hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


May 30, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: Life is chock full of surprises!


It could be anything from a tattoo or a top. No big deal, mind you, but the element of surprise was tempting. Through school, my report cards reflected one shocker after another, whether it was a bad grade when I expected better or a good grade when I anticipated failure.

There was that proverbial knock on the door when an unwanted guest brought me the jitters for a decade. The soft side of me welcomed this relative into my home every Sunday morning, whether I was still in bed or hiding under it.

The "surprise" of it all was not when he would show. I knew that. But when he didn't. I was hoping the suspense would not last a lifetime, and it didn't.

These days, it's a pleasant surprise every time a grandchild calls me on the telephone to relay some good news about school or sports. By the same token, I was surprised to learn that my son landed in a hospital during a recent family vacation to Miami Beach with a pulmonary embolism.

Thank the good Lord, he came out of his illness, went to treatments, and is on the mend, jogging for exercise and glad to be alive. The fact that death came knocking at his door and found it shut was a pleasant surprise.

There was the time I was playing a basketball game and sank the ball into the wrong basket. A demoralizing surprise to say the least, but one which brought cheers from the opposing team.

The world of sports has brought many a surprise for my family, especially the time I had attended a hockey game and made a run to the comfort station, only to come out and see my son being hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates.

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