Tag Archives: video

Love with all my Heart

Posted on

Livi, mom’s great granddaughter, is ten years old, lives four-and-a-half hours down the road in Wilmington, North Carolina, and loves to write mom letters.

My role is to read the letters to mom and video her reactions for Livi to savor … forever.

So here goes Livi’s latest letter … just know you are in for a treat!

If you do the math, Livi is 84 years younger than mom, but the connection between the two of them bridges both space and time.

I call this bridge, L-O-V-E.

And, I call my role as messenger, the greatest role one could ever dream of playing.

Want more? Click Here!

The Storyteller’s Gift

Mom is a natural born storyteller.

She was raised on stories by her mom, aunts and great aunts.

She raised my sister and me on her stories.

She raised my two daughters on her stories, and to this day, she mesmerizes my six grandchildren with her stories … and her songs.

Her stories have now blended into one story.

No more beginning.

No more middle.

No more end.

One story.

One glorious story.

It is the story of  life lived to the fullest.

And, if we listen and observe close enough, it will become part of our stories, too.

It is a collection of bits and pieces, wisdom and scraps, insights and mysteries, lessons learned and lessons lost … all floating together, in infinite ways, as if drifting down a stream.

It’s all there for all of us.

All we have to do is bare our souls, jump in, and go with the flow.

Only by immersing ourselves into its depths will we find the meaning.

In all of its glory.

One story.

Our story.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.


Hyper Electrifying! Mom & Her Card!

Hyper Pop-Ups cards are electrifying … no doubt about that!

Lights, sounds and colorful, popup designs, grab all of your senses and never let go.

This fully loaded card was created and designed in Cleveland, Ohio, made in China, and purchased and mailed to mom from Wilmington, North Carolina. In other words, this card had been here, there and everywhere before being opened in Richmond, Virginia by mom on Christmas Day … her birthday.

Mom has literally not put it down since she discovered its magic.

She might be 93, but I bet the card’s batteries run down before her’s.

I think mom could give Honey Boo Boo a run for her money!

Thanks go out to the senders:

My daughter, Tovi

Son-in-law, Chris,

Grand-kids, Thomas, Patrick, Fisher and Livi

The Movie: Mom Meets Mr. Booger Head, aka, Mr. Potato Head

OK, you asked for it, here it is!

My mom’s first encounter with Mr. Booger Head, aka, Mr. Potato Head, captured live for your viewing pleasure.

So, count with me …

One potato,

Two potato,

Three potato,

Four …

Click on the play button,

And you’ll get a laugh and more!

PS – You may need to turn up the sound.

PSS – Click HERE to read more about mom and Mr. BH. 

Life is Good Today

Mom loves, no, is addicted to, country music.

All I have to do is turn the music up to ten and she takes it from there.

The Zac Brown Band is on the performing end of one of her favorite songs right now. “Toes” is the song and when it comes on the radio, all I have to do is make sure I keep my eyes on the road and not get too distracted (emphasis on too).

What I want to do is watch her feet. They start tapping to the beat and take on a life of their own. I just love watching her dip her toes in the water and become one with this song!

(Eyes on the road, Tom. Eyes on the road.)

Even though she would swap a cold beer for a tall glass of sweet iced tea any day, she can shake it with the best of them … always has.

So, click on my little impromptu video, sit back, relax, and I’ll bet you your feet will be tapping to the beat and your arms will be going here, there and yonder in no time, just follow mom’s lead.

Pretty soon, you’ll look down and find your toes have joined mom’s down by the waterside!

If you want to sing along, here’s the chorus to “Toes” by the Zac Brown Band.

I got my toes in the water, *** in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today. Life is good today.

What a great way to kick-start the morning! Hands in the air! Toes in the water!

Wish I could drive like that.

Nevertheless, life is good today!

Mr. Booger Head

Posted on

“You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”

My wife, Melissa, is always on the lookout for things to add to mom’s “Toy Box” … things that will keep mom entertained, engaged and challenged. I call them toys for grown up girls and boys. So, when Melissa spotted Mr. Potato Head in Walgreens, she asked me if I thought it was worthy of being in mom’s collection.

My immediate response was that it was plastic, had way too many little parts to keep up with and that mom might try to eat them for a snack.

Melissa deftly countered each of my concerns and in a blink of an eye (mine), we were the proud owner of Mr. Potato Head.

We gave Mr. Potato Head to mom’s caregiver just before leaving town on a rather long business trip and never saw or even followed up on how mom reacted or interacted with her new little tater tot.

This morning, I was reading the newspaper while mom was eating her cereal. It is my “quiet time” and I really treasure those twenty minutes with me, myself and I; my coffee and my paper.

I was only half a cup into my “quiet time” when the sound of silence was shattered.

First I heard mom say, “Look, look at that! Look … it’s a booger. It’s the biggest booger I have ever seen.”

When I looked her way, she was holding Mr. Potato Head in her hands and shaking it with all her might. A tiny plastic pink ear flew through the air followed by an arm.

