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  • Joe Colaizzo

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

I certainly hope you recognize that quote. If not, I'll confess that I have never seen Stripes nor Pulp Fiction, so I guess we’re even. But I digress.

I had the chance to hang out with my brother this past weekend. It's been a really long time since I saw him last. Work, kids, and life all get in the way as we all know. But I got a text on Friday night to say that he was shuttling my nephew down near me for a lacrosse tournament. Lord knows I am free, so I met him at the field in between the first and second game.

In the midst of tournament madness, I was quickly captivated by an intense pickup game of Lacrosse Baseball. You haven’t heard of Lacrosse Baseball? Oh, you should’ve. It’s a great game.

Lacrosse Baseball is a game where a group of kids, mostly strangers, meet on a field and use their creativity to make up a game with the equipment at their disposal, choose sides, compete, share, laugh, win, lose. And not once do they stop to check their iPhones. And not once does a parent get involved.

I am sure I am not alone when I say that I usually get quite frustrated when my kids are lost in a YouTube stupor. Well, Lacrosse Baseball gave me hope. Hope that the foundations of friendship and play are not totally lost. Hope that creativity is not limited to a touch screen, a keyboard, and a mouse. Hope that there is more to life than a tv, a computer, and an app.

Another nicety was that it was as if we saw each other just yesterday. I’m sure at one point or another my brother thought “God Damn! Doesn’t this guy text or call anymore?” (Yes David, I thought that too). But we picked right up. I hope we'll always know that it doesn’t matter how long it has been. What matters is when we are there.

He asked me how my kids are, so I told him a quick story about my youngest son, John. John doesn’t talk much. Autism is really good at limiting conversation and while we sometimes get a word or two it’s usually a one-word command. ”iPad!” Ugh!!

But the other weekend, when John was with me, I asked him how his job was. The bi-weekly question and answer session usually pisses John off as he is trying to focus on the beautiful calculator that comes pre-loaded on the iPad. I expected the usual “Good” and then the silence that conveys “Get the hell out of my face, Dad.” Instead, I got “Daddy, I put the shoes on the shelves and folded the shirts.”

Can you imagine how my jaw fell on the floor? Holy Shit!!! Where the hell did that come from?

If you know anyone with autism you know that the disability sucks. The impacts on communication and social interactions are so frustrating. (and yes, I’m saying it’s frustrating for me. I’m sure it’s frustrating for John too). So many times, you can almost see the words there, but they just can’t come out.

But then there are times like that weekend where either the words break through, or their unique form of communication really connects and you realize that while it may suck, it’s the way they are and it’s really ok. Times like that give me hope that there is still more to come with John. I hope that his life is as fulfilling for him as “he” wants it to be.

I find I am more aware of, and reflect better on, these life moments we get from time to time. I think a bunch of ups and downs along the way has trained me to notice things a little differently than I had in the past

I hope I will have another fun weekend with my brother soon.

I hope that John will tell me a little more about work when I see him next.

I hope this break gave you a moment to reflect.

I hope you will send me your thoughts and maybe even share this blog with a friend or two.

I hope.

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  • Joe Colaizzo

"You could go bowling.”

That was the suggested alternative from the very helpful lady at the front desk of our hotel.

“Well, you do know this is off season when most things close”.

I knew it was the “off season”, not the “shut down Jackson Hole season”.

At least we would get to hike Yellowstone and see Old Faithful.

“And here is a number to check on the roads to Yellowstone. The weather system that we’re in has the roads closed. Hopefully they open them up while you’re here.”

I asked where the best places for us would be to see bison, bears and moose.

“Well, Yellowstone would’ve been best, but this is the time they start to hunker down. Summer to early Fall is usually the best time. You might get lucky near one of the lakes.”

She really was very helpful.

Joe and I checked into our room and stared at the pile of brochures we collected from the airport. No Yellowstone, No Fly Fishing, No bison. We couldn’t do anything that we


Day One

Since we couldn’t get to Yellowstone, one of the locals we met at the bar said Jenny Lake would be a good place to try. It would be cold, and we would have to deal with the snow but what else was there. Eight miles wouldn’t be too bad.

Five hours later we finished the hike. We laughed at ourselves for thinking we were almost done when in reality we had six and a half miles left to go. And the time when I slipped on a patch of ice and after making sure I was ok, Joe slipped on the same patch. The city slickers were in the house!

Day Two

Our legs still killing us, we decided to find the Granite Hot Springs. It says to take a ten mile, very scenic, gravel road to get there. We discovered that a very scenic, gravel road in Jackson Hole means a swiss cheese style road of dirt, mud, ice all while teetering off of a cliff. After an hour and a half white knuckled crawl where we almost plunged into the ravine, we made it to the springs. As we soaked the tension away, we laughed at that adventure and even more so that we had to cheat death and crawl back.

