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Emerald Love

Lola Lauri

On September 7, 2013, residents Frank Gonzalez and Jennifer were married at the Community Center.  The ceremony was performed by former Delaware Water Gap Mayor Frank Brown and attended by the couple’s four children and a few family friends.  Frank and Jenn met on Staten Island in 1992 and dated on and off for about three years before losing touch for more than 16 years.  They were introduced to each other by their mutual friend Cass, and it was through his Facebook page that they reconnected.  They reunited and Frank moved in with Jenn and her 3 children in Long Island.

Wedding Collage

Frank and Jenn both enjoy drinking Jack Daniels, so it was on a trip to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee that Frank proposed marriage.  They were in the private Tennessee Squire room at the distillery, along with master distiller, Jeff Arnett, when Frank dropped to one knee and produced Jenn’s grandmother’s ring to seal the deal.

 

About two months later, and only days after finding out that Jenn was pregnant with what would be her 4th child and Frank’s first, Hurricane Sandy caused so much damage to the home they were renting that the landlord refused to make the repairs.  Coupled with the fact that Frank was a first responder during the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, they decided it was time to leave New York for good. In February 2013 they began shopping for a place to live in our area.  On Easter Sunday, Frank and a very pregnant Jenn brought their children and pets and moved into Emerald Lakes.

 

Once they were settled in, and after Jenn gave birth to Gunner, they began planning their wedding at the ELA Community Center.  The ceremony was witnessed by Cass and his wife Melanie who, interestingly, were introduced by Jenn many years back.  Also attending were Jenn and Frank’s children; Maverick, Leilani, Hunter and Gunner.  So, we here at ELFP would like to extend our best wishes for a long and happy marriage and a big welcome to the community to our neighbors and newlyweds, Francisco and Jennifer Gonzalez.

 

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Comedy Night at the Emerald Grill

Lola Lauri

We went to the Community Center on Saturday to see Comedy Night 4, hosted by our own Buz Whelan and featuring

Comedy Night Host, Buz Whelan

Comedy Night Host, Buz Whelan

comedians Jeffrey Paul, Tommy Gooch and Johnny Watson.  The doors opened at 7 and ELA residents and friends quickly filled the room, anticipating an evening of fun.

Host Buz Whelan started things off, giving the audience a chance to decide on which of three levels of comedy they wanted from mild to hot. Not surprisingly, the vote for hot was near unanimous. After making a generous offer to test any suspected drugs for parents and doing about 10 minutes of material to get the audience warmed up and laughing he introduced his first comic, a surprise addition to the night’s lineup.

Jeffrey Paul

Jeffrey Paul

The bonus act was former cop and high school social studies teacher, Jeffrey Paul, a relative newcomer to the NYC comedy circuit.  He left his teaching job in Staten Island to hit the stage in Manhattan where he swiftly made a name for himself in many of the city’s most renowned venues, including Stand-Up NY and the New York Comedy Club. His delivery and life stories got the crowd started quickly, and we all roared when he described his son’s reaction to his philosophical questions. Jeffrey Paul was a wonderful surprise addition to this evening’s line-up, and we look forward to hearing more from this rising star.

Melanie and Mario Balzano

Melanie and Mario Balzano

Next up was our old friend Tommy Gooch, who has graced our stage before.  This comedy veteran’s talent for playing with the

Tommy Gooch

Tommy Gooch

audience led us to some really hilarious moments.  Warning – don’t ever let Tommy catch you texting at his show; you may as well paint a target on your forehead.  And when our server scurried across the front of the stage to retrieve some empty glasses, he pulled her right up in front of us all and made her part of the act. The Gooch is a very busy comedian, with dates all over the Northeast in the coming months, and Emerald Lakes is very lucky to have him return year after year, and we certainly hope to see him again next year.

The headline act of Comedy Night 4 was Johnny Watson.  You may have seen Johnny on Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, or Comedy Central. Johnny describes himself as what it would look like if Clay Aiken

Johnny Watson

Johnny Watson

banged Jon Bon Jovi and, from the laughter, it was clear the audience agreed.  In between dispensing advice about selecting a wife and reminiscing about candy cigarettes, Johnny had a turn at the audience too, finding ways to poke fun at the audience members and keep us all laughing.  Check out Johnny’s radio comedy show, Watson N Watson, in which he battles with his mother on all sorts of topics.

Buz Whelan, “it’s okay to like me now, I am not on the board anymore.” And he asked if we thought this

Cindy Delaney and Robert Lauri

Cindy Delaney and Robert Lauri

was more fun than an annual meeting.  It certainly was, and I think there were more people there than at some of our annual meetings, too.  Thanks to Buz for all he did to organize and bring this event to our community; I look forward to next year.

 

Daddy/Daughter fun with the Kavanaghs

Daddy/Daughter fun with the Kavanaghs

Robert Lauri and John Delaney

Robert Lauri and John Delaney

Highest Scouting Honor Goes to Young ELA Resident

Lola Lauri

Three years ago, my husband and I took the Emerald Lakes Boy Scout troop to summer camp in New York.  One of the remarkable young men ??????????that came with us was Christopher Joseph.  On March 17th, 2013, Chris was awarded Boy Scout’s highest rank – Eagle Scout.  In order to achieve this, he had to earn 21 merit badges, including first aid, citizenship in the community, world, and nation, communications, personal fitness and emergency preparedness.  He also had to demonstrate leadership in his troop and lead a service project for his community.

The Eagle ceremony is deserved recognition for years of hard work and dedication.  With all the choices and paths that young men can choose to take, for good and for bad, scouting is one that not only helps them achieve their goals, it also helps the communities in which they live.  For his Eagle service project, Chris planned, organized and built an outdoor concession stand for the sports fields at Monsignor McHugh School.  He held fundraisers to pay for the supplies, and led the project from start to finish.  At a time when so many children are choosing video games and television for their free time, Chris chose to work hundreds of hours to improve his skills and help his community.

That first summer at camp, we could see in Chris the qualities that would lead to this special day.  He was helpful and friendly.  He took care of his fellow scouts and consistently attended his merit badge classes.  He loved tending the fire and spent most evenings sitting in the fire pit and feeding the fire and looking like Cinderella’s soot-covered, hard-working younger brother.  He wasn’t feeling great the last two days of camp, and I noticed he was itchy (but who wasn’t? The mosquitoes were everywhere.)  He didn’t complain, and we thought he was just tired, but when he developed a fever, we sent him to the infirmary where they told us he had the chicken pox.  Even as we were concerned for Chris,

Yum!

Yum!

he was apologizing to us and his fellow campers for what he thought was a terrible inconvenience to us.  What he really gave to all of us that year was a wonderful example of how to roll with the punches and remain cheerful in spite of adversity.  Even though he left camp a day early, he still managed to complete all of his merit badge requirements and earn all the achievements he had set as his goal for that summer.

Only about one in four boys in America will ever join the scouting program, and of those, only about 5% ever make it all the way to the rank of Eagle.  The goals and ideals taught in the scouting program continue to inspire boys for a lifetime, and we are very lucky to count Christopher Joseph as one of our own.  Please join me in congratulating this remarkable young man on his accomplishment.

 

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