Grammy died on Mardi Gras. She was the center of the party right to the end. Even on the last night, she held on while her family gathered around her laughing and joking. When the party was over and people headed home she let herself go home. The whole thing reminds me of Saint Francis constantly thanking God for Sister Death as he died.

I should have written all this sooner. At the time I felt utterly adrift. For my entire life the one thing that could be counted on was an unlocked door in Delanco and a barrage of words whenever Grammy realized you were there. I’ve seen both of my childhood homes sold. I’ve even seen my Dad move away from my home town after my Mother died. Life seemed fleeting and unanchored but always there was the absolute permanence of Grammy.

Now she’s gone. And for a moment I started to float away. But life is a circle, and an anchor appeared to root me again. I hate people that make death all about themselves. I’ll give myself a good kick in the pants later on.

I’m three for four on family eulogies. We’re so good at this funereal thing, the undertaker comes over to drink beer while we collectively make the arrangements. The Olympic year curse has struck again (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010). We soldier on as a family, happy to be together in sadness and in celebration, secure in the thought I had when Grandpop died:

If his only monument is our large, loud, happily scrapping family it’s still the best monument to any person I can think of.

Jeanne Anne Hagarty
Requiescat In Pace

Posted in Reality is a Harsh Mistress, The Cold Embrace of Death | 2 Comments


I don’t know where I heard it but I’ve had stuck in my head for a while that life and death are a soul for soul kind of trade: conservation of energy, one out, one in and all that.

Kind of funny, my grandmother is on the way out and my friends are about to welcome their second child into the world.

One out, one in.

It’s snowing, my Grandmother is dying and I still haven’t had my annual fasnacht.

Happy Mardi Gras.

Posted in Reality is a Harsh Mistress | 1 Comment


It’s official.

It’s spring!

Up yours, you buck-toothed, Pennsylvanian underminer of foundations. Up yours, Al Gore and your global warmongering induced snowfall.

Up yours, winter.

Yesterday was Truck Day in Philadelphia and today is Truck Day in Boston.

Less than a week to go.

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The city is a strange place.

I am a man of leisure. I don’t like surprises. I like things to stay on a nice, even keel. I want to know what’s coming next so I can figure out how to respond. I always plan ahead.

The city doesn’t let you do that. It will maintain for days, then suddenly throw something unexpected at you to see how you react.

Saturday I was entirely at peace with my new home. I love my place. I love my neighborhood. I love my city.

Sunday I saw a taxi knock down a crazy guy in an intersection. Everybody looked OK. It shook me up.

Today I got rear-ended by another taxicab. He slipped on the snow. Like I nearly did. Barely cosmetic damage. No harm, no foul.

I saw a pedestrian today smack a car on the trunk while the car was waiting to make a legal turn because it was blocking her access to the shoveled path onto the sidewalk. I saw another pedestrian walk right out in front of traffic against the light and then get upset when the driver honked to back him up.

Everyone needs to chill out. Make allowances for the sheer number of people crammed into a small space in bad weather with tricky conditions. Just be cool.

No chance. The city demands more.

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At last report, officially 26.7 inches was measured at Philadelphia International Airport, 3.5 inches more than was reported for the Dec. 19-20 storm and second all-time behind only the 30.7 of Jan. 7-8, 1996.

Before this winter, Philadelphia had never had two snowfalls of more than 14 inches in the same season.

So much for global warming.

Al Gore can suck it.

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