“It’s a ‘Numbers game’”, my father would say to his sales force. “Ten percent of the parents will return the card. Of those, 2/3 if contacted will buy. 3/4 (he’d assure us), IF when you made the sales call, there was a picture of the two Kennedys and Martin Luther King on the wall.
Facebook too, is a numbers game. Post a charity and response just trickles. Throw up though, a snapshot of grandkids (especially newborns), and 4 to 5% of your friends hit LIKE (usually the women). Just the way it is. Hard fact. Bank on it.

Tuesday morning. Beaming at the first hint of spring, en route from Painesville to an office in Mentor, I saw it…at the street’s corner… fifteen feet in the air…calling my name.

Emboldened by the sunshine, to the side of the road I pulled. Motivated perhaps by fifty degree weather I hopped from my car with speed last shown chasing a bunt up Negrelli’s first base line.

—Then I snapped the picture — and I posted it — on Facebook.

I don’t know what it is about the thought of a yellow brick road, but it’s universal. Who my age doesn’t hear the phrase and instantly picture Dorothy and friends singing, bouncing toward Oz? Who among us doesn’t sense their optimism, share their buoyancy?


My dad would look at me—even in darkest times— it was often the same. I’d fret ‘cause my cup was half empty and this big man, eyes moistened by wisdom, would smile at my gripes. “Little boy,” he’d tell me (well into my thirties), “You’ve got the world by the balls.” I’d nod obligingly, always, never quite knowing how right he was. Even then.

Today I get it. All of it. I embrace the good, accept the bad, and drink from a cup that’s half full. Always.  Today…TODAY I see…that I’ve got the world by the balls.

Lucky I was to be raised in South Euclid. The foundation of friendships made years ago to this day serves as a cornerstone buttressing my periodic insecurities. As good as things are it’s nice to know —and I’m acutely aware —that if I’m silent for long, the likes of Ermine, Snyder, Wied or Walt will reach out. Or I’ll get an email from Stuart. Even now.

Do I miss my children? Of course. Still I’m soothed that they’re happy. Would I have them much closer? Of course. But they’re thriving, and living THEIR lives.  I have my blood—what’s left of it —in Ohio. ‘Tis an older, smaller expanse than the circle of aunts, uncles, first and second cousins of my youth, but so be it. They’ve splintered across Cleveland, and for the most part it’s just Aunt Helen (in Willard Scott’s green room) — and Hal.At the apex: Hal. He is mine and I am his. Sharing each other’s history, nonsense, emotionally twinning…two brothers embracing our past, juggling our Aunt, eyeing the future.

And Carrie. Whodda thunk it? She blends friend and family, sprinkles in love, gets me, and even gets the idiocies my family shrugs off.

Excuse me. Did I say my cup was “half full”? I as wrong, very wrong. My cup runneth over.

Blown away was I by response to my posting. That picture —  of YELLOWBRICK RD – had lit up my Facebook. Just shy of 10% LIKED it; twenty-some left a message; it had stricken a chord.

‘Couldn’t but notice, though, a bittersweet “comment’ well-buried on the page. “I’ve been looking for it for 60 years”, a friend wrote.

I wanted to respond—to tell her Just Open Your Eyes!  But who am I? And who am I to be smug? Four decades it took me to see what was obvious.

I waken each day in a house on East Groveland. I walk outside, to my Yellowbrick Road. And tomorrow, like enlightened days before it, I’ll be off to see The Wizard.


  1. Stuart says:

    Welcome back; we missed you! I think those of us raised in South Euclid were all lucky. Never heard anyone say I wish I grew up in Beachwood, Shaker, the Heights or anywhere else.

    Wonder who the Wizard of South Euclid was…A. Steve Fromin B Bob Snyder C. Jerry Wolf D. Larry Elmo Who knows?

  2. bob says:

    Agree with Stuart and think S. Euclid was OZ without a Wizard. We didn’t need one. By the way, I still laugh out loud anytime I think of when Masseria dressed as Larry Elmo (omo) for Halloween. In today’s world he would have been sent home.

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