"HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD"
So, it’s been 20 years since my dad passed away. That seems so hard to believe, but it’s true. Here it is June 21st, 2020 and he passed on February 7th, 2000. According to my math, that’s 20 years. And yet not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. There are so many reminders around the house that make me think of him. From old photos and old furniture, to my garden tools and some of his clothes. The reminders are everywhere. And it’s no wonder. He was a huge influence on my life.
Deep down inside, I wanted the same things in life that he did.
I wanted to be married, have my own home, raise a family, and just settle down in a community where I felt comfortable and happy. I ended up doing just that. But not before gaining a lifetime of experiences traveling the same roads that he did. My father Gus was an artist, a musician, a photographer, and a veteran. He was a NAVY SEA BEE who fought in the Pacific during WWII. Growing up in my family I was always around the WWII veterans. My dad and all of his brothers served in WWII and KOREA. It was part of that greatest generation. Everyone in the US served during WWII. Either in uniform or at home. Both men and women. They did what needed to be done, and they did it without complaining.
It was a different time for all of us back then. Post WWII and the baby boomers. That’s what I was.
My dad was a musician and an artist. He played the Trumpet and wrote his own music. He was always taking photos and movies. I mean always. Some of my earliest memories of him were when he had those bright lights shining in our faces and taking movies. It was like Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Those bright lights (which I still have) are seared forever into our memories. Plus we have the old home movies that he took. In 90% of them we are all putting our hands in front of faces trying to shield our eyes from those lights. We laugh about it now, but back then? It was blinding.
My dad worked three jobs to help raise our family of 8. Ma and dad, and the six kids. 3 boys and 3 girls.
We (the boys) had our own room, and the girls had their own room. There was one full bath to accommodate all eight of us. Think about that for a minute. One full bath for 8 of us. But guess what? We made it work. My father encouraged me in all the things that I ended up doing. Music, art, and photography. And in 1968 when I turned 17yrs of age, he signed for me to join the Marines. My mother was terrified, but my dad understood why I wanted to enlist. I can remember the day I signed up. My dad was concerned talking to my recruiter. I was supposed to be getting a Combat Artist MOS (Military Occupation) that didn’t turn out the way we wanted to. But that’s another story for another time. This is about Father’s Day.
I suppose of all the things that my dad turned me onto, the most significant, or at least the most significant to this Blog is…he turned me onto Surfing. Think about that for a minute or two. My father was the one who turned me onto surfing. I can remember the day like it was yesterday.
A hot summer day in 1962 or 63. My brother Johnny and I were in the back yard playing on the dirt hill that my dad had for loam. We were practicing to be stunt men. Seriously, that was our plan for when we got older. We wanted to be stunt men in Hollywood. How funny is that? Anyway, long story short my dad was in the den watching TV when I heard him call my name through the screened window. “Ralphie! Hey Ralphie! Come and take a look at this.” “What is it dad? We’re practicing getting blown up!” I yelled back. “Get in here and look at this.” He yelled back. I ran off the hill and brushed off my dungarees and ran into the house. I ran through the kitchen where my mother was always cooking. “Your father wants you.” She said as I ran past her and down the hallway. “I know Ma!” I yelled back.
I got to our small den and there was my dad watching our B&W TV. “Look at this!” he said pointing to the TV. I turned and looked, and for the very first time in my life, I saw people surfing. “What are they doing?” I asked. “They’re surfing!” he said. “Surfing? Where is this?” I answered “Probably Hawaii or California.” He said. I was mesmerized by what I was seeing. I sat down on the hassock and stared at the TV. At that point Johnny came in. “Are we done practicing?” he asked. “Johnny look at this. These guys are surfing.” And I should have known right then and there that Johnny would never be a surfer. Because he shrugged his shoulders and ran off. Not me. I was hooked on the visual of watching people surf. “Dad can we go to Hawaii or California?” He looked at me and started laughing. “We’re not going to Hawaii or California.” He said laughing at me. But I was serious. “Come on dad. Let’s move there.” And then he did, what he always did, when I’d say, or do something silly. He yelled to my mother. “Eva are you hearing this? Ralphie wants to move to Hawaii of California.” My mother came into the den “Get out of here with this Hawaii or California. Never mind this silly talk supper is ready.” And she turned and walked back into the kitchen.
But the seed was planted. I had seen the future and I wanted a piece of it.
I wouldn’t let up. All the rest of that summer I kept talking about it. My parents were not happy with me. I drove them crazy. I was relentless. I wanted to go Surfing. And if surfing was in California or Hawaii? Then that’s where I wanted to go. But I knew I was pushing their buttons. And then one day we were walking along the beach in Nahant, and there must have been a Tropical Storm off the coast because there were waves. I would call them chest high and glassy.
