Have You Never Been Happy Just To Hear Your Song…

Tonight is the final dance of the summer. All summer long I’ve wanted to dance with Joan.

There is something about her eyes that makes my heart beat twice as fast.

Just the idea of holding her soft hand makes my knees buckle.

And being able to stand next to her and smell the sweetness of her skin just warms my soul.

All year long I’ve wanted to say hi to her, but I’ve been too shy and could not even bring myself to walk up to her. Now summer camp is almost over and I still have not gotten the nerve to talk to her.

So imagine! Actually getting to dance with her tonight surely seems unlikely.

Eddie, my best friend, laughs at me. He says all I have to do is ask. “The worst that could happen is that she says no…” But this is what scares me! “What if she does say no?”

“Forget that man! The dance is about to start and we need to check out the hot girls.”

Eddie, a couple of friends & I are are hanging out in front of the dance hall. Checking out every girl that walks by. I do not notice any of them. The only girl I’m looking for is Joan. Sadly, she is nowhere to be found.

“Lets go in. The dance is starting!” Eddie yells out. I hang back to see if maybe Joan is coming around the corner of the building. But no luck.

Half hour into the dance, Eddie comes running up to me. “Joan is here! Are you going to get your nerve up and ask her to dance?” he asks.

“I don’t know if I can do it!” I reply. But deep down inside what I was really thinking is more like “I don’t know if I can – handle the rejection.” I can’t take that chance.

“You know what your problem is? You need to man up!” When he said this, I knew he was right. I’ve never been comfortable in my own skin.

“Go for it!” He eggs me on “She’s standing right over there by the punch bowl. You’ll never know until you try.”

TODAY that has to end! Summer is almost over & I’ve had my head up in the clouds. I may never get another chance.

Eddies strength & courage has given me a surge of courage.

“Eddie, I’m gonna do it! I’ll ask her to dance!”

I walk right over to her – before my injection of courage runs out. As soon as I approach her the dance song ends. I freak out & freeze for a second. But I ask anyway! “Do you want to dance?” and to my surprise she replies


I grab her hand and we walk out towards the dance floor. I’m expecting another fast dance song, but I can’t believe it – they start playing a slow romantic song.

I pause and look her in the eyes, as if asking “still wanted to dance?” – and she tugs my hand towards the dance floor. Waiting for Olivia Newton John to sing the first words, Joan whispers “Why haven’t you asked me before?”

As I’m searching for an answer, Olivia Newton John starts with…

“There was a time when I was…”

Joan steps closer to me. Suddenly the song fades to the background and all I can hear is the beating of my heart. As she tilts her head and leans in towards my shoulder, I feel my heart pounding like a drum. The beating rhythm creates a sense of peace & stillness. I allow myself to be in the moment & enjoy Joan in my arms.

Wow!! This is the greatest moment ever! We danced close together for what felt like a sweet eternity. Dancing cheek to cheek, I keep my eyes closed and savor the moment. Her hair and skin are sweet smelling – almost like roses. Her hands are soft and warm. Her fingertips firmly squeezing my hand.

The 3 1/2 minutes of this song, felt like a sweet eternity. I wanted it to last, but the song finishes with…

“Have you never been happy, just to hear your song…”

Yes, I am happy and a song of fulfillment is now playing in my heart.

Joan’s friends came up to her and swept her away. She turns and as she is pulled away, she looks over her shoulder and smiles at me. Her friends, giggling away, are oblivious to a moment in time that I will never forget.

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Set Your Imagination Free

henzeI just love to sketch and doodle. There is nothing else I would rather do then be lost in the clouds of my imagination.

A few weeks ago I started drawing a highway on a regular sketch paper.

Sure enough I ran out of space on that paper & the highway just ended – going to nowhere. I added another piece and just continued the sketch. I ran out of space again & just added another piece.

This went on for days and even weeks. Alone sketching in my room, letting my mind wonder freely.

This reminds me of this lady, friend of the family, she lives up in NewPaltz, NY. When she used to live with us, she used to tell me…

“Don’t let anything stop you from getting what you want. Let your mind be free.
Nobody will ever take that away from you.”

So like this photograph, my sketches just grow & grow indefinitely. They seem to be random sketches, but taped together, it created a single image out of the many pieces.

Before I knew it – it was 10 pages wide x 10 pages long. I took down some posters from the wall and hung this up. It took the whole wall behind my bed.

That was 85″x110″ of paper with lines that in my imagination represented highways leading to somewhere. All those lines, stretching for miles, set my imagination free.

