For Father’s Day.

Jack Reingold

It is a genuine mind-bender to realize that I am older than most of the photos I have of my father.

This photo was taken when he was 36-38 years old sometime around 1952. I may have been two years old when he worked for Bell Telephone labs in New Jersey. Doesn’t he look good? (I wish I looked as good today.)

It has been 20 years since my dad passed away and I still remember my struggle to come up with a gift, some gesture, some way to honor him each Father’s day. What did he need or want? Another tie? Another wallet? Really?

I couldn’t see giving him yet another object that he really did not need in a color he would never have chosen for himself – and then have to thank me for it.

Eventually, I stopped giving him gifts altogether; when I moved away the best he could hope for was a phone call (if I remembered)

I wish I had his LifeBook here to remember and celebrate him this Sunday.

Offers Paul  (


The Boyz Christmas

This years Christmas would have been like any other Christmas. Thankfully, we had the  boyz to lighten and brighten our day.

Jimmy and Sherlock are our boyz. I purposefully end it with a z so people don’t think we have ordinary kids. Our kids are so much more than ordinary! For starters they have four legs. Our family doesn’t have some weird genetic anomaly that makes that happen, unless you would consider a love for dogs as a weird gene. Yes, our boyz, Jimmy Dean and Sherlock Holmes,  are dogs. Really, they are so much more than dogs, they are Wired Haired Dachshunds.

Their actions, on a normal day, brings a smile to my face for some of the things they do. It could be Sherlock falling to sleep on his back as he so often does or Jimmy for not yet learning that it helps to get his butt off the blanket if he wants to get under them. It could be the way they are  sentinels and do not let anything happen in front of our house without us knowing. Jimmy has his sentinel position and Sherlock often finds his own tower. They are but a whiskers hair away from letting out a shower of barks to anyone that happens to walk in front of our humble abode. I pity the person who happens to have a dog at the end of a loose leash as they are showered with an incessant stream of rapid, forceful barks. This lets the unexpecting canine know that their presence has been duly noted.

This Christmas started as many Christmas, waking with presents under he ornamented tree, knowing what hid behind the cheery paper of some, but not others. Mary shared with me early that morning about a new found bag of unexpected gifts on the front porch, an unanticipated arrival from a dear friend.

Shotzie, our last dog taught us about keeping or not keeping doggie presents under the tree. One year, we left a present of hers under the tree. Needless to say, returning from a short trip to somewhere, we returned home to shredded paper and one less present.

The next year, we got wise. When her present from her auntie arrived, we kept it top of the entertainment center.  Much to our surprise, after another short trip to somewhere, Little Shotzie had ripped into a couple of presents, the ones that had traveled with her gift in the package from Southern California. That day, we learned about guilt through association; no gift that traveled with a pooches gift could be safely stored under the tree.

Those draconian rules, a least in the dog’s eyes, have been in place ever since. Because of this year’s events, radical rule changes may have to go into effect. Let me tell you why.

The season started with the boys wondering what all the nicely wrapped gifts were under the Christmas tree. They had never bothered the presents before, but for reasons unknown this year their behavior had changed. Sherlock, fitting his name and being more inquisitive, got caught under the tree a time or two sniffing presents. It got a little bit more strange when jimmy, the more reserved one, got caught under the tree, also. We just kept a close eye on them to make sure no additional funny business occurred.

Then came Christmas morning. I opened a couple of gifts while the boyz, patiently, or not so patiently waited. Jimmy does a little bit better at waiting. Sherlock kept lunging a the still unopened gift, wanting it before it could be unwrapped. Eventually, I finished unwrapping the gifts and gave them a taste of their treats, and they were happy. They showed almost more join in the anticipation of the unwrapping of the gift as they did in finally getting the treat hidden behind the wrapping paper.

I knew they were unlikely to tear through the inner package of the next gift, so I  opened a couple of flaps and just let them go at it. They did a pretty good job of getting it open. By the end of that opening, it became obvious that Sherlock had quickly developed a great interest in the paper, far greater than the contents, even though the present enclosed had edible treats.