I was having one of those what-has-mom-done-now moments and was totally focused on finding the booger. Then I realized she was referring to none other than Mr. Potato Head, himself.

“This is the ugliest thing I have ever seen since I was born! You wouldn’t want to be kin to it. Look at that face. You are not in my family. We have got to hide you.”

Before I could yell, “duck,” another little white plastic arm hurdled through the air and plopped on mom’s shoulder. Unfazed, she flicked it off with one hand while continuing to shake Mr. Potato Head with the other.

“I have never seen a person look like this ever in the United States of America! It must be visiting.”

I held back my laughter in order to affirm that possibility with a few nods, and then I just let it all out. The only thing I could think of to say between laughs was, “It’s Mr. Booger Head!”

Mom repeated what I said, shaking harder and harder. “Mr. Booger Head, Mr. Booger Head, that’s you. You are one tiny man and you look like a booger.”

Then, she started tearing off plastic parts and putting them in her mouth. A pretty decent sized red nose formed a lump in her left cheek. My worst fear was being realized … mom was eating Mr. Booger Head … one bite at a time.

I rushed over to get those little plastic parts out of her mouth, yelling, “Mom, quit trying to eat that thing! Spit it out, now!”

She looked up at me and mumbled in a matter of fact tone, “I am not trying to eat it, I am trying to kill it.”

May 10th, Another Would-Be-Age Day

Posted on

It is May 10th.

It is my sister, Nel’s, birthday, the second one since her death, March 28, 2011.

She would be 65.

Birthdays followed by would-be-ages are bitter sweet.

My dad’s birthday was in April, and it was a heck of a day to get through for me, even though he passed away in 2002.

Today, I searched my blog posts for the following video. It was taken on Thanksgiving Day, 2008.

My sister was showing signs of what would later be diagnosed as early onset Alzheimer’s, but you sure can’t tell it here.  As you can see, her joy was still as contagious as her voice was strong.

I have clicked on this video again and again, today.

I sing along. I laugh. I cry. I whisper how much I love her and how much I miss her.

The words and the simple melody of the song give me the strength and courage to continue down this crooked path of life.

Our harmonies are as familiar as they are comforting.

There we are, Nel, mom and me and somehow it seems like only yesterday, although I am fully aware that it is today.

Nel is dedicating the song to my daughters, Tovi and Lissi. My sister adored “her girls”. And, “her girls” adored their Nel.

It is May 10th.

I love you, Nel.

Click to learn more about my extraordinary sister on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website.

God Bless America & Mom – Video

Posted on

My mom bleeds red, white and blue. She always has.

She was born and raised in historic Richmond, Virginia, and her family tree has First Families of Virginia (FFV) names carved in its branches.

Mom’s aunts (her mom’s sisters), who lived in Charlottesville, were not only FFV, but members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and as such, early volunteers in helping to restore Monticello … yep, Thomas Jefferson’s little 5000 acre estate. This would have been in the 1920s.

As a kid, mom spent many a summer day running free on the grounds, picnicking under the shade of Jefferson’s “pet trees”, including his famous mulberry’s, and climbing up and down the steep and very narrow flight of stairs that led to the dome room. There she would play with the other children, while their relatives helped breathe new life in the old plantation.

My sister, Nel, and I were both born in Richmond and history was as much a part of our growing up as catching lightning bugs or playing hide-and-seek. Mom was our teacher, guide and head cheerleader for the good old USA!

We didn’t learn history from history books as much as we absorbed it. We five sensed it. We could see, smell, taste, hear and touch it at every turn and it was organic and wonderful.

When we moved from Virginia to South Carolina and then Florida, mom made sure Nel and I didn’t lose our connection with the state we were born in, our heritage or our history.

Dad would pack up our bikes  in the back of our Chevy nine-seater station wagon and head for Williamsburg where we spent many a summer vacation. And, those vacations would last a month or more and yet it never seemed like nearly enough.

Nel and I felt like we were colonist and residents of the town. We wore our tricorn hats, bought rock candy at the Apothecary Shop with our own money, drank apple cider from salt glazed mugs at Chowning’s Tavern, took turns locking each other in the pillory and stocks and rode our bikes, unrestricted, all over the town, from the College of William and Mary, to the Governors Palace, to the Capitol and everywhere in between.

Nel and I would ride our bikes to the Williamsburg Visitors Center and watch the free orientation film, “The Story of a Patriot,” two or three times a day almost every day of our stay. One of my favorite scenes in the movie took place at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Richmond where the famous orator, Patrick Henry, gave his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.

That was the line every school kid was familiar with, but there was a fragment of a sentence in Patrick Henry’s speech that I found even more meaningful and useful (once I found out what it meant).

When the fiery, Mr. Henry challenged his fellow countrymen, who were still resistant battle the British and fight for their independence, he minced no words.  The sentence fragment was, “Are we so meek and pusillanimous … ? ”

I honestly never tried to learn or remember the rest of the sentence … I had all  I needed.

When I asked, Dad told me pusillanimous meant lacking courage and resolution. I translated and condensed that into my own language which was “Chicken”!

