About Me

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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Good Time In Vegas Doesn't Have To Be A Gamble


Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey

As the plane banked into it's final turn, the wing dipped and revealed below a glittering carpet of lights. Unlike the airborne views of other cities, these lights didn't merely glow; they danced, making the cityscape come alive. A few minutes later, the wheels galumphed onto the runway and the overhead speakers announced: "Welcome to Las Vegas!"
Variously called "Sin City" or "America's Playground," Las Vegas has always seemed to exist in its own continuum. Regardless of events occurring in other places, boom or bust, war or peace, this oasis of neon in the middle of a very dark desert glittered without pause. I suspect that other-worldly quality is one of the reasons Vegas remains today a favored tourist destination. Yet even Vegas has felt the pinch, although you have to look hard to find the signs. Unemployment has soared to over 13%, due mainly to the suspension of the construction of several large developments. Even the entertainment industry has seen jobs dribble away. And yet, even when facing these difficult times, Vegas still manages to flash it's trademark diamond-studded smile.

The Gift of Life

Big, Big Grampa, Little Bitty Baby

Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey

For the last seven months or so, we've been caught up in the anticipation attendant to the birth of a grandchild. Our oldest daughter announced the coming event, not with a phone call, but in true 21st century style, via Facebook.

Through the intervening months, she's kept us up to date with her progress. Her husband was medically discharged from the Army and they left North Carolina for California with their car and a U-Haul truck stuffed with their worldly belongings. The pittance the Army advanced them for the trip ran out in Albuquerque, New Mexico, prompting a frantic phone call and some hurried negotiations with Western Union. Despite the hiccup, they eventually reached the Golden State and into the welcoming arms of his family. She made contact with her new doctor, and things looked good.

She went into labor on a Saturday, 10 days early. About 8 hours later, she gave birth to a girl, 4 lbs 9 ozs tiny. Zoe, as she was named, had eating problems initially and spent her first two weeks in the Neonatal ICU. At one point, the doctors called in a geneticist. She ran tests and a week later, dropped a bomb on this young family.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hibernation and the Motorcycle

Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey

The wind blows stiff and cold. The skies are leaden, casting the world in a sort of gloomy semi-darkness. The warm days of summer, and even the sparkling days of fall seem distant. I, like millions of other motorcyclists, stand mute and sad in the garage, having come face to face with that depressing reality. It’s time to put the bike away.

I’ve lived in many places, the last one in Missouri. Winters there mimic the ones here in Pennsylvania temperature-wise, but get far less snowfall. But around here, that first accumulating snow can come as early as mid-October. And once the road crews lay that thick layer of sand, salt, and cinders on the roadways, riding season is officially done. Even on those rare days when the sun shines and the temperatures flirt with the upper 40’s, all that stuff on the pavement renders riding a hazardous undertaking. One of the worst feelings for a rider is to be leaned into a curve and hear that tell-tale zetz as the back wheel slides out from underneath, sending you and the bike skidding wildly across the oncoming lane and into a culvert.

With those dangers in mind, the prudent ones among us go through this annual ritual of hibernating the bike, and the first taste of separation anxiety.