Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

December 25, 2014 was THE  Most relaxing Christmas Day ever! In my almost 42 years of marriage Christmas holidays have always been more of a hassle and emotional burden , much to the chagrin and disappointment of my husband Mike. He is the person who lives for the moment of this one day when he sets up the coffee, plugs in the tree lights and come prancing though the hallway excitedly gushing, “He was here! He was here! Come on, get up, Santa was here!”
If you’re not a morning person, tough luck. His exuberance will not be denied. If you ARE a morning person., tough luck. You will just have to stay in bed until he can orchestrate the beginning of Christmas morning. This is his indulgent pleasure, to keep the magic of Christmas morning, magical. He does a fine job of it, at that. From there we have cinnamon rolls with coffee and orange juice, it’s tradition

My problem with Christmas is the work involved to get to this one day. For many years, from Thanksgiving forward, a list of names was compiled with a potential gift idea for each person on that list. Then the logistics of who will purchase, who will wrap, when will we see the giftee and did we remember to get a gift receipt ensues. As nieces and nephews have grown to young adults many of the gifts have become the gift that never gets returned, cash. Everyone likes to get cash. I like the idea of signing a card with a personal sentiment and dropping a dollar amount inside that will certainly be put to good use and is always appreciated. Nobody ever hands back a card with cash and says, “ I already got this, can I return it?”

I really do like to give gifts, but not so much to exchange gifts. I am  blessed and fortunate to be at a place in life where I can acquire almost anything I want or need with my own means. Maybe not right away or in a moment’s whim, but I don’t do without much and I don’t have to wait all year for Christmas Day to purchase socks and underwear.  It’s a good place to be. I am grateful to be in such a place.
So, you might wonder what made this Christmas seem so much more relaxing than previous ones. I am not so sure, not much of the day’s routine was radically different for Christmas of days past. I stretched out on the sofa after our cinnamon rolls and coffee breakfast. I watched A Christmas Carol (Reginald Owen) for the third time in 2 days while texting playful witty banter between my sister and brother. I started the gravy and meatballs for dinner and the hubby took over from there, preparing the ravioli while I made the salad.  He fed the younger grands so they could go about their Christmas day and then the rest of us sat down to a leisurely dinner. It was delightful. The Sons-in-law cleared the dishes and stacked the dishwasher, we had coffee and dessert. The day ended  by seven o-clock and I found myself back on the sofa, stretched out and recounting just how awesomely relaxing this Christmas day had been, full of peace, comfort and joy. The bar has been set high for next year to measure up. I won’t stress about it. I’ll bask in the glow of this year.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Morning Coffee and BuddhaMan Mike - the Journey Continues

Over the last three years, with the beginning of the new school year, I’d sit across the kitchen table from my grandson Mike sharing a morning cup of coffee most mornings while we wait for his school bus. I have written before about our journey with Mike and I continue to be in constant awe how far he’s come in his sixteen plus years. Mike was a Shaken Baby, abused in the first 2 months of his life by his biological father. In hindsight there were signs of the abuse, but how the abuse could go on without awareness or intervention is another story to be told. This post isn’t even about the miraculous and gratifying road he has taken our whole family on.
This is about mine and Mike's morning coffee time.

A sudden change in daycare circumstances forced the family to make adjustments to Mike’s school bus pick up time and location. The most practical solution at that time was to have the bus pick up and drop off at my house. I had the most flexibility with morning time and Mike was ready to assume the personal responsibility of becoming at least a part-time after school latchkey kid. I adjusted my morning arrival times at work for most days of the week while we waited for the bus and shared a cup of coffee and  ran through his daily check list- did he take his meds- check, does he have his book bag- check, did he have his door key- check.

Not all mornings were so pleasant. Some mornings while he tried to cram in a game or two on the Xbox, I would have to constantly remind him that it was time to log off and get ready or get off his phone while texting his friend. True to his teenage nature, he would be annoyed with me, but it was short-lived. He is truly a genuine gentle soul.