My dad stopped me and said “Look at those waves right there. If you had a surfboard you could surf on those waves right there!” I looked at the waves and then back up at him. “You’re right dad! Let’s get a surfboard!” And just like that the pestering stopped. Now we needed to get me a surfboard. That was my new mission.
But then something almost as significant happened that winter of 1964. The BEATLES came to America.
Now I wanted both a surfboard and a guitar. And my dad helped me get both. He signed me up for a paper route and I was able to buy my first guitar with that paper route. And by the spring of 1964, I got my first surfboard. The rest as they say is history. My dad encouraged me in my music and my surfing. He would drop me and my friends off at Nahant in the morning, and then come back later in the day to pick us up. We never knew if the surf was 1’ or 10’.
Talk about feast or famine. Those days were the best.
My dad did everything for us kids. He drove us everywhere. Went to every sporting event. He even saw me hit a grand slam in Little League. I was a terrible ball player but I did manage to golf one out of the park when the bases were loaded. I remember when I quit baseball. My dad was heartbroken, but at that point I wanted to surf. He knew that I was serious about surfing. And when I went into Marines he would write to me every day. And when I went to Vietnam, he had my brothers and sisters write to me every single day. He always made sure that they wrote to me. I still have those letters. After the Marines I went to college and then started to really get into the music scene.
He was also the MC at our shows in Boston. He was hilarious. And then he worked with me on some advertising campaigns where I created a character specifically for him. He was GULVIS. The older forgotten brother of Elvis Presley. Again, he was hilarious. If you look closely in the Collage you can see him in his GULVIS costume. He became very popular on Cape Ann. “The “G” man was everywhere.
My dad was the best father. And he was the best grandfather. He loved Cory and adored our kids. He never really got to know them later on in their lives because he got sick in the 90’s. The same with Cory’s dad Jerry. We lost him way too soon as well. I could write a whole other Blog on Jerry. And someday I will. Thankfully we have John Rastl. He’s the only grandfather figure our kids have today. Happy Father's/Grandfather's Day John. We Love you.
I hope that I am a quarter of what my father was as a father, a grandfather, and a husband. He stayed married to my mother for 50 years. He is my inspiration when it comes to family and marriage. And the same with friends. He was the best friend, and he could become a formidable enemy if you crossed him.
He may be gone 20 years, but his legacy will live on forever in our children, and our grandchildren.
Happy Father’s Day Dad. I love you, and I miss you.
Speaking of Father's Day, guess who's celebrating his FIRST Father's Day? That's right. Patch is a father for the first time in his 10 years (he turns 10 in September). But this Stud at his age sired 7 puppies. 5 males and 2 females. We took the first male born with ZORRO (pictured here). It has been a joy watching this little dog develop and grow before our very eyes.
Zorro is already 25.5 lbs and growing with every feeding.
Zorro loves Patch as evident here with Z kissing Patch. I will say that Patch is starting to warm up to Zorro. But it's a slow process. He does seem to be a bit more tolerable these days than he was when we first brought him home.
So on June 16th, 2020 I put down my cameras and went surfing instead.
The water was so warm and amazingly clear. I can't remember the last time the water was this clear. I had not been surfing since I returned from California in February. Suffice it to say I was long over due. I ended up surfing with three close friends. Tony Berardini, Johnny Meehan, and Marky Jowett. We had a blast sharing waves out on the reef. Johnny and Markey J left after a short time (they had been out for over an hour before we got there) and it was just Tony and I out there. Sharing perfect warm water waves. I wore a 3/2 with no boots or gloves and rode my Black Longboard with no leash. My strenuous exercise
program of 1,500 push-ups per week was a huge help.
My upper body strength was crucial in the long paddle out to the reef from Tony's house. And then I was able to catch almost every wave I went for. There's still that old man get to your feet syndrome that one goes through when one gets old. That still sucks. But I managed to get enough waves to satisfy my fragile ego. Life was good again. Ralph went surfing.
Cory snapped this pic of me before I drove off.
I may not look it, but I was stoked to be back out in the water. This summer marks my 56th year surfing.
And talk about stoked. Kyle Howard was back in town this past week.
It was a bittersweet return though. He was here to attend the funeral of his old friend
Gillis who passed away suddenly of an undetected heart ailment at the age of 29. It was in a word, tragic. Still, it was so nice to see Kyle again. I shot a bunch of pics of him surfing the Wall. Unfortunately it wasn't video worthy.
But I did mange to squeeze off a few decent pics of him.
Max, Zorro, Kyle and yours truly. Stay safe and healthy Kyle!
"Friends, Fathers, Surfing, and Love Heals All Wounds."
