THE BEST OF ME: When I first realize the healing power of a sports team

In May of 1993, I wrote the following story for the Bangor Daily News. Personally, I can really start to see a maturity in my writing from the last item shared from 1992. But this story really hit home for me in a sense that I truly began to see how a sports team can also become a family. The tragic death of a 15-year-old girl as seen through the eyes of teammates really hit a chord with me and I realized trying to capture the emotion inside a story is really important. I just hope I did Mylissa Moors justice in this piece.

• • •

Central players try to cope after death of teammate

EAST CORINTH — They played softball again at Central High School on Thursday. But it wasn’t the same.

There was an emptiness, a hollow feeling inside each and every Red Devil player. Someone very special was missing.

Last Saturday, at 6:06 a.m., 15-year-old Mylissa Moors was killed in a car accident in Kendusgkeag. Moors was a sophomore at Central. She was the Red Devils’ starting left fielder.

Her death sent the Central players on a week-long emotional rollercoaster ride through reality. Tears have been shed, memories have been shared.

Even a 16-4 victory over Penobscot Valley of Howland on Thursday afternoon did little to ease the hurt, to fill up the sickly empty feeling sitting stagnant inside of them, or even dry up the tears.

Only time can do that.

The Central softball team has decided to deal with the death of their friend and teammate the same way they win and lose games — as a team.

“We had a meeting Saturday morning and I told the kids I was ready to forfeit those games,” said Central Coach Mike Thomas, referring to a scheduled Saturday doubleheader against Schenck. “But the kids said, ‘No. We’re better off here together.'”

Central split the twinbill, but more important results were at stake than just wins or losses.

“A lot of them asked, ‘Why?; some took a step back and said, ‘It could have been me;’ others say it makes you realize how fragile life is,” said Mike Hatch, Central’s athletic director. “I thought it was good for the girls to be together, to let the healing process start. It was a big step for the team, to begin to go through the mourning process.”

“I don’t think many of us wanted to play, but we felt we needed to be together,” said Cheri Greatorex, a senior shortstop. “It was hard to play. Our minds kept wandering.”

Central postponed Tuesday’s game against Piscataquis Community and did not practice either Monday or Tuesday, the days of the wake and funeral.

Instead, they tried to cope and understanding, leaning on one another, their families, or counselors made available by the school.

After all, most of these girls are 15-to-18 years old. They haven’t even learned about life yet. Why in the world wold the cruel hand of fate force them to learn about death?

It’s a question that has gone unanswered throughout the ages. The kids of East Corinth are no exception.

“I don’t understand why it happened,” said Greatorex. “I’m sure nobody understands. That’s a common question. Why? Why her? I don’t know. There  have been a lot of things going through my mind. I’ve never been through something like this before. We all feel it. We keep thinking about it. It’s hard to see a young person like that die.”

On week prior to Thursday’s game against PVHS, Moors had a home run and a single in her final game, a close to loss to PCHS.

She was also the starting goaltender for Central’s field hockey team.

Moors will be remembered much more as a person than as an athlete, though.

“She was one of the best people I’ve ever met,” said Greatorex, who became one of Moors’ close friends. “I loved her. She was fun to be with and she was a quality person.”

“She was a little spitfire,” added centerfielder Beth Miller. “She’d do anything for anybody. It makes you mad. I wish she was still here.”

Thomas added, “The kids will remember her every time they step on the field.”

Miller says she still looks over to left field, thinking she might see Moors out there. Moors best friend on the team, second baseman Savannah Bodwell, digs in a little deeper when she has to make a play. Teammates are constantly pulling each other back up when one of them gets down.

“I think we’re still feeling the effects,” said Greatorex. “We’re thinking about it a lot. This whole week has been the toughest week of my life. Hopefully, it will pull us all closer together.”

They played softball again at Central High School on Thursday. But it wasn’t the same.

It never will be, not without Mylisssa Moors in the outfield.

Still, the Red Devils are healing themselves and they play on with a friend and a teammate only a memory away.”

THE BEST OF ME: The story of Greg Braley

The first person I ever knew who died was Greg Braley, a former baseball team who was 15 years old when he was accidentally shot and killed by a friend back in our hometown of Orrington, Maine. Thirteen year after his death — which occurred when I was just 12 — I wrote this piece for the Bangor Daily News’ “Midweek” edition which came on Wednesdays. It was written in the year 1991, this I can still see a lot of immaturity in my writing. Though it is sports-related, it appeared as a “Page 2” column in Midweek. I still from time to time think of Greg and that day when I found out he was gone.

