One of the advantages of being a father and a grandfather…

is something done on my family’s behalf…

to teach my children and grandchildren how to have fun…

how to smile… how to laugh.


I take this responsibility seriously…

using humor to give my children and grandchildren a lift…

No need to thank me family…consider it my gift.


Through the years my jokes have been so good…I’ve repeated them like clones.

Occasionally they’re met with laughter…more often they’re met with groans.


Groans in the beginning…but of this I am proud:

Someday when they get older…I’m sure they’ll laugh out loud.


My granddaughter calls them Dad jokes…and they‘re usually met with…”Oh PopPop!”

Dad jokes instead of bad jokes…as if that will ever make me stop.


“What time did the man go to the dentist?” I ask, as unsuspecting Ava wonders why.

and she shakes her head and grimaces when…”tooth-thirty!” I reply.


Dad jokes…I can live with that label…if it makes my humor all the more bearable.

“Have you heard the joke about a piece of paper?” I ask her

“Never mind…you’ll only think it’s tearable.”


“How am I doing, Ava?” I ask. ”Stop me if you’ve heard these before.”

“PopPop please”  Ava pleads holding her hands over her ears…

“I can’t take this anymore!”


But I am unperturbed…knowing if this joke doesn’t make her laugh…

or give her a little thrill

I’m sure the next one…or the next one…

or perhaps the next one will!


“Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom?” I ask.

“Oh, Ava, this is a funny one…you’ll see.”

“Because, as everybody knows,” I say…“pterodactyl has a silent pee.”


Wait, hiding there behind that groan…was that a smile I did see?

as a life-long teller of Dad Jokes…that’s good enough for me!


Yes, I take this responsibility seriously…my mission is not only to make her smile…


Not only to teach her about humor…but to do so…with some style.

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Studies show when you play with your children and grandchildren 

they are happier and healthier…this is true

but did you know when you play with your children and grandchildren…

it could also be beneficial to you?


When you play with your children and grandchildren 

they learn how to pick and choose,

They learn the fun is in the playing of a game…

not wether they win or lose.


When you play with your children and grandchildren 

you can see their imaginations and emotions evolving.

They learn how to take turns, how to think for themselves, 

they learn patience and problem solving.


When you play with your children and grandchildren 

they learn to laugh, to love, to care.

They learn to think for themselves, to be creative, 

they learn how to be honest and fair.


When you play with your children and grandchildren 

they learn how to joke, how to smile…how to rhyme

They learn you’re willing to give them your most precious gifts…

your attention, your love and your time..


Studies don’t show this but when you play with your children and grandchildren ...this I also know to be true…

When you’re old… they’ll remember the times you played with them when they were young…

and they will come back and play with you.




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We ran across some old photo albums of our children the other day and were amazed how time has flown...

because our children are not children any more…

our children are all grown.


The proof was right before our eyes…yet we were still appalled

When did our children grow up…when did they get so tall?


When did the babies in these pictures grow into little boys?

Wasn’t it only yesterday they were playing with baby toys?


This baby with the blond hair…which occasionally had a curl…

when did she stop crawling…when did she become a little girl? 


We were there at the beginning and for all the times in between

Yet as we looked at our children in these photos we wondered…

when did they hit their teens…


As we continued looking at more pictures, we continued wondering when…

When did our little girl turn into a woman?

when did our little boys turn into men?


And as we sat together reminiscing…

looking at the same pictures over and over again

We thought how some of the fondest memories in life begin with…remember when.


And we were glad we were there to make those memories…

and we swore we’d do it all again…

for another chance to sit together…

another the chance to remember when…


But when we picked up next album…

and turned the pages we were appalled….

When did we get four grandchildren?

And when did they get so tall?





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Generations come together on Thanksgiving…from across this great country

The Greatest, The Silent, The Baby Boomers, The Millennials, the X, the Y, the Z.


Each generation has its moniker but on Thanksgiving it seems to me

When all the generations come together…their only moniker is family!


When families come together…sometimes it’s spontaneous…other times it’s planned

because, realizing our time together is precious, we grab it whenever we can.


