Monday, October 5, 2009

The Youngest Son is Leaving

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on October 3, 2009

My youngest son Nate is moving to Baltimore next week. He is moving in with his longtime girlfriend (a doctor no less) and will be starting a new job.

He is almost 28 years old, and it is perfectly normal that he leave to begin a new life. He is in love with a wonderful girl. It is what parents wish for their children.

So could somebody please explain to me why I am so sad?

Of course, next to my wife I appear ecstatic. She is trying her best to appear positive and cheerful, but it is hard when you are constantly in tears.

You see, Nate is very much his mother’s son. While he and I love each other deeply, Nate and his Mom are simply connected in a way I cannot possibly comprehend. Nate speaks “Mom”, and Mom speaks “Nate”. It’s actually rather humorous yet intimidating to watch.

Nate finishes his mother’s sentences. He knows what she is going to say before she does. When my wife is dropping the ubiquitous hints she so loves to torture me with, it is usually Nate who translates them into English. They have a love and understanding, a bond that goes well beyond the normal mother-son relationship.

My wife truly is happy for Nate, and loves his girlfriend. She was constantly sending him job postings in the Baltimore area, and even forwarded listings for condos and homes they might be interested in down there. She has known for some time this day was coming.

But now it is actually here. Next week he will be leaving. And this time he won’t be coming back except for visits and holidays and the many things we plan to drag them both back for. It’s not like the four years he spent in Virginia going to college, or the couple of years he lived in Boston. This time, it’s for keeps.

In truth, my wife is dealing with it much better than I am. This surprises me, though apparently not her. Nate and I have a somewhat different relationship from the one I share with my oldest son. While I love both equally, Nate is much more of a challenge because he is so different from me in so many ways. And the fact he is much like his mother has not always worked to our advantage.

Nate is a private person (which is why he will absolutely hate this column). Where I tend to tell everyone everything, he tells no one anything. Where I make decisions somewhat impulsively, he makes every choice like it is a life-changing process. You never make the mistake of asking Nate where he wants to go to dinner – unless you have an hour or two to properly discuss the options.

But my son is one of the most honorable people I have ever met. He is strong of character, has a big heart, and inherited his mother’s understanding of the value of family. He is smart, polite, charming and friendly. He is the kind of friend you want to have – loyal, understanding and reliable. He is every bit the man his mother and I have always wanted him to be.

I will miss going to all the Celtic games with him. I will miss rushing home to watch the Red Sox or the Patriots in our family room with him on the couch holding his laptop. I will miss him constantly proving to me he knows more about sports than I do now.

But more than that – I will miss my boy. I will miss seeing him regularly, hugging him often, and arguing with him playfully. I will miss his smile, his laugh, and his disapproving look when I mess up. I will miss my son.

We have warned them we will be visiting often and expect them back for some holidays. I will continue to tease him about taking his stuff with him when he goes. And I have asked for a written agreement that any kids he and the doctor may choose to have must be raised as Boston sport fans.

My son is moving away next week. That doctor in Baltimore is one very lucky girl.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist who feels awfully old today. He can be reached at

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Parent of a 30 year old

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on August 15th, 2009

My oldest son turns 30 this week. How did this happen?

Sure, he’s married and has a beautiful son. That makes me a grandfather (did I mention my grandson’s name is William?) and that’s something I take great pride in.

But a 30 year-old son? That can’t possibly be. I demand a recount. It was only yesterday I turned 30. At least, that’s the way I remember it.

On August 17, 1979 I was a nervous 23 year-old husband expecting his first child. My wife was three weeks past due, and I was sure she was delaying just to make me miserable. She assured me carrying around an extra person through the very hot summer qualified her as the miserable one, but I remained convinced she was just punishing me.

That morning we had indications the long wait might actually be over. I rushed her to Sturdy Hospital, remembering to take our bag that had been packed for two months. It was 6:30 am when we got there, and I recall thinking the hospital parking lot was as empty as I had ever seen it. I rushed my wife upstairs to the maternity ward, sure she would be giving birth any second.

Nine hours later we were in our “Birthing Room” waiting for our son to make his appearance. I say son, but in fact we did not know the sex of the baby beforehand. But I was positive it was a boy. I refused to consider it might not be. We had the name picked out, and I would not consider a girl’s name. This was going to be my son, and his name was going to be Aaron Christopher.

I hung on the doctor’s every word whenever he made an appearance. Sensing my interest, he gave me a very important job. I was handed a pad, and told to write down the time of every contraction and how long it lasted. I did so for the next several hours, knowing the fate of my baby hung in the balance.