• • •

A Friend Remembered

It was while driving through the backroads of my hometown, Orrington, when his name leaped from the file cabinet of my mind.

His name was Greg Braley. He was three years old than I, yet the one bond we shared was baseball.

Farm League baseball, to be exact. The game at its most innocent terms.  No pressure to win. Just pressure to love the game and help build a foundation for your future.

We played our games at a field adjacent to St. Teresa’s Church in Brewer. It’s now a park with swings and slides. It seems like a long time ago.

It was while driving up the twisting and winding Swett’s Pond Road in South Orrington when it hit me. It really wasn’t all that long ago that Greg Braley and I learned to love the game of baseball.

I passed a road sign which stood erect on the side of the road. It was next to a dirt road which quickly wound its way up into the woods. The sign read, “Pine Hill Cemetery.”

I thought of Greg. He is buried there.

The year I played Farm League baseball with Greg Braley was my first year in the game. It was his last year at that level.

To my recollection, Greg was the first athlete I ever looked up to. He was my first sports hero, if you will. He was older. Better. I wanted to be as good as he was.

I turned around and entered the cemetery just to drive by the gravestone and remember — as I had done on my bicycle in the weeks after he died.

I found his headstone and stared at the words inscribed into the granite: Braley, Gregory N. Son. 1963-1978.

I was stunned.

Thirteen years had passed since he and a friend had reportedly been fooling around with a gun. It went off and killed him. Not only was I surprised that 13 years had passed since it happened, but it hit me for the first time that Greg was only 15 when he died.

I was 12 when it happened. After Greg left Farm League for the big time — Little League — I just saw him in passing. I’d occasionally stray to the Little League field in Orrington and watch the games. We weren’t friends by any means, but I still looked up to him.

The day it happened, I was riding my bike by the house where it happened. I saw the ambulance and the police cars. I talked to a man who lived across the road. He wasn’t sure what had happened.

Hours later, I heard. Greg had been killed.

At 12, one does not understand death. Maybe that’s why I was so shocked when it hit me that he was only 15 when it happened and 13 years had passed.

Just like that I went through the whole life-is-short, enjoy-it-while-you-can routine. It is, of course. And, you should.

I believe on this Memorial Day week that has one grows older, the younger a person dies the more tragic it becomes.

In 1978, I was sorry Greg Braley had died. I’m even sorrier today.

 

THE BEST OF ME: One from the early days of my career

This is a column I wrote early in my career, perhaps 1985 or 1986. It was first printed in the Bangor Daily News. As I re-read it, the part of it that really staggers me — other than the immature writing style I presented back then — was the realization that two of those mentioned in this piece, Mark Sullivan and Scott Phelps, are no longer with us. May they rest in peace and may I re-dedicated these words to them and what they meant to the John Bapst family.

• • •

Tonight’s Bapst football game recalls ghosts of Crusaders past

It all began on a Friday evening in a car that was sitting outside the Airport Mall in Bangor. It was 1976.

Inside, the little boy’s mother shopped. Outside, her son, 10  years old, sat playing with the radio dials, trying to tune in something good to listen to. Maybe he’d fall asleep. He knew how his mother was when she shopped.

Somewhere on the AM dial something caught his ear. A football game.

In time, as he listened, he learned it was a high school football game. An LTC championship game. Little Ten (or 12, or 13) Conference meant nothing to the boy then. Only the team that was playing.

John Bapst.

By the end of the game, in which the Crusaders had defeated the Stearns Minutemen 35-0 to cap a perfect 10-0 LTC season, he was hooked. John Bapst High School. John Bapst football.

The names McKenna, Veilleux, McCarthy and Whitney became his heroes. In his yard, he was Scott Whitney hitting Russ McKenna for the first down. He was Scott Whitney handing the ball off to Tom McCarthy for a touchdown. He was Greg Veilleux dishing out a vicious hit on an opposing running back.

But, as happens to most 10 year olds, the dream fizzled forgotten with time.

Four years later, there that 10-year-old boy was again. Only now he was 14 and waiting again for his mother, who was sorting out bottles at the store she owned. He was listening to the radio.

Again, sorting through the stations, he came across it almost accidentally. A football game.

An LTC game. A John Bapst football game.

On this day, though, they weren’t playing for a state championship. They were playing the Hyde School of Bath. And a new name was forever embedded in the boy’s mind — Mark Peters.