We take the time on Thanksgiving…so at least one time a year

We can eat and laugh…tell stories…and remember those no longer here.


We remember when our children were young…we laugh and smile and tease…

We remember funny things they did…we remember funny words and puffy knees.


We watch the older generations sit down, they share and mingle and mix

While the newest generations runs around, playing games…performing magic tricks.


As the food is being spread out…recipes are shared

Hugs and kisses flow like water and recipes are shared.


We see pictures of soldiers no longer with us…long forgotten scenes

We rememberer when our dad was here and when Mom was just nineteen.


Thanksgiving is a reminder to cherish all our moments together

knowing they won’t last very long…

A reminder of what holds a family together…

Of what makes a family strong.


That’s what makes the holidays so special

That’s why family members amass 

Because the only way to bridge the future

is by linking to the past. 


Yes family is one of nature’s masterpieces…

a cause for joy and celebration

For family is eternal….


the never-ending generation.

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Bryan gave Teller a tour of the Biltmore when Penn and Teller were performing in NC

and Teller was astonished and elated…

So when our family went to Las Vegas this week…Penn and Teller reciprocated.


We got to meet and greet the two stars…take a few pictures and as for their show…

we got in for free….

and if that wasn’t enough to make our night grand…they sat us in the section marked VIP.


As our family watched the show on stage…as Penn and Teller put their magic through its paces…

I’d pause a moment every now and then to watch the magic on our family’s faces.


And I thought how love is also magical…

you have to watch closely because you can’t always be sure where it starts….

And you stare in a kind of cheerful wonderment 

as it plays tricks with your mind and your heart…


Love like magic has a certain progression…an evolution that makes both work so well

both have a way of mesmerizing…both put us under a spell.


Both are filled with wonder…both follow their own unpredictable routine

Both have us believing in something we can feel but something that can never be seen.


Like magic you don’t know where love comes from….

and you surely don’t know where it will go…

And like magic you don’ t need all the answers…

in fact, often, you don’t want to know.


As I watched our family watching the show…

as I saw amazement spill into their eyes

I thought how the magic of love…like magic…

is hidden in the unexpected…is found in the surprise.


While watching the magic of Penn and Teller with my family…

I suddenly became aware….

how much magic there is in love …

for when we have love…there is magic everywhere.


A magic that takes center stage…

and, like our seats that night, comes to us free…

Yes, love is what make our life feel magical…


for in love we are all VIP’s.

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Yesterday we volunteered at Ava’s school…at its annual jog-a-thon

The sun was shining and clouds dotted the sky…as we stood upon the lawn.


Music was blaring from loud speakers…playing a host of popular tunes

when Ava’s class arrived on the scene…a little after noon.


Ava jogged a couple laps…she was running steady, fast and strong

but when she decided to walk the next lap…

I decided to walk along.


We talked about frivolous things…and sometimes…we didn’t talk at all.

As we spent this moment together…I thought…when did she get so tall?


I remember thinking as we walked along together…

taking this moment to reminisce

how life is made up of simple moments ….

Simple…yet wonderful moments like this.


Moments that may not seem like much…

as we gossip about school or talk about the weather

But moments that are truly special…

because they’re moments we spend together…


We learn to hold dear these moments 

we learn to treasure everything about them…

Because any moment spent with the people we love

surpasses any moment spent without them…


So…if you have a chance to spend time with someone you love

By all means take the time and spend it…

And you have a chance to take a walk with your granddaughter

I would very much recommend it!


Because life is made up of moments like this

And it would behoove us all to learn…

Once a moment like this is over…

It’s over…


never to return.

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There is a wonderful sensation parents feel…it is quite beyond compare.

At first it may seem solitary…but…it’s shared by parents everywhere.


It matters not what nationality, what religion, what color…for this is a universal feeling…

One all parents find as captivating…enchanting and appealing.


Their children have all gone to bed…they’ve long since lost count of sheep

When parents are drawn inside their bedrooms…to stop and watch them sleep.


