Benjamin Jacob Newman Slusher

There is a coffee table in the basement of my sister's house in Bryan, Ohio. It is probably not much different than the coffee table in your basement right now. Round with a dark wood finish, a few dings along the edge, and a couple of drawers for storage. But, like so many of my late mother's belongings, every time I see it I am taken back to another place in time.

2003. Sitting in the brand new den my parents added to their home in Gahanna. My son Ben, one hand on this table, running laps around it.

As fast as he could.

For hours on end.

And that's just who he was (and is) - his own person. He beats to his own drum, knows who he is and what he is all about. Most importantly he knows who he wants to be!

Don't get me wrong, he no longer needs to burn off his energy wearing a path in the carpet around the table. Instead, he is a night owl, who has made friends all over this world with his love of anything super-hero or anime. His room in our basement looks like a Marvel …

Headed Home

Goshen, Sardinia, Colerain, Lynchburg, Goshen again, Milford, Gahanna.......

God is Great!

We moved a lot when I was young. I was the new kid 7 times by the time I was a sophomore in high school. Making new friends, leaving old behind, and adapting to new surroundings were all old hat to me by the time my parents moved our family to the Columbus Area in 1988, to a northeast suburb called Gahanna. And though I had never heard of the place before, it would become my hometown. In fact, I have been here ever since, minus 2 years out on Buckeye Lake.

It was in Gahanna that I grew up. Met my first real best friend. Met the first girl who would break my heart. Brought my 3 sons home from the hospital after they were born. Moved my family as many times as I moved as a kid, but never made my boys the new kids in school as we stayed close to Gahanna. Got divorced, then married my true love in the Olde Sanctuary on High Street. Then rented a house in Royal Manor and, for the last 6 1/2 years, ma…

A Roller Coaster of a Christmas Miracle

Well, I woke up Sunday Morning...............

Hey that sounds like a great first line of a song

But Tiffany and I got up extra early because she wanted to hit the grocery store before it was packed. So we did, then went to breakfast at Frisch's, all before 8 am. When we got home we woke Tanner up, and we all got ready for church.

Right around 9, my phone rang. Ugh, work. Need to dispatch a team to Buckeye Lake. Took a few minutes and got them dispatched, hung up, and it rang again. Another job, in West Virginia. I wound up being on the phone until 9:30, and we needed to get out the door as Little Red was scheduled to work the Guest Services desk at Centerpoint for both Christmas Eve services. We headed to the car. And my phone rang again. Yet another, much bigger emergency job. I had to go. No church for me. I put Tiffany and Tanner in her car and sent them off, then I headed towards the flooded day care center.

I decided to take Broad street to get there. As I was in front of Mt.…

Year 8 of a Christmas Tradition: The Pocketwatch

Eight years ago today, I wrote a post entitled "The Pocketwatch". It is a story about my mother, who was my best friend and is the inspiration for this blog.  It is my favorite Christmas story, and has become an annual tradition. Normally, I publish it on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. But, as you may have heard, we experienced a Christmas miracle as my wife received her new heart on December 25th (there will be a blog on that later). So I apologize for the delay and thank you for allowing me to share it with you a couple of days late.

As a kid growing up, Christmas Eve was always the most special day of the year. Aside from the Santa visit, the day was filled with so much tradition and family that is was more like an event than a holiday. Everyone would gather at my grandparents house for Christmas dinner. Cars would fill the drive way, be parked on the hill, and even in the front yard. My Uncle Ronnie would read the Christams story.  And there was always a feast…

Status 1A

Today is the day!

After a crazy 10 months that has included dobutamine PICC line, 2, yes I said 2 LVAD heart pumps and a stroke in between, the Transplant Coordinator at The Ohio State University Ross Heart Hospital called Tiffany today to she is officially at the top of the heart transplant waiting list. Status 1A.

For the next 30 days they will look at every single heart that becomes available within about 1000 miles of Columbus to see if she is a match. With her Type O positive blood, it can be a bit of a task, as O is the international donor. However, they assured us they would not have listed her if there were a lot of people similar to her at the top. So while there are no guarantees they will find a donor heart in the next 30 days, we are praying that they will.

If they don't, then she will revert back to status 1B. That simply means she is patiently waiting just like everyone else on the list. Our friend Steve was 1B for almost a year when he got the call out of the blue i…

Cape Cod Thanksgiving 2017

Today is not the first Thanksgiving I have had in Massachusetts.

My Mother married my Dad when I was 13, and the trips to New England became a yearly tradition that we all looked forward to. We would stay at the Howard Johnson in Newburgh, New York on the way out. I remember the sunrises there, and my New Dad making the waitress cry when the corn was less than warm (he used the voice, which could be its very own blog). The trip itself was always and adventure, whether we were in the van that liked to catch fire or the big blue station wagon that had the spring in the seat exposed, causing it to poke me in the ..................let's say leg...........about 1000 times. As much as we enjoyed the journey, we were always grateful to arrive.

We had dinner at Aunt Ann's in Andover the first couple of years. The first time there my Mom had me try a new food, and only after I told her how much I like it did she tell me what it was.


If you don't know what it is, look it …

Vacation memories 11-21-17

Yesterday for, the most part, was a day of rest for me and my family. After driving all day Saturday and walking all over Boston Sunday, I was ready to stay close to the condo. And tough girl Tiffany, who walked better than 3 miles and walked up the steep walkway to get on the USS Constitution, had to take a break. So instead of going on some day long adventure, we made our first trip to the Christmas Tree Shop at Sagamore Bridge. This was my mother's favorite place, and a must visit anytime any one of her children and their families visit the Cape. A couple of Christmas statues, a soap dispenser, and a few Cape Cod Calendars (another tradition) later, we turned and headed to our next destination.

2 years ago, when Little Red and I made our first trip here with the boys (who, like me, had been here before with my parents), we set out to create new traditions for our family. On one of the days in 2015, we gave them boys choice.Wherever they wanted to go, whatever they wanted to do,…