Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Food stores were rushed, power was knocked out, tornadoes, heavy rain, and high winds all passed through the tri-state area over the past few days. Considering the unfortunate fact that I work in a food store and live along the coast of the Jersey shore, I got to witness all of the madness from the storm, including feelings of widespread panic, fear, and even a little bit of excitement. I thought the entire weekend was entertaining and decided to document it. I’ve broken the weekend into three parts (pre-storm, the hurricane, and the aftermath).

Now let’s start at the beginning of all of the craziness.

Not only was New Jersey hit with an earthquake last week, but forecasts soon called for a category 3 hurricane to hit on Saturday evening. Now at first I thought it was going to be the same old story with the media blowing it way out of proportion. Every time there is a threat of a big storm people rush to the food stores to get “necessities” and make life hell for the employees. On Friday (the day before the storm), I had the luxury of working an 8 hour shift in grocery and in my four years of being with the company (I’ve decided to leave the store I work at anonymous for this article), I swear I have never seen a scene like the one I witnessed on that day.

I’ve seen the usual holiday shoppers and snow storm shoppers, but nothing compared to the crowd the hurricane threat brought out. Hundreds upon hundreds of people came in and out of the store, ransacking the “necessity” items, which usually include bread, milk, eggs, and juice. However this storm made people make a run for additional items including flashlights, candles, batteries, soup, for some reason chef boyardee, tuna  and last but certainly not least bottled water. Every single case of water we had was bought this past weekend. When we would roll full pallets of it out to the aisle people would follow us, swarm and grab all of the bottled water they could leaving nothing but the plastic the pallet was wrapped in. I swear it was as if we were selling water that promised eternal life.

People ran and rushed through the store, as if the world was coming to an end. They would ask myself and fellow employees frantic questions like “Do you have any more batteries!?”. Unfortunately towards the end we sold out of batteries and flashlights too so we had to tell them we didn’t have anymore and they would harshly answer “How can you not have flashlights!” Maybe because we’re not a f***ing hardware store. If only I could have said that.

When the rush had come to an end Saturday and the first signs of the hurricane began to surface, the store looked like it had been robbed. The water aisle, bread aisle, soup aisle, milk case, and the ice machine lay barren with no product in sight. It was something I had never seen before and just goes to how panicked everyone was over the storm. A panic which the media always seems to create with the slightest threat of a storm…even though this time  there were several people who were and are still being effected by the storm. More on that in part 2.

On the home front, my mother was just as paranoid as all the customers in the store. When I came home from work Saturday, every single outdoor decoration had been packed into our garage. The garage was so packed that you couldn’t even move around in there. She had also gone to the food store and bought lots of food and “storm needs” like batteries (a 48 pack of AA batteries I should add).

We had enough food to last weeks, a battery operated radio sit ready to go on the living room table, candles were placed in several of the rooms, and the brita was all ready to go in preparation for the hurricane.

All we could do was sit and wait, until eventually Irene arrived…

Editor’s Note: When my grandfather Frank “Murph” Bodner passed away this past March, there were many things running through my head. I felt both sadness and regret, as I felt I could have been closer with him, which I still do feel. However, after reflecting on what had happened, the bigger picture came into view. The following passage is what I would have said had I given a eulogy on the day of the funeral.

As you all know, I wasn’t exactly the greatest grandchild to Poppy. When my parents divorced 13 years ago, the closeness I had experienced with both sides of the family changed greatly. Since I lived with my mother, I grew even closer with her and her side of the family. I saw my father every other weekend and I didn’t always get to see Poppy. This was something that I take some blame for, but I know the closeness factor is not all on my hands.

When I heard the news that Poppy had passed, I felt complete shock, disbelief, and regret. I felt in these past couple of years, I could have taken it upon myself to form a stronger relationship with him and my father’s side of the family. However, I was never able to do this and I felt terrible because of it.

However, it was during this time of being upset with myself for not being closer with him that I realized something.

Despite the fact we weren’t as close as he was with Billy and Brittany, I knew that he still loved me as much as he loved them. In high school, I played three years of baseball and Poppy showed up at pretty much every home game. When I would struggle or go through slumps, he would be the first one there to offer a helping hand and let me know what I was doing wrong and how I can fix it. Whenever I would spend time with him we would always sit and watch sports on TV. Whether it was baseball, horse racing, college basketball, football, etc, we would always watch it. Pop was a big reason as to why I love sports as much as I do. Sometimes when I was over he would even put on hockey for me because he knew I liked it, even though he was not a big fan of it.

Another thing he did was encouraged me to get good grades in school. When I did receive good grades and I’d tell him he always answered with a “That-a-way” and it made me feel happy. No matter what happened over the years I always felt that I made him proud.

Something else that made me feel some comfort and solace was seeing several old pictures of him holding me as a baby with a big smile on his face. It just showed the love that was there, as he showed to many of you who are here today.

Even though I may not have had the same strong bond many others did with him, I still loved him just as much as everyone else did. He was the only grandfather I ever knew and I’m very grateful for all the time spent with him when I was little right up until the times I saw him in recent years.

Pop, I am very sorry that I wasn’t there more but I believe that I’ll see you again one day and that we can make up for lost time. I feel like there is so much about him I didn’t know and that there is so much about me that he also didn’t know. I hope one day to get that opportunity.

Thank you so much for everything over the years and for being my #1 fan for me in high school. I will always love you and I’ll keep you in my heart always.

Post Script: For now I can walk away with a lesson out of all of this. Time here is very short and precious. I hope I can learn from this and try to re-build relationships on my father’s side of the family including a relationship with my own father, which has been bumpy over the years to say the least. I have aunts, uncles, and cousins who I barely know. If I could change this I would and it’s not too late to. So far I’ve done a lousy job of trying to do this, but I know that it can be done. It just takes a little more effort on my part and I believe that I will one day make this happen. Only time will tell.

PPS: I wanted to publish this a while ago, but I figured Father’s Day would be the perfect time to do so.