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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bill Pekarski: Day 69, Living life on my terms.

Editors note: Coudersport resident, Bill Pekarski, has been writing on his Facebook page since August 29, 2016 while recovering from a life threatening illness. He has shared his writings with friends on Facebook. As I read each day, I realize that what Bill has to say needs to be shared with everyone and I asked Bill and received permission to repost his Facebook posts for our readers. We'll post his current post and a couple of the previous posts to catch up. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have. If you have something negative to comment, save your energy cause it won't get posted. Jim

Bill Pekarski
7 hrs · Coudersport ·

Day 69, Living life on my terms.

I am writing tonight just as the clocks have turned back one hour and I can’t help but be amazed as to how quickly we have come to the end of the year. Truthfully, I still have trouble remembering to write 2016 on my checks.

Alas, October has gone, the leaves have fallen, and smoke puffing from the chimney tops is becoming a regular sight. Before you know it, most of us will be gathering around a dining table to give thanks for all of our blessings.

I remember looking forward to thanksgiving as a child. While we were not a wealthy family, my mother always prepared a meal that was more than abundant. I remember wishing that my plate had side boards because there was never enough room for all of the foods.

My wife laughs when I talk about how my mother would make fresh biscuits from scratch as well as having dinner rolls. We would have mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes as well as corn, green bean casserole and squash for our vegetable selection. You also would have to clear a little spot for the homemade cranberry sauce with the little orange slices.

Oh yeah, there was also this huge turkey with stuffing. Some of the stuffing was cooked in the bird while a separate bowl was put together and just baked in the oven. Of course with the turkey, you would have to make gravy from the drippings and giblets. If you didn’t really care for turkey, she also prepared a ham, you know, just in case.

Not only was there a huge meal, there was all of the snacking things like deviled eggs, a pickle and relish tray, quick breads, and cookies. After the meal she had regular apple pie, apple pie with a crumb topping, pumpkin pie, strawberry pretzel surprise, and even a special layered Jell-O/pudding dessert.

I swear the Pittsburgh Steelers could have showed up at our house and we would have had enough to feed all of them as well.

As it was, we did have a large family and a few other family members would always be around. Mom always welcomed anyone who wanted to stop by and they had better come hungry.

All in all, we were blessed with what we had; a warm home, plentiful food, and a loving family.

I never realized how hard my mother worked back then to pull off that kind of a meal. She had to plan for weeks when she could start making certain things, how much to make, and how she was going to keep my father and us kids out of it until the dinner. Meanwhile, I would barely be half way through dinner and all I could think about was my turkey sandwiches I would be making later.

Suffice it to say, we were thankful for all of her hard work. Our dinner was always at two o’clock in the afternoon, which meant she would be up around four in the morning to start the turkey and get the coffee brewing.

So today I started planning for Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I have reined things in a touch from what my mother did, but I could at least feed everyone who lives on my road and still have leftovers. We are certain to have different friends and family over for dinner or maybe just dessert. Furthermore, like I explained a couple of days ago, Bob Smith (Smitty) will be here to eat, watch football, and talk about his Green Bay Packers.

The one thing I have missed the last 6 years is not having my mother around to call with those little questions about food I am preparing. No matter what I do, my gravy never tastes as good as hers. Still, I do have a great deal for which I am thankful.

I am alive and able to enjoy the day with my wife and family. I have a roof over my head and a warm home. We have so many people who have helped us over the past few years as I have had health problems. I have been able to write these posts for 69 straight days and each one of them is usually about something for which I am thankful. Lastly, I am thankful for everyone who has read my stories and told me that I sparked a memory or that I touched their hearts.

Suffice it to say I am once again dedicating today to my mother, Naomi Joy Pekarski. I am thankful to have her spirit instilled into me as I strive to honor her and make her proud by making this year’s Thanksgiving feast extraordinary. It really does take a few weeks to prepare!
Bill Pekarski My mother and her mother, Grandma Neidlinger on our wedding day.
Day 3, Living life according to my terms
Feeling nostalgic today. Remembering a time before cell phones where my friends and I got out on bikes and ran around. We played like kings of the world. 

I remember getting older and how proud i was becoming a fireman and an EMT. Joining the hall with a bunch of young guys like Bryan Phelps, Mike Moore, Tim Haskins, Rob Gross, Ken Rogers, Bill Lindsley, Travis Osborne and always hanging out at the hall, training, cleaning trucks, shooting the bull, or going over to the "Raunt" for shortcake. 

It was with you guys i first really learned to put my trust in someone else to have my back and I would have theirs. I would to this day go to battle with you guys. we were one helluva group at Coudersport Vol. fire department, FIGHTING 48 FOR LIFE!!
I want those feelings again so today's progress I make in our honor and on my terms. I love you guys and everyone at station 48!

Day 4, Living life on my terms.
I want to start today with a story. Growing up I had many different friends. With them we did many different things and had great experiences. One of my best friends, and closest was named Tony Mack. People from Coudersport know for the most part who I am talking about, but for everyone else I want you to understand that Tony was bound to a wheel chair. It did not slow us down.

In the winter I would push his chair to the local arcade and the tastee freeze on sidewalks that were never clean. He had a bike with hand controls that we "ran with the pack" in the summer. When he was old enough his mother, Goldi Mack and father Gary, got a van equipped with hand controls for driving and that got us on the road. Two normal teens with the wind in their hair, music blaring and scoping out good looking girls at which we always howled but were probably to scared to talk.

Tony only really got out like that when I was home from college as we were now beyond CHS. The summer of 1990 was coming to a close and I would be off soon to IUP. He wasn't feeling well so I told him we needed a trip chasing girls to Olean maybe before I had to leave. 

Four days before I was to leave for school, I responded to an ambulance call at his house. His distressed mother fumbling at the door to let me in and his father trying desperately to follow 911 instructions on performing CPR. I drove my car right to the scene and I was the first to show up and starting life saving measures to get my best friend back.

Soon After Bryan Phelps showed up and we had great teamwork. If Tony had a chance, it was in our hands. The ambulance and medics arrived and we expedite to the ER. If I ever wanted to save a life, it was today. Unfortunately, it was not to be and I said goodbye to my little buddy. 

That is why today I dedicate this step forward to Tony. It was an honor to be your friend, I am sure will we meet again, and apologize because it is not going to be anytime soon. I love and miss you Tony! 

I am living life on my terms and appreciate everyone who is supporting me.

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