Saturday, October 25, 2008
Today would have been my dear mother's 95th birthday. Virginia Alberta Prinzio Ricciardi was born in 1913 in Alhambra, Ca. My sweet mother was the most incredible mother. I remain the luckiest man in the world for having shared nine months under the heart of this remarkable woman. It appears that I am the only child to so remember this date in a celebration kind of way, but maybe, just maybe, I remember her so fondly because she was not only dear mother, she was very best friend. She advised, but never tried to change me. She worried that I wasn't always making the right choices, but with God's grace, I am still here with the very faith in God that she instilled me with. She married my dad with the promise that we kids would be raised and educated as Catholics. My father always kept his promises. My dear mother who suffered from an injured spine all of her life was the bravest soul I have ever encountered. She never judged me poorly as to what I would become. She never threw up her hands because I wasn't the perfect son. She never grieved that I had not become a lawyer or a doctor. She took me and loved me "warts and all". She played her piano so lovingly. Oh how she loved those afternoons when my "Uncle Mario" would come over to sing. My sisters all had piano lessons- every last one of them. Today the three of them together couldn't play chopsticks with any certainty. So here I am the writer of over six hundred songs without one dime's worth of musical education. God has been very good to me. He has sent my dear friend Tim Doran into my life and I can not begin to tell you how much I love and respect this man. He has brought my music to life. My newest collaborator is another amazing blessing. He has more things physically wrong with him than I could possibly ever list here, but he is so intelligent and so talented and so amazingly sensitive. How many gifts have we received in fancy wrappings and they were only things we could simply not use? I received both of these amazing gifts while living in situations that were compromised at best and very stressful at worst. But I know God loves me and I know that my days are challenged ahead, but each little blessing he sends is the most amazing gift. Tonight on my mother's birthday, Tim has contributed so much to "The Touch A Life With Love" show which is benefiting the homeless. I've been homeless. I know what it's like to wake up in a homeless shelter at 6:00 am to the sound of a silver whistle and a banging on a garbage can. So I am honored to have my song be the center of all of this effort. My mother would be proud. She would have know every song I had written. My three sisters combined couldn't name more than one between them. As I read about the tragedy of Jennifer Hudson having her mother and brother murdered in the middle of her great fame, I can only urge my sisters and my friends to love one another while we can. The journey is so short. My friend Tim is a true champion--just like my mother was. When my mother was your friend, you had a real honest-to-goodness stand behind you person. I can't tell you how many times he's sent job opportunities my way. Who knows maybe my mother's spirit has settled into my dear friends of Tim and John Nugent, Tony westbrook, terry Snyder ,Bill Lewis and David Holmes: maybe that is the legacy I have received from her. Tim has taught me more about music than a college education's worth, and i will always be grateful to him for all of the many little blessings he has always given to me. So today I say "Happy Birthday" to my mother and thank you God for my friends, my companion John Long (another amazing guy) and the many blessings that He sends my way.