Though we all came from the same mom & dad and were raised under the same roof all those years, we couldn’t have turned out more differently. Or did we?
This Pennsylvania band of brothers – the Ziants Boyz – sure have cut wildly & widely different paths in life. From the coal mines of West Virginia and Ohio to major American radio stations and newspapers, Phyllis & Charlie’s little boys have sure left their mark.
While John & Tommy took it to the mines, Steve & I went the journalism & broadcasting routes. I guess even as kids we didn’t like to get our hands too dirty.
Today, I’m so proud of brother Steve because he is a published author. In addition to his duties as the Page Designer for the sports section at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, you’ll also find his genius & talents for sale on amazon.com.
Born to PA parents, a pitcher on the Kent State baseball team, and a rabid wordsmith and writer, it’s not too bold a statement to say that this was the book Steve was born to write – with his blood, not ink!
According to that wacky amazon crowd, there are “only 10 left in stock” so order soon, grab it for your Kindle, or get a good old-fashioned paperback, right here – Steve Ziants Book on Amazon.com.
Oh yeah, and tell ’em that one proud brother ~ brother Mike at Airlift in NOLA ~ way down yonder in new oileenz sent ‘ya.
Steve Ziants’ 1st literary outing, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
So, what does a baby computer call its Father?!? Ri-i-i-ght. He calls it ‘Data’!
You know, a lot of truth is captured in this cutesy, pun-ny Father’s Day joke for the 21st century.
Everything that you – the reader of these very words – and I are … is the end result of that one split second of conception, when that sperm hit that egg, the DNA, the ‘data’ in your ‘Da-Da’!
Your eye color, the cut of your chin, your height, your default weight, your ability to process a thought, your IQ, your eye-to-hand coordination when you hit or throw a ball – is all predestined and pre-configured in a rather remarkable instant of the sharing of the ‘baby batter’.
Oh sure, mom had a hand in it, so to speak, but after all, this is Father’s Day weekend 2015, so let’s go there.
Meet mine. Charlie Ziants was sure a character. ‘Good time Charlie’ to the gang around the golf course or bowling alley, ‘Mr. Ziants’ to many around the power plant, ‘Chuck’ to his wife Phyllis of 40+ years … and ‘Sir’ or ‘Pop’ to my brothers and me.
Courageous (a WW II & Korea Vet); Brilliant (Ohio State Grad & accomplished engineer); Trustworthy (raised five kids); Resilient (never without a job or paycheck); Loving (a pat on the head or kick in the pants when needed); Gregarious & Fun (always there with a joke, laugh & cold drink ); Supportive (a treasure trove of sage advice & counsel); Athletic (a true Bowling & Golf Ace); Musical (you should’ve heard him on piano or accordion)… and with a Voice and a Laugh that could really grab attention!
Rumi, the Persian mystic & poet once wrote, “When you are dead, seek for your final resting place … not in the dirt … but in the hearts of men.” Charlie even pulled this feat off too.
Pop, God Bless you, sir! Thank you for your service, both on foreign shores in the U.S. Army … and on these shores raising the tribe of Ziants.
Yesterday, March 17th, was St. Patrick’s Day 2015, tomorrow will be St. Joseph’s Day 2015, and today (as the old Temptations record out of Motown would extol) … “was the day my daddy died”.
Some of my earliest recollections as a child are of trying to fall asleep in New Castle, PA, while listening to his raucous laughter from down the hallway, as he sat in front of a b/w TV watching Jackie Gleason in ‘The Honeymooners’. I would later join him.
What a character! ‘Good time Charlie’ to the gang around the golf course or bowling alley, ‘Mr. Ziants’ to many around the power plants (coal, then later, nuclear), ‘Chuck’ to Phyllis, his wife of 40+ years … and ‘Sir’ or ‘Pop’ to my brothers and me.
Felled way before his time, at only 70, by Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, pop was otherwise healthy as a horse, as the expression goes. Extremely rare, CJD is often called the human equivalent of mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) … in short, he ate something that didn’t agree with him. CJD, named for the doctors that first discovered it, is incurable and invariably fatal.
Towards the end, he and I would joke about his going out like a Viking – sword in hand, ship ablaze, on his way to Valhalla! What really happened was … they kept his brain for further study before the cremation.
The various faith traditions around the planet have different takes on the afterlife. Buddhist tradition holds that in the bardo (the in-between-world) the spirit gets to choose the parents into whom’s lives it will incarnate. If that’s true, thank God I picked this guy.
Courageous – a veteran of both World War II & Korea … Brilliant – Ohio State Buckeye Grad & accomplished engineer …. Trustworthy – he raised five kids … Loving – a pat on the back or kick in the butt when needed …. Gregarious & Fun – always there with a joke, laugh, and a cold adult beverage … Supportive – a treasure trove of sage advice & counsel … Resilient & Resourceful – never without a job or paycheck … Athletic – a true bowling & golf ace … Musical – you should have heard him on the accordion & piano … and with a Sense of Humor, coupled with a Voice and a Laugh, that could fill a hall and really grab attention.
Rumi, the Persian mystic & poet once wrote, “When you are dead, seek for your final resting place … not in the dirt, but in the hearts of men”. Charlie even pulled this feat off too!
Have you ever been on the interstate and found yourself in between two big semi-trucks as you barreled down the highway, knowing that you were safe from state police radar because you were ‘in the cradle’, safe between these two big guys?
I would later comfort my mother, at both the funeral and today, that Charlie dropping his body on this date – the 18th of March, in between St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s day, on his way to the ‘other side’ – did exactly the same thing.
Pop, as the family today commemorates the 19th year of your passing , may God Bless You, sir. Many thanks for your service, both on foreign shores in the U.S. Army … and on these shores raising the tribe of Ziants.