On this day, Peters rushed for 248 yards as Bapst defeated the visitors 32-15.

He began to think. He was in eighth grade now. He knew he was going to John Bapst the following year. Maybe he would take in a game the next week.

He had never been to Garland Street Field back then. To him, a young boy from a small town, it was Schaefer Stadium.

So he went.

It was a gray day with a slight drizzle in the air. He sat and watched the Crusaders lose 34-8.

But names like Peters, David Pardilla, Owen Monday and Paul LeBlanc filled the gaps left by his heroes of ’76.

The boy went to Bapst, as planned. He sometimes worked the PA system at games. He saw football players come and go.

Mark Sullivan. Dave Bartlett. Jeff “Hawk” Higgins. Robbie Stone. Scott Smith.

Sure, they were Bapst football players, but they weren’t the same. The boy took classes with these guys. He walked in the same halls with these guys.

You can’t walk on the same level as your heroes, he thought.

It was different, that’s for sure. But the boy still had the Whitneys and Peters that he could always look back on with fondness. He has never met any of them to this day, but they still hold a special place in the boy’s athletic heart.

Friday night that boy will be back at Garland Street Field, watching John Bapst take on Madison High School in a schoolboy football game. He won’t be recognized, though. He’s in an adult’s body now.

Still, as he thinks of his growing up and the feelings and thoughts he had of those players of yesteryear, he has to wonder about something.

Will there be a little boy sitting in the crowd on Friday that will look up to Bapst quarterback Scott Phelps the way he looked up to Paul Whitney? Or will there be one who pretends he is Darren Vittum going off tackle the way the boy pretended he was Russ McKenna or Mark Peters?

Probably. After all, it is John Bapst football. And the ghosts of Crusaders present will become the ghosts of Crusaders past. And they always seem to hook the ghosts of Crusaders future.”

THE BEST OF ME: Looking back at the highlights of Bobby D and Me

Robert De Niro (top) and Yours Truly (bottom left) ... Two fading careers?

Robert De Niro (top) and Yours Truly (bottom left) … Two fading careers?

I was having a discussion the other day about the new Robert De Niro movie, “Dirty Grandpa” and it really got me thinking about the actor’s career.

How could a legend like De Niro — whose resume is filled with all-time classic movies like “Taxi Driver” and “The Godfather, Part II” or “Good Fellas and “Raging Bull” or “The Deer Hunter” — sink to what appears to be such a low point in his career?

“Bang The Drum Slowly” was one of the first baseball movies I ever watched and certainly the first De Niro movie I ever saw since it was in 1973 when I was only 7 years old.

Fair to say it affected me for life as it gave me the trifecta of a love for baseball, cinema and story telling.

Even in “Angel Heart” and “Midnight Run” De Niro was awe-inspiring as an actor, be it a serious and intense role or more-comedic fare.

All told, he won two Oscars and 42 other acting awards. He was nominated 75 different times.

I suppose maybe the downfall started with “Analyze This” — where De Niro pokes fun at himself and his former mobster roles, starring opposite of Billy Crystal.

Then came those Fock-ing movies — “Meet The Parents” et. al. — and while they were fun, good-time and somewhat humorous movies, they weren’t De Niro-esque in terms of being classics. Or, even close to his best work.

The other day it kind of hit me.

De Niro is now 73 years old. His best days are behind him, but he’s still making a living, taking what roles he can.

Now I would never compare myself to Robert De Niro. Nor would I ever compare my journalism career to his acting career.

De Niro was great. If I may just toot my horn, I’m pretty good.

But a lot of times I write things these days and it feels like I’m falling short of my former self. Or, simply put, it feels like I’m not as good as I used to be.

Sure, I could make an excuse that in this day and age of journalism, I’m planning the papers, managing people, taking photographs, writing stories, laying out pages, running out to breaking news for other sections of the paper and dealing with a public that is either angry or apathetic that newspapers aren’t what they used to be.

De Niro had “Once Upon A Time in America.”

I have “Once Upon A Time I Was Just A Writer.”

Bottom line: De Niro is a shadow of his former self and sometimes I feel that way about my career. It’s not a feeling I like. Just calling it like I see it.

All that being said, though, I’ve been cleaning up my apartment of late — trying to lighten the load of history, if you will — and I’ve come across a bunch of stories I had written in the past.

Stories that take me (and the reader, I suppose) back in time.

Stories that tell great stories.

Stories that (maybe) made a difference.