And in those quiet moments as light seeps in from the hall

All parents wonder how they can feel so much love…for someone who’s so small.


They smile at the stillness…it’s a time when all activity has ceased…

Their children are safe, secure and happy…their life is calm…their world at peace.


Through the window their cheeks are brushed by the light of stray moonbeams

And their parents smile contentedly as they watch their children dream.


For in that moment before they turn and bid a fond adieu

Parents realize how lucky they are…that their dreams are coming true.


They lovingly…quietly close the door…knowing this memory will keep

Until tomorrow night when they’ll return…to watch their children sleep.


I wonder would we still have wars….would hatred for one another run so deep


If instead of fighting we just compared notes on how our children sleep?

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The first night was to prove to us there were special times ahead

When we lit a 3 hour log in our fireplace before we went to bed.


We all slept soundly comforted by our dreams, not much tossing…not much turning

And we awoke to find that 3 hour log, in the fireplace, still burning.


Have you ever wondered what makes a host of little memories join together to form a whole?

What etches them into our heart…what imprints them on our soul?


Our family members from all over…filling up their cars…going for a ride

meeting at a state park where we rented two cabins side by side.


An owl was there to greet us, Nana’s chocolate chip cookies, a riddle book…

Playing football between the palm trees, lasagna that took all night to cook.


Sitting outdoors by a campfire, walking a boardwalk under a star lit sky…

Listening to birds sing in the darkness…shining a flashlight on alligators eyes.


Sharing a cabin with two grandchildren…hoping they would not hear me snore…

Playing Pictionary together…on the cabin’s wooden but sandy floor.


To guarantee you have a host of happy memories there is only one sure fire plan…

You get together often…and make as many as you can.


Waking up early, heading back to the boardwalk in the coolness of an Autumn breeze

Seeing the birds we only heard last night as the sun peeked over the trees.


Wherever we looked…all around us…birds of every size and color could be found…

Cranes and kingfishers and herons…eagles in the sky and on the ground.


Hiking through the woods…losing track of the time of day

Walking on the tree tops across a bridge that bounced and swayed.


Memories that hopefully will remain forever within our brains

A hammock nestled between two trees…grilling in the rain.


Card tricks, playing poker and Uno as outside began to flood

Sitting on the porch and watching children playing in the mud.


Home-made chili with rice and macaroni served up on a rainy night…

An inside campfire, eating s’mores…with marshmallows cooked just right.


Ending the evening playing Reverse Charades as socks by the fireplace dried…

Playing together as a family and laughing until we cried….


Yes, coming together and making memories is what life is all about…


And if we’re lucky, like that 3 hour log…some memories will never burn out.

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We were driving from North Carolina to Florida under a light blue cloudless sky

When I got to thinking about life…as I watched a host of mobile homes pass by.


Big ones…little ones…trailers…VW campers…some were short…some were long…

So many people going somewhere….who took their homes along…


For me, no better excitement…no greater feeling can be found

than when our house is filled with laughter…when our family’s gathered round.


When everyone has assembled from wherever they have roamed

I am blanketed in contentment….it’s when I feel…I’m home.


I used to think everything had to be perfect…everyone together for a holiday

In our home…around our table….to make me feel this way.


But over the years I have come to realize this feeling…the genesis of my rhymes…

This sensation often shows up…in the oddest places…

at the oddest times.


Yes, this feeling that overtakes me…I have joyfully become aware…

I don’t have to be in my house to feel it…and my entire family need not be there.


It shows up at Ava’s softball game… talking to Ali on the phone

Having dinner at Ryan and Amy’s house…watching Bryan fly his drone.


Visiting Damien and Trista in Orlando….when Aden spends the night…

At a restaurant with Fred’s family….walking under the stars with Deborah on my right.


Taking Taylor out to lunch….why this feeling even extends…

to when Michelle and Alexa come to visit…or having dinner out with friends.


Could it be that home is love…and love is home…it sounds almost like a 60’s song…

And anywhere we see family and friends…that feeling comes along…


To remind us wherever we travel…wherever we choose to roam…


Love will always travel with us…kind of like a mobile home!

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