01/29/12 12:00pm

The soothing harmony of Simon and Garfunkel singing “The Sound of Silence” kept me company during the last leg of my drive home. My monkey brain, usually super-charged, uncharacteristically settled on the word “silence” — temporarily, that is.

I began to reflect on how noisy our world has become. The realization that most folks are inundated with all manner of things that beep or ring was disquieting. Another eye-opener: The only silence I experience is when I’m out walking; even then, I carry my cellphone and Sparky, my trusty recorder. (A thunderbolt of divine inspiration can strike at any moment, you know.)

On impulse, I turned off the radio and drove in silence. It was different, but not unpleasant. Then the thunderbolt: Could I fast from noise for one day? No phone, computer or TV — and me not talking. Seemed doable, or so I thought.

Once home, I scanned my schedule and carved out a day that wouldn’t interfere with my obligations.

When I mentioned my silent day to Frank, he looked concerned and asked, “Feeling OK, Ceil?”

“Yeah, why?”

“The silent thing — before you open your eyes in the morning, you’re talking.”

And he wasn’t the only skeptic.

My son Greg chuckled and said, “Mom, you can’t keep your opinions to yourself!”

Jeff, my younger son, condescendingly asked, “Seen a doctor lately?”

My gal pals clearly thought I’d gone over the edge. However, one friend optimistically said, “Ceil, go for it. At our age, we can be as weird as we want.”

My sister Nancy freaked out, shrieking, “We need to talk daily!”

Fast-forward to S-Day.

7 a.m. I awoke feeling apprehensive.

8 a.m. Coffee sans the online New York Times and this newspaper. Ouch!

10 a.m. Walking on the beach. The antics of the waterfowl were entertaining, the sound of the waves was mesmerizing and the sun reflecting off the water was simply dazzling. Ah, sweet serenity.

Lunchtime. It felt strange not to power up my computer; being devoid of the news was stranger still. I got the jitters. My monkey-brain taunted, “Heading for news-junkie withdrawal, are you? What if something newsworthy is happening?” I broke out in a cold sweat. Goodbye, serenity. I wasn’t making any noise, but the house sure was. The thump-thump of the washing machine, the constant hum of the refrigerator and the clank of the furnace kicking in were ear-splitting. I wondered: Are these the sound of silence?

4 p.m. Doubting Frank arrived home and said, “Jeez! Still at it?”

5 p.m. The phone rang. Frank answered, “Hello … yes, Greg, really!”

6 p.m. Dinner time. Frank seemed uncomfortable, whereas I was trying to suppress a major case of the giggles. After dinner, I retired upstairs; Frank watched the news.

7 p.m. In my study, watching the green light on my computer blinking seductively. I sorely missed my news fix. The phone rang again. Listening hard, I heard snatches of Frank’s conversation. “Nothing, Jeff. I’m surprised, too.”

8 p.m. I drew a hot, aromatic bath and lit some scented candles. The slogan “Calgon, take me away!” popped into my brain. It wasn’t a Calgon product, but it took me away.

9 p.m. Cozy in bed and reading. I rarely go to bed before 11 o’clock, but what else was there to do? The silence was so loud that I heard my heartbeat. “Yikes!” I thought. “What if it stops?” I tried not to fixate on my heart and instead reflected on my day. I concluded it was a mixed bag: I pulled it off, but the day seemed long and a tad boring. I missed too much of what made up my life.

The morning after.

7 a.m. I woke with a sense of relief and started chattering away — yup, even before my eyes opened.

Sweet Frank said, “Welcome back, I’ve missed you.”

“But you always say I talk too much.”

“It’s OK, Ceil, talk away.”

And so I did.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

01/01/12 10:16am

The following three things happened in such quick succession that I had to sit up and take notice:

1. I received a call from a friend who said, “Ceil, if I didn’t see your return address on the envelope, I wouldn’t know who sent the Christmas card.”

2. I wrote myself a note that I couldn’t decipher.

3. I’ve kept journals since my late teens and often reread them. It’s fun (and sometimes not so fun) to examine my thoughts and revisit my glaring inconsistencies. That being said, over the last five years, my handwriting has gotten so bad that only through guesswork can I make sense of what I was thinking or doing — and maybe that’s a good thing!