Stories that I enjoyed writing and want to share with you now.

So, from time to time, here in “The October Weekend”, I’m going to present THE BEST OF ME … and follow up it up with some of my favorite pieces from my career.

It’s going to take me back to a time when I felt great about this career.

I hope, if you take the time to read them, you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I’ll post the first one tomorrow.

Glenn, Scott, Cathy & Me: The Road Trip that gave me a love of friendship, girls and music

Glenn Frey of the Eagles (1948-2016) (Photo courtesy of Zelman Studios)

Glenn Frey of the Eagles — (1948-2016)
(Photo courtesy of Zelman Studios)

I remember the car. Vividly. A green AMC Gremlin that lives on as a classic in my mind only because of the stories it helped to create during my formative years.

I remember the friend. Scott. He was the kind of guy you could always count on to do you a favor — no matter what — and he should have been much more appreciated back in those days, but, sadly, in my heart I know we all took him for granted.

I remember the girl, too. Cathy. She was my case of puppy love. I was a sophomore, she was a freshman and together we tried to work through the confusion of two hearts connecting and everything that goes with it.

And, I remember the music. The Eagles. The album? Their Greatest Hits (1971-75).

Add it all up and it was one of the greatest road trips and weekends of my life.

And it call came crashing down on me on a Monday afternoon, ghosts demanding to dance with me at the news that shocked my world.

Glenn Frey was dead.

I grew up a fan of the Eagles. From my earliest days of listening to music,  of counting down the Top 40 with Casey Kasem, the Eagles — part rock, part country, soon to be legendary — was something that grabbed me and never let me go.

Glenn Frey in the early days.

Glenn Frey in the early days.

I can’t remember the first Eagles songs I heard. I can’t even pick my favorite. There are too many in contention. But it seems like every time I hear an Eagles song these days, I’m taken back to a time and a place and with it a memory.

Growing up, I had no clue who Glenn Frey was. Or Don Henley. Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner? They could have been the governor of South Dakota and Prime Minster of Canada for all I cared in those days.

I just knew I liked their music.

When the band started, I was just beginning kindergarten. By the time they dissolved (the first time) I was heading off to high school.

They literally were the music of my youth. And that music followed me through the years since … through high school, through my single days, in and out of my only marriage, all the way through today, this October Weekend of my life.

When I turn to Spotify or iTunes for some solace from the real world, more often than not some Eagles songs are on the playlist.

Losing Glenn Frey today wasn’t just losing some musician I never met.

It was like losing a family member I hadn’t seen in years.

It’s been a bad month for music lovers. Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead. The oddities of the legendary David Bowie. And, now, Glenn Frey.

Frey’s death has hit me the hardest and the reason why goes back to the winter of 1982, almost 34 years ago.

I had fallen head over heels for an adorable freshman from my Civics class. This was my sophomore year, so I was 15 and, needless to say, I was far from wise to the ways of the world when it came to girls.

I had done the whole playing doctor thing, held hands with a girl or two and had those uncomfortable stiff-armed slow dances to “Love Hurts” by Nazareth.

But with Cathy it was different. She was the first girl who touched my heart in a way I didn’t quite understand. But I knew it liked it. And I knew I liked her. A lot.

We ran cross country together in the fall and during the early part of the basketball season she was my No. 1 fan. And, as an added bonus, she only lived about two blocks from our high school, right around the corner so a lot of our down time was spent together.

We officially became boyfriend/girlfriend in October, but by December she was taken away from me when her mother decided to move from Bangor and go back to Falmouth, about a two-hour drive to Southern Maine.

When you’re 15, though, it might as well be Wyoming.

I finally knew what a broken heart felt like. And it hurt like nothing I had ever felt before.

I think it was probably Scott who came up with the idea of a road trip to see Cathy.

He had his license and he had the car — that aforementioned AMC Gremlin. And like I said he would do anything for anybody, no questions asked.

He wanted to see me happy again, I suppose. And he would do whatever it took to make it a reality.

All we had to do was convince all of our a parents that a heartbroken boy and a heartbroken girl wanted to be together again, even if it was for just one weekend.

Somehow, we got everybody to say yes and thus the first road trip of my life was ready to happen — a two-hour journey from Bangor, down to Falmouth where somehow Cathy’s mother would allow Scott and I to stay at their home.

It was probably March, maybe April … basketball season must have been over, but snow was still on the ground … it’s so long ago I barely remember the details.

