Tag Archives: New Jersey

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No doubt you’ve all read Chris’s tale about how, despite his general distaste for Halloween haunted houses, he girded his loins and joined posse members Rich and Father John at  the Look At This in Wharton, N.J.

Whaddaya mean you haven’t read it?!?!?! Stop wasting time and check it out here. I’ll wait.

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As luck would have it, our intrepid lead blogger had an audio recorder with him during his jaunt through the fright house.

Listening to Mad Mister Mele’s girlish screams and incredibly foul language had me wishing I was there.

Sadly, I, um, had to wash my hair that night. And I felt a tickle in my throat and couldn’t risk exacerbating it. Plus, I hadn’t dusted off my CD’s in awhile and was concerned about allergens…..

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Our Breakfast Club Therapy

It started out as a single get-together about three years ago.

My buddy Rich, who lives about an hour away, was going through a challenging time, so we got together for a breakfast to talk.

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That might not seem so monumental on its face but consider that for us to meet, we each have to travel about 40 minutes to reach a place somewhere convenient for both of us in rural New Jersey.

But the travel was worth it since the purpose was to talk — about our jobs, our families and our anxieties.

That meeting turned out to be just as important for me as it was for him.

One of the things that I’ve come to realize as a guy north of 50 is the almost impossible challenge of cultivating new friendships and the importance of maintaining existing ones.

At this age, there is so much history and so little time to get involved with others, thanks to the commitments of work and family.

By contrast, with Rich, who I’ve known for close to 40 years, there is a built-in intimacy and understanding of our shared experiences.

That breakfast meeting has led to many more since then.

The one-on-one conversations have a different dynamic than when the larger group of my buddies – the About Men Radio posse — gets together.

In a group of three or more, the conversations will inevitably devolve into hilarity of penis jokes, double entendres or a marathon of chop-busting but seldom anything heavy.

But when there is time and space for just two of us to talk, a stillness pervades, the kinetic energy subsides and a focus on more serious topics takes over.

Rich and I do not solve all of our problems over omelets and toast, but we do engage in connected conversations about our families, jobs, aspirations, limitations, etc.

How the hell are we paying for our kids’ college?

What roles are we playing as dads? As breadwinners?

What do our futures look like? What keeps us up at night?

The meetings were an epiphany that it’s O.K. to ask for help or simply just vent.

During our last get-together, Rich replied to a note I sent:

“Good to see you too. …It’ll be interesting 20 years from now when we walk into a place with our canes or walkers to have toast and coffee together. Need to keep taking pics so we’ll have a chronicle of our meetings.”

Indeed, Rich. I look forward to it.

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A Sign of Friendship

In a coming blog post, I will talk about the “Breakfast Club” therapy that About Men Radio contributor Richard Rodriguez and I have created.

For now though, I want to share something that happened at our most recent get-together in Allamuchy (yes, it really is a place) in New Jersey.

When we were done with our meal, Rich said to me, “Come with me to my car. I have something to give you.”

What he brought out from his car was the shape of a loaf of Italian bread and wrapped up.

What you see here is what was inside: A touching tribute to our shared passion for coffee and to an enduring friendship!

Thanks, Rich!