The blame for my descent from beautiful script to illegible scrawl certainly does not belong to my grade school teacher Sister Josephine. She spent many hours teaching us the nuances of fine penmanship. A standout memory is that of Sister teaching us to make circles. Clearly, practicing circles was an exercise in penmanship although, back then, I thought it was an exercise in stupid.

I place the blame for my lousy handwriting squarely on technology. With the increased use of and dependence on computers, contemporary thinking calls into question the relevance of learning penmanship at all. Currently, kids in grade school are taught block letters through second grade; they move on to cursive in third grade. Instead of teaching penmanship, the emphasis is teaching technology, typing skills and program familiarity.

Nowadays, most correspondence is generated by computers, including some signatures. Although computerized medical records have been around for some time, it’s only recently that they’ve become the norm. When I was gainfully employed, we had to chart our notes; clear and concise handwriting was essential. (Thanks, Sister Josephine.) I know, I know. Some physicians’ handwritten prescriptions tell a different story.

Stationery was once the gold standard of gifts. I used to order my favorite notepaper from a catalogue: cream colored with my initials engraved in gold. Before the big bang of technology, folks actually wrote to each other. (The U.S. Postal Service was in the black, too!)

My computer is my BFF (best friend forever) and ranks up there with my other gal pals. Sometimes I use her to send online greeting cards. I simply select my card, compose my message and the recipient immediately receives a legible greeting in their inbox. Oh dear! I suppose that I’m adding to the U.S. Postal Service shortfall.

After Mom’s death in October, my siblings and I had the heartrending job of dismantling her home. It felt like we dismantled her life. I found cards, written in perfect Sister Josephine penmanship, that I’d given to my parents. A lump formed in my throat as I read, “Dear Mommy and Daddy … ”

Later that day, my brother called from the garage: “Come out here; look what I’ve found.”

We gathered around an old truck. My brother reached in and gingerly pulled out a bundle tied together with a faded ribbon. When my brother untied the ribbon, we found a treasure trove of handwritten love letters that our parents exchanged, dating back some 70 years.

We had mixed feelings about reading them; however, curiosity got the better of us. Written with pen and ink, the handwriting was legible and somewhat ornamental. Our parents’ endearments: “Darling Nancy” and “My dear husband, Charlie” touched us all. By the time shadows fell on the now empty rooms, tears were unabashedly running down our cheeks. Who says grown men don’t cry?

I’m a fan of progress, but I wonder if computer-generated love letters or online greeting cards could produce such vivid memories or strong emotions. Perhaps something beautiful and personal has been irrevocably lost. Then again, I suppose one can print them out and tie them with a ribbon, or save them to our hard drives.

But still …

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

11/14/11 9:34am

I like to think of myself as a forward-thinking gal — after all, this column is titled “Forward Living.” But sometimes I yearn for the “olden days.”

When I was a kid, we had a family pharmacist — didn’t everyone? “Doc” was our go-to person. If we scraped our knee, Mom sent us to Doc. In the ‘50s, before mass production of drugs became the norm, the pharmacist compounded a good deal of medicine. (I still get a gag reflex when I recall the foul-tasting cough syrup Doc concocted.) Along with our prescriptions, Doc dispensed sound advice, free of charge. Funny, Mom said his advice was the best medicine.

While my sons were growing up, I had a similar relationship with our pharmacists, Barry and Kenny. Not only did they know my family, they knew of the skeletons hanging out in the closet. By then, compounding drugs was less common, but good advice was still doled out free of charge. Once, when my son Jeff came down with a nasty infection, Barry opened the pharmacy after hours to fill his prescription.

But, alas, all good things end. The mom-and-pop pharmacies gave way to big box pharmacies. Still, one could establish a decent relationship with the pharmacist. Sure, they don’t know the nitty-gritty stuff of my life or the skeletons in my closet (probably a good thing); however, I’ve found them accessible. The drawback? It seems that once I developed a relationship with a pharmacist, they transferred to another store.

Our new prescription plan mandates that we use a mail-order pharmacy for our ongoing prescriptions. Recently, I used their online service and requested a prescription renewal. By email, I was informed that there were no refills left, but they (the pharmacy) would get in touch with my doctor. A couple of days later, I checked online. The notation stated: “Prescription refill in progress.”

Fast-forward one week. No prescription; first warning bell.

The following day, I received this email: “Your prescription order is eight days old, and the provider has not responded to our request, rendering your prescription null and void. Call your provider.” Muttering some non-printable expletives, I called my medical provider.