But I do remember the music playing in the cassette player of that car. The Eagles Greatest Hits (1971-75). The music of my childhood, even if I was, in my own teenage way, still a child.

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Two hours of the Eagles — of Glenn Frey and Don Henley singing to us and with us — as we made the trip, my heart yearning the minutes away before I saw Cathy again.

It was quite likely on that trip that I learned every single lyric of those Eagles songs and every time I hear one today that journey is still the first thing that comes to my mind.

I was growing up with each mile and each note.

And then, once again, Cathy was back in my arms.

I suppose back then I wanted to hold on to her forever. But we all know how life really works, don’t we?

Somewhere in my box of memories is a card Cathy wrote me and gave me to the day she moved away.

It’s a Ziggy card, drawn by Tom Wilson. Ziggy is in a bathtub, a shower of hearts raining down on him and a rubber duck.

When you open the card there are two clear pages of nothing but words.

Cathy’s words.

“John — Well today, December 18, 1981, is the day we looked at on October 23 and boy did that seem like a long ways away. I am glad we went out and I don’t regret it at all. I hope you don’t either. It’s hard to say how much you’ve meant to me.”

She signed it “Much, much LOVE always forever and ever, Cat.”

Why do I have this 34 years later?

Same reason I have the memories when I hear Glenn Frey’s voice on the radio, or Don Henley’s, or so many other songs that strike that chord and take me back to a time and place.

One of the songs on that Eagles album is “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and there is a set of lyrics that read, “I get this feeling I may know you, As a lover and a friend, But this voice keeps whispering in my other ear, Tells me I may never see you again.”

Driving away from Falmouth and heading home, I didn’t know that two-day weekend at Cathy’s house would be the last time I ever saw her. Once upon a time, you really do believe in forever, but sadly in most cases it is just the memories that last forever.

Feelings fade. Hearts heal (somehow). Life goes on.

Memories, like the music, that lasts forever.

The Eagles have made sure of it.

Despite the road trip, life did go on and the Eagles were always there … even after they weren’t.

Like I said, by the time I was in high school, the band had not officially broken up, but just stopped being.

Glenn Frey went one way. Don Henley went another. The Eagles remained via their music, though.

“Hotel California” takes me back to a time and place. So too does “Wasted Time.” They invoke the same emotions in me today as they did when they did back then when they became embedded inside me.

Frey and Henley still remained at the center of my formative years thanks in great part to MTV, which brought many names and faces to music lovers in a vastly different way — through music videos.

I will never forget the video for Frey’s “Smuggler’s Blues” or Henley’s “Boys of Summer.”

My teens became my twenties and the Eagles were still such a big part of my life.

In the past decade alone I discovered Showtime’s incredible three-hour documentary film, “The HIstory of the Eagles” and watching it I fell in love with the band once again.

Twice, they’ve come to Connecticut to play in concert. Unfortunately, Both nights I had conflicts and wasn’t able to see them.

Now, I’ll never be able to see the Eagles.

I still can’t believe Glenn Frey is gone.

I can only be thankful his gift — his music — will be with all of us fans for as long as we all shall live.

And, of course, for any road trips we once again get to take.

 

For Sale: The Last Estate

The estate sale going on in my neighborhood is selling these items and a few more. (Photo courtesy of Reminiscing By Kathy's Facebook page).

The estate sale going on in my neighborhood is selling these items and a few more. (Photo courtesy of Reminiscing By Kathy’s Facebook page).

Cars are lined up and down the street. People, mostly strangers to each other, are walking to and from those cars into the house of another total stranger. And they are just buying up her life, even in death.

There is an estate sale going on in my neighborhood and as I walked to and from picking up my morning coffee the magnitude of the moment kind of hit me.

It’s gray and dark outside, kind of spitting some rain, and I thought, “What a perfect mood for what’s going on.”

A woman’s life is being torn apart, sold away piece by piece, $10 here … $20 there … a couple hundred dollars for the bigger items.

There’s nothing she can do about it, of course. She’s gone.

A thousand moons ago, back when I was a married man, my Then Wife lost her grandmother.

Factions of the family actually fought over certain items in the home and I remember how much that bothered and upset her, to see her family being pulled apart, rather than coming together in the wake of death.

That’s what life comes down to you when you’re gone, I suppose. Just a pile of items for people to pick over. What’s left over is put up for sale. After that? Maybe some stuff gets donated to certain charities, maybe the rest gets sent to the dump.

