.

He had probably visited Regina about three times in the preceding 15 years. I’d assume he first encountered the North End’s finest pizza (in my not-so-humble opinion) while visiting Aunt Celeste. He dragged a big group of us there to eat in 2004 during the DNC pretty late at night after a then-14-year-old AJ got us turned away from a 21-plus party. When a satellite opened in Paramus, he drove many miles out of his way to get it. This I don’t really understand, because everyone knows Regina’s just regular pizza outside the North End. You need the original oven to get the good stuff. And, besides, in New Jersey, Reservoir is just as good.

But I digress.

It would have felt wrong to let the day pass without acknowledging it and yet I’m entirely sure how I’ve spent it the past two years in Boston. Maybe I went home? I don’t know. Continue reading