The nurse in the doctor’s office assured me that the prescription was sent on the day I requested it from the mail-order pharmacy. I called the mail-order pharmacy; they checked their records and nada. More warning bells.

Who was to blame became a moot issue. While my prescription was floating around in cyberspace, I was running low on medication. I contacted my doctor and he, in turn, called in a 10-day supply to the local pharmacy. Unbeknownst to me, the mail-order pharmacy found the doctor’s original prescription and attempted to fill the order. This maneuver resulted in the prescriptions canceling each other out. Yikes! The warning bells turned into full-blown siren.

I called the mail-order pharmacy and followed the endless prompt instructions. While waiting for a live person, the automated voice kept repeating, “We really want to help you.” You know what that’s like!
Finally, a live person. “Ms. Iannelli, tell me what happened.”

Despite my best intentions, when I began explaining my plight, my frustration gave way to anger (screaming sirens can do that). The customer service representative admonished me, “Ms. Iannelli, this is not my fault.”

“Listen,” says I, “I don’t give a d… who is at fault. Fix it.”

Long story short. I received a small portion of the prescription from the local pharmacy and the mail-order pharmacy sent the rest.

I have nothing against mail-order pharmacies and, usually, their system runs smoothly. That is, until there’s a glitch in the chain of command, then patient beware.

Can you understand why this forward-thinking gal sometimes yearns for the olden days? But methinks the olden days are just that. And, folks, from my vantage point, they ain’t coming back anytime soon.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

10/31/11 3:00am

After our Thursday study group, Mary, the editor of our church newsletter, asked for volunteers to help compile said newsletter. We formed an assembly line and began collating, addressing and folding. Then, we hit a snafu. New to us were the clear wafer tabs that are used to seal the newsletter — and anyone without nimble fingers, or over 45, would have trouble seeing, let alone peeling off, the clear discs.

After some trial and error, we got the hang of it. When the task was complete, Mary remarked, “I hope that everyone who reads this newsletter realizes how much work it takes to get it out.”

Who knows why, but Mary’s words stayed with me. Truthfully, I haven’t given very much thought to the countless folks who work tirelessly behind the scenes. These folks make things happen. Then again, maybe you have; maybe you’re one of them.

I’ve been writing this column for seven years, and still don’t know what occurs after I hit the send button. Shame on me! However, common sense dictates that a myriad of operational steps must be taken before any columns or news stories appear in print or online.

After watching a movie on TV, I never wait for the closing credits to appear before changing the channel. Recently, for the heck of it, I did. The credits rolled for five minutes — editing, original music, casting direction, set decoration, costume design, makeup, etc. These folks are literally “behind the scenes.”

Think about the unseen crews who work for the Food Network. The star has center stage as he struts into the immaculate TV kitchen where the prep work has been done and ingredients placed in little bowls. The chef, with a great deal of flourish, empties the contents of said bowls into the food that’s being prepared, adds a pinch of this, a splash of that and — bam! The meal is complete.

I’ve prepared more holiday dinners than I can remember. If you’re like me, before the guests arrive, the table is set, the wine is chilling and the turkey is in the oven. We cross our fingers and hope that our guests will mesh (some behind-the-scenes family members can make holidays a tad sticky). We probably don’t employ a sous chef, so we spent the previous day baking, chopping, grating, grinding and stuffing.

Prior to the feast, we hit the supermarkets and local farm stands to select our turkey and trimmings. But wait — do we give any thought to turkey farm workers or the drivers who deliver the turkeys? How about the farmers and field hands who do backbreaking labor to bring about an abundant harvest? And let us not forget the folks who keep supermarket shelves well stocked. These folks play supporting, but important, roles in creating our holidays.

Those of us who love classical music are familiar with the works of George Frideric Handel, who composed, along with other masterpieces, “Messiah.” But are you familiar with the name Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow? Neither was I, until recently. He was Handel’s teacher and mentor. Or does the name Henrietta Mears ring a bell? Evangelist Billy Graham wrote of Ms. Mears, a teacher and Christian educator, “I doubt if any other woman outside my wife and mother had such a marked influence on my life.” I didn’t know that!

TV personalities Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show,” and Bill O’Reilly of “The O’Reilly Factor” have opposing political views, but they have one thing in common. Behind their wit, charm and political commentary, they employ many talented writers and research assistants who have the ability to create appealing shows.