To me, walking past all those cars, looking up the street and seeing the people coming and going, the sadness of the moment just kind of hit me. (Christ, I hate getting old).

How in the first 49-plus years of my life did the magnitude of an estate sale not hit me?

A woman’s life is being put up for sale (probably after the family did grab a few things they wanted), picked over like a holiday turkey by people who wander into a homeless shelter.

Some of those strangers, I suppose, will find something — a hidden gem buried in the items that are up for sale — and walk away thankful for whatever they bought, but I can’t help but think of the lady who lived there, who called that house a home and lived amongst all those items.

I look around my own humble abode and think about my own death.

The first thing that morbidly pops into my head is, “I wonder who will find me?” Probably the landlords once the smell becomes too much, I suppose.

But what about my junk? My wide screen television? My iPad? The iMac I’m typing on right now? My camera gear? My books? My new bed? My PS4? The ties that hang from my wall, waiting for the next UConn  basketball game or … well, I suppose, a funeral?

Should I pick one out to wear now in my coffin?

(Sidebar, your honor — I plan on being cremated, no tie necessary).

I suppose once I’m dead, I won’t care what happens to my stuff. I won’t need it anymore. Right?

I just don’t want some stranger coming into my home, putting little tiny stickers on each and every item — what somebody thinks something is worth — and having random strangers buy it.

Gift it to charity. Send it to the dump.

Better yet, put it all in a big pile and have a nice little bonfire with free beers for all my friends who want to come by and tip one back and tell nice stories about me.

Oh wait, no friends and too few nice stories might be told. (Or, what if you threw a bonfire and nobody showed up? … Except for maybe the fire department.)

Fuck it. Just burn it.

Bury the ashes with me, that way I’ll always have my stuff with me — even in death.

The late great George Carlin once said, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”

It’s funny because it’s true.

But I’m not smiling this morning.

I keep thinking of that woman and her house, and all that stuff that she kept because it meant something to her.

Making A List, Checking It Twice

Photo courtesy of getbetterhq.com

Photo courtesy of getbetterhq.com

  1. Make a list
  2. Clean kitchen
  3. Change cat box
  4. Take out trash
  5. Write blog post

I’m a list guy. That’s one thing that 49 years and eight months in this world has taught me.

I work much better off a list. If I’m list-less, well, then I’m listless and stuff doesn’t get done.

If I go to the grocery store, I need a list. When I go into work on Sundays, the first thing I do is make a list as I juggle my manager-based duties with my reporting-slash-photography-slash-do-everything-else duties. Back in the days when I was a married man the request for the then-wife was simple: Make a list.

A list gets done.

Without a list, all the stuff that needs to get done waits for me to make a list. Then, and only then, does it get done.

I think I first noticed this list thing — truly embraced it, at least — when I was, as an adult, first floating through a world without order.

Rather than working the typical 9-to-5 job (Or, in my case the 4-p.m. to 12 a.m. beat) might life was suddenly force-fed a change, and I found myself working shift work and juggling other duties as I tried to pull my life back together.

Making a list every day was sort of like climbing a ladder, helping me to get through each and every day. Every item checked off the list was another rung higher.

I carried that list-full feeling through my days in New Hampshire, as well, during my time where I was primarily working as a freelancer writer, whoring myself out to anybody who would pay me, where work could happen any day, any time.

I felt productive back then and nothing was getting missed.

Since moving to Connecticut, though, I’ve fallen back into a general routine that is the same every day in spite of its differences.

I wake up, walk to the deli for my morning coffee and bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.  As I eat and drink, I click my way through a variety of online newspapers and websites … The Bangor Daily News, The Portland Press Herald, The Connecticut Post and Hartford Courant, CNN, ESPN … just to get caught up with the world. Then Facebook and Twitter to get the most up-to-date, if not always accurate news.

Then I remotely pop into my computer at work and prepare for the day. I might start tomorrow’s sports section, or deal with e-mail that needs my attention.

Then there is a space of time that’s empty … where stuff should get done, but rarely does.

Unless I make a list.

When I make a list, I’m more productive. Period.

Sigmund Freud once said if we forget, it’s because we don’t want to remember.

And a do-list buried in the mind — at least my mind — is quite easy to forget. At least that’s what I’ve noticed.

So from time to time when things pile up to the point where I can’t ignore them anymore, I make a list.

I should do it every day. I want to do it every day. But I don’t.

Today, I’ve got a list to get to.

At least with this posting, I can knock off one of them.

Now it’s time to get started on the rest.