Day Three

We woke to the sound of pouring rain. Bowling crossed our minds, but we opted to drive to Antelope Flats, a popular migration spot for deer, elk, moose and our holy grail, bison.

The rain filled up the swiss cheese holes and we bounced our way around the flats. Way in the distance we saw a group of dark blobs. Bison!!!! We got out of the car and broke out the binoculars. Magnification is a wonderful thing and as they came into focus, we now saw a closer group of dark blobs. We laughed as we drove back to our hotel, convinced of what we just saw .

Day Four

Sun!!! Now expert hikers, we navigated six miles of Leigh Lake. A really nice hike but at the end our feet were really hurting. Why not test the hot tub at the hotel. Since it was Shut Down Jackson Hole season, we would have it to ourselves.

We approached in only our shorts and debating where to eat dinner when we came upon who I guess was the only other hotel guest. An elderly Asian gentleman was trying to enjoy a meditative soak and I’m sure he was just about to leave anyway. As he left, we said goodbye and he wished us a “quiet and peaceful day”. Was that weird? Or was he being nice? We burst out laughing that he was probably going to put a curse on us back in his room. We called him Kazumi after the Japanese restaurant we wanted to go to but couldn’t since it was closed.

Day Five

Homeward bound. We awoke to the most beautiful day and the notification that Yellowstone had finally opened up all of the roads. We laughed that it was the “Curse of Kazumi”.

The gate agent at the airport told us there would be a two-hour delay. Kazumi!

When we made it to Dallas for our connection, it was cancelled due to bad weather. Our only option was to fly standby and hope we get on the 6:00 AM flight. We found two seats near our gate for the night. Kazumi!

Day Six

The gate agent called our names at 5:30 AM and we were on our way. An uneventful flight and the two exhausted cowboys made it back to Philadelphia. On the drive home we laughed when we thought of the helpful front desk lady, the hiking expertise we exhibited, almost dying while driving to take a bath, those beautiful bison we were sure we saw, the night sleeping in the Dallas airport, and of course, Kazumi.

Yeah, we did everything we wanted.

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  • Joe Colaizzo

I’m headed to Yellowstone National Park tomorrow for some hiking with my oldest son. We’ve both never been there before so experiencing it for the first time together should be a blast. Exploring, talking, laughing, evading wild bison, and just getting to know each other better (Come on. How many of you really know your kids?). What a great moment.

Just like all the great moments I’ve had. The wedding! The birth of the kids! The promotion! Graduation! First kiss! First house! First car! First…………. you fill in the blank.

But now I’m staring at all of the piles of stuff I plan to bring, and I find my mind wandering and pushing me to pick “The Moment”. You know, the one most impactful moment of my life.

Not that easy. I’m flip-flopping between a couple of those I mentioned. But there is this one other that keeps popping up. One that I know is there, but I hardly talk about. One that only a small handful of my closest friends and family know. One that is…… “The Moment”.

Have you ever thought about this? Do me a favor. Get to a quiet space, with no one around, with no distractions (you are allowed a drink of choice).

Stop thinking!! What’s that first thing that came to mind? That first thing is your moment. You know it is and don’t try to convince yourself otherwise.

I believe we all have a moment that only we (and maybe a select few others) know. A moment that has shaped who we are. That Is embedded deep in our souls. A moment that we (unfortunately) might hesitate to share with others.

I hope your moment is a great one. The moment you realized that all of your hard work has paid off. The moment you knew you met the love of your life. The moment you heard “Congratulations, you are getting promoted”.

But, for some of you, your moment might be way different. The moment the phone rang with awful news. The moment you realized the love of your life was no more. The moment you heard “Sorry, but we have to let you go”.

And maybe your moment lies somewhere in between (a good moment in the midst of a really shitty time).

How does your moment make you feel? Thankful? Energized? Excited? Bitter? Angry? Confused? Whichever emotion you might feel, I certainly hope you are owning your moment as a defining part of your life.

Realize that all of these moments, these very brief periods of time, good or bad, share one very important thing in common. They are all in the past. They’re over. Done. But aside from the memory, what lives on is how you responded to your moment. This is incredibly important.

You got that promotion……. Did you thank others who supported you? Did you teach others what led to your success so that they might succeed too? Or did you just bask in the glory and claim your throne as king of all humanity?

You got fired……. Did you respond with grit and initiative to never quit on yourself and find a new role? Or did you retreat, regress, and allow self-pity to overtake you?

Your response to your moment is arguably more important to your story than the actual moment is. If you do not like how you have responded, even if your moment happened a very long time ago, there is always time to re-respond. It’s up to you.

Now one other question for you. If this moment is so important to who you are and the life you lead, have you shared with anyone how important that moment is? If you have, what was their reaction? If you haven’t, why not?

It’s very personal, I get it. And why should you share yours when I still haven’t shared mine. That’s a pretty big ask. Not sure I want to share it.

At least not yet.

At least not here.

Chapter One………

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