I was able to go anywhere I wanted and space was no limitation. Once I ran out of places to go all I had to do was add another piece of paper and I was set free again.

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Beth, I Hear You Calling…

This morning I woke up with a strange feeling. I don’t know how to explain it, except that it was a sense of dread. Sounds awful, I know but it’s all consuming! It is coming from somewhere and I have a feeling that something is up today.

Anyway I had a quick breakfast, of milk & cereal, and went off to school feeling like that anyway. The whole day just seemed to drag along. In gym class, we played soccer : shirts vs. no-shirts. I ended up getting picked for the no-shirts team and I was a bit apprehensive because it’s too cool outside.

My asthma starts acting up and I’m having a hard time breathing. The weather outside is stormy and the gray clouds just loom heavy overhead like spectators, looking down into the lion’s den at the zoo, waiting for something to happen. Even worse, when I went to take a shower, the hot water refused to flow for me! The cold water splashes on my chest and feels like weights crushing my lungs.


What a day!!!! Dread & heavy chest but a sunny day awaits me outside. I’m just glad school is over and I can finally get the school day done now!

On my drive home, the sun warms up my chest & loosens my tight lungs. But the feeling of dread is still present and getting stronger. It pulsates and causes the veins in my neck to bulge. I don’t know why it’s there nor what is causing it, but it’s just strange.

I guess not strange enough! Because as I turn the corner onto our block, I see exactly what is causing this feeling.

There in the middle of the street, in front of our house, is a growing commotion. The neighbors are standing together like as a group of dears, frozen in their tracks. The lights on the patrol car are still flashing and the crowd has an expression of disbelief. They’re standing there with their hands clasped over their mouths and elbows clenched tightly to their chest.

All seen to have experienced a horrific moment together. Their tears drops blend in with the rain drops falling on their shoulders.

Oh God don’t tell me something happened!

I pull into a parking space attempting to park the car, but the girls from upstairs jump in front of the car & start banging on my window. I slam on the brakes as they shout “Open this window!”. “Dammit open it now!”

“What’s going on?” I ask as the pulsating in my neck becomes more noticeable.

“Baby Daniel got sick. He was found in the crib and he was not breathing! His little face was blue!” they explained loudly. “Come with us, we will drive you to the hospital!”

“Wait!” I shouted “I haven’t finished parking the car!”

“Dammit, don’t worry about the car! I’ll get my dad to park it! We have to go now!” They shout as they drag me towards their car.

I leave the keys in the car. The door open and the engine running. My lunchbox is open on the front seat and I think I spilled my Coke on the rug from all this commotion. I don’t know why, but I am not even a little worried.

“He’s going to be alright!” I reassure the girls. “Don’t panic. Everything will be OK, You’ll see.”

Looking back, I must have been out of it, since I was not worrying. But as we continue, I notice the speedometer and its over 50mph on the city streets.

“Slow down” I yell, but she is so intense that she doesn’t even hear me. “Slow down!”

But still no respond. Now I’m starting to worry and even a little scared!

They pull up to the front door of the Perth Amboy General Hospital’s Emergency Room and we climbed out of the car clumsily. We almost fell out even before the car was in park.

At this point it became real to me and the only thing I can hear is the “swoosh” of the electric doors as they slide open. We rush into the emergency room and immediately run into the patient’s area. I see my mom, Beth and my baby sister, Patty crying. In their face, I see that same feeling of dread – only deeper and more painful, more immediate.

No question had to be asked. My mother’s strong hug told me everything! Beth and Patty also came over to create a group hug in the middle of the hall. Nurses running around us but we didn’t move. It felt like hours & the only thing that broke the silence were the words my mother uttered: “Little Danny just died.”

Oh God, Why!!!! How am I going to tell my brother his son is dead! The terror of the moment fills me like an overflowing cup of hot coffee spilling on my lap. I break off and run to the corner screaming inside. In my pain, all I can think of is “how will my brother take this news?”

Then I notice a slumped over shadow out of the corner of my eye. And my thoughts and wanderings go to Beth.

She had been home, taking a nap and woke up. Beth & Patty found Little Danny face down in his crib. She had been alone in the house at the time. The terror of finding her son dead must be horrific for her!

She is so far from her home & her family. Her husband, my brother, is thousands of miles away & she now finds herself surrounded by a bunch of strangers. These strangers now find ourselves needing to serve as her make-shift family.

Oh My! She is so far from home…

Beth, I know you’re lonely and I hope you’ll be alright…

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