6 May


Louise Annarino

May 6, 2012

Yesterday’s moon appeared 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than normal full moons as it passed closest to earth  all year. As our orbits grow farther apart, and the  light of reflected sun dims, will the moon be any less a presence in the night sky? Or only our perception of it as we look at it from narrower angles? Does such sudden appearance of a moon larger than we can imagine after months and years of only giving the sky an occasional glance while we go about our  daily routines diminish the moon, or us?

In the bottom cavern of my Mom Angela’s china closet, was a stack of photo albums on the right, and a cardboard whiskey box chock full of photos on the left. The photos in albums always seemed more precious for the effort Mom made to enshrine them for posterity. Four triangular holders encased the corners of each photo. They had to be licked before pasting the edges of each photo onto the black pages. It was a work of art;black and white photos against the black page,starkly elegant. This took time, so what was so special about these photos?

The photos in the albums were of my parents when they first met during the war, of each others family members standing with them in first introductions, of days spent at the beach on Staten Island when my Dad Angelo had a few hours leave, of Angelo and his sailor buddies while stationed in Honolulu, of Angelo aboard ship, of Angelo and Angela’s childhood events: first communions, confirmations, graduations; and, of simple things like Angelo riding a bike, Angela and her younger sister Millie eating ice cream cones.

These photos of my parents were 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the parents I knew in the flesh. They were the moments my parents first fell in love. They were on their honeymoon. They offered a glimpse of their true being, not parents, just  people in love with life and with one another. It was a new perspective for me. It was a honeymoon for me to look at those photos, and I looked at them every few weeks.

Mom would often end up sitting beside me before the open doors, the albums spread around me, one open on my lap. I enticed her by shouting questions to her as she worked in the kitchen. Soon, we were back in time, Mom’s face aglow as she remembered much more of her life before kids. Story after story unfolded and she became a glorious creature right before my eyes. I no longer saw her in a sauce splattered apron, hair pulled back, small brother clinging to her leg whining, an exasperated look at the clock moving too fast to get everything done on time. She became the fullness of being that was Angela, bigger and brighter than Mom.

I would corner Dad with an album, climbing on his lap to make him take it seriously and keep him from falling asleep in the chair. Running  a restaurant meant twelve hour days, six or seven days a  week. Dad usually fell asleep as soon as he hit the chair. But when he looked at the album, his first response was a happy chuckle. His tired eyes lit up, his grin awakened his spirit, his happy energy seeped from his body to mine. As he embellished the stories behind each photo, I learned about his youthful shenanigans not caught on film, how many planes he shot down during each battle he fought in the South Pacific, aboard a destroyer. How he was introduced to Mom and immediately asked her to dance; his first words to her, “I’m going to marry you.” He gave me his war medals,battle ribbons and bronze stars to keep in safety, sensing a kindred spirit in his lone daughter. He became the fullness of being that was Angelo,bigger and brighter than Dad.

Yesterday, as the moon was gathering its fullness, Ohio State University welcomed President Obama for his 2012 campaign kick-off. At such a huge rally,  President Obama appeared 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal. He showed us his fullness of being. He has been the president for over 3 years now. We have come to view him from narrower angles. We have gone about our daily routines, giving him an occasional glance. Others have tried to cast a cloud over him, take pieces out of him, dim his light and reduce his impact on our nation and on our world. But, yesterday, we looked up and gave him our full attention, and we saw him as he is – a leader who understands the tides of war and peace, who pushes the economic flow with a subtlety of purpose that increases growth without eroding profitability and productivity, who monitors the winds and tides of our environment, who strives to keeps us healthy-educated-employed. He has done so since elected, turning back the destruction he found upon his ascendance to the presidency.

The work of the moon is sometimes imperceptible but inexorable. The work of President Obama is often the same. He keeps moving us forward in the right direction, despite sustained opposition of other forces. At yesterday’s rally, we took out the photo album and rejoiced together. We each recalled the honeymoon of 2008 and the inauguration. Life got complicated after that. Reality set in, we each got busy. We lost track of the larger vision. The 2012 campaign is a chance to shine some light on what we have accomplished, where President Obama has taken us, how far we have yet to go. But, we can now see it more clearly and act with more confidence in him, and in ourselves.

The honeymoon is over; let the real work begin. Let’s knock on doors, make phone calls, register voters, get them proper I.D., get them to the polls. Let’s win this election!


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