Let me welcome myself back after a week off during which I shaved only once, never wore long pants, didn’t set an alarm clock and spent a couple of great days at the beach. 

A goodbye to Beachwood Borough Clerk Bette Mastropasqua (Townsquare Media NJ)

I’m not calling it “vacation” because I didn’t go away unless you count the weekend at Penn State moving my daughter into her apartment.  I’m actually going to save that one for tomorrow to elaborate on.

So a few things to mention that took place while I was off:

Beachwood officials and residents said goodbye to retiring Borough Clerk Bette Mastropasqua at last week’s council meeting, the last of her three decades of service to the town.Many, including yours truly, praised her as a true public servant who was totally committed to the best interests of Beachwood while serving under six mayors.  Just when the emotional Mastropasqua thought the praise was over she was stunned when police chief Bob Tapp helped carry in a sign proclaiming her as the new “Citizen of the Year," a fitting tribute and a perfect conclusion to the ceremony and her career.

The following evening I attended a retirement party for longtime Seaside Park Beach Patrol captain Joe Gomulka, who stepped down after 27 years at the end of July.  The party was held on the rooftop of the Beachcomber on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights and the highlight was actually a low-light.

MTV's J Woww and Snookie show up at Seaside Park Beach Patrol captain Joe Gomulka's retirement party (Townsquare Media NJ)

Out of nowhere appeared “Snooki”, “JWoww” and a host of cameras, microphones, security people and more.   After a few minutes in which they realized nobody really cared they were there the Jersey Shore stars and their entourage left.

I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Asbury Park Press sportswriter Don Wilno, who will always be known as the “Pretzel Man.”  For years Wilno wrote a popular feature called The Watering Hole which was mainly a review of sports bars and I had the pleasure of being his guest on a few of those secret trips.

The pretzel rating system was often based on whether the beer was cold and the bartender provided good service and more than one shook when they realized Wilno was in the house.    As a tribute to him the next time I’m at Klee’s in Seaside Heights I will order a “Wally Pie” which was named after him.

Celebrated my son Brandon’s birthday with a tremendous dinner last night at Xina in Toms River.  Having him come home for the day was the perfect ending to my time off as his mother and I could not be prouder of the young man who entered our lives 28 years ago and has been a joy...for the most part.

Kevin (L) and his wife Jane (R) with son Brandon at his birthday dinner (Townsquare Media NJ)