This school year his parents have decided the school bus will pick up and drop off at his own house. After a successful trial run this past summer of his summer camp bus picking him up and drop off at his own home, Mike will begin a new independent venture by taking his school bus from his own home.
In all honesty, I will miss his witty comebacks when I would tease him about his teenage hygiene, or lack thereof, and his need for haircuts. As it is with many teenage boys, grooming is often a source of conversation, if not concern. Morning coffee conversations often went like this;
“Mike, you need to comb or at least run a brush through your hair.”
“Mike, you need a haircut. Your hair is starting to look nappy.”
“Ani, my hair IS nappy!”
Lately his need to shave regularly is the most recent hygiene issue. I recently razzed him that he looked scruffy and dirty because he hadn’t shaved in a while. He later showed up freshly shaved and even splashed on some cologne. He's learning an appreciation for smelling good, but still doesn't brush his nappy hair when in need of a haircut.
Every morning during the school year, as the bus would arrive he would bolt out the front door, but not before a quick, “Love you!” I will miss that more than anything.
There is a list of things that I won’t miss by adjusting my schedule. Most of all, I will not miss the awful traffic that comes with a late start on the road.
It’s a longer list of things I will miss without Mike and our morning coffee. But time marches on and our journey with Mike is far from over. It’s just the next chapter.
Good luck to the BuddhaMan as he continues on his journey.





Saturday, August 2, 2014

Comic Books, Reading and Movies

I just saw the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s definitely a do-over. I will be taking 8 year old Meghan (the Todzilla) to see it. Although the PG-13 rating cites “intense sci-fi violence and action, and some language”, I think she sees more violence on Sponge Bob and other television shows. There was no obvious gore and the “language” was nothing more than on most regular televisions shows some kids already view.
I won’t go into what I saw in the movie, there are plenty of folks out there that have already seen and reviewed  and Rolling Stone's Pete Travers reviewed better than I could.
What I love so much about the movies that are made from comic book superheroes is how I wax nostalgic about the stuff that kept me reading as a child.
When I was in grade school, while most of the girls my age were reading Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins and Hardy Boys, I spent my money on comic books, mostly Superman, Thor and Captain America. I tried to take an interest in the books like Nancy Drew, but there just wasn’t enough fantasy and suspending reality in them to hold my attention. I was probably somewhat dyslexic at a time when dyslexia wasn’t a commonly recognized symptom of learning difficulties. I wasn’t a ‘struggling’ student, but a block of printed words on an eight inch sheet, with no pictures or drawings to display the point of the content, often sent me daydreaming.
 I pined for the days of primary readers of Dick and Jane.
I remember my first comic book. It was a Superman. I can not tell you what the episode or specific storyline was, but I had rapt attention in the full color illustrations and unsubtle action that was captured in a bubble of tightly edited dialogue, the epitome of KISS (keep it short & simple). So much of the story was told on one page of panels filled with four to six blocks of well executed narrative. From Superman I grew my reading repertoire to Thor, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Avengers and the Hulk. My personal faves were Superman and Thor. What’s not to like about a musclebound superhero hunk with great hair that happens to be articulate and intellectual and able to avert mass destruction in 20 pages or less?
I continued to read comic books into my teen years. I bought comics from the news stand I passed on my way home from high school, as I got off the Frankford el. After I finished reading, they would be added to a stacked pile that eventually got trashed. The only other person in our household to share my interest in comics was my brother. Once the pile was about 12 inches high, Mom insisted they get trashed. Who would have thought that pulpy newsprint comic books would have become collector items?
There was one other person who shared my superhero/fantasy interest. That was a boyfriend. When he found out about my penchant for comic books, he recommended one of his favorite series by Robert E. Howard and continued by Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp - Conan the Barbarian. Freshly infatuated with teenaged ardor, I found a new hero to follow and add to my reading repertoire. The boyfriend was short-lived, but the love of fantasy reading matured with an appreciation for a more complex storyline of a fine specimen of male brawn, brains and always able to save the day.
It’s gratifying when I see a film that suitably portrays the characterizations and action packed stories that kept me reading as a child. I hope the imagination of these film makers continues to put out the same of level of entertainment I wax nostalgic about with my  comic book reading.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Suddenly Empty

I needed to get away. I needed time and space to write. Alone time, with no interruptions of inane questions and consultations for advice on whether or not the toilet bowl brush was round enough to cover the necessary area (not really, but of that nature of non-importance). My friend Kathy has offered her house near the beach, in New Jersey we call it ‘down the shore’. She had inherited it from her Uncle Paul, Father Paul to the rest of us.

