So yesterday was my birthday. Another trip around the sun. I’m not telling my age but here’s a hint: I was a teenager, albeit a young one, when I saw The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965.

So what knowledge have I amassed over the years? Plenty, but there’s still room for growth!

  • I give great advice but rarely listen to my own. That’s a work in constant progress.
  • I’ve been told I can be intimidating; I like to think of it as having a big personality and being outgoing. Show me a stage and I’ll sing you a song or two or ten.
  • I have a big heart and wear it on my sleeve. My mouth is just as big as my heart. I say what’s on my mind, tell the truth but try not to hurt anyone’s feelings in the process. I’m not always successful and there has been collateral damage. No excuses.
  • I have no use for liars, manipulators or abusers of any kind.
  • I’m not offended if a man opens the door for me, offers me a seat or tells me I look pretty. Men are not the enemy. Perhaps having two sons has made me somewhat biased on that subject but there you have it. Some of my female friends won’t like what I just said. I’ll survive.
  • I work very well under pressure but can be as lazy as fuck when I want to be.
  • I curse but never in front of my grandchildren; they will hear enough of that in school, tv and online; they don’t need to hear it from me.
  • I have an addictive personality and need to rein it in sometimes.
  • I love writing and think I’m pretty good at it. And I love music but draw the line at Rush.
  • When I love it’s with my whole being and I have very few regrets – except that one debacle of a date with Martin Kovach. Maybe I’ll write a story about that. Don’t worry; it’s a comedy.
  • I’m smart and funny (and humble) but I make mistakes frequently and with great flourish. I’m confident, even when making mistakes, and love an audience. Not everyone likes me; no worries – the feeling is mutual. I’m not going to turn myself into a pretzel to get someone to like me; this is it, folks.
  • I’m usually happy but mostly content. Believe me, you’ll know when I’m unhappy or mad.
  • If you’re looking for someone to be on your trivia team, I’m your gal. But don’t ever ask me a math question. Seriously. I have the dubious distinction of being the only student in my school (that I’m aware of) to be excused from algebra and allowed to double up on English. The anguish on the part of myself and my teachers just wasn’t worth it.
  • One drink will make me comfortably numb; two drinks and I’m pretty much drunk. When I was dating, I’d order sloe gin fizzes because they were tasty but they made me drunk and sick to my stomach. I threw up at the end of almost every date with Bill but he married me anyway.
  • I love my family unconditionally. You think you’ll never love anyone more than your spouse … then you have children and that theory goes right out the window. Then you have grandchildren. Fugetaboutit! These are my baby’s babies – a mind-blowing concept – and I adore them.
  • I’m proud of my Sicilian heritage. I love the United States but I’m heartbroken and frustrated over what’s happening here.
  • There’s nothing wrong with saying “no”. My heart and mind are young; my joints not so much so if I say “no” it’s not because I don’t want to; it’s because I’m tired and achy. I’ve got the scars to prove it.
  • There’s also nothing wrong with saying “I love you” – not to strangers; that’s just weird. But if there’s someone in your life who means the world to you, tell them you love them. Some people get scared when you say “I love you”; it makes them nervous and that’s a shame. Maybe if we all said it more often the world wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in.
  • I have a lot of friends but just a handful of really good, close friends. That’s ok; life isn’t a popularity contest.
  • When all else fails, listen to The Beatles. Peace and love really are all you need and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

NAR © 2022

An older but hopefully wiser me


Abigail had been waiting for this night for a long time. She was excited to be going to the gala with Charlie and she had a feeling something special was going to happen.  

Charlie came into Abigail’s life six years ago and they’d been inseparable ever since. She loved him very much and knew he loved her, too. Charlie was wonderful to Abigail’s mother Evelyn and that meant everything to her.

Abigail knew as soon as she met Charlie that he was ‘the one’. On the other hand, her mother was not easily swayed. Evelyn was an excellent judge of character, possessing the uncanny ability of sizing someone up rather quickly. It took a few times being with Charlie before she felt the same way Abigail did. He was truly a wonderful man.

