We buried one of my heroes on Friday. She was my mother-in-law.

In the case of Helen Boyle, “hero” might be a form of understatement. Rather than begin with gushing words and bloated adjectives, permit me to recite just a few facts about her 85 years on this earth.

She lost her father at age five and learned of his death from a kid on the street while she was walking home. He looked at her and said, in that mean and matter-of-fact way that kids can muster, “Your father’s dead.” Helen was shocked and didn’t know what to say, so she snapped back, “I know,” even though she didn’t.

When she was 38, she gave birth to twins, Neil and Sharon, who died within days of being born. From here, I will let her son, Kevin, pick up the story.

As Frank Sinatra sang, Regrets, I’ve had a few thousand.  But then again, too many to mention. One, however, bears mentioning as a certain date approaches.

First let me say: Happy anniversary to my brother, Chris and sister-in-law, Grace, on 26 years of marital bliss and harmony. I just wish they slept more.

Their momentous day is an absolute cringer for me. I am making sure I will be in Florida or parts unknown when they celebrate with family and friends. 

And why do I wish they slept more

Back in high school I had some history or global studies teacher who led us to believe he used to work for the CIA or some clandestine arm of the government. It was strange.  He was making about $12,000 a year teaching in a Catholic high school, rather than making a living being a spook or an international man of intrigue.

Of course, he didn’t come right out and say he used to be Maxwell Smart or Jason Bourne, but he dropped some hints. And he was a weird dude to boot. He smiled like a serial

I do my best to be hip, cool, and sensitive to all sensibilities.  I try to be as politically correct as possible even referring to French fries as the Gender-fluid Offspring Of Idaho Potatoes. I don’t call them French because French is a trigger word, and I don’t call them Freedom fries because, well, they can’t be truly free if they’re being dipped in scalding cooking oil before being eaten.

I’m basically a macro-aggressor because I just can’t keep up with what is correct these days.  I

The son who will remain nameless is back in The States after a semester in Ireland, a semester in which he learned the Irish curse as often as they blink.  Fact you probably don’t need: the average human blinks 15-20 times per minute. That seems a little excessive. Then again, I’d rather talk to a blinkity-blinker than someone who never blinks. Ok, wait, I can’t continue the column while you’re thinking about how often you blink. Come back, come back to me.  

The above not named son is now at

In the old days, you used to be able to grease somebody.  I have no idea if that expression is still used, and for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it means paying somebody for a favor.  There was a long line, so I greased the bouncer and he let us in.  It was pretty commonplace and these transactions were the way of the world.

Same thing at stadiums.  You’d be at Yankee Stadium or Madison Square and you’d slip the usher a couple of bucks, and suddenly the ticket you bought for

It’s the dead of winter and it’s about to get deader.  You’ve sworn off bingeing on food and drink (or you should have).  Your chewing muscles are at rest. You’ve already used a fork to poke an extra hole in your belt for that expanding waistline.  Now what?  It’s that time of year for binge replacement therapy. 

Start with exercise.  Bend over (you might do a little stretching first) and pick up the remote.  Do some curls by pulling a blanket up to your eyeballs.  Reach, really extend, c’mon

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