Photo by Fabian Albert on Unsplash

I had a friend. She was sweet and beautiful. She was beautiful, but not like those girls in magazines; she wasn’t just beautiful for her looks.

I loved to watch the excitement in her eyes. They sparkled. They changed colors when she got excited. I remember many times staying up…

Photo by Tim Doerfler on Unsplash

I was sitting in my big comfy chair overlooking the lake. I was waiting for my son to pick me up. I just wasn’t as excited to see him this visit. He was late, as usual. This time I was glad. I started drifting off.
Suddenly my entire life was flashing before my eyes. Oh, what a grand life it’s been! I have lived all over this great country. What a lucky kid — I grew up looking at the skyline of NYC every day.
I was born of an Italian immigrant and Sinatra from Hoboken. I didn’t realize when I was young that I had two wonderful parents. We had a circle of loving aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. A wonderful sister that I now love more and more each day as we age not so gracefully together! Fighters we are! My family taught me love, respect, and the blessings of a loving family. Our every get-together became a feast. The Italian table was the altar of our family religion.
That city across the river became my hometown. Even as a teenager I felt the excitement of NYC. I traveled the alleys in Chinatown for a greasy bag of fresh hot dumplings. I went on drug deals with my crazy friends. I waited in line with anticipation for the new, hit Broadway play. I saw the basketball
greats at Madison Square Garden, trips to Yankee Stadium! I saw Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, and Roger Maris! I saw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade a dozen times and braved the cold and the tens of thousands of crowds on New Year Eve in Times Square. NYC, the greatest city in the world, was my playground. As a young boy, I played stickball near the factories and touch football on the busy streets.
I grew tired of the city and the noise and pollution so I took off for way up high in the mountain wilderness. I learned from growing up in New York to suck the life out of anywhere you live.
I lived in the remote wilderness of the mountains. A freak landslide took out my power lines and I had to live the entire Winter and most of the Spring without electricity, heat, and running water! It was probably one of the best years of my life. I found out a lot about myself and just how tough a SOB I am.
I could talk for days of the struggle to survive in 200 inches of snow and -40 degrees without the comforts we take for granted. Like breaking the ice every morning in the toilet and having to gather the water or melt snow to flush, coming face to face with a four hundred pound black bear. I hiked, snowshoed, and put together, and ran my own dogsled team. The silent sound of a team of dogs running through the wilderness with snow loaded on tree limbs is indescribable. I took that scruffy bunch of nothing-more-than-pets and I made them into, sort of, athletes. They weren’t champions, they were a bunch of goofballs. We entered into competitions and always did respectably.
They loved to run. Goofballs that call for the end of dog sled racing, because it is animal cruelty, have no idea how much these dogs love to run. One huge race we came over the hill and my team caught a glimpse of the #2 team in the country. They didn’t run like hell to win a race they ran like hell to
catch up and play with or fight, with that championship team. My bunch of doozies ran them down and we finished the race in third place out of ninety teams from six states. My boys were champions! I loved those dogs. How many men can say they had twenty-two dogs in their yard? It is where I developed my incredible love of dogs.
I married and had two great boys but the woman I married gave me a taste of what it would be like to come face-to-face with the devil. I was amazed someone on earth could be so evil. Because of my youngest son’s poor health, we moved down into the city but soon, luckily, divorced.
I bounced around several radio stations, while making a lot of money and then decided to open my own homemade ice cream shops. It was amazing award-winning ice cream and the ice cream business was unbelievable. It’s an
incredible feeling to be the small college town’s homemade ice cream maker. A friend told me I was second only to Santa Claus to these kids. That is where I met Cindy. Cindy turned out to be a woman most men dream of. Beautiful, smart, fun, and caring. I fell deeply in love. It was the first time in my life I experienced true love. She wanted to marry but I had just spent too many years with the devil. I just couldn’t do it, so I lost her. I still wonder if that was the biggest mistake I ever made because I went on to develop a pretty bad track record of picking the woman to hang my heart on.
With my friend Curtis’s suicide, as an excuse, I packed up and moved to the beach in NJ. I moved there mostly to care for my aging parents. Taking what I learned from sucking the life out of everywhere you live I got up early to watch the sunrises on the beach. I fished the surf, and ran jet skis at 70 mph down the Intercoastal. I watched dolphins jump around and sharks dive under our jet skis. I learned yes you can eat fish three times a day and love it. I used my jet ski as a Harley and rode to different restaurants on the water for a beer or dinner.