Together Abigail and her mother chose the ideal dress and Evelyn surprised Abigail with her great-grandmother’s delicate seed pearl necklace. Evelyn knew in her heart this was a special night for Charlie and Abigail; she didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

As Abigail finished dressing for the dance, she heard Charlie and her mother talking downstairs. “He’s here!” she thought happily, concerned that work would delay him as it frequently did. Abigail gracefully descended the stairs, her feet barely touching the carpeted steps. She was a vision of perfection in her pale pink floor-length dress and Charlie looked more handsome than ever in his three-piece charcoal grey suit, matching tie and pale pink shirt – a hint from Evelyn, no doubt.

With a dramatic flourish Charlie produced a wrist corsage from behind his back and slipped in onto Abigail’s arm. “Your favorite, sweetheart – Lilies of the Valley” Charlie said with a smile. Abigail’s fingers lightly touched the delicate flowers. “Oh, Charlie! They’re beautiful and they smell heavenly.”

Watching the duo, Evelyn’s eyes sparkled with joy; she was so happy for her daughter. “You two look fabulous. You know, Charlie, this may be the perfect night to finally pop the question” she teased.

“Why, you must have read my mind” Charlie declared.

Abigail’s eyes widened as Charlie got down on one knee. He held her hand and said “Abby, I love you very much. Fate brought us together six years ago and I want to make it official. Please say ‘yes’ and make me the happiest man on earth. Will you allow me to adopt you?”  

“Does that mean you’ll be my daddy now?” ten-year-old Abigail asked excitedly.

“Yes, it does, Abby” Charlie replied with a grin.

“Daddy and Mommy” Evelyn added and hugged her husband’s arm as tears of joy tricked down her face.

“YES!” squealed Abigail, her fists pumping the air wildly. “This is the best night ever! I’ve been wanting a real daddy forever! I can’t wait to tell my friends at the father-daughter dance tonight!”

Abigail ran to Charlie, threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. “I love you so much, Daddy! Can we go to the dance now?”

And off they went, hand in hand.

NAR © 2022



There’s a feeling you get when a relationship is about to end. It sort of sneaks up on you like ivy climbing up a tree trunk. You see it starting but it’s nothing terribly worrisome; then it slowly starts working its way up the trunk until it overtakes the tree. It’s got a strangle-hold on that poor tree, suffocating it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mighty oak or a frail mimosa; the ivy will win out every time.

That’s the feeling I now had for Jeremy and I don’t know why. I just knew it was time to break things off. That was clear; what wasn’t clear was how I was going to tell him.

It’s not as though we started off like a couple of teenagers on a hormone rush. Ours was a gradual connection much like our disconnection. We had chemistry. We could make each other laugh. We liked the same music, the same food, the same movies. We could talk at length or enjoy a quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon. We had incredible sex and a lot of it.

Jeremy gave me a braided love knot bracelet; I accepted it because it was pretty and didn’t feel as permanent as a ring.

We talked about moving in together but it never happened. Now I’m glad we didn’t; that would have made things so much harder. It was good to come and go as we pleased; now I found we were doing that less and less. I don’t believe it was deliberate; we just started drifting apart. Everything gradually slowed down and cooled off. I realized at some point I had finally exhaled and I was no longer suffocating.

We spent a cool Spring afternoon sitting on a bench at the beach. Watching the waves rolling in and falling back, I knew the time had come. Quietly I told Jeremy what I was feeling and he slowly nodded in agreement. I think he was glad the pressure was off him. I started to remove my bracelet but Jeremy refused to take it back. 

I slowly walked away and took the long route home through the park. It had begun to drizzle. I stared down at the pavement as I walked. Just then I came upon a dead bird at my feet. I stood there staring at the poor little finch; he must have fallen out of his nest. I took a few tissues from my pocket, wrapped them around the bird and carefully picked him up; he was still warm, his tiny body limp.