So, anytime my sister wouldn’t do what I wanted her to do, I would repeat the question, “Are you so meek and pusillanimous?” with such passion and conviction that it was guaranteed to make Nel run to mom and dad, with tears in her eyes, to tell them I used those bad words again. I just smiled and repeated to myself, “Chicken”!

When I was called on the carpet for this, which was often, I would have to remind mom and dad, that it was exactly what Patrick Henry said and that Nel was just way too sensitive. I was just trying to practice a little history I had learned from a great Virginian!

As you might imagine, my logic didn’t hold water with mom and dad … but, it was worth it. That sentence fragment, that I turned into a stand alone sentence, started a revolution with my sister and me each and every time I used it, just like it had done for Patrick Henry.

Jamestown and Yorktown were  just down the road from Williamsburg, and when you put them together, what more did you need to get a grip on American history. They don’t call it the Historic Triangle for nothing! Who needed Virginia Beach, theme parks or anywhere else on this planet for that matter. We were history in the making and, thanks to mom and dad, we made it over and over and over!

After Nel and I were able to understand the birth of our nation, our family ventured out to see what that baby had grown to be. With dad or mom behind the wheel, that same nine-seater station wagon took our family to every state in the US except for Alaska and Hawaii (for obvious reasons) before my sister and I graduated from high school.

And our family journey didn’t stop there. Mom’s big audacious goal was for us to not only see the USA in our Chevrolet, but to see what was out there beyond our shoreline, and before we had graduated from college. And … she made it happen. No matter what country, city or town we visited, she made sure we were not only learning and broadening our perspective, but honoring our country by not being what she called “Ugly Americans.”

” When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” was our family mantra. Added to this were other Mom-isms. “Never be disrespectful. Never put yourself on a pedestal. Appreciate and honor diversity. Don’t ask for a McDonald’s. Stand tall, be proud, and always represent your country well.”

I’ll tell you how embarrassingly literal that last commandment was as interpreted by mom.

There is a old photograph, that I hope will stay hidden forever, that was taken not far from Cairo, Egypt. It is of the four of us on the backs of camels in front of the Sphinx. Mom and Nel are wearing dress skirts and blouses. Dad and I are wearing blue blazers, button down collar long sleeved shirts, gray slacks and (expletive deleted here) club ties.

This was the desert, for heaven’s sake! People out here were wearing robes. Even our camels looked at us and snickered.

We were Americans alright, and whenever I look at that creepy photo now, I would say we definitely fit the picture of what I would call, not just Ugly Americans, but Damn Ugly Americans. But, to mom, this was a once in a lifetime special occasion, and we were honoring that special occasion  by dressing … you’ve got it … special.

Looking back on it now, I wish we had all worn faded blue jeans, and red t-shirts with white letters proclaiming “Made in America”. I believe mom would have approved. After all, she looks really good in red, white and blue.

When mom sings God Bless America, she still shows the colors even though some of the words escape her. But, since she’s never been at a loss for words, she just  throws in a few of her own and keeps on going without ever missing a beat.

She has been a dyed in the wool American for 92 years. That’s almost 40% of our nation’s entire 236 years of independence which was gained 236 years ago in 1776 … in where else but Virginia!

Mom bleeds red, white and  blue … always has … and always will.

In my eyes, she is a genuine, one-of-a-kind, national treasure.

This Little Light Concert – The Video

When people leave my concerts, they’re better human beings than they were when they arrived, but not because of me … not because of me. It’s because the main character of my concerts is life and life is exciting. – Facundo Cabral, Argentine Singer and Composer

Mom can play a table like Jerry Lee Lewis plays a piano.

It makes for hot licks, hot tunes and hot times in the old house tonight!

Together, Mom and I make ” This Little Light  of Mine” shine like there’s no tomorrow!

Be sure and watch mom’s famous hand-over-hand moves on the repeat of the first verse. Amazing!

So, what are you waiting for, grab yourself a table, play it in the key of G, sing along with us and enjoy this little jewel of a concert!

Warning! The hand-over-hand moves are for professional table players only. What looks simple, takes 90+ years to perfect, so you may not want to try them too fast or you could severely injure yourself, not to mention the table. 

Mom’s Great Granddaughter’s Great Song

My eight year old granddaughter, Livi, is a talented, beautiful, creative ball of energy and, like her great grandmother and me, loves to sing!

She wrote this song in a matter of minutes, we captured it on video, and I’ve been playing it and singing it for mom ever since.

And, just like you would have guessed, mom loves to watch the video waving her hands, tapping her feet and humming along.

Every time mom watches it, she asks, “Who is that girl you’re singing with?”

When I tell her it’s her great granddaughter, Livi, mom just smiles and says, “I know Livi! She is the most beautiful girl in the world! She sure does sing a great song.”

Lyrics: Livi’s Great Song  

I love you, we all love each other

In a world we’ll be all we can be

I love you, we all love each other

In a world we’ll see all we can see

In a world we’ll be all we can be

In a world we’ll see all we can see

In a world we’ll be all we can see

%d bloggers like this: