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Ripple Effects

The last couple of days have been nothing if not hectic.

Another Easter has come and gone. The family spent an enjoyable day together at my oldest daughter’s residence over in Rockaway, where we feasted on lamb chops, shrimp, pasta and salad, accompanied by a wide selection of fine wine. Truth be told, I am not a great lover of wine and my entire life experience with the juice of the fermented grape revolves my youthful involvement with such upscale spirits as Ripple, Thunderbird, Mad Dog, Night Train, Wild Irish Rose or Boone’s Farm.

Back in the day, I could have cared less about the lexicon of wine aficionados, aroma, balance, body, bouquet, dry, earthy, etc. The only words I have to describe these American classics are sweet, tasty and often times carbonated with a kick. I actually suspect many a wine aficionado began with Ripple but moved on to finer wines. Not me. I liked Ripple and I’m sure if I could still buy it, I would. 

Unfortunately, to my dismay, I learned that Ripple, which began production in 1960, ceased production in 1984. I guess I wasn’t paying attention during the last 35 years. On the other hand, Grace (she who must be obeyed) is possessed of a much finer palate than myself and her tastes tend to run to an upscale red such as a Merlot, Pinot noir, Zinfandel, or a fine Grenache. I should point out that none of the aforesaid spirits are carbonated, thus I limited my Easter Sunday imbibing to my fall-back “happy juice”—Diet Pepsi. You know what they say, in wine there is wisdom, in beer there is strength and in Diet Pepsi, there’s stuff that removes paint from your car!

The very next morning found my girls celebrating the 48th anniversary of Earth Day. Back in 1970, the esteemed journalist, Walter Cronkite, told the nation that the message of Earth Day was simple—”Act or Die!”—as Earth Day activists were predicting that the world would run out of crude oil by the turn of the century in 2000, while Life Magazine reported that, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following prediction…In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”  Almost 50 years later, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is telling everyone that we have to stop relying on the current glut of crude oil or the world as we know it will end in 12 years. I also hear that Tom Cruise is working on his next blockbuster, “Mission Compostable.” Good to know that the hyperbolic language hasn’t changed.

And once again, the very next morning found all of us celebrating my youngest daughter Vicki’s 23rd birthday. The very next day, we all celebrated my oldest daughter, Amy’s 24th birthday. The girls are “Irish Twins” – Amy being born on April 24, 1995, followed quickly by Vicki 364 days later on April 23, 1996. During a conversation with both my girls, I was asked what was the most memorable thing I remember about dealing with them as they were growing up. I didn’t miss a beat when I responded, “All those Friday nights that I made you sit with me and watch the movie, The Shining.” Amy remarked, “Yeah, you really had a thing about that movie, didn’t you?” “No,” I replied, “I just wanted to impress upon the both of you, what can happen when you spend too much time with your family.” 

All kidding aside, both the girls have grown into splendid young woman and I love them dearly. Nonetheless, in hindsight I now realize that there’s nothing I’ve learned from being a father that I couldn’t just as easily have figured out from setting all my money on fire.



Broad Channel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else? Well maybe except for my daughter, Amy, who immigrated across the bridge into Rockaway, but, of course, I forgive her!

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