Last night in Sedona included two of my best friends, my son Kyle and Michael Gonnella. After dining Mexicano, we grabbed cigars (2), a bottle of Maker’s Mark, two nips of Absinthe, plus ice, then retreated to the balcony overlooking red rocks and eventually overlooked by a sky of stars I haven’t seen in a very long time. If you were to see him on the street today, you’d think “Biker” from the tattoos, head scarf and black leather vest, but as I learned, he’s so much more. Two words that come to mind after our hours of conversation are “heart” and “soul.” I knew about the heart already. He is the toughest person I know and his story of sustaining a double leg fracture two years ago during an exhibition with real pro wrestlers reinforced both the “heart” and the “crazy” traits I remember. Most enlightening though was hearing him speak about his children and his attempts to instill the spirit of the Navajo Ten Commandments in his eldest Nina, I better understood the soul part and why he signs every email with “Peace.”

We had a great time reminiscing and filling in gaps like loose grout in our life’s mosaic. There was definitely one disagreement about the infamous “hot dog with everything” incident the summer (circa 1974) we worked my Dad’s food concession on Revere Beach. Let’s just say one difficult customer earned a chapter in “Kitchen Confidential,” and I’ll just leave it at that.

By the time I had eaten my words about us “not doing a very good job on the Maker’s,” the cigars were cinder and my boy was long asleep, we had recounted about 30 years of women, wives, children, music, working and living. We’ll catch up some more Friday when we meet Nina and head to Mike’s favorite karaoke joint. Kyle’s really looking forward to singing his heart out in public. I just hope they have some Celine Dion…

Navajo Ten Commandments

  1. The Earth is our Mother; care for Her
  2. Honor all your relations.
  3. Open your heart and soul to the Great Spirit.
  4. All life is sacred; treat all beings with respect.
  5. Take from the Earth what is needed and nothing more.
  6. Do what needs to be done for the good of all.
  7. Give constant thanks to the Great Spirit for each day.
  8. Speak the truth but only for the good in others.
  9. Follow the rythms of Nature.
  10. Enjoy life’s journey; but leave no tracks.