Father Paul was an eternally smiling guy, a very quiet man, but with a smile that made you want to sit down and have a beer with him. Every time I found Father Paul at Kathy’s house, he was invariably stretched out on her sofa, shoes off, watching television, and he’d wave and smiled that smile, as if to say, “yep, I’m just here for the company of others”. He was a quiet and gentle soul, who liked a quiet and subtle, yet sarcastic joke and he yearned to make you laugh with him, or better yet, smirk along with him. He was also Kathy’s closest family connection to her Mom who died young, before she could really enjoy her own grandchildren as they grew up. Paul was her mother’s brother and her closest family. Other relatives lived on the west coast and were older. Father Paul was ‘brother-uncle-friend’ Paul.

Uncle Paul was the ‘priest in the family’, who would sometimes say Mass in Kathy’s dining room and tell one of the kids to say ‘ding-ding’ during the consecration of the Eucharist because there were no real bells like when in Church, to ting-a-ling during what was supposed to be the most solemn and sacred time of the Mass. He was serious, but seriously low-key and quick to remind a person to not take much of anything too seriously.

I had my own personal connection with Father Paul. My grandson Mikey had been getting therapies for a Traumatic Brain Injury.  Even before Mike's injuries. I would always describe him as a gentle soul. Kathy’s home was also the day care where she took care of babies and toddlers while young moms went to work.  While we juggled therapy and doctors’ appointments, Kathy was one of our team, and second-in-command with Mikey's recovery and progress.

 One day I came to pick up Mikey after work and in the living room was Father Paul stretched out on the sofa and baby Mikey lay across his chest while Paul stroked his back as he peacefully dozed. He said, "What a great soul this kid has. You know, Mike is going to do great things someday." Mikey was just about 8 months old at that time.

 Over the years, if Paul stopped by for his nap on Kathy's sofa and Mike had just come in from school, you could find them both anchoring each end. Paul would slide his legs off to the floor and Mike would slip in along the back of the sofa, and the two of them would doze, or just quietly lay there, almost like a yin and yang.

 When Uncle Paul died unexpectedly, Kathy found that she had to deal with more than just his house in Cape May, New Jersey. She had to deal with settling the “estate” of a retired catholic priest.  It seemed to me that she was simply overwhelmed with settling the affairs of someone she never expected to ‘not be there’ anymore.

After his funeral, when things with his estate started to gel, Kathy would take infrequent weekend trips to the shore house and do not much more than sweep and clean. She never considered to remove anything that once belonged to her uncle.

She frequently offered use of the house to me for breaks away and a quiet place to write. She said, “somebody should use it rather than just sit there empty.”  So I took her up on the invitation to take advantage of the shore house that was once Uncle Paul’s. I thought it a nice break in the daily grind and it was after all, a shore house in the summer. After a weekend at the house, it was apparent to me that it was still very much Father Paul’s home even though he’d been dead about a year. When I returned her key, she asked what I thought of the house and location. All I could think of was the feeling like the house was still her Uncle Paul’s and I said so, “Kathy, that house is yours now. It’s time to make it your own.” Her response was, “I know. I just can’t. I just can’t do it.”

Although his vestments and clothing were removed by his fellow clergy, there was an abundance of bric-a-brac stuff that an unmarried man who happens to be a priest of advancing years would accumulate. There was a collection of reference material for composing the Sunday homily, a weekday missal, a digest for various scripture readings, a St. Jude’s catalog of religious goods, and a variety of post-its of phone numbers of various doctors, his dentist and a handyman tacked up next to the photos of family and friends. His furniture was a spare collection of odds and ends, except for the dining table, which was a pretty set of white washed pine with an inlaid tile tabletop and Windsor chairs. Always on the table was the Sunday Inquirer he finished reading the day before he died, just where he left it.  There were various collections of barware, dishes, and coffee mugs that were an accumulation commemorating one event or another. Then, there were the pots and pans.