I buried both parents in NJ and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could talk to them, ask them questions, tell them I am sorry, and tell them how much I appreciated and loved them. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was picking out a pretty dress to bury my mother in.
Knowing my bad history, minus one, I tangled with another crazy and had a great and beautiful son. I was smart enough not to marry her! I stayed with him, and because of her drug and alcohol problems, I eventually fought and got full custody of him. I was responsible for his every day needs both current and future. I let her have a relationship with him as best she could. I am so proud to have raised a beautiful son alone. He grew up to be an amazing baseball player. Winning all kinds of awards. He decided to go to North Carolina State University. I instantly fell in love with North Carolina. It is a state with it all. Beaches, the highest mountains in the East. Great people. Big exciting cities.
You have to love people that aren’t afraid of butter, fried foods, and sugar! How could you go wrong?
But while the South has its hot days, it has a gentleness about it. A walk at midnight in NC is like nowhere I have ever been.
I decided to get back into bartending and had such a great living doing it. I met a wonderful woman doing it. I was lucky to have fallen in love with an incredible woman. We had such beautiful times together. She was both beautiful on the outside and the inside. Her eyes actually changed color when
she was happy. It was a different kind of love. Did you know the Italians have seventy-three different words for love? It wasn’t a hot romantic love. It was a caring love that covered about ten of those Italian words. And all I ever wanted to do was make her happy. And she, me. She will always be one of my
favorite people on earth. . A woman to always dream about. We need those. Do men get to fall in love with two amazing women in a lifetime? What is the Vegas over/under for falling in true love in a lifetime?
Of course, my oldest boy could not accept that maybe I had met a truly beautiful woman inside and out.
Even though our age differences were considerable. To us, age didn’t matter. Finally finding someone that truly cared for each other was so special. That and believing his mother’s lies, he tore my two most precious babies from my arms. There is a hole in my heart that will never heal. I could see if I beat
someone, had DWI’s, jail time, or a drug or child porn habit. I wasn’t perfect. No one is. I can say I was never anything but a dedicated full-time parent. I never even got a speeding ticket! But to want to destroy your own father because of differences of opinion? I know now he inherited that evil devil from his mother.
To cover my hurt I took a stab at writing. I am not a great writer but I fill a niche. I think everyone is lonely and wants to read about pure, honest love. I was named twice to the best imaginary writers in the world list. I still play with it and could, if I wanted to get serious write an amazing book(I have ten chapters done!). I’ve met some amazing people writing.
So now my son is here to pick me up. There is no thrill, no excitement this time. I enjoy the ride seeing the trees and the water. They even drove by some of my favorite restaurants.
They wheel me into the nursing home. They get me settled and lie to me about visiting me often. We both know I will hardly ever see them.
They leave assured I am in good hands.
I know now that I will never drive a car again. I will never wait in line at a Starbucks. I will never floor the accelerator on a stretch of highway where I know I cannot get stopped( I had such a passion in life for speed). I’ll never stop for lunch at a taco truck and, yes, eat that ridiculously hot pepper on my taco. My heart will not jump out of my chest when my car slides on the ice and snow. I’ll never smell a baby and feel its soft skin or smell the wonderful smell of a beautiful woman in my arms. I’ll never fall in love again I’ll never have a Christmas feast with seven fishes or have my grandson sit on my knee. I’ll never linger in bed with the woman I love on a Sunday morning.

A panic sets in.

I’m not afraid of dying. Oh, no, not at all. In fact, I think we welcome death. We welcome it because we are still so much alive and we know we cannot live it the way we want to any longer.
No, I am not afraid of death. I had an amazing life.
I am proud of myself because I am still smart and sneaky in my old age and have figured out a way up to the roof without being seen by the pain-in-the-ass nurses.

Without any hesitation, I leap off the roof.

No, I am not afraid of dying. I was afraid of living.

Thanks! It still remains one of my personal favorites.

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

WHO KNEW A GOAT COULD CAUSE MIRACLES

The sign at the side of the road said “FOR SALE PUPPIES” in a hardly readable script. We had been talking about getting another puppy to replace our irreplaceable little Boston Terrier, Buddy. We thought the kids should have a puppy.

As I pulled into the yard I saw a…

What we write and what we live sometimes become clouded.

I’m not sure when it started. Maybe about two months ago maybe longer, I’m really not sure. It started, when the love of my life, the woman who vowed she couldn’t spend one minute in life without me walked out of my life. The women that spoke of forever. …

gene candeloro

Writer, photog., wanderer. Hopeful romantic. Lover of all things dogs. I write about ordinary people. Follow my Relentless Pursuit. Medium Noteworthy Writer.

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