It’s Time For A Change

 

Times They Are A Changin’
My daughter Izzy left for school this morning but before she left she cheek to cheek bump me and said, “have a great day, beautiful man”.  I stood at the kitchen sink and was both glad to be blessed with such wonderfully loving daughters but sadden that a face bumped and a have a good day somehow now counts the same as an old fashion hug and a kiss.  When did that change happen?  It reminded me that times do change as Bob Dylan wrote in “Times They Are A Changin” (I love this cover of Dylans song by Brandi Carlile so I included it here.).  It became the change anthem for the 60’s… But back then we were more tactile and gave strong hand shakes or dapped, pinched each others cheeks, hugged and spun one another around with embraces that felt like they meant something….

But do we ever really change?

In the 60’s America was in knots much like we are now.  Political, social, race, drugs, war and environment issues divided us as much as they do today.  Listen to Dylan’s lyrics in this song and I’ll bet you agree that they are just as relevant today which makes me think life is more of a cycle than ever changing.   American’s go from being at odds with one another with lines drawn in the sand to coming together over tragedy, victory and things we have in common mostly..  When we come together we express our unity with old fashion bear hugs, smackola kisses and genuine smiles that fill our souls.  This Thanksgiving let’s shake off the Politics, News, War, Race and that which divides us and come together … and be just plan old thankful for a change.

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family and sharing…

My change plan is to go old school this year… it is time for a change…back to the future so to speak.  When family comes to dinner this year bring back the big hugs, smackola smooches and be truly thankful you are blessed to have them all…   for as the song goes:  As the present now, Will later be past, enjoy them while you got them….the times they are a changin’

Have a great day !

Song By: Brandi Carlile and the twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Packy’s

 

Its Sunday night and the Patriots (Pats) are playing the Kansas City Chiefs at home on a cold October, New England night. There is no better place to be on a night like this than to be sitting in a recline-ah (recliner) sipping on an ice cold “bottle” of beer while watching the Pats. In my world that’s liv’in large baby….

Before the game I stock up on libations at the local “Packy” before kick off.  My local package store “Leary’s” is historicalbeer1 as it has been in continuous operation in the same space since 1897.  It claims to be the oldest Packy in Massachusetts.  The building was constructed in 1876 and was originally a warehouse for Caldwell’s a Rum Distillery just across the street. Old photographs of the place show horse drawn carriages with beer barrels and in later years Model T’s loaded for deliveries. Most of the locals back in the day’s before cars used to come to Leary’s with buckets and pails to get their beer and rum. I’m not so sure I’d have ever made it the 10+ blocks back home if I was carrying a pail…a lad might get pretty thirsty walking that far I wager.

IMG_2681So why do we call it a liquor store a Packy ?
It’s short for “package store”.   I suppose like everything around here in the NE we say things differently.   Like, bang a right woodjah, Let’s watch the Pats in the pahlah… or pass the clickah I wanna change the channel…. One thing we never say is, “Pahk the Kaah in Hahvahd Yahd”…because we know there no freaking pahikn in the Harvard yards…. or anywhere else around Harvard Sq.

Another thing about people in New England is we also do not like to be seen carrying booze around the streets… Why? ….Because we believe it’s nobody’s business what we drink and especially how much!  We even went so far as to have the state legislature mandate that our Mass State liquor stores sell all their goods in brown paper bags “AKA” packages.

 

I have always had a place in my heart for a real Packy.  Buying booze from a big box store or supermarket just does not have the same mystique. I remember the 1st time I ever legally bought beer at Easy Ed’s in Cambridge… we called it Easy Ed’s because he never asked for an ID and he always thanked me for my business.  Leary’s is the Easy Ed’s of Newburyport.  The beer is cold and the service is great…  It’s almost game time and I’ll be settling into the old recliner shortly…cold beer in one hand and the clicka for replay and volume control in the other.

PS..  Pats kicked a field goal in the last minutes of the game to beat KC in yet another come from behind win…  Come backs just never get old for Pats fans. If the KC Chiefs stop by our Packy’s tonight on their way out of town … We’ll pack their booze (Boo’s)  in brown paper bags to give then something to wear home…

 

The Value of A Coin

uss-constitution-009Silver Dollar Salute – Coins play a unique part in Military tradition. My first introduction to their history was after saluting a friend who had just received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, aboard the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides).

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By tradition, the silver dollar is a coin given in exchange of the very first salute received as an officer. While the coin may be just one dollar, it represents a value far greater to both the giver and the receiver. To new officers it represents a memorial of their newly earned rank the memory it makes and their part in American history.

Organizational Coins Beyond the Military – Challenge coins are now being used by many different organizations. In the federal government, everyone from Secret Service agents to White House Staff have their own coins. Probably the coolest coins are those used to commemorate major events such as the Superbowl and Ironman Championships.