The first time I took up the invitation to the shore house I planned on cooking breakfast and eating out the rest of the time. When I took inventory of the cabinet that held the pots and pans, I was put off by the condition and collection of nothing that matched and most of what was there, I was sure, had to be from 1960 which was about the time he was ordained and probably the original Teflon. What was worse to me was  they were gummy and sticky, mostly from age and non-use. Ugh. The dishes and glasses also had a film on most of them. But, who was I complain? It was free lodging and close to the beach. I could hear Father Paul channeling in my brain. “Shut up and enjoy the view, just don’t use the dishes or pots and pans.”

Let’s return to my need to get away. I ask Kathy if I can use her shore house. She is thrilled to have someone make use of the house. “Of course!” She says. “ Here’s a key.” “Wait.”, I say to her. “I’m only going if you let me start to clean that kitchen.” I tell her that those pots and pans HAVE to go. “Go ahead.” she says, “I trust you .” Those can be three pretty heavy words. I. Trust. You.

So, there I sat in Kathy’s shore house that used to belong to Kathy’s uncle, Father Paul. I can see a few small changes she had made over the last couple of months. There were frilly valances on the windows and Kathy had added some holiday decorations and cleared out some of the homily reference material. There was still a three foot long crucifix on the wall in the spare bedroom, and the kitchen was still in need of serious attention. But the year old Sunday Inquirer had finally been removed.

 I focus on the kitchen before I sit down to write and start at the corner cabinet with the collection of clear glass dinnerware and coffee cups. There is a collection of ceramic teacups with no saucers and various lead crystal bowls that might supplement for bread bowls in serving Holy Communion. I found a variety of all shapes and sizes of glasses and a complete set of Corning Ware casserole dishes, with the lids. I spend an hour clearing out the cabinet and washing down the shelves and the film off the dishes and cull the stuff that needs to go.

It is interesting to me that the coffee mugs are like many other households, mementos of life events. From Uncle Paul’s cabinet there is a coffee mug commemorating a family visit to Mt. Rainier, WetnWild waterpark in Orlando, a retreat at the Abbey of the Genesee and really odd pieces that might have been gifts, like one solitary Spode Christmas Tree mug  and a Limoges porcelain china creamer pitcher that could have doubled for a small flagon to be used during one those Masses he held in the dining room.

Next, I attack the cabinet of pots and pans, more culling, ALOT of culling. Halfway through this chore I suddenly realize the reason why my friend has not done this task herself. As I clean out what I see as the foibles of a single man who lived alone and had no partner to point out his lack of home decorating finesse, I can see why Kathy cannot do this. No matter that he lived a relatively simple and non-materialistic life. No matter that Father Uncle Paul left her property. Paul will no longer be found lounging shoeless on her sofa with that smile. He will no longer conduct Mass in the dining room. When Uncle Paul died, he left a suddenly empty space in Kathy’s life and on her sofa. Most significantly he left his house suddenly empty. I don’t think anybody can fill that space. Like losing one’s mother, it is a vacuum that can never be filled. By helping to clean out the room that is central to the house, I hoped I helped to make it easier  to fill this space Uncle Paul left and begin to make it her own.

Once I was finished with the kitchen, I set up my laptop at the empty computer desk in the living room. It didn’t take too much time before I began to write about my day of cleaning and a brief journey through the cupboards of Father Paul’s life. It came together fluidly, without much thought, in a very calm and comfortable way.