Recently, while buying my daughter-in-law a birthday card, I had a eureka moment. Suddenly I knew why Mary’s words have stayed with me. It’s time to declare a holiday honoring the unsung behind-the-scenes folks. Hallmark would simply love the idea, don’t ya think?

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

10/20/11 1:00am

Back in the day, we corresponded chiefly by postal mail; nowadays we call it snail mail — and it’s no wonder. Technology has equipped us with fast ways of communicating, what with email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. (Perhaps this is the reason the U.S. Postal Service is going broke.)

Like many folks, I’m inundated with email. I receive a good amount that pertains to my work and the rest can run the gamut, from hilarious to downright disturbing. It’s the latter I wonder about.

I suppose it’s because we’re fast approaching election year 2012 that the same hate-filled emails that circulated in 2008 are beginning to go viral and infiltrate my in-box. Surely I can understand why one may not support President Obama, but why put forth such blatant misinformation? It’s the same old unsubstantiated rhetoric that calls into question the president’s religion, patriotism or country of origin. (And let us not forget the birth certificate brouhaha.)

In August 2011, a claim circulated that President Obama wasn’t wearing his wedding ring in observance of Ramadan. (Ramadan in 2011 was from Aug. 1 to 29.) The email stated in part: “So it’s just a coincidence that Muslims are forbidden from wearing jewelry during the month of Ramadan??? (Think about that one.)” More blah, blah, blah, then, “And how convenient to be on vacation in Hawaii over Christmas so he doesn’t have to have a Christmas photograph of him and his family attending Christmas service.” I received this email at least three times, but who’s counting!

When I lived on Staten Island, I worked with a Muslim physician. We spoke recently and he informed me that Islam has no rule prohibiting the wearing of jewelry during Ramadan. Incidentally, my neighbor was killed in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks, so I get it; but I also get that adrenaline-pumping emotion is a dangerous thing. We’ve got to bypass destructive emotions and think rationally: All Muslims aren’t extreme radical terrorists; likewise, all Italians aren’t cold-blooded Mafioso killers. You get my drift.

I received another gem attributed to historian and author David Kaiser. The email compares the United States to pre-Nazi Germany. It states: “The savior at the time was Adolf Hitler, who also proposed change; how coincidental that President Obama’s platform was change.” Mr. Kaiser notes in his blog, “History Unfolding,” that he didn’t pen this piece.

There’s no law saying we must like the president, so why obsess about his religion or whether he wears a flag lapel pin? Instead, we need to focus on substance and delve into the heart of the challenges facing our nation. And if you don’t agree with this administration, unlike the Hitler regime, we’re free to give our elected officials the boot. Why spend time worrying about nonsense?

Speaking of which, I received an email titled “Spend Wisely.” The message asks us to imagine that a bank would deposit $86,400 in our account daily. We are the only ones who can spend it, and what we don’t spend would be taken away from us. Each morning we would get another $86,400 to spend, but the bank can end the deposits without warning.

This magical bank is time. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us. What we haven’t lived up to that day is gone forever. Each morning our account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve our account at any time, without warning.

The sentiments expressed in the aforementioned email are quite sobering and hit me where I live. In reality, I squander a lot of time. Not only did I forward this thought-provoking email, but I read it daily.
But, funny thing, this lovely piece, to date, hasn’t gone viral. In fact, I received it only once. Something to ponder, eh?

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

10/04/11 3:15pm

When I was a kid, returning to school in September was either welcome or fraught with a case of the jitters. There was, however, one thing I could make book on: I was invariably assigned to write an essay about what I did or learned during my summer vacation. I’m going to take a cue from the days of yore and tell you what I learned from our beautiful 14-year-old granddaughter, Ariana.

When Ariana visited us in July, she brought not only her bubbly personality, but also an array of pencils, tubs, tubes and other mysterious makeup paraphernalia. (I guess it runs in the family. I’ve been known to lug around an arsenal of anti-aging products while vacationing.)

One afternoon, I sat on the bed and watched as Ariana applied goop to her face and made up her eyes. Lord knows how, but she came off looking completely natural. When I asked Ariana how my makeup looked, she scrutinized my face (a gal of a certain age gets uncomfortable with close-up inspections) and said, “Pretty good, but …”

“But?”

Ariana picked up a brush and began dabbing here and there.

She held up a mirror and asked, “Better?”

I answered with a delighted, “Yes.”