When the doctor returned to say the time was drawing near, I proudly presented my detailed record. He told me he had just given me that duty to keep me occupied, and threw the pad away. Thus began a lifetime distrust of the medical profession.

Finally, it was time. I scrubbed up and was allowed in the room for the delivery. As we were waiting impatiently, the public address system in the hospital blared a message that caught my attention:

“Will the owner of a grey Chevy Chevette, registration number ------ please move your car immediately, or it will be towed.”

I could not believe it – they were going to tow my car. I was told I had some time, so I ran to a hospital phone and called the front desk.

“They said they are going to tow my car, but I can’t move it now – I’m in labor!” I told an obviously confused clerk. While expressing sympathy with my plight, she explained that in my haste that morning I had failed to notice there was a sign posted in the parking lot saying it was being paved that day. So I had to get out of my scrubs and move the car, all the while muttering threats about what I would do should I miss the actual birth.

But I made it back, and at 7:04 pm my son Aaron made his debut at a whopping nine pounds, one ounce. I will forever remember the nurse walking towards me and saying “Here Dad – hold your son.” I did, and it was a feeling I have had only one other time since, when his brother was born two years later.

Now my first-born son is turning 30. He’s now taller than me, but I have forgiven him that. I am as proud of him today as I was the first time I held him, and I love him even more.

But someone is going to have to explain to me how this happened. Only old people have kids who turn 30.

I’m going to have to have a long talk with his mother.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist who wants to wish his son Aaron a very happy 30th birthday. The elder Gouveia can be reached at

Three Deaths

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on August 8th, 2009

Sometimes death can teach you a lot about life. At least, that’s what it has done for me this week.

I was touched by three deaths that occurred within the last month. The three people who died were different ages and personalities, and to the best of my knowledge never met each other. And truth be told, I didn’t know any of them all that well. Yet I found myself thinking about them, and learning lessons from each.

Ted Tausek died July 25th in Brewster at the age of 99. For the last 12 years of his life he lived in an assisted living facility on the Cape, and spent much time entertaining people with his musical abilities.

In the 1960’s he was a teacher at the LG Nourse school in Norton, and I was a student in the 6th grade. Mr. Tausek was my social studies teacher, and the first to install in me a love of current events and government. He was loud, he was opinionated, and he was enthusiastic. He definitely made an impression.

So much so that when I got married nine years later, the Ted Tausek Trio played at our wedding. We didn’t really pick him (he came with the country club) but it was a kick to have him there. I hadn’t seen him since that day 32 years ago, but his passing made me sadder than I expected.

Robert Legg of Norton died July 31st at the age of 76. I only met him a handful of times, but I was struck by his desire to help others and his willingness to put himself out there. A disabled veteran, Mr. Legg was a person who didn’t make excuses – he just worked hard to get what he wanted or needed.

I moderated a selectmen’s debate a few years ago when Mr. Legg threw his hat into the political ring. I can’t tell you he did well either in the debate or at the ballot box. His answers were rambling and hard to understand, and he finished dead last. But his enthusiasm, his dedication to veterans, and his courage in stepping forward when others would not stuck with me. I liked him, and I was somehow strangely proud of him.

Michael Hoyle of Norton died on July 28th at the far too young age of just 24. His death was a sad and tragic loss – a life ended not by old age or illness, but by demons that beset far too many young people. I know Mikey’s parents, though I didn’t know Mikey himself very well.

As I sat in the pew at his funeral, I looked around at the other attendees. I saw the grieving family members, and many of their friends and neighbors. And I saw many of Mikey’s friends – young people looking confused, upset, sad and hurt.

As I gazed at their faces, I wondered if Mikey might have more effect on some of these kids in death than he did in life. I wondered if the mistakes he may have made might become learning tools for these young men and women. I wondered if somewhere, somehow, a life might be saved because someone would remember Mikey – and that would make a difference.

There is nothing sadder than the death of a child or someone still in their early youth. It is not just the loss of the person we mourn, but the loss of all the potential contained in that person. There truly is no sadder phrase than “what might have been.”

Ted Tausek, Robert Legg and Michael Hoyle should serve as examples to us all. They each did some things well, other things not so well. But each will be remembered, and each will serve to inspire people who knew them.

When I remember Ted Tausek, I will remember a man who made others happy with the gifts he was given. When I remember Robert Legg, I will remember a man who was unafraid to step up when he believed he could make a difference. When I remember Michael Hoyle, I will remember that potential is not just an asset, but also a burden.

And I will remember what I learned from each.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be reached at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mom's Passing...

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on June 13, 2009.

I have never really felt old - at least, not until this past Sunday. Now I'm feeling a bit more mortal, and more than a little lost and lonely.

My Mom died in her sleep Sunday night, a peaceful way to pass from this world. She was 73 and not in the best of health, so while it was not a total shock it nonetheless was a crushing blow to our entire family.As I sit here preparing for her funeral and trying to figure out what to say about the person who brought me into this world, I have been reflecting on my own life. I suspect that is what people do when their last surviving parent dies, and they suddenly realize they are now the oldest generation in their family.

Mom taught me early on about the power of unconditional love. It was from her I learned that no matter how mad I got at my family members, they were still my family. She taught me that even if awful things were said and done between us, we still had to love each other.

And believe me, we tested that premise over the years. We were different in many ways, but we shared a common trait of stubbornness. Neither of us liked to lose an argument, and both of us knew how to throw that particularly cutting phrase in at the end of a battle. Of course, when you fight with your mother, even if you win you still lose. It took a long time for that lesson to sink in.

My parents split up when I was 12, and I became very protective of my mom. As I got older, I wanted to be out with my friends. But Mom needed me home to watch my younger brother and sister while she worked, because affording a babysitter was difficult. That led to many spirited discussions, and usually wound up with me sitting at home. Mom had a job working in the school cafeteria and later in the superintendent's office. That meant she was at my school often, and it was very difficult for me to get away with anything.

After I got married and had children, my mother discovered her true niche in life. She was born to be a grandmother. She loved my two boys with a passion and dedication that was as pure as it was strong. And she told me early on that life was short, and she had no intention of wasting any time.

"When I die, no one is going to be able to say I didn't enjoy my grandkids" my Mom used to say all the time.

Mom spent every moment possible with those boys. She took them places, played video games with them, refereed their indoor wrestling matches, and pretty much allowed them to do anything they wanted. At Christmas time, the toy stores would open early just to get my mother's business. My kids adored her, right up to the day she died.

And when my son gave her a great-grandson last year (did I mention his name is William?) my mother's life was truly complete. Although she knew him for just one short year, he captured her heart completely. Just when she thought she had given all the love she could, she found she had even more to give.

Now Mom is gone, and I'm a grandfather. All the things she did with her grandchildren that sometimes irritated me so much as a parent, I intend to do with my grandchildren. I'm not going to let anyone say I didn't enjoy my grandkids either.

The next time grandson Will does something amazing, I know I will catch myself reaching for the phone to tell my mother all about it. It will be at that time the true impact of this past week's events will truly hit home.

I'm now the oldest surviving member of my immediate family. It is now my turn to complain about high prices, the younger generation, and how the kids hardly ever call anymore.But I know I will never be able to do it all as well as Mom did. I love you, Mom.

BILL GOUVEIA is a local columnist, and the proud son of the late Patricia (Houghton) Keeler. He can be reached at

Monday, May 4, 2009

Grandson Will writes a column

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on May 2, 2009.

I hope you readers will bear with me, because this is my first newspaper column. My name is Will Gouveia, and I just turned one year old – but please don’t hold my youthful inexperience against me.

My Grandpa Bill Gouveia usually occupies this space on Saturday mornings, but I asked Grandpa if I could borrow his column because I have a few things I want to say. He’s doing most of the typing.

I want to talk about relationships. Not the mushy kind, with all that romantic stuff. Remember, I’m only one. I want to talk about the importance of family relationships. Who knows more about that than someone who is completely dependent on them for daily survival?

Mom and Dad have to take care of me. It’s their fault I’m here at all (even though I’m not real clear yet how that happens). But I think I’m pretty lucky, ‘cause I’ve got really cool parents. It’s hard to imagine people who would love me more than they do. They tell me all the time – even when I’m screaming at three o’clock in the morning.

Mom works at something called a bank. All I know is lots of people go there, and they have lots of money. She’s a boss there, and tells people what to do – just like at home. Dad writes for a newspaper. I know what that is, because I love pulling them off the couch and crunching them up.

I want to say thanks to Mom and Dad for making my life so great. To be sure, they haven’t done everything right. Dad should have kept me away from that evil goat at the Petting Zoo, and Mom has dressed me in some pink stuff. But overall they are amazing, and I wouldn’t want anyone else for parents.

Since this is Grandpa’s column, I have to mention him. My full name is William George Thomas Gouveia. I’m named after my three wonderful grandfathers. Grandpa Bill thinks it is a really big deal my first name is the same as his. He tells everyone about it – and I mean EVERYONE!

Grandpa talks to me and tells me stories. He signed me up for Red Sox Kid Nation when I was two days old. He’s promised me one of his Patriot season tickets someday so I can go to a game – although he insists it will be the ticket he usually gives to Dad.

But he also talks to me about stuff I really don’t understand yet. He tells me how important it is to be involved with my family and friends as I get older. He introduced me to Uncle Rick, who isn’t really my uncle but has been Grandpa’s friend since they were in the first grade – which I think was back in the 1800’s sometime. He tells me that a person who has friends and family around him will always be rich, even if they don’t have any money. He says I should be happy I have so many uncles, aunts, and great-uncles and aunts too – not to mention great-grandparents.

The best part about spending time with Grandpa is getting to see Grandma. She taught me how to humor the old guy and get what I want. She apparently has been doing that a long time. She is extra-special in her own right. I learn so much from her, and next to Mom she gives the best hugs in the whole world. Grandpa is a lucky guy.

Grandpa has what he calls his “Golden Rules” and has taught them to me. They are: One – your family is always your family regardless of how much they tick you off. Two – always treat people the way you want them to treat you. And three – never, ever leave Fenway Park until the game is over. Grandpa is a guy who has his priorities straight.

Thanks for reading my first column. Now I’m going to have Grandpa get me some juice. I’m not really thirsty, but it makes him happy to think he did something for me. Dad and Uncle Nate say he wasn’t this way when they were kids. I guess they just didn’t have my charisma.

And neither of them was named William.

Will Gouveia’s grandfather Bill Gouveia is a local columnist, and can be laughed at by emailing

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fighting the Furniture War

This column originially appeared in the Sun Chronicle on March 7, 2009.

The war in Iraq seems to be going better lately, the war in Afghanistan worse. But the biggest shift has been in the Furniture War being waged in my humble household.

One of the most basic rules of engagement is never become involved in a war you cannot win. Despite this valuable advice, men continue to marry women at a dizzying clip. Over time, the losses begin to pile up.

The Furniture War started when the first Caveman dragged home the first comfortable rock chair, and the first Cavewoman made him put it out of sight in the basement. Nowhere are the differences between men and women, or husbands and wives, more clearly displayed than in their furniture preferences.

That is not to say I am completely without victories in the furniture arena. We have a large-screen TV in our family room that if my wife had her way would not be there. Our previous living room furniture was bought over her objection when I got a deal from a friend in the business, and used my then-young children as pawns to gain my evil way.

But my wise and patient wife is in this for the long run. After nearly 32 years of marriage she has clearly developed the upper hand with regard to furniture (and most everything else). Currently she is in the midst of an aggressive offensive, clearly establishing her control of the Gouveia furniture empire.

It started a few years ago when it became time to replace our sectional sofa. We discussed what we wanted, but I had an ultimate goal. I was willing to sacrifice color, style, perhaps even comfort on the sofa purchase. But I was fixated on and prepared to hold out for what I considered one critical yet practical necessity.

I wanted cup-holders. You know, places to put my drink while watching TV. I was willing to compromise and accept cup-holders hidden in the foldable arms, but I really considered cup-holders to be a vital and necessary piece of a functional sofa.

My wife reacted as if I had suggested selling advertising on the couch cushions. She told me cup-holders were for a frat house, not her house. I thought I could wear her down. I brought my youngest son with me during shopping to help plead my case. But in the end, it was simply a hill my forces were unable to secure. Today my beverages sit alone on the coffee table, hopelessly and helplessly out of my easy reach.

So I changed my strategy. I began to work on the coffee table itself. I saw these tables that rise and move towards you, then lower back to their original position. I considered this to be a wonderful compromise. I sent a peace emissary to my wife, and we began negotiations towards a non-violent settlement.

She showed some signs of weakness here. She actually went with me to the store, and eventually agreed to allow me to purchase a table she could “live with if I have to”. But she raised some valid points about the integrity of the table’s construction, and her attitude sent the message that a victory here would most likely cost me dearly in another yet-to-be-determined arena. I meekly surrendered my position, living to fight another day.

But she recently pulled off a major coup in the war. On our way back from the Cape one day, she slyly suggested we stop at a furniture store having a huge sale. It was not for us, she insisted, but rather to look for something her sister was seeking for our nephew. I fell for it.

Half an hour later we left the store – with a new kitchen set. I had not been aware we needed one. It consists of high wooden chairs that narrowly fit my ever-widening rear end. I am a beaten man.

I have informed my wife that should I spill a beverage on her carpet or couch, it is not my fault – I have no cup-holder. She merely shakes her head, and goes back to plotting her next move.

War is Hell. Now where did I put that drink?