This week's Ed's corner is Jack Cadagan who goes by the name of "Jackie" Cadagan on Facebook. I keep forgetting to ask him why he uses that name. Anyway, I'll never call him Jackie, but I will call him Jack. This pic was taken at the Wall in the Spring of 2008. Look at you Jack. You made the Blog!
Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local, National and International News
Today is FATHER'S DAY. And believe it or not, these four individuals were all fathers. That's right the THREE STOOGES were all dads. Can you image having one of these guys as your father? Truth is they were all good fathers. So the answer would be YES. We can imagine it. I know what my dad was like. He was always making us laugh. And I can't tell you how many times I watched the Three Stooges with my dad. We were always laughing when we watched these guys. From left to right" Shemp Howard, Curley Howard, Larry Fine, and Moe Howard.
They were comic geniuses who were ahead of their time. I wonder how many of them knew that their legacy would continue to make people laugh years after they have long since passed away. Every New Year's Eve we watch the Stooges Marathon. After all the many episodes we've watched we all still laugh.
Here's something we don't find funny. Or maybe we do. Only time will tell. TB 12 as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. It still hurts to say that. But seeing images like this hurts even more.
These are all too familiar poses. I guess as a QB you only have a handful of poses that work. But gee Tommy, you were/are a model. Your wife is a model you couldn't shake things up a little. I really hope you do well. Nobody wants to see you fall flat on your face. Especially your TRUE fans back up here in New England. I hope you get a decent O line to protect you, and I hope you get some players who can catch and run. Otherwise why bother?
This just in. Who knew that Paul McCartney was turning 78 on June 18th? I didn't. I guess I forgot just how old he is. I know Ringo is turning 80. But Paul is 78? Damn, I never thought in a million years that the Beatles would someday be old. Better old than dead I suppose. With John and George gone there really is no more BEATLES.
And I admit, Paul was always my favorite Beatle. The story behind this image is, I hid my large GAF Super 8mm movie camera under my Field Jacket and shot these NEVER BEFORE seen images of Paul. I have good footage of him playing the bass on a few WINGS songs and I have him playing I'VE JUST SEEN A FACE and YESTERDAY on acoustic guitar. As far as I know, I have the ONLY movie footage of him at that concert. I also have footage of the late Linda and Jimmy McCulloch.
Hit me up if you want to see this video. .
PLEASE HELP THESE GO FUND ME Posts (Below).
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The ASA BREBNER GoFundMe page is also asking for Donations. If you donate $25 or more you get a CD of the artists who are recorded some of Asa's songs. Yeah, I'm one of them. If you can afford it, please donate to this fund raiser. Thank You.
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ESM (Eastern Surf Magazine) using a READY MAG format did the Best of Ralph's Pic. And while they couldn't possibly use everything thing I've ever done, they did manage to put up some 50 pics of mine, plus two videos. And I was truly humbled by their intro. Mez said some nice things about me. CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE THE WHOLE Spread.
GRANITE GIRLS and The RIVER WOMEN from Ralph's Pic Of The Week on Vimeo.
NOW AVAILABLE on VIMEO ON DEMAND. You have spoken and I have listened. You don't have a DVD player so I made it available Online. Watch it on your Smart TV, your computer, or your cellphone! I can't make this any easier my friends. Unless of course I hand deliver to each and every
one of you.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
With this being FATHERS DAY and all, I thought I'd post a pic of Khaliddy's son Koward and KSM's grandkids. Kooky, Korney, and Krazee. You know it's never too early to start working on your grandkids when it comes to being good little Terrorists. These kids are motivated. Truth be told, there are Terrorists who have not yet been born, that we will have to fight somewhere in the world. mark my words. TRUTH.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of CAMOFLAUGE table Cloths at Home Depot this week.
REST IN PEACE Jared Gillis 1990-2020.
HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY Jeff Crawford June 15th, 2020!
HAPPY 78th BIRTHDAY Paul McCartney June 18th, 2020!
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY To All The Dads June 21st, 2020!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kevin "Doc' Grondin June 23rd, 2020!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Cory Fatello June 30th, 2020!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dave "Crop" Cropper June 30th, 2020!
HAPPT BIRTHDAY Kyle Linseman June 30th, 2020!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mike Sidebottom June 30th, 2020!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mike Tyson June 30th, 2020!
PLEASE Keep Mrs Berardini (Tony's 99 yr old mom) in your thoughts and prayers.
We'd all love to see her make it to her 100th Birthday in December. She's a fighter, but she could use some help. Your prayers can help. Thank you.
PLEASE Keep longtime NH Surfer Greg Smith in your Prayers.
Lenny Nichols & Colin Madden
Co-Directors, NNE District
Eastern Surfing Association
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Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 16 years.
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my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.