I carried the lifeless bird home and retrieved a small spade from my gardening tools on the back porch. It began raining a little heavier as I dug a deep hole beneath the tidy row of boxwoods; there I buried the bird. Before filling his grave with dirt, I took off Jeremy’s bracelet and placed it across the broken wings.

My face was wet; I couldn’t tell if it was the rain or my tears.

NAR © 2022


I stood at the bedroom window staring at the devastation caused by the previous night’s ice storm. My wife Patrice is going to be crushed when she see’s what happened during the night – Mother Nature at her fiercest. I heard Patrice stirring in bed.

“Glenn, It’s so early. Watcha looking at?” she asked sleepily.

“We had a pretty bad storm last night. It’s not good, hon. We lost some trees” I replied.

Patrice threw off the covers and sat on the edge of the bed, feet skimming the rug searching for discarded slippers. “Not Red. Please don’t say we lost Red.” Her voice was pleading as she spoke of the redwood sapling she planted 30 years ago when we first moved into our little farmhouse in Colorado. Over the years Red had grown to a majestic height, his branches reaching out to the sky as if in prayer.

I wanted to shout “Whatever you do, don’t open your eyes” but I knew I’d be asking her to do the impossible. Instead, I reached my hand out to my wife. Holding tightly onto my hand like a child learning how to walk, she took a few tentative steps toward the window. Patrice gasped loudly and she buried her face in her hands. Then the tears came. She cried inconsolably for what seemed an eternity. I held her and let her cry; this was not something carelessly brushed aside or easily forgotten.

Finally her sobs lessened and with a broken heart and a cracking voice she exclaimed “Poor Red! How I loved that beautiful old tree. Look at him now, laying there like a toppled monument.” Patrice yanked a few tissues from the box on our nightstand, dabbed her eyes and blew her nose.

“Oh Glenn, I wouldn’t blame you if you thought I was being ridiculous. I can’t help it; I’m totally shattered.”

We sat on the bed side by side and I put a consoling arm around my wife’s trembling shoulders. I kissed her hair and spoke tenderly: “There’s no shame in mourning the loss of a tree. It’s not silly. It is, after all, a living thing. Does it feel pain when a leaf is plucked or a branch broken? Does it thirstily lap the rain after a dry spell? Does it feel your heartbeat as you rest a weary back against its old, sturdy trunk? Does it cry when cut down? How dare we presume that it does not. Some time ago, a round slice cut from the trunk of a fallen tree was placed on a record player, just like a vinyl LP; the rings of the tree were like the grooves in an album. When the stereo needle was placed on the tree rings and the volume turned up, the most beautiful and haunting sounds emerged – sounds only a living thing could make. Who are we to say a tree cannot feel? Yes, my love, it’s fitting to mourn.”

“Is that true, Glenn?”

“Yes! Come, listen.”

NAR © 2022

(Though the actual sliced pieces of the tree do not have qualities of sound in piano form, the converted record player analyzes the tree rings for their thickness, rate of growth and strength. It maps that data and outputs it as piano music through the stereo as captured here.)


LOVE (noun): deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment, devotion, adoration, doting, idolization, worship, passion, ardor, desire, lust, yearning, infatuation, adulation.

I’m a romantic soul. I love the idea of love, being in love and being loved. I’m Italian – being passionate comes naturally to me. I love my family and my friends. It’s a feeling deep inside me and I don’t care who knows. In fact, I want them to know! I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’ve been hurt because of that vulnerability but I’d rather love and risk being hurt than go around being an unfeeling, grumpy-ass sourpuss full of apathy, ennui and angst.

Loving goes beyond the love of people. I love writing, food, a quiet Saturday morning, the smell of coffee, a good movie, music, animals, feeling the sun on my face on a warm spring day, the sound of my grandchildren laughing, my husband who would do anything for me, spending time with cherished friends both near and far.

While flowers are lovely, they wither and die. Chocolate is heavenly but it lasts longer on my hips than on my lips! I enjoy sharing a good bottle of wine and meaningful conversation with someone I care about. I adore a dirty joke, a sentimental song and reading my friend’s poetry.