Our trip to the nail salon enlightened me further. I selected my usual sheer pink nail polish, while Ariana was deciding between neon blue and green sparkle. When she suggested I try one of the sparkle polishes, I considered it, but only briefly. I remembered that I was the assigned chalice administrator on Sunday, and green sparkle polish might be a tad distracting to the communicants. Ariana choose the blue and I must say, it looked lovely — on her, that is.

Shopping at Tanger was a mind-boggling experience. We bypassed my favorite haunts and headed straight into the teen clothing stores. Sales associates who looked to be in their ‘tweens showed Ariana the latest fashions. Music was blaring, kids were swarming and the moms looked weary. Oy!

Ariana taught me the nuances of texting. Now I love texting almost as much as talking. But the most fascinating experience, by far, was my Facebook makeover.

I have a lukewarm relationship with Facebook. I keep an account to stay abreast of the local, national and global news, and that’s about it. I find it scary that folks can reshape themselves in the hope of being friended by other users and, similarly, with a mere click we can unfriend someone.

That being said, on the last afternoon of her stay, Ariana showed me how she could alter her Face­book profile picture using Photoshop.

Ariana asked, “Want me to airbrush your picture?”

“Sure.”

I looked over her shoulder and wow! There was a smiling me, looking five years younger. Encouraged, I said, “Ariana, do more.”

“OK, watch this.”

She set to work, and magically erased 10, then 20 years from my picture. Talk about reversing the signs of aging! Meanwhile, Frank, with keys in hand, was waiting to drive Ariana home. I forgot about the picture until …

I started receiving comments about my profile picture. I logged in to Facebook and, sure enough, there, on my profile page, was my retouched picture. One Facebook friend commented, “Ceil, Long Island agrees with you; you’re looking younger.”

I often wonder about the forever-young Hollywood crowd featured in those glossy magazines. I realize they probably look ordinary — wrinkles, bulges and all — until they are airbrushed to the max. Mystery solved.
Well, folks, I’m Facebook challenged and clueless on how to get my original picture back on my profile page. I’ll figure it out eventually, or send Ariana an SOS. For now, I’ll let my picture stand.

The fact that I’m lying to the Facebook community, and myself, is a tad disconcerting, but what the heck. If the Hollywood crowd can get away with it, why not the Riverhead crowd?

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

08/26/11 12:37pm

One Saturday afternoon, my stepdaughter Angela and I were sitting at her kitchen table kibitzing about this and that. While pouring me a cup of tea, she sighed and said, “Saturday is my laundry day and I dread it. I don’t know anyone who likes to do laundry.”

“Really, Angela?” I said. “I like doing the laundry, especially the folding part. Bring it on.”

Angela eyeballed me for a long moment, then replied, “Ceil, I love you and all, so don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re weird!”

Angela excused herself and disappeared into the laundry room. She returned a few minutes later carrying two large baskets of clean laundry and plopped them down in front of me. And so it began.

Being called weird is nothing new, what with loving winter and my water drinking peculiarities. (I drink water out of a favorite glass that’s inscribed with “Spaghetti Factory.”) However, this column is not about my weirdness; it’s about my fondness for doing the laundry. But wait, maybe to some folks, the laundry thing is weird.

As the oldest of six kids, laundry became my job. Mom would sing, “Celia, you have laundry” to the tune of one of her favorite opera arias. Laundry-loving isn’t genetic, since only one of my sisters also enjoys doing laundry. Another sister can take it or leave it, while the third will go out and buy new underwear when her laundry backs up. I haven’t a clue about my brothers’ laundry predilections. Obviously, Mom wasn’t crazy about doing the laundry, either; after all, she pawned it off on me.

By the time my sons, Greg and Jeff, came along, I was well versed in laundry dos and don’ts. Moreover, folding laundry proved relaxing. As my kids grew into their teens, chaos ruled; but nothing much changed in the laundry department, except that there was more of it. Control freak that I am, I suppose seeing their clothes neatly folded gave me some semblance of order. But before they left for college, they learned to do their own laundry. Nowadays, much to the delight of my daughters-in-law, my sons don’t mind doing laundry. Hmm. Maybe it is genetic.

Back when I was gainfully employed, it was mandatory that all medical personnel wear white uniforms. Saturday mornings found me in the basement starching and ironing my uniforms. I loved the sizzling sound the iron made and the smell of starch. (OK, weird.) Gradually, the whites gave way to pastel scrubs. I still passed an iron over them, but nixed the starch.