IMG_2601I received this coin from another fellow US Marine Dave Orlowski.  He is one of the original 15 Ironman athletes (third place finisher) of the 1st Inaugural Ironman held on February 18, 1978, in Oahu, Hawaii. Dave motivated me to complete my 1st Ironman and flew to Lake Placid NY to cheer, coach and support me through to finish. This coin given to me then symbolizes our brotherhood and the Spirit of Ironman that Dave helped create.

Challenge Coins – For those of you that have never heard of a Challenge Coin the short story is it’s a military or organization commemorative coin. They are exchanged by members of an organization to instill unit pride, brotherhood and esprit de corps or to reward hard work and excellence.

I received my first Military Challenge Coin from Sgt. Michael Paquette a Marine and fellow Military Policeman. It’s special to me and is symbolic of our brotherhood.

CoinUSMC1-3front-AMany service members proudly carry and or display challenge coins at their desks or homes, showing off the many missions they’ve been on and the units for which they’ve worked.

Looking back I find it nearly impossible to know for certain where the tradition of challenge coins truly began. One thing is certain though: Coins and military service go way back in history.

One of the earliest known examples of an enlisted soldier being monetarily rewarded for valor took place in Ancient Rome. If a soldier performed well in battle that day, he would receive his typical day’s pay, and a separate coin as a bonus.

Some accounts say that the coin was specially minted with a mark of the legion from which it came, prompting some men to hold on to their coins as a memento, rather than spend them on women and wine.

Just Wait A Memento – This is where the story gets interesting… Think about this one moment…. Down through history enlisted soldiers are out on the town on a payday weekend, money and a prestigious commemorative coin in their pockets enjoying wine and woman… What do you think happens to those commemorative coins when their pay is gone? Who buys the drinks now?

The answer was that those glorious bastards figured out a way to hold on to their commemorative coins… and to continue partying…How???
They created the Coin Challenge!

THE COIN CHALLENGE

  • THE RULES – The challenge is initiated by drawing your coin, holding it in the air by whatever means possible and state, scream, shout or otherwise verbally acknowledge that you are initiating a coin check. Another, but less vocal method is to firmly place it on the bar, table, or floor (this should produce an audible noise which can be easily heard by those being challenged, but try not to leave a permanent imprint.) If you accidentally drop your coin and it makes an audible sound upon impact, then you have just “accidentally” initiated a coin check. (This is called paying the price for improper care of your coin.)
  • The response consists of all those persons being challenged drawing their coin in a like manner.
  • If you are challenged and are unable to properly respond, you must buy a round of drinks for the challenger and the group being challenged. In Vietnam is rumored that battle tested infantryman used this challenge to force non-combat soldier into buying the house a round.
  • If everyone being challenged responds in the correct manner, the challenger must buy a round of drinks for all those people they challenged.
  • Failure to buy a round of drinks is a despicable crime and will require that you turn-in your Coin.

Presenting The Challenge Coin.

img_2600.jpgAs with anything that is personal and meaningful presentation of a Challenge Coin is ceremonial. Traditionally, the presentation of a coin is passed during a handshake.  Recently on of our fellow Marines required a critical operation involving his heart. The surgeon is a field decorated Army surgeon who practices at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell in New York. After the successful operation we commemorated his service to our brother with the following Challenge Coin. It symbolizes our unbreakable bond for the service he rendered to our friend and brother Marine. We passed this coin along with our handshake to the Doc… and it symbolizes our eternal gratitude.

So how is a coins value determined?

“Most coins lose their value when spent; yet a Challenge Coin gains its value when rendered”.

He Be Boozie!

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Have you ever been in conversation when a magnificent word is used and it fits so tightly into the point of the message that it brings a smile to your face? Well if you have then I believe you too enjoy uncommon words. Words can be like dessert; they can sweeten a sentence making it a treat to consume.

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The word Blah (often used consecutively i.e. Blah, Blah, Blah) was created to describe a conversation of uninteresting, bloated words that leave the listener feeling stuffed. The alternate to boring, overly used words is Slang….  I overheard a conversation today where a man described a woman as Boozie. Curious to know the meaning of “Boozie” I sought the assistance of Webster’s dictionary “ and found “We couldn’t find a direct reference for the term Boozie”.

words2Words have history, origin (also known as etymology), form and meaning, which can change over time.   Since Boozie wasn’t in the common dictionary I reasoned that it it must be a Slang word.
Most Slang words can be found the Urban Dictionary.    Caution: The Urban Dictionary is raw….similar to Wikipedia the Urban Dictionary was developed as an open source of contributors which made it the Wild West of dictionaries.

Here is what I found concerning the word Boozie.

Boozie – A boozie is another word for someone Supa-fly.  

It has nothing to do with booze, or anything else like that. (Drugs, Alchohol, Sex, and more drugs) It is clearly a lovely compliment to give someone. The person who receives the compliment should be overjoyed with glee.

 Used in a sentence –      AYYEEEE, BOOZIE!! HOW YOU BE?!
Word Authored by by RAYDAWGGG January 08, 2010

Sounds harmless right? You might be asking yourself what’s Wild West about that??

I invite you to spend a few minutes roaming through the exquisite world of slang…The American Urban Dictionary of Slang to be more accurate. It will blow your mind.