It is easy for me to believe that maybe he was channeling this message, since the desk is where Father Paul died.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Leaving a Baby in the Car, It Can Happen to Anyone

With the beginning of summer and the heat it brings I am reading a fresh round of articles about the accidental deaths of children left forgotten in a car. It is often a combination of a parent or other caretaker running on autopilot and not recognizing a change in their daily routine and forging forward in the rote existence of our overbooked and over-distracted lives.
How can someone forget they left a baby in a car? We, as a population, are just too damned busy. That’s how. I know. I’ve done it.  My experience is no different than anyone else who has found themselves overwhelmed and distracted with the stuff life throws at us.
For me it was one morning during a completely overwhelming time in my life.  I was entrusted custody of my 5 month old grandson who was recovering from physical abuse by his biological father. My daughter, the baby’s mom, was not allowed to be alone with her baby, while she got counseling and her head on straight.  I had just recently started a new job. MY kid couldn’t be alone with HER kid and I had to take care of BOTH of them - Mom, Grandmom, chief, cook and bottle washer, literally.  
It was supposed to be ‘empty nest’ time. It was anything but empty with the steady stream of therapists, social workers and numerous doctor appointments.
On that day, I was just about to leave to go to work and drop off the baby to his new day care provider when my husband asked me to make an additional stop and pick up some building material he needed for a home repair he was doing on his day off from work. The baby was already loaded in his car seat, I was tired, irritated at the state of my current life situation, already late for work  and not the least interested in dragging my morning on to do one more errand for anyone, but I did. I was so distracted and angry at the imposition of running the errand I drove directly to the store for my husband’s request, instead of going to daycare first to drop off the baby.
 As I was about to slam my car door the baby made a noise.
I forgot he was in the car.
I forgot to drop him off first, at daycare.
My first reaction was shock and panic. I felt like I was going to throw up.
Suppose he didn’t make that noise? It was July, early in the morning and warm but not too hot yet. But nonetheless, what would have happened had I been stuck in the store for an hour? I gathered him up, finished my errand and took him to daycare. Instead of going to work I went home. I did throw up and cried for most of the day.  All I kept saying was I now know how people leave kids in cars by accident.
 We are just too damned busy. 
I was fortunate. That baby let me know he was still with me. I can honestly say that if I had returned to the car and found that I left him there, especially with what he had already suffered in his short life, I would have lost my mind. It didn’t matter that he had come to no further harm. I left a baby in a car and didn’t realize it. Me, a seasoned mom, a ‘veteran’ mommy, his grandmother, forgot that a baby was in the car.
I cannot say it enough. We are just too damned busy trying to cram errands and tasks into an unreasonable short block of time.
Even these years later I see it in parents today. There’s a constant mantra of things ‘to do’; “I have go here, I have to go there. I have to do this, I have to do that. I have to...”.  Our lives have become driven by filling the day with tasks and events with not a moment wasted until we fall into bed. It’s exhausting and not natural.
My heart breaks every time I hear of another tragedy of a child dying after accidentally being left forgotten in a car. The loss must be compounded with an eternal burden of guilt and relentless imagining “what if” and “If only I’d…”
While I was genuinely overwhelmed at that time, my own life felt like it was spinning out of control, I put a child in jeopardy because I was having a hissy fit.
 I was blessed that my guardian angel tapped me on my shoulder and said, “while you’re having that hissy fit, you forgot something in the car.” 
How can someone forget and leave a baby in a car? Unfortunately, I understand.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wounded Warriors

On Saturday, May 17, Armed Forces Day, the USA Hockey's Warrior Sled Hockey team competed against the USA Women’s sled Hockey team.

The USA Hockey's Warrior Ice Hockey Program doesn't have an affiliation with the Wounded Warriors Project, but nonetheless is a program staffed by officers and coaches who are all unpaid volunteers who enjoy the satisfaction of giving back to the heroes who suffered severe sacrifices in the line of duty in service to our country.
On Friday night my grandson Mike was invited to play with the Wounded Warrior Sled Hockey for the Saturday and Sunday games at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. What an awesome opportunity this was for him to experience, not only to play with adult sled players, but to play side by side with the Wounded Warriors.

Heroes' Welcome
As he arrived at the ice rink, in the lobby was a receiving line throughout the lobby from the door to the ice, called the Hero’s Welcome, manned by Warriors' Watch Riders.

The Grammy in me wants to effusively wax on about how much Mike amazes us every time he breeches another plateau in his journey, and he has again this year - the kid, that sixteen years ago, doctors and therapists said he might not ever walk, talk or see after his head injury. While Mike's journey, is truly a testament to faith, persistence and a united warrior-like group effort to not accept what ‘might’ be, this piece should be about the Warriors who sacrificed in service to their country.

They signed up for their service, but they sure didn’t sign up for the life altering damage to their bodies and minds so many have suffered with little or no supportive and wraparound services they and their families found were lacking upon return home.

Last month, I wrote about the USA Disabled Hockey festival held in Marlborough, MA, and briefly mentioned the Wounded Warriors Standing amputee team, where they had a one armed goalie. The Wounded Warrior Sled Hockey team also played at the festival, and some team members also participated in the Sochi Paralympics on the USA team.   By the way, the USA men’s team took the Gold Medal, over Russia (silver) and Canada (bronze), just sayin’, worthy opponents, but the USA prevailed and were the first sled hockey team to win back-to-back Gold Medals.
2014 USA Paralympic Sled Hockey Gold Medal team
As exciting as it is for Mike to be honored being invited to play this weekend, and he did understand the magnitude of such an invitation, the basis of this site is stories about “The life we claim we didn’t sign up.” While nobody signs up for a disability or different ability, it happens. What happens after that is what we must focus on and craft the process of moving on with life, even if it is the one we didn't sign up for.
Please visit these sites. Thank our people in the military for their service and sacrifice.
Roundup of the weekend's games:
  • Game 1 - 5-3, Women's team
  • Game 2 - 4-3, Women's team
  • Game 3 - 3-1, Warriors.
Wounded Warriors & USA Hockey Women's Sled Hockey teams.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


I was once asked,  ‘What’s your greatest accomplishment? What are you most proud of?”
My immediate response was, “my marriage”.  The person asking the question responded, “Wow, your face really lights up when you say that.”

I never really looked at my marriage as an “accomplishment”, but in the grand scheme of things, compared to what some other people experience in marriage, we have been very lucky and blessed that ours seems to have been relatively effortless. It’s not that there have never been bumps in the road and rough patches where you look at one another and think quietly but smarmily to yourself, ”GAWD, I can’t stand that you are breathing the same air as me.” That is the reality of what happens when you live with someone. A person can not share a bed and a bathroom with the same person seven days a week for years and expect to always think they are the best thing to come along since unlimited texting.  We’re only human. And let’s be honest, only one of us is scrubbing the toilet and shower!

There is some personal sacrifice in every relationship and a great marriage is no exception. The ‘rough’ patches were brief and ended up being the glue that we didn’t know we needed at the time. Stuff happens, time might heal, but moving forward as a team and a united front is one of hallmarks of our marriage. It hasn’t been hard.
We were children when we got married. At 18 what could we possibly have known what life had ahead for us? What did we know about real life? When it’s said, “ignorance is bliss” I think it was our ignorance that became our bliss. 

On another occasion, a friend whose marriage was coming apart and soon ended asked, “Don’t you wonder just how long it’s going to last?” Well, no, it never really crossed my mind that being married was on some kind of time clock.

Without knowing it early on, we nurtured our marriage like a family member. We ‘took care’ of each other and each other’s feelings. We were blessed with good health for the first thirty years and when illness paid us a couple visits, we took turns in stepping up and taking over the other’s role of caretaker, without pause.

Marriage is never a 50/50 proposition. If you’re lucky it can be 60/40. Sometimes, you get the 60. Sometimes, you give the 60. Then there are the times when it is 90/10, hopefully those times are few and far between, but it happens. Nobody is exempt.
With our 41st anniversary right under our noses, we both expressed that saying we’re married for forty-one years sounds a lot longer than it feels.
Awesome, and feels like 50/50!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beautiful Days at Ramblewood: Good Food, Good Beverages for a Good Cause


Let’s not mince words, Mother Nature is a Sled Hockey fan. She must be since she has provided spectacular weather for the Wings of Steel Golf Tournament at Ramblewood Country Club, every year for the last seven years. 

This event was born of need. See below for the history of Wings of Steel Golf Tournament at Ramblewood.

For now, please enjoy this recap of another successful golf outing and the converging of kindness with the relish of a good day of golf.


