"Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever." - Charles Lamb

April 3, 2017
Dear Fellow Members,

I wasn’t in the door for ten seconds the other day (at one of my favorite Chamber haunts) while in search of the perfect soup – when from across the bar – an old friend shouts, “Hey, Big Guy, got a minute?” Now, I’m not talking about just any soup – no, sir – but French Onion soup from the Corner Galley. “Sure,” I fired back, “what’s on your mind?” “Don’t ask,” he says. “I think I just did!” Immediately, I knew something was bothering him. Seconds later, the floodgates opened when he said, “I’ve got this problem, you see. I have a big decision coming up and I’m afraid of making the wrong choice.” “Mind if I offer some friendly advice,” I asked. “Do I have a choice,” he said. “Sure, you can have either the French Onion or the soup du jour, Beef Barley.” “Be serious for a moment, would you please?” “I am being serious”…and then I began my tale. “Hey,” my friend interrupted [clearly he had more questions] “how did you know the soup-of-the day was Beef Barley?” Because it’s the first thing I ask hostess, Nancy when I walk through the door. “It’s that important to you,” he says. “Well, I used to ask her the capital of South Dakota, but that scared the hell out of her.” Now, I keep it simple. Besides: “Never underestimate the power of a good soup!”

It seems (many moons ago) in the mid 1650’s, on a tract of land not too far from where we sit – there was an Indian named Sachem Tackapausha. He was head of the Marsapeague Indians. “Marsapeague,” which – according to the Historical Society of the Massapequas, “means great water land - took their name from the area of south central Nassau known for its abundant fresh water springs.” Though I have no doubt to the authenticity of the Historical Society’s fact-finding… homegrown, comedian, Jerry Seinfeld once quipped on national TV – his own version of the derivation – when he joked, “Yes, Massapequa – that’s Indian for – by the Mall.” This was obviously a direct reference to our friends at Westfield Sunrise Mall (a conglomeration of 200,000 square feet of leasable space built in the early 1970’s and opened in 1972.) Thereby hangs a tale – the Chief had a young grandson who was at a crossroad in his life. This grandson it seems – was experiencing such angst – such inner conflict – that he sought advice from his grandfather.

The sagacious Chief started the lesson with: “On my shoulders, sit two wolves. One is a black wolf – evil – who continually tempts me to do and say the wrong things. [The grandson leans in – careful not to miss a word.] On the other shoulder is a white wolf – which continually encourages me to live up to my very best.” The black one’s dominant traits (if I may simplify) were anger, envy, jealousy, resentment, lies and false pride – while his counterpart (or should I say, counterpoint) exhibits joy, peace, hope, humility, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson (wise well beyond his years) then asks, “Which of these wolves has the greatest power over you, Grandfather?” “Which one will win?” The Chief – with legs crossed under him – looks at the young brave and says: “The one I feed, of course…the one I feed.” My friend, now with eyes glazed over says, “Oh, I think I get it – our thoughts can be our worst enemy.” “Exactly,” I said – “That’s what I got out of the story, too” And with that…almost magically…my dear friend and bartender extraordinaire, Maggie Ryan served up two beautiful crocks of “Onion Soup Au Gratin” with blended, golden brown, bubbling mozzarella and speckled Muenster cheese clinging to its side…in other words…soup nirvana.

Here’s the skinny: Next time you catch yourself having negative thoughts, the lesson I suppose – would be to resist the temptation to buy in. Do not submit. Don’t feed the doubt. Starve it! Disavow any pessimism that might creep into your thoughts. What you don’t feed will eventually die. Water the flowers, not the weeds. Feed your values. Feed your faith. “Instead of complaining rose bushes have thorns – rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Have some Onion Soup! If I could put some words in the mouth of the Chief, I bet he would also profess that to enrich one’s life - one needs to be attentive to another person’s needs; to be considerate and unselfish. Or as Anglican cleric, John Wesley would later say: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” Are you starting to get the feeling that the same Chief who named Kevin Costner’s, Lieutenant Dunbar character, “Dances With Wolves,” – might name me “President Who Writes About Nothing?” I guess, in some convoluted way – this would pay homage to Jerry Seinfeld – who often described his hit show as being “a show about nothing.” In all seriousness, I had planned to write about ice cream, but I gave it up for Lent.

What I didn’t give up for Lent, however – was having a good time celebrating our second straight title as “Best Chamber on Long Island.” We, along with hundreds of others from their respective categories – were honored on Monday, March 27th at Chateau Briand. Thank you to organizer, “Long Island” and sponsor “Bethpage Federal Credit Union.” And though it sounds cliché, there is most certainly – no title without you (the valued member) and your help and participation. We need every one of you. Our community as a whole depends on you. You have proven time and time again…that no one person’s contribution is less important than another’s. “And that’s what the first step of enrichment is all about,” wrote Subir Chowdhury in ‘The Ice Cream Maker,’ “realizing that enrichment involves everyone.” I said I gave up writing about it for Lent, not reading about it!

Soup, I assure you (if I can jump back for a second) is a lot like family. “Each ingredient,” wrote English novelist, Margaret Kennedy, “enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and needs time to simmer.” Like our Chamber, metaphorically speaking, of course, we too, enhance one another. Each member comes with their own set of skills and when blended slowly over time – with the talents of other Chamber members – indubitably it makes for a much better, richer and more robust organization. Take for example, our “Member-of-the Month,” Bob Lane, a proud veteran and present Second Vice Commander of AMVETS Post 88. Without this brave heart and his “brothers and sisters – in arms,” there would be no Chamber. Bob and his fellow American Veterans, including Commander James Owens – would like you to know that they still stand by their credo: “in service to our community, our neighbors in need, and our fellow veterans.”

Furthermore, Bob and his compatriots would like you to know that AMVETS is a “worldwide, federally-chartered, volunteer-led veterans organization formed by World War II veterans of the United States in December 1944.” They are a 501 ©19 organization. Some of Post 88’s achievements include, but are not limited to: Military Honor Guard and event sponsor for LI National Cemetery’s PEARL HARBOR DAY service; Charter Color Guard participant in all the Town of Oyster Bay’s events. (Bob Lane is not only a proud member of the Post’s “Color Guard” but also the “Color Guard Commander.”) Lest I forget, they are active partners with local congregational and Community Outreach programs; provide Seasonal Holiday Hearth support (fuel & food) “Support Our Troops” package program; Community Scholarship Award Program; and Boy Scout Recognition and Award Programs. They, need I say – have always lent their support to our Annual Street Fair – when in honoring our nation’s flag – they traditionally “present the colors” with distinction. There is little they don’t do. These are our American soldiers. They valiantly gave on the battlefields around the world. They continue to give. They’re a generation like none other. “All gave some,” we are often reminded, but sadly, we mustn’t forget: “Some gave all.” One final bit before we say goodbye to Bob and AMVETS Post 88: Bob would like our members to know that if you would like to properly dispose of a stressed U.S. flag, you can do so by dropping “Old Glory” in the flag box directly in front of Post 88, located at 692 Broadway, Massapequa. They will then properly retire the flag at a flag retirement ceremony. Thank you again, Bob and thank you for your service to your country.

Having just foreshadowed our 5th Annual Street Fair – which takes place this year on Sunday, June 4th – the Chamber is proud to announce that our Main Event Sponsor is ShopRite and our Grand Marshal, Glenn J. Kearney. The new ShopRite of Massapequa opened their doors on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. This renovated 67,000 square-foot store sits on the former Waldbaum’s site. According to company owner, Melissa Buonadonna-Hernandez, “ShopRite is a family business committed to the families we serve.” And serve they do. ShopRite, for example, has been a longtime supporter of local food banks, donating food, services and money to the cause. They and their employees contribute hundreds of volunteer hours each year. One worthwhile cause that deserves honorable mention and highlights their focus of community is their participation in a program that supports both the education and training of special needs students.

Their hope, of course, is to prepare these young men and women for meaningful careers in the supermarket industry. “This innovative and groundbreaking program,” according to a ShopRite press release, “is called Supermarket Careers and was created by ShopRite in 1989 – and is now in place in 42 schools throughout the company’s six state area.” Additionally, ShopRite is also an annual sponsor of the New Jersey and Connecticut Special Olympics Games. ShopRite – now one of our newest, local supermarkets is making the world of difference! Thank you, Melissa & Julio for your generous, “Main Event Sponsorship.” The new ShopRite (located at 5508 Sunrise Highway, Massapequa, NY) includes a bake shop offering cakes and fresh bread, fresh seafood delivered daily, a floral shop, a deli and of course, fresh soup. I just can’t shake this darn, soup thing! Hey, even good old Ludwig Von Beethoven weighed in [reputedly one of the greatest composers of all time] when he said: “Only the pure in heart make a good soup.”

Now in the case of our Grand Marshal, I am proud to announce that longtime, Chamber member, Glenn J. Kearney – is our selection for 2017. A man who wears many hats, the following is a list of just a few of Glenn’s active roles: Acting Deputy Commander of the Massapequa Auxiliary Police; President of the Massapequa Lions Club; 1st V.P. of the Friends of Tackapausha; Board Member of Drug Free Long Island; and a proud member of Columbus Lodge 2143 Order Sons of Italy in America. This guy has so many titles and initials after his name – he boasts a virtual Alphabet Soup – one that’s chock-full of talent. Aptly nicknamed MacGyver for his uncanny knack for fixing anything, Glenn has – over the course of the last fifteen festivals – resolved multiple mechanical, technical and structural issues. No job is ever too big, nor too small or demeaning. He has long been a vital member of our “Street Fair” team. Dead battery on the golf cart…no problem…hand me a paper clip, he’d calmly say. Banners dislodged from the show mobile…not to worry…somebody toss me my roll of duct tape. Slip and fall “aided case” – “All units slow down” – as a lifetime member of the ambulance corps and the Community Emergency Response Team…he’s got this covered, too.

Amongst the first to arrive and those last to leave – Glenn, with unflagging determination – looks for opportunities to pitch in. Need a point man to march in the parade; he’ll proudly present the colors. And who do you think – by chance – leads the Security detail each year at our “Annual Christmas Tree & Menorah Lighting?” Correct…none other than Massapequa Auxiliary Police Officer, Glenn Kearney. Seemingly everywhere, Mr. Ubiquitous is both a tireless and selfless worker. Glenn – to his credit – greets each new Street Fair and its unique challenges with alacrity. We value your friendship. We acknowledge your myriad skills. We now collectively honor your dedication. This recognition is long overdue. Congratulations, Glenn!

An exciting time of year for sure, won’t you please join us at our next General Meeting? We had thirty-five members join us last month at NY Burger Bar. To ensure that you get the Member rate for lunch, please remit your dues today. [Call 541-1443 or go to:] Let’s see if we can top forty-five members at our April 27th meeting at Smokin’ Al’s Famous BBQ Joint. “The lesson for us today,” according to Carol S. Pearson, PH.D, “is that no one creates paradise alone. It is essential to link up with others who have similar dreams and values and to organize both a collective effort (with emphasis on accomplishing goals) and a genuine, caring community (with a primary focus on the nurturance and development of individuals.”) It would not be at all unreasonable to have a secondary focus on Al’s beautiful, baby back ribs! “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to network…and a time to slather!”

“I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.” – Old Indian saying



Robert R. Barrett, President