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Ovation: Jaquie Goncher ‘s Walk Down The Aisle.

WeddingLike many people, the day I got married was one of the happiest of my life.  Ours was a small affair, just the two of us, two wonderful friends serving as witnesses and an officiant hired to perform the ceremony.  I’ll never forget the moment that I changed from “single” to “married”.  It was amazing.

Getting married didn’t just happen, of course, and quite a bit of planning and preparation was required.  But the effort we made to make our dreams come true on our big day pale in comparison to the journey to the alter made last May by Jaquie Goncher.

Eight years ago, Jaquie broke her neck while diving into a swimming pool and has used a wheelchair ever since.  But, through hard work and determination, she stunned her friends and family on her wedding day when she stood and walked down the aisle.

About four months before her wedding Jaquie decided that, not only did she want to walk down the aisle, but she wanted to dance at her reception, too.

“I wanted to have the endurance to enjoy the wedding without the chair.” – Jaquie Goncher

On her wedding day, Jaquie rolled her wheelchair to the end of the aisle.  Then, with help from her grandfather and her mother, she stood and walked toward her soon-to-be-husband.  The wedding guests, as well as the groom (who was in on the plan) cried tears of joy and amazement.

Jaquie left her chair again to join her guests on the dance floor, where she danced with her new husband, Andy, and mingled.  She was on her feet for more than four hours that day.  Before then, she could stand for only twenty to thirty minutes at a time.

“What kept me going was my strength in God.” – Jaquie Goncher

And she hasn’t given up.  Although she’s walking more, Jaquie still primarily uses her wheelchair.  After eight years she’s quite comfortable in it but says that she’s working to spend more time outside of her comfort zone.  She’s got a can, and she’s determined to use it more to get around.

I’ve always been a softy who cries at weddings.  I can only imagine how far the floodgates would open if I saw a wheelchair-bound loved one rise and walk to take her vows.  What an amazing day it must have been.  Jaquie and Andy will never forget their wedding day and the moment that they changed from “single” to “married”.

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Copyright © 2016 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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Diatribe: George Niemiec Should Sleep In A Chair.

Don't abuse the systemOver the years I’ve met a few people who’ve made a good living by “working the system”. They always seem to know who to call to get something for nothing, how long to wait before applying for the next level of assistance or what form to complete to receive unusual compensation.  Sure, they may be entitled to services, or even cash, but just because there’s fruit on a tree it doesn’t mean it should be yours for the taking.

These people make me angry:

  • People who abuse 911
  • Healthy individuals who uses a handicapped parking space simply because the car they’re driving has a placard hanging from the rear-view mirror
  • Anyone using Food Stamps while smoking an expensive cigarette
  • Individuals who make a career out of getting something for nothing

They all make me angry … because the abuse “the system” … but not nearly as angry as George Niemiec and his wife, Shirley, of Virginia Beach, Virginia.  George, you see, relies on local firefighters to get in and out of bed every day.

Firefighters have been called to the Niemiec home more than 1,000 times … apparently, the couple thinks it’s perfectly fine to call twice a day … to help George in and out of bed.  And they’re obligated to go!

“When we decide to go to a call it’s not really whether or not we’re going to go, whether it’s an emergency or non-emergency.” – Virginia Beach Fire Department District Chief Kenneth Pravet

Sure, I feel bad for Mr. Niemiec but not bad enough to see tax dollars spent helping him out of bed every morning. Who does he think he is?! Sleep in a chair!

Apparently this is a growing problem in the city as they have seen a rise in the number of older people needing “lift assistance”.

“We wanted to keep him at home and the only help he needs is getting in and out of bed.” – Shirley Niemiec

Talk about working the system! These people say it saves them $150 per day.  I wonder just who they think is paying for this service?!

Cold hearted? What if every old person in your town called the fire department every time they need help getting out of bed?!  Ridiculous!

Ovation: Dick Van Dyke Chitty Chitty Bang Bangs at 90!

chittyThroughout my childhood, Sunday afternoons and evenings were often spent with my paternal grandparents.  I have many vivid memories of those visits … playing with cousins and watching The Wonderful World of Disney after enjoying one of Gammy’s magnificent Sunday dinners. She even baked her own bread!

Sometimes I’d stay with them on Saturday night so my folks could have a night out.  Without the folks around, these were the times that we built forts out of sofa cushions, enjoyed ice cream sandwiches and were generally spoiled by our grandparents.

It was during one of these visits that I discovered a love for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the musical story of a down-on-his-luck inventor, played by Dick Van Dyke, who turns a broken-down race car into a fancy vehicle for his children and the magical fantasy adventure that ensues.

Dubbed “The most fantasmagorical musical entertainment in the history of everything!”, the movies theme song may have been the world’s first “ear worm”!

chitty1The movie had some good music in it, most notably Toot Sweets and Me Ol’ Bamboo, and one particularly intense character (the Child Catcher) that also make it memorable.

The  now 90-year-old Van Dyke and his quartet, The Vantastix, recently performed the movie’s theme song for a lucky group of customers in a California Denny’s restaurant.

The group had just finished a visit to Good Day LA to promote a local live performance, Dick’s book “Keep Moving“, and their album Put On A Happy Face.  Hearing him sing this song again, just as good as ever, makes me smile deep inside and cherish those times with Gammy & Papa all the more.

Is there a song from a favorite childhood movie that you’d like to hear again? Find it and listen! You might find yourself smiling deep inside, too!

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Copyright © 2016 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe: The Importance of Obituary Proofreading.

leroy-black-obituary.w529.h793A long time ago I worked as a “paste-up specialist” on my high school newspaper.  This was in a time when articles were typed out and then, literally, cut and pasted so that copies could be printed.  We didn’t have computer programs that allowed us to adjust margins or font size or to help us work around photos or advertisements.  We put every publication together by hand.

We also didn’t have “spell check” software so every article of every edition was reviewed by numerous proof readers before we went to press.

The Press of Atlantic City should be as careful.

After Leroy Bill Black, of Egg Harbor Township, died last Tuesday of lung cancer caused by fiberglass exposure, the newspaper published two obituaries … one saying he’s survived by his wife, and the other saying he’s survived by his girlfriend.

Both obituaries agree on the majority of facts surrounding Mr. Black’s passing but the obituary with top billing says he’s survived by his “loving wife” and a son.  The second announcement, however, says he’s survived by his son, several siblings and his long-time girlfriend!  The obituaries were published adjacent to each other and used the same photograph of Mr. Black!

“If you are going to have affairs you have GOT to be more careful!  Of course, this is all useless information for you now.” – Sissy Hickey (Sordid Lives, 2000)

A representative of the Greenidge Funeral Home, referenced in both obituaries, wouldn’t comment on the confusion but confirmed that the funeral home was working at the discretion of the wife.

Fire that proofreader!

This glaring oversight would not have happened back in the mimeograph days when we were absolutely certain that everything was correct before ink ever touched paper.

On the other hand, Mr. Black did get quite a send-off.

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Copyright © 2016 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Ovation: Olympian Humor

Even when you’re about to experience what could be the biggest moment of your life as an athlete, there are some things just to silly to ignore.

U.S. Basketball star Elena Delle Donne posted this photograph of the restroom regulation in Rio to her Instagram account on Saturday.

Capture

“Guess I won’t be toilet fishing today”, she added.

Guess not, Elena, but thanks for the chortle.

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Copyright © 2016 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe: Gags The Green Bay Clown.

Gags the Green Bay ClownWe’ve done a lot of gardening and planting around our house this spring and have spent quite a bit of time trying to determine how we’ll install landscape lighting.  After purchasing some inexpensive solar lights that we’ve moved around several times, the right locations for their placement appear to have been determined. This weekend, weather permitting, we’ll work to install the light system and move on to the next project on our list.

Outdoor lighting serves several purposes and, because our home is in a somewhat remote neighborhood, we find a sense of security in knowing that our home is well-lit both when we’re away and while we’re inside.

We’re not afraid of the dark, but we also don’t live in Green Bay, Wisconsin where a mysterious and creepy-looking CLOWN has been roaming the streets in the dead of night.

According to a Facebook page called “Gags – The Green Bay Clown”, the first sighting of the scary clown occurred on Monday around 2:00 a.m.  Since then several other photos of the clown have been taken, mostly in the same area.

Local police are getting calls about the scary visitor but there’s not much than can be done.

“A person can walk down the sidewalk dressed however they want as long as they’re in a place they legally can be and they’re not in a place that has a closing time, like a park.” – Green Bay Police Capt. Kevin Warych

There is speculation that the clown is part of a viral marketing stunt, one reason being the mysterious Facebook page’s appearance just shortly after the clown’s first sighting.

I know a few people who are immensely frightened by the most harmless of clowns. I imagine seeing Gags walking down their street would send them screaming in terror!

One thing’s for sure, if I ever encounter a creepy clown carrying black balloons in our neighborhood I’ll be glad we’ve got plenty of lights around our house.  We might even add some more!

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Copyright © 2016 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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