Frank is always neatly dressed, although when we first started dating, I noticed that he always wore the same six or seven shirts.

When I suggested that we shop for new shirts he said, “Nope, got lots of shirts — some I’ve never worn. Angela buys them for Father’s Day.”

The next time I visited with Frank in Rocky Point, I peeked (well, snooped) in his bureau drawer and, sure enough, I found rows of neatly stacked shirts. After some detective work, I discovered that he never rotated his shirts. He washed his clothes once a week and placed his clean laundry on top.

When I ran this laundry article idea by Frank, he joked, “What are you gonna say about me this time?

Before I could answer, he added, “And watch it, Ceil, you’re gonna have people ringing our doorbell with baskets of laundry.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“You never know, Ceil.”

Just then, the phone rang. It was Angela inviting us over for the following weekend. After checking our calendar, I called her back.

“Angela, how’s Sunday after church?”

“Ceil, can you and Dad come on Saturday?”

“I guess.”

Even though Angela considers me weird, we enjoy a close and loving relationship. But lately, I’m getting a tad suspicious about these Saturday soirees. Methinks it has something to do with her laundry.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

07/18/11 2:51pm

In the hit movie “Love Story,” Ali MacGraw’s character, Jenny, utters this now-famous line to her husband, Oliver, played by Ryan O’Neal: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” The film is a tearjerker and is considered one of the most romantic of all time by the American Film Institute — and I get it. However, that sappy line is the dumbest declaration I’ve ever heard. Saying I’m sorry is always appropriate and, occasionally, saying I’m sorry is simply not enough.

We live in a world where some folks feel they can get away with stuff that no sane person would tolerate, as long as they apologize. I’m not referring to a heartfelt apology, but rather to those folks I’ve dubbed “habituals” — a term I’ve coined for want of a better word.

Not all politicians are philanderers, but for those who have strayed, technology hasn’t proven user-friendly. An embarrassing photo is posted on the Internet, a child pops out of the woodwork, the ever-vigilant paparazzi catch an intimate moment, etc. Then — oops! Caught. Denial is the first order of business, followed by a variety of tall tales. (Remember the politician who said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail via Argentina?) Finally, they stand tearfully before the cameras and apologize to the wives, kids, constituents, country and pet dogs — after the fact. Would they have come clean if they hadn’t been caught?

Most of us have encountered the disloyalty of the now ex-friend. You know, the one who blew us off because something better came down the pike, or the one whose loose lips disclosed a confidential conversation. Then there is the ex-friend who talks about everybody, so we gotta assume she’s yakking about us, too. The friend may be contrite or, more often, said friend is clueless regarding her behavior. However, here’s what the friend failed to remember: This is not the first occurrence and, sadly, we wise up and realize it won’t be the last.

Many gals (guys, too) suffer from domestic violence. The abuser tries to maintain control by isolating the victim through physical, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. After the abuse, an apology usually ensues. Unfortunately, until the victim sees through the apology, or suffers severe harm, these abuses can escalate. And here’s the kicker: Sometimes, when the police respond to a domestic violence call, they are turned away by the victim, who says the abuser “is sorry,” and the abuser promises, “It won’t happen again.” Only it does.

Of course, there are things that aren’t deal-breakers, but can annoy us to the max. I purchased an engagement gift online and somewhere between Ohio and Jamesport, the package went missing. My credit card was charged and repeated inquiries proved futile. The upshot? The package never showed up, the engagement party came and went (I bought another gift), it took months to straighten out my credit card and everyone was sorry. Really, folks, sorry just didn’t cut it.

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. Humankind is beset with frailties: We make mistakes, we misspeak, we’re judgmental, we get angry and say and do regrettable things. We may inadvertently or perhaps by design cause another to become enraged at us, and although we’ve apologized, the tensions may remain and even grow.

Ah, me. Perhaps the relationship remains frozen because our apology consists of empty words. I’ll bet if one puts feet on an apology and does something to make amends, then it becomes more about forgiveness and redemption, and none of us is without the need of forgiveness.

I suppose most of us can be labeled as “habituals” at one time or another. As Martin Luther King Jr. aptly put it, “There is some good in the worst of us and evil in the best of us.” Saying I’m sorry may or may not be enough, but, hey, it’s a start.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.