And why are people so afraid to say “I love you”? Guys – admit it; it gives you the cold sweats. Loving someone isn’t the same as being in love with someone. We often take the easy way out and send little messages like “Luv ya!” or “I ❤️ you”. Some of us can’t even bring ourselves to say the word “love”.

What’s this fascination with loving things? You hear people say “I love my car.” “I love Starbucks.” “I love my new phone.” “I love these shoes.” “I love that restaurant.” “I love that show.” Sure, these things bring us pleasure but we can live without them and they sure as hell don’t love us back.

What I can’t live without are the special people in my life, the people who call you up just to say “Hi. How are you?” and end with “I love you” without expecting anything in return except maybe hearing “I’ve missed you! I love you, too.”

Chances are if you’re reading this it’s because you enjoy the things I write about and that makes me very happy. If my writing can bring you pleasure, make you think, smile, laugh or cry, then I’ve done my job. Thank you for taking the time to read this and listening to the song below; it’s one of my favorites.

I think the idea of Valentine’s Day is grand; it’s sweet and sexy and over-the-top crazy romantic. It’s all about love. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyday was Valentine’s Day?  

NAR © 2022


The year was 1980. My husband Frank and I were excited to be back in Italy to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary and Frank’s 30th birthday. Frank was a big sports fan so the timing couldn’t have been better; we would be in Rome for the Italian Golf Open at the prestigious Acquasanta Golf Club.

Founded in 1903 by British Embassy workers, Acquasanta is the oldest golf course in Italy and one of the most memorable places to play anywhere in the world. The club is located along the Appian Way, just a few kilometers from the heart of Rome. The views of the ruins of ancient Roman aqueducts on the front nine are nothing short of spectacular. We planned to spend a beautiful day walking the roughs and watching the tournament; in the evening we would celebrate Frank’s birthday in the elegant dining room.

Fate brought us together in 1974 when we both signed up for a backpacking tour of Europe. We had seats next to each other on the flight from New York and we hit it off great. We were both Italian; Frank spoke the language fluently while I barely knew enough to put a sentence together. The in-flight movie was The Godfather and Frank delighted in translating much of the dialogue for me.

Neither of us knew anyone else on the tour so we spent all our time together, sharing the stories of our lives. We enjoyed each other’s company and found we had much in common. By the time the tour was over, we were in love. We tied the knot in New York in 1975 and now we were back in the place where it all began.

Our first day at Acquasanta was fantastic; the sky was clear, the sun shining and the temperature mild. The place was busy but not overly crowded and everyone looked quite pleased to be there. Smiling, friendly people greeted us with “Ciao! Come stai oggi?”.

We decided to stop at one of the concession stands for a bite to eat; a few bistro tables and chairs were set up for spectators to sit quietly without distracting the players or disturbing the other visitors. Everywhere we looked the scenery was breathtaking with Mediterranean pines, cypresses and eucalyptus trees dotting the undulating terrain.

As I glanced around enjoying the view I couldn’t help noticing a group of men running in the opposite direction of the greens. More and more people joined the group; curious, Frank and I followed. As we got closer we saw a gorgeous young woman wearing a bikini; the sash she wore revealed she was Miss Italy 1980. There was a sign where she stood and a long line of eager men of all ages.

Frank suddenly started roaring with laughter. I asked him what was so funny; he pointed to the sign, doubled over with laughter as tears ran down his face. Practically hyperventilating, he managed to gasp out the words “It seems they got the translations wrong. What it really says is ‘For good luck, Miss Italy will kiss your balls’. It should say ‘kiss your golf balls’!”

I guess they made those men an offer they couldn’t refuse!

NAR © 2022



My name is Eden.

My mama was a wild child living on the wrong side of the tracks in the middle of Nowhere, USA. Her parents were AWOL most of the time and didn’t give a rat’s ass about my mama. She grew up faster than any baby girl should have to and learned at an early age how to cast a glancing spell at the male population.

