After 22 years of marriage, this native Clevelander still owes his wife a honeymoon. Not that they didn’t wed in Germany. Or live for four years in Hawaii. Or for four years in England. “She still jazzes me about it once in a while,” he says of that post-nuptials R&R. He and she were to bunk at Neuschwanstein Castle, which inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom.
But they gave their four-star room to his parents, who attended the wedding. “They would never have the opportunity to do that again,” he says. These days, his idea of leave is hiking to his wood shop. “Any time I can start up a power tool, I am happy,” he says. His wife has called a halt to his major obsession, making birdhouses.
There are now 10 to 12 that he has placed around their 16 acres. “So I think I am going to make bat houses now,” he says. That might take place in the small, decommissioned church on his property, the one with a weight set on the altar and a basketball court where the congregation once sat. This former football player from Dallas High in Luzerne County readily admits he was no hardwood floor general.
“I can’t chew bubble gum and dribble a basketball at the same time,” he says. In private, he’ll tell you that he can’t throw out that lettermen’s jacket from his days as a linebacker and center. “It’s blue, with white sleeves, and still has the same tear in it as when I first got it,” he says. “You have to earn (the jacket). I can’t throw it away. I don’t wear it, but I have it.”
He wishes he had learned to play the piano or guitar — “something in the evening to wind down,” he says, “let the music take you to that special place.” Like Hawaii. Or England. Or Germany, where he met she. “I looked up, she looked up,” he says, “and that was it.”
From there they marched down the aisle.
Guess Who! It’s retired Lt. Col. Joseph P. Walsh, senior Army instructor, Shikellamy High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps