About Me

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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 61 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.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Let's Be Careful Out There!"*



*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, April 28, 2009
as "No One is Exempt From Rules of the Road"

Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey

Riding season is upon us. As the weather warms, motorcycles will once again populate the roadways. The responsibility of survival in traffic rests upon the shoulders of both riders and drivers. For the sake of everyone, please read and heed these prudent reminders:

DRIVERS: Motorcycles are small and easily lost in the background of other traffic. Take that extra moment to look carefully before pulling into traffic, particularly when turning left.

RIDERS: Remember the first rule of inattentional blindness: Even if they look directly at you, they may not actually see you. When approaching a possible situation where a driver could pull out in front of you, plan an escape route, if possible. Watch the driver’s eyes and flash your high-beam if there’s any doubt.

DRIVERS: When merging onto a highway or changing lanes, please make the effort to actually turn and look over your shoulder. Don’t rely on that glance in the rearview mirrors. They are small and leave blind spots around your vehicle.

RIDERS: Like you, drivers are human. They have the same propensity for mistakes as you do. In traffic, leave room for the unexpected and you will lessen the risk.

DRIVERS: Don’t tailgate. A fender-bender between cars is an annoyance. The same impact could maim or kill a rider.

RIDERS: Don’t tailgate. Your headlamp could blind a driver by reflecting that light from their rear-view mirror into their eyes. Also, your proximity could unnerve or distract the driver, making the likelihood of a panic stop more likely.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Parents, Kids, and the Nest*


L to R: Niki, Jamie, Robbie, Crystal, Easter 1988


Crystal, Jamie, Robbie, and Nikki, April 2010
A rare moment of joy on the sad day of Baby Zoe's funeral.

*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, May 8, 2009
as "Moms, Dads Are Never Prepared for Empty Nest"

Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey

Adults fill an abundance of roles throughout our lives, but none more exhausting, exasperating, or more rewarding than being “Dad and Mom.”

My wife and I both wanted children, sharing that na├»ve dream of how easy it would be. Watching our parents, it seemed so easy. They always knew the right answer, always made the correct decision. There was nothing they hands couldn’t create or fix. They came to our games and concerts, making us feel special. And they were always that emotional safe harbor for scraped knees and bruised feelings.

The illusion that we could do as well didn’t last long. Kids are complicated little beings. They are always changing and growing. Being parents means working hard just to keep up. And it was always hard. I was barely an adult myself, trying to be a good example when I wasn’t completely sure what that was. I remember feeling confused and overwhelmed.

And worried. Always worried.