back to top

One Mo’ Cup O’ Joe . . .

by Joe Kennedy

I achieved a major milestone a week or two ago.

It happened on a Saturday, a day rife with rain, a day meant for sleeping-in and then heading out to lunch with a friend, perhaps.

Unfortunately, I don’t drive, a consequence of my stroke in February 2009, but I do read, and so, after a solo breakfast at my kitchen table, I turned on my e-reader, a Barnes and Noble “Nook,” and settled in for an hour’s consumption of “The Path Between the Seas,” David McCullough’s history of the Panama Canal.

I then switched to my Apple IPad tablet computer and watched a half-hour or so of speeches on cutting-edge topics known as “TED Talks”. Then I hit my Netflix app and downloaded “Man on Wire,”‘ a documentary about a Frenchman who, without permission, rigged a high wire between the roofs of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and capered high above the streets of Manhattan, charming the Big Apple and the world.

It was an adventure, a comedy and a poignant reminder of September 11, 2001 – the last time any of us could see the WTC or hear it mentioned without suffering a cruel emotional blow.

It was late afternoon when I arrived home. The house was dark. I Fixed myself a plate of pasta for dinner and sat at the kitchen table in the glare of the overhead light and listened to my favorite genres of music on Pandora, the Internet radio station.

It was then that I realized that, for the first time ever, I had received nearly a day’s worth of information and entertainment solely through the World Wide Web.

I had to admit, it was a feast, but it lacked a few things. Two-way conversation, for a start. Fresh air. Birdsong. A small surprise, like running into a friend at the mall.

Since my stroke, technology has been my most faithful companion and, in many ways, my most interesting one. It adds much enjoyment to my life. But, as noted philosopher Pee Wee Herman has said of many things, “I don’t want to marry it.” It surely is not the “everything in the world” to me as it seems to be to some.

I am blessed to have two wonderful children, employed college graduates who survived not just the death of their mother a dozen years ago, but the recent “inconsistencies” of yours truly, their father, as well. They continue to bring me joy.

I have my IPad, on which I am at this moment dramatizing, as usual, a bit of my everyday experience. I have the Baltimore Orioles, who as I tap out these words are warming up for the game that I plan to watch, in just a few minutes, on the time-tested medium known as TV.

Most of these are mere possessions, and pastimes yet they help to put a smile on my face as I wander through my days. Now, the sentimental storyteller in me ponders possible endings for this account and seizes upon a cliche, the hoary one about suffering like a hungry man in the richest nation in the world.

But the sounder side of me says, “Oh, please.”

So I will open the fridge, start to fix something that’s quick, remember the feckless Orioles warming up for their foe, pop on the TV, and mumble, with growing excitement . . .

“Play ball!”


Latest Articles


  1. What a wonderful surprise to, once again, see that you had written another warm, thought provoking article. Mr. Kennedy, about 11 years ago, you were kind enough to meet with me (a flight attendant) at Blue Ridge Cemetery, in Roanoke. I had spoken with you regarding the theft of floral arrangements which I had created, and placed lights in between and put on 4 graves. Numerous people, including the staff, had been stopping and asking how I had arranged such, and I explained that I had used solar lights. However, lights for the actual grave vases were generally sold for quite a bit more. I had initially made an arrangement for my mother’s grave and then, shortly afterwards, three friends asked if I could do the same for them. About a week later, all 4 were stolen on the same night and the flowers were strewn about the ground. Of course, I was devastated! It was not at the loss of the light or flowers, but the invasion of something personal that I had created very individually in the memory of my mother, and their family members.

    I wanted an article written, at that time, so that no one would try to replicate what I had done and then turn around and attempt to charge an enormous price for what I knew could be purchased at Home Depot in the Solar Lights section for $29.00 (at that time). Plus, your article called attention to thievery in cemeteries, in general, and the public needed to be aware.

    Since that time I have also lost my father. Life definitely throws us curve balls when we least expect it, as I realize I do not need to tell you. I do, however, still attempt to hold on to the belief that something good can come out of every bad situation, given enough time, prayer, and the right attitude “most of the time :)”.

    When I first put out my light, there may have been a handful of others, if that, in the cemetery. Now at night, the place looks like luminaries are everywhere. Over time, from one person to another, everyone caught on about the solar lights. Driving by at night, one cannot help but to glance over. More importanly than the looks of the lights, is the moral which evolved from the event. What started out as a theft in what we all imagined cemeteries to be at that time, dark, eventually led to what is now a beautiful array of lights glowing lights at night over the imprinted memories of those whose walk on this earth has been completed.

    You were so kind to me, and so many others in the Roanoke Valley. Your talent with words, gift for writing, and strong sense of justice gave a voice to people who would, otherwise, have none. All of our hearts were with you and your family through each of your ups and downs. When we heard of your stroke, we all just took a deep breath, and all that came out was that “it just can’t be”.

    I enjoyed your story today, and seeing the heading “CUP O’ JOE” once again! It is just a joy, to all, to know that you appear much improved! Please consider doing more stories! You are missed! Blessings to you and your wonderful children! Kathy Hiler

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Related Articles