 As in the past seven years, the numbers of participants have never been a problem. This year presented a problem in that the registration filled up early and we had the distinct issue of actually being overbooked and had to turn away players.

The day starts off with a morning 50/50 drawing while the players register and enjoy a hoagie lunch. This year’s morning 50/50 generated a kitty of $940, of which the winner “Sean” generously donated back his winnings. Thank you, Sean.


After the players are called to their carts, the course ranger announces the scramble instructions and gets the game started.

While on the golf course, players are attended to by our beverage cart hostesses. This year we found the beverages were extra cold and the thoughtfulness of a lid for the cups was especially appreciated by those driving golf carts.


Found on the course are special auction items and hole prizes. This year there were 2 signed NHL hockey sticks, strategically placed on the course.


Prizes for ‘closest to the pin’ and best score under par are awarded. This year there was a tie between 2 teams at 12 under Par! The tie-breaker was determined by how each team did on the #1 handicap hole. The winners birdied that hole.




The afternoon/dinner time 50/50 generated a kitty of $970 of which the winner Sue Rudley also donated back her winnings! Thank you, Sue!

Chinese Auction Baskets
Chinese Auction: Every team parent commits to providing at least one basket valued at least $50. This year there was a couple Lottery baskets, Dinner and a Show/Night Out, Family games, and Weekend excursions to different locations.

Silent Auction Table
Silent Auction: A variety of authentic sports memorabilia awarded to the highest bidder signed on the bid sheet.

Live Auction items
Live auction: This year we had the distinct opportunity to offer a pair of autographed point shoes from a lead ballerina of the New York Ballet Company. While it might seem contrary to display such an item among an array of autographed hockey jerseys, think about the energy and strength needed to perform dance, especially ballet. It was a fitting item and a suitable auction price.

The Crosby did sell, but it went ‘silently’ to someone who wished to remain anonymous.

Brian Startare
Since the very first event the MC has been Brian Startare who was otherwise committed this year to broadcasting responsibilities because of the Flyers/Rangers game schedule.
Matt Lombardo

At the eleventh hour, Brian enlisted Matt Lombardo who manned up and helped us help our guests part with some of their hard earned cash in the spirit of giving for an excellent cause. Thank you, Matt, for stepping up at the last minute. We hope you will continue to be part of the Wings of Steel family.


All in all, it was a very good day for a fundraiser. There is never a ‘low’ point to this event. However, the Wings held a moment of silence for a beloved team member, Jessica Shaw, who died within days of last year’s event. Jess suddenly became critically ill and passed away that very weekend. Her bubbly personality continues to be missed, and it was in her memory that the dinner hour was kicked off.



About the Wings of Steel Golf Tournament:

 For many years ice time at the Skate Zone in Voorhees was generously donated to the Wings of Steel for practice and game time. Players are provided equipment at no cost to them or their family and equipment was and continues to be maintained by the volunteer labor of Dennis Senk. As the Wings of Steel developed and continued to be a competitive entity within the area division of sled hockey competition, so goes the economy. Ice time and game time could no longer be a viable contribution by the Skate Zone ownership and administration. The Wings of Steel organization was informed they would have to pay an annual fee for ice time comparable to able bodied teams.

To supplement the team’s meager coffers, team moms and dads often pushed 50/50’s at games and would stage bake sales and coin tosses. Any profit from these campaigns could barely scratch the surface for the cost of maintenance and uniform outfitting, let alone the prohibitive cost of ice time. Hockey is not an inexpensive activity. Couple that fact with the extra factor of this sport’s equipment geared towards the special needs population, and it soon becomes clear that bake sales and coin tosses are not going to generate viable revenue. The idea to hold a fundraiser was the last chance to hopefully generate enough cash to keep the Wings of Steel operating and to afford the cost of ice time.

Ramblewood Country Club has been a steadfast supporter since the inception of this event. They have helped the club by allowing the tournament to always kick off the last Friday in April, making it a day our participants plan for in advance. Especially of note is that the Ramblewood staff is always gracious and helpful in any way to make this day a success for the kids who play in the Wings of Steel Sled hockey team.