Emails, personal greetings, texts, calls, facebook postings: short of a carrier pidgeon or a Morse-Code wiregram, I received well wishes from nearly every conceivable manner of communication.
I'll be honest, I was dreading the birthday. Dreading 37. Just dreading. To help chip away at this negativity, Mom pointed out: "Thomas, one day, quicker than you'd think, you'll be 62 wishing you were 37. Don't waste it."
Stacy didn't give up on getting together with me. I resisted and resisted and resisted. I wanted to go home and brood. Stupid. (She's responsible for the cake in the picture. White-Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake!!)
I want you all to know I've started a book of things I love and that fill me with awe!
I want to thank everyone who made my 37th birthday so special. Harry Potter Uno, greeting cards that play 'Rock Around the Clock', keychains, elephant magnets, cupcakes, cookies, Plush Puff grourmet marshmallows, cash, gift cards, hugs, handshakes, "Age is only a number," "You still look good, Tom," greetings from: old girlfriends, fellow ex-Boy Scouts, former co-workers, present co-workers, comics, students, teachers, cousins, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, "signifcant others", immediate family, four other people who share September 13th, this quote: "'Sept 13' - the 'Day of Passionate Care' Intense, Devoted, Persevering. Mel Torme, Roald Dahl, Tom Antonellis. (from the 'Secret Language of Birthdays' book)", fellow actors, fellow voice-over artists, people whom I go back as far as kindergarten, former classmates at Lilja Elementary School, Wilson Middle School, Natick High School and Syracuse University, folks from my Arthur Murray extended family, this wish: "Happy Tom Antonellis Day! - Established in 1974, a day of stupid jokes, list comedy, McDonald's food, and the prioritization of family and good friends", white chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake (I know I already mentioned it -- I needed to say it again!!), the Red Sox won -- what more could you ask for?
Thank you, thank you, thank you all.
- September 13, 2011
A few years ago I got a chance to enjoy a tour of Fenway Park with my dad, Tom Antonellis Sr. He's the one in the hat (the guy on the left was our tour guide).
Due to the distance between us, it's been awhile since I've been able to share a Mother's Day with my Mom or a Father's Day with my Dad. My sister and her fiancee have been able to create some nice celebrations with them though and I appreciate that. But that still doesn't alleviate the sense of loss over those holidays or the sense of guilt I have over missing them.
I still remember the first time Dad and I went to Fenway. Our recent tour demonstrated to us the many changes, facelifts, additions and improvements that'd been made over the years especially those made since the 2004 World Series win. (The tour guide is showing his World Series win having worked there in 2004.) That first game I saw had Jerry Remy playing 2nd base. Now Jerry calls the game locally in Boston; his book on understanding baseball sits on Mom & Dad's end table.
I never remember if the Sox win when I see their games in person. And I pay more attention than ever because I fill out the scorecard in the program (using the technique Dad taught me during Little League). But, still, I never remember. I DO remember where I was. That first time with Dad was on the third base line. Box seats. The most recent time with Dad: in the bleachers. I can never get enough of Fenway Park. I truly hope my lifetime never sees its closure (like so many New York fans suffered when Yankee Stadium closed).
I'm grateful for the 2004 World Series win. I think it revitalized Fenway and played a great role in securing its future.
On Father's Day, I am thinking back on those times and looking forward to more of them in the future. I love you, Dad. And Mom: don't think I've forgotten -- all those Sox games were, in truth, gifts to me from both of you.
I met Casey Abrams and Naima Adedapo, 'American Idol' contestants yesterday. We hang for awhile and I taught Naima some mean Cha-Cha. Needless to say, she understood very well the concept of the Cha-Cha rocking on beat 2.
My mom rooted for Casey all season. Jacob Lusk arrived later in the night. All three of these kids (I say 'kids' because I'm older than all of them) were so gracious and so engaged with their fans. I and the lady I was with were the first to recognize them and approach them, inevitably launching the string of other approachees with their iPhones and smartphones in hand, taking pictures, asking for autographs, etc. Not once did they look annoyed or put out. They were truly interested in what we all had to say and in us. I told Jacob that my dad, a musician, thought very highly of his talent; he looked me dead in the eye and thanked me. Then he asked again for my name and my dad's name. I told him he was in luck: they're the same. "Tom Antonellis." He thanked me again.
You may not be a fan of 'American Idol', you may be a huge fan. I, myself, don't watch it -- I've only ever caught it when those I was with chose to turn it on. I have, though, enjoyed it every time and I can tell you: the generous nature of these kids that you see on screen is exactly how they are in "real life." For that, they truly should be "Idol"ized.
More than likely, when you're done listening, you'll just HAVE to have a copy of 'Gripe Grapes'! (Hope so!)