By the age of 15 she was pregnant with me. My mama messed around with so many men, she couldn’t even begin to guess who my father was. The promise of a million dollars or the threat of a gun to her head and mama still wouldn’t be able to name my daddy. The guys she hooked up with didn’t hang around for long and none of them was man enough to fess up anyway. Mama had sex, not relationships.

Mama’s only friend was Faye, another lost soul who lived the same impulsive lifestyle. By the time Faye was 16 she already had two babies so it was only natural that she be the one to help my mama when she went into labor. Nobody else gave a goddamn.

Faye lived in an abandoned motel which was home to a few hapless drifters. She did her best to keep the place as habitable as possible. Two dresser drawers with thin cushions served as beds for Faye’s babies. Faye was no whore and never took a dime from her gentlemen friends, only accepting candy, stockings or a small bottle of White Shoulders.

There wasn’t much Faye could do about her bed – a discarded Petri dish of a mattress. Whenever she could do laundry, she’d wash the one and only sheet she had. In-between washings she’d just flip the sheet over. That’s where my mama labored with me for two long days. Faye told mama to grab the sides of the mattress. “I won’t lie to you about the pain, hon” she warned. “Hang on, this is going to hurt. A lot.”

My mama screamed and cried and cursed; Faye never left her side. A couple of curious women from the next room would pop their heads in but it was just Faye and my mama on their own. Finally, when it was time, Faye gently drew me out and cleaned me up before giving me to my mama.

The cops knew about the motel but as long as there were no illegal activities, they turned a blind eye. They even arranged for the utilities to stay on – better than having people living in the streets just because they were down on their luck. Every week the local pastor and church youth group would drop off food, toiletries, diapers and detergent. Thankfully there were some people willing to lend a helping hand.

Everyone said I was the most beautiful child they’d ever seen. My face and green eyes were identical to my mama’s but her hair was straight and blonde, her skin like cream while my hair was a cloud of dusky curls, my skin the shade of warm butterscotch. My coloring divulged my father’s race, nothing more.

We stayed with Faye until we started cramping her style, then we moved into an adjacent room. The adjoining door made things convenient; mama and Faye took turns babysitting when the other had company. Mama used a drawer for my bed, just like Faye did.

When you live in an environment like mine, it’s hard not to be influenced. I saw and heard things no kid should and before I realized it, it became ingrained in my soul. By the time I was 13, lots of mama’s boyfriends were checking me out and I liked it.

One steamy summer day, mama was next door putting highlights in Faye’s hair. I was alone resting on the bed when Hal showed up. I liked him; he came by often to see mama. Hal asked me where mama was and I told him. He sat on the bed stroking my hair. I smiled and gave him that look mama always gave her men. Hal slid the straps of my sundress down my arms, revealing my breasts. He gently touched one, then the other. He tongued one, then the other and I got a warm feeling down low in my belly. I arched my back and moaned softly. Hal slipped off my panties and sat me on his lap; there was a momentary sharp pain. I learned what to do at my mama’s knee and it was good.

There was one man who’d come around the motel; he’d sit in his big fancy car looking out the window. He never left the car except the one day he saw me sitting outside on the stoop. He came over, gave me a peppermint candy and said I was the most gorgeous thing he’d ever seen. He asked what I was doing living in that dump. He said with his know-how and my looks I could make lots of money, live like a queen in a big fine house and never want for anything ever again.

This man wasn’t telling me anything new. I smiled just like I smiled at Hal. The man smiled back and lifted my chin. He studied my face intently and said I’d do very nicely. This pompous ass actually thought I needed his know-how; he was mistaken. I already knew how. All I wanted was a ticket out of here, to live my life doing what I was good at and to make lots of money. Let this fool think whatever he wanted to think; he would learn soon enough that I knew exactly what I was doing.

Two days later the man in the big fancy car came back. He opened the car door; I slowly walked over and slid in. Glancing up at my motel room window, I saw my mama staring down at us. When Hal sidled up behind her, she laughed gaily, turned her back and fell into his arms.

Mama had set the stage for me and now I was ready for the show to begin.

NAR © 2022