There is a Story in a Napkin, and it is a life lesson.

In April of 2018, it was still less than one year since my wife’s passing and I was still in a fog. That year seemed to fly by. I buried myself in my work and taking care of my kids instead of myself. It is what I needed to do to ‘get by.’ I was lucky I had a lot of help from friends and family making sure nothing fell apart. Though there are many people to thank and stories to tell, this is a small tale that still resonates with me. 

A good friend of mine invited me and my two girls down to his shore house. He rents it out during the season, but during the off season he goes down as there are always repairs to do, as well as a wonderful place to relax.  For us it was a good break, to get away from our house, have a little adventure.  

Down the shore, as us Jersey people call it, there is a place famous for wings. After a day of chilling, relaxing and some work we headed out to dinner with our host and a few of his kids. We went a little hog wild in ordering food, a little too much for the number of people eating. It is hard to describe so just look at the picture below and realize that it is for 2 adults and 3 girls (all under 18.)  

But the food is not the story. This restaurant has two kinds of napkins, the ones that are at the tables, and the to-go napkins. The napkins at the table are very stiff and not that absorbent. The to-go napkins are fantastic, much better napkins. Our host knew this and asked the waiter for the to-go napkins. Me and my kids were unaware of the better napkins, and once we got them started saying “these are the good napkins.”  The dinner conversation continued about good napkins, and where else you need good paper products. This of course included toilet paper.  

While chowing down on the wings and extras, all you heard was pass the ‘good napkins’ and I need more ‘good napkins.’  Since that day when we got there many of the servers know we are going to ask for the to-go napkins and load us up. For my family and my friends, it is a running joke when going anywhere about having the “good napkins.” This went from being a simple dinner, to a memorable moment. It is now a lore in the Gold family.  

Why tell this story? One of the ways I got back to being myself was realizing there is a need for these memorable moments. In fact, I make it a goal to have somewhere between five to six memorable moments a year. My daughter and I took a two plus hour drive to New Haven to try Pizza. We hit Sally’s and Pepe’s like any pizza expert would. In 2023 I went to Vail with skiers, I am not a skier, but went to explore someplace I never went before. I said yes to concerts of Bands I never heard of, including figuring out how to meet someone from a band, who now is good friend. It is realizing it is a rainy day, and Taylor Swift is playing Met Life and ticket prices were dropping so you pick up your daughter working as a lifeguard and buy tickets on the way to the show. Yes, we were drenched but it is all part of the story. It is going to the office when most were not, to see people. It is throwing my girls in the car with the dog and picking a direction but having no destination for a vacation. We ended up seeing multiple hockey games in South Carolina and Florida. 

From that weekend grew a philosophy that I try to live by, ‘No good story starts with I was home watching Netflix.’ Try to plan to do something different, we have bought concert tickets to MetLife Stadium for a concert that was originally sold out, but due to rain there were tickets. We started to drive to the concert and were on our phones buying tickets. We got in, we got soaked, another memorable moment.   This philosophy has me saying yes to things I would not say yes to and getting myself out of the house.  

Before losing my wife, a memorable moment would just happen, but not really planned. Nor did I think about it. My whole life has some crazy stories. After this Napkin Weekend, I look to make some, and make it a goal for one every other month (6 times a year). It is those moments and stories you carry with you. Not all planned things will become memories, but if you do not try, you will never have one. Stop reading, look at your calendar and plan what could be your next moment.  


This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain; I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback; but it is moderated.

This Blog is a labor of love and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information. All images I took.

1 Comment

  1. Peter Hill

    Hi Larry, it’s Peter.
    I am so happy to hear that things have taken a better turn. I remember meeting you in 2018, and it was a hard time indeed . Glad to hear you and your daughters are happy and doing well.
    Keep doing different things

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