He quickly became picky about his paper. Glossy paper did not turn his crank. He would grab it, and then let it quickly fall to the floor, kind of like the underwear the six year old gets at christmas time. But, he developed a lust for tissue paper or some of our rough paper having a three of four newspaper sheet thick feel to it.

As Mary and I open subsequent gifts, Sherlock would sit at our feet, panting, and waiting for the gift to be open. At that time, he would grab the now discarded paper and happily take off with it to all four corners of the house, tearing it to tiny shreds. One time he could not wait; as I explored my newly open gift, he jumped up and grabbed the paper from my hand. I am sure, a Jack Bower thought ran through his head, “Give me that paper! Now! Or i will Kill you!”, as he sprang for the paper.

Soon, all of the once, perfectly wrapped gifts had lost their thin shell to be appreciated for their content, at least for Mary and Jimmy and I.  Sherlock had found joy in he remnants of paper now found here and there.

At times, the frugal side of me comes out and I try to save some of larger sheets of Christmas paper. Not this year. As we cleaned up the living room, Sherlock still lusting over his new found friend, we would be lucky to find a piece of paper big enough to wrap a ring box or maybe a singular mini Christmas Bulb. But in short order, the room had been returned to its previous state. As Mary wandered away, she kept finding paper here and there, first in the dining room and then the far end of the hallway. It appears Sherlock had a grand time taking his “gifts” were ever he wanted to.

So, next year we are left with a dilemma. We know that doggie gifts can not be kept under the tree, for curiosity would over take the dogs and would need to find out what dog treat lurked behind the pretty paper. I fear for next year year surround Sherlock’s new found love for most wrapping paper. I can imagine come home from a short trip to somewhere with many of our gifts open and paper found in all four corners of our house. We have created a MONSTER!

As you can hopefully see, the boyz helped to make this Christmas anything but plain and ordinary. Their zeal for life and gifts, in what ever form they came in, have made for a unforgettable day. It will be a memory I will cherish for ears to come.


I Am NOT Romantic

I have been accused of not having a romantic bone in my body. I accept that as reality. So, therefore, the following true story is a freak of nature.

My birthday preceded my friend’s by 50 days. She was going to be 40; the dreadful fourth decade. So, I thought I would do something nice. Forty days before her birthday, I had forty wrapped gifts lined up, serpentine fashion, around her house with the biggest one at the very end. The game was to open one and only one a day, starting from the beginning of the line, culminating with the largest one on her birthday.

That was it; it was a hit. I haven’t done anything remotely like that before or since.

I’m passing this on only because I think it was cool and you may think so, too.

ciao, Pete

The most loving and inexpensive Christmas gift in the world.

Certificates of Loving-Kindness.

How often have we heard your partner something like “If they would only listen; or, I would just like a break from the kids; or, I’m too tired and I just don’t feel like cooking; or, My feet are killing me.”

Show your love and support by printing up a set of “Certificates of Loving-Kindness” and place them in a decorative envelope beneath your family’s Christmas tree.

Your certificates would read something like “Good for One Night Out by yourself; or Good for One Back, Foot, or Neck rub of your choice; or, Good for one listening session.” You get what I mean. Be creative.

How do Certificates of Loving-Kindness work?

They let your partner know that you do hear them, that you have been listening, that you care, and that you want to be a loving partner to them.

If you don’t know what they want, ask them. Just asking lets them know that you are aware of their needs and that you care.

This is a great way to gift children, too. Their certificates could read, “God for one extra hour of computer time or video game; Good for one hour past bed time; One certificate good for cleaning and putting away the dishes; One certificate good for leaving you room a mess; doing the laundry, and so forth. Basically you are letting them know that you care, and that you are willing to work with them, and that you may be a little more fun than they give you credit for.

You can’t lose, it won’t cost you a dime, and your payoff is millions of dollars worth of love and intimacy.