My Corner, Your Corner: Life is just too darn short sometimes

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio | March 9th, 2017 3:59 pm

I’ve always considered March a transition month.

Winter won’t let go, as we are finding out, and spring keeps peeking its head in and out, here and there.

Spring sports are around the corner as winter sports have come to a close.

The Pittston St. Patrick’s Parade has been neatly tucked away for another year as we eagerly look toward the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival.

I covered the PIAA swimming districts last weekend. Missing the parade with the temps so cold and a nasty wind chill was okay with me, especially since I was indoors where it was 80+ degrees.

After talking to several people who attended the event, even with the weather not cooperating, it seems Pittston City hit another one out of the park. Congratulations to Sarah Donahue, the planning committee and everyone involved on a job well done. Kudos to the Pittston City Police Dept. for what it has to do on a day like parade day.

It seems the luck of the Irish wasn’t there this year for area parades regarding weather as this weekend was no picnic for both the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre parades.

Transition doesn’t just happen with sports or seasons. It can happen in jobs, careers, residences and, ultimately, life.

For as much fun as I had covering First Friday in Hazleton last week, along with three sessions of swimming, I was hit with the other end of the spectrum – sadness.

It was a bad weekend for classmates of mine as two of them lost a parent and another lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Don Black, or Donny, as family and friends affectionately called him, fought long and hard over a cancer rarely beaten. Pancreatic cancer is the type of cancer that, once detected, is nearly impossible to beat.

Donny fought it bravely and quietly for 10 months after his diagnosis without many people knowing. He didn’t even want his siblings to know until the very end.

His daughter, Allison, who has been residing in Florida, took a leave from work to spend every moment she could with her dad. I take my hat of to her for doing so. It can’t be easy pausing life and career to tend to a dying parent.

We all wish we could do just that but, in today’s world and economy, it’s nearly impossible. Allison was lucky enough to be there for her dad.

Donny and I played on the same Little League team coached by his day, Harry Black Jr. It was a unique situation for Donny to play ball for his dad. We both played in the outfield so we practiced a lot together.

Donny also lived a stone’s throw away from my house and, even though we had different circles of friends, there was much respect for each other.

He excelled in high school football. His daughter loved seeing all the football pictures of her dad in action as Donny was a very strong, athletic type who did things effortlessly on the field.

In his later years, Donny was always seen at his mom’s house tending to her after his dad passed away. He was a good son, for sure.

One of his passions, outside of riding his motorcycle, was driving his little two-seater car. That was something else he and I had in common. He loved taking rides on a hot summer day with the top off, just as I did and, quite often, we would honk the horn at each other as we crossed paths during a ride.

He loved his children, Allison and Teddy, and loved being in their company. He divorced many years ago but found a soulmate in Beth Preston. The two were married just last October.

It still seems odd to read a classmate’s obituary. When I think of my classmates, we are still roaming the halls at Wyoming Area or taking driver’s training with Tom Vaxmonsky or gym class with Sandy Chiampi. Just yesterday, we were 18-year-old kids with our entire future ahead of us.

In the blink of an eye, we are parents and grandparents, wondering where the time has gone.

No matter how much we try to tell our children what to expect as they transition from high school to adulthood, it’s something they have to experience for themselves.

I hope Allison was able to soak in the last 10 months of life with her dad and that she has gained some of his knowledge and wisdom as she transitions through the rest of her life.

Quote of the week

“Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write.” – William Corbett, English journalist.

Thought of the week

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” – Howard Aiken, American computer engineer.

Bumper sticker

“None, but people of strong passion are capable of rising to greatness.” – Comte de Mirabeau, French writer.

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My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio


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