Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...

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The contents of this blog are my own comments and opinions and do not reflect those of my family, friends, colleagues, clients, employers, or anyone else I may know. Additionally, their comments and opinions are not a reflection of me or this blog. Any links contained in posts are maintained by third parties and are not under the control of this blog, and as such, this blog is not responsible for their content. All links are provided "as is" with no explicit or implicit warranty of any kind.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

They...they gave him WHAT??

I grew up in a little housing development between Rising Sun and North East, Maryland called Farmcrest. From 1981 till 1989, I called this place home. Here's where it's located:


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I lived across the street from the Bray family. Larry Bray, the father, was a Maryland State Trooper; his wife, Linda, I think worked for the Cecil County county clerk's office (or some part of county government -- I'll post a correction later if I find I'm wrong); and they had two kids, Kristin and Brian. Where the arrow is on the map, I lived in the house under the arrow, and the Bray's lived in the house above the arrow. In other words, both houses are fourth from the beginning of the road.

Kristin was a few years older than me, and Brian, a few years younger. We all did loads of things together, but mainly I hung around with Brian. Brian was very athletic, and even though he was a few years younger than me, he excelled beyond me in many events. He was fast, too, fast like the wind -- the only way I could keep up with him was to jump on a bicycle.

The first R-rated movie I ever saw was in their living room -- OK, Mr. and Mrs. Bray were not home at the time. The movie was "Children of the Corn." Scared the hell out of me, because at the time, our houses were surrounded by corn fields. I used to run through them a lot until I saw that movie. It took a year to get the voice of Issac out of my head..."He wants you, too, Malacai...he wants you, too..."

We played baseball in my backyard, because it was so huge. I was getting good for a time, and it came to a point where both of us could hit a baseball nearly to the cornfields across the back of our neighbors yard. He was also into football, which I liked but never played well. We all had a good time in those days.

I received an email from Kristin today. Her father found our reunion website, told her about it, and she couldn't resist dropping me an email. I remember a few years back I found her email address and did the same thing, so I was glad to hear from her.

Brian has since grown up, is married with a couple of kids of his own, but that wasn't what shocked me. Brian Bray is now a Maryland State Trooper, just like his father. Brian Bray, a Trooper? They gave him a GUN to carry?

I remember when this kid tossed a dart at my HEAD in his basement and it hit me in my tooth, tossed rocks and anything else we could find or create at each other just to see if we could dodge them. And now they say "You're charged with protecting the citizens of Maryland. Go now, and take a gun to help you. Have fun!" That's just NOT RIGHT! I should make a call to his CO to make sure they KNOW this guy before handing him a sidearm! :)

Seriously, I'm confident he will make a fine police officer, if he is anything like his father. I'm just hoping he doesn't remember the time I chased him around my house with a staple gun, shooting staples at his back, and he's not looking for revenge...

Friday, May 23, 2008

...And The Students Become The Teachers...

This weekend, I have all of my boys with me, and they are all cavorting in the living room having a grand time. Alex is playing with Hayden. Chris puts down his laptop at some point to play with both of them on the floor. Alex jumps on Chris' back, and Hayden laughs his tail off.

I mention I need to begin making dinner, and ask what they would like to eat.

The running joke in my family has always been "Um, I'll have some food, please."

Sarcasm. Smark Aleck. Smartass. Call it what you want -- it's a fine family tradition, handed down from the elders of the Tocci clan for decades. Well, I'm not sure about HOW long it's been around, but I was aware of the skill as a teenager and began using it on my father. Chris started using it on me about the same time in his life.

The torch has been passed, sort of, to Alexander.

So I asked, to no one in particular what everyone wanted for dinner. Chris popped right up and said "Food, please".

Alex did not miss a step, and said "Yeah, I'll have some food, too!"

It was wonderful, and scary. Alex really had no idea that he did it, while Chris had the gun loaded and was ready to fire at a moments notice. I laughed, made dinner, laughed some more, and realized my brood is quickly becoming a Tocci Clan very, very quickly.

So I wonder when Hayden will join the mix?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Learning Secrets

My oldest son, Christopher, came home from college this past week. It's always good to see him, since I don't get to see him that often. He goes to college in Canyon, Texas, just south of Amarillo. West Texas A&M University is a Division II school that houses an excellent music and music education program. Chris is studying music education, with aspirations of a masters and a Ph.D. in music. This is impressive, and humorous -- this coming from the kid who started to cut his hair on his own at the age of 12, and then wore a Green Bay Packer cheesehead because "it was raining". That, as I've said before, is another post.

So now the back bedroom is littered with a mini TV, an XBox, clothes (clean and dirty all mixed together -- you know how college men are), a laptop computer, and other items. Add that to the younger boys toys (trucks, puzzles, a train set, and several balls) and we have a big fat mess.

Anyway, his first week back was pretty typical Chris Tocci fair. His high school buddies all called him the minute they arrived in College Station and started making plans to get together. After all of the initial festivities were over, I finally got a chance to talk with him.

I remember, as a teenager, doing things I wasn't supposed to do. I egged cars riding down 274, stole christmas trees in North East, shoved a moneybag up the tailpipe of the Saab, and chased a Dominoes pizza delivery guy that thought he was Mario Andretti. I also remember doing things to my parents belongings that I should not have done, and telling them years later. I was quite proud of myself when I found that old Buick of my fathers went into third gear at 83 miles an hour, since he never found out himself.

It was talking about these types of things that got my son spilling the beans on a few episodes. There was the getting drunk at a friends house and the decoration of a house involving Charmin. The pick-up football games against the baseball players that wound up nearly in a free-for-all and his spearing his friend Mike in yet another football game.

I wasn't that surprised, but I was glad of one thing. My son has a relationship with me I always hoped for -- he could darn near tell me anything, even if it WAS months or years later. I know he will continue to do stupid things like I've done, but that's OK, since it's all part of growing up.