Here is another morsel to tempt you forward.

Let’s see hmmmm.. Text Massage (as in deep tissue) …no it isn’t misspelled … here is it’s meaning… Notice: at the advisement of my wife I have neutered this definition ...

Text Massage – When you receive a text and your phone is resting against your  Somewhere, causing the vibration to massage Something….

Used in a sentence: “What was that face, dude” “I just got the nicest text massage from my Blackberry”   Authored by VPforVP April 18, 2012

During my journey though the Urban Dictionary got a bit of education in Urbanology. Influenced by the many different cultures and sayings we bring from our ethnic and regional backgrounds it mixes together creating a very colorful language. There is so much out there today you won’t have to search hard to find an Urban word to match what you need to describe. I get asked what life is like now that I’m retired… My answers to date have grown boring so I consulted my new book of words…and there it was….

boozhee    (Not to be confused with Boozie)

booZhee is a lifestyle of someone who is hip and savvy, with educated and discerning tastes, and interested in enjoying the finer things in life.

It is definitely not high-class, aristocratic, snooty, or snobbish.
booZhee is as much an idea, and a state of mind of a person’s unique life experiences and likes, as it is an attitude towards enjoying good food, friends, and conversation, everyday. 
booZhee evokes a mood of simple elegance, casual yet sophisticated—modern.      by Wayne Quinn April 16, 2014

Used in a Sentence:

Hey Fergy… How’s dat retirement man?!

You be looking Boozie! 

Yo Bro… life be booZhee for shizzle!

Family Camping Trips: Fun for kids but what’s in it for parents?

 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0313.JPGLet’s face it there are a lot of chores to do before, during and after a camping trip. The kids get conscripted to do some but the main load of the work (packing, setting up, cooking, driving, overall logistics, etc.…) is left to the parents. So what’s in it for us? Why do we do this year after year?

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Well there are the obvious health benefits, fresh air, socializing with friends, exercise, eating like a king (food always tastes better outside for some reason).

I’m leaving out the restful sleep part due to a continual deflating mattress situation….you might think I would have figured this one out after the 1st year, but no,  it’s Fergy in a hot dog bun…which I do not relish! See what I did there?

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Now….that the tent is dried out and repacked, the sleeping bags are aired out, the cooking, cleaning and bug spray products are all put back in the box, I’m thinking over the cost/benefit analysis of the whole camping excursion. Not speaking for every parent I have a short list of things I feel most grateful for during our camping trip.  There is no cell service, cell phones, lap tops, Facebook, Snap-chat…or any other social interaction other than each other for the kids.  That to me is a miracle in our society today.  I challenge anyone to walk the street, check out a school bus stop or any other public place to find a kid without their face glued to their cell phone.

 

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Camping gives them a chance to interact person to person, playing instead of texting with each other.  Funny thing ….laughter breaks out a lot when kids pay attention to one another and not their devices.  Now I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t say that parents are also disciples of the almighty cell phone as well.  But we are kids too (albeit somewhat older but not necessarily more mature) and just like our kids we follow the same patterns of behavior and get our social on during camping trips also.  See Tucker’s cool corner below;

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As a parent,  I really enjoyed watching the kids and the dogs have fun in the sun and the rain which we had plenty of.  I loved that they had to paddle 6+ miles on their own or together with another kid.

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They ate like starving Bengal tigers, then planted themselves down in front of the campfire exhausted from a none stop day of playing.  As the evening grew dark their eyes drooped and getting them into their sleeping bags was not an issue.
It’s events like this where kids learn to interact with adults, each other, animals and the environment.  They do what comes natural in non traditional settings…they look out for one another, encourage each other and generally play nice.  That to me is what’s in it for us as parents…  What more can we ask for?  I suppose we could have the kids take charge and the parents spend time playing.   Then instead of fresh perked coffee, fluffy cinnamon pancakes, sausage, bacon, mixed fruit, OJ, etc. ….the kids would be serving Lucky Charms for breakfast, Coco Puffs for lunch and Oreo O’s for dinner ….with a side of bacon of course…  That’s what’s in it for us.  On to next year…

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A Grammy Award

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This week I received two short notes in the mail from my daughter Colleen.  She wrote to say she was thinking about her grandmother (Grammy) and thought to share her thoughts with me.  In the broader scope of things today where everyone is a star, a winner and a hero we loose sight of an award that is truly valuable and timelessly enduring.

There is no greater honor bestowed on any person than to be loved and cherished in the hearts and minds of their family and friends…  I accept this award on Grammy Ferguson’s behalf.  Take a bow lady…

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Mobile Meditation

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Today I passed by this old barn and had to turn back around to capture an image.  The boards were bleached by the sun and stained by the splash backs of rain and slush. Each knot and grain of the barn boards marked the passage of time and an endurance of seasons.  Like me ….

Sometimes during a ride you find yourself in the middle of nowhere; and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself…. Inspirational Quote. Finding Yourself. Old Barns in Small Towns.