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and a thirsty veteran of the Marriage Wars. He can be reached at

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sign of the Times

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on February 28th, 2009

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”
- Five Man Electrical Band

Is it a sign of the times, a sign of trouble, or a sign of things to come? That remains to be seen, but the attitude of Norton officials towards some local businesses is a bad sign in general.

The Norton Planning Board is currently considering a ban on certain types of illuminated signs in town. You’ve all seen the signs – the ones that look like small television sets displaying not only words but actual animation.

The concern of Norton planners (and I use the word “planners” loosely) is twofold. First and foremost, they are concerned about safety. Some believe the signs are too distracting for motorists, particularly at night, and could cause accidents and injuries.

Secondly, the signs offend the delicate sensibilities of some officials and residents. Selectman Bob Kimball summed that attitude up saying “It kind of takes away from the small-town look of things. It kind of gives it a Vegas look.”

Yeah, just the other day a motorist on Route 123 in Norton stopped to ask me how to get to Caesar’s Palace. The signs along the roadway had obviously convinced him he was on the downtown Vegas strip. You know how we locals are easily confused.

It is not my goal here to make light of safety concerns or the wishes of many to live in idyllic rural bliss. But in a town with a record and reputation of being as anti-business as Norton, it would seem officials would have a lot more important things to do than cracking down on good taxpayers who are just trying to survive and make a living.

Norton did not have zoning until 1974. It does not have a clearly defined “downtown”. It is a large town area-wise, consisting of almost 30 square miles. It contains one supermarket, five donut shops, four banks, five schools, two car washes, a small industrial park, a PGA golf course, and a whole bunch of small businesses trying to stay afloat in these oppressive economic times.

Some of these businesses have embraced technology and utilized eye-catching signs. The signs are helping their businesses. The signs are conspicuous (which is what signs are supposed to be) and draw attention.

But are we to believe in this day of cell phones, CD players, GPS devices and car speakers the size of Rhode Island that an illuminated sign on the roadside is a threat to the public? Drivers are capable of safely looking at a GPS screen in their car, but an outside sign advertising a car wash might force them off the road?

Norton has never been a business-friendly community. There was a McDonald’s in Moscow before there was one in Norton. A pizza delivery company was not allowed to locate in the Roche Brothers plaza because of traffic concerns. A Dunkin Donuts near the alleged center of town has been denied a drive-thru by the Planning Board, but homeowners living on tiny residential lots in a Water Protection District have been granted permission to raise chickens on the premises.

Our federal government recently passed an $800 billion economic stimulus package to revive our failing economy. Yet Norton continues to make things as difficult as possible for those small businesses that make up the backbone of our economic system.

I’ve lived in Norton virtually my entire life. I’ve watched it grow from 6000 residents in 1965 to close to 20,000 today. I loved the town I grew up in during the 60’s, and I love the town now.

But I’m able to recognize those are two different towns. The rural Norton of my youth has gone the way of my late grandparents’ Norton farm. It’s still there – it just doesn’t look the same anymore.

To those who are offended by the illuminated signs, I ask – would you be happier with normal signs proclaiming “Out of Business”? Would those signs make your town better and safer? Reasonable regulations on illuminated signs are fine, but don’t ban them.

Norton has many problems requiring prompt action. Illuminated signs are not one of them.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime Norton resident. He can be reached at

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Curling we will go...

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on January 24th, 2009.

As much as I love sports, I have never been much of an athlete. Anyone who knows or has ever seen me can vouch for that fact.

But that hasn’t stopped me from trying to compete over the years as best I could. As my sons got older, I tried to join them in certain athletic activities. As recently as two years ago I pitched on a slow-pitch softball team, and managed to hold my own. I did decimate a hamstring simply running to first base – but hey, at least I tried.

Lately my attempts to best my two boys have been limited to events such as horseshoes, bocce, and the more-my-speed world of fantasy football. Let the record show I did finish ahead of both of them in one league this year, and for the first time won a championship in a different league. But that doesn’t really count in an athletic or physical skill sense.

Now I am attempting to compete with them in a new and entirely unfamiliar sporting arena. Starting next week, I will be on a team competing against my sons in a sport (?) I never thought I would be playing.

I am now attempting curling. That’s right – curling.

For those who don’t recognize just what curling is, think back to the winter Olympics. Did you see that strange game with people slowly gliding big round rocks down a sheet of ice while others frantically swept in front of the rock like deranged 1950’s housewives? That is curling.

My younger son Nate got into curling while attending college a few years back in Virginia. After watching the Olympics, he and some friends found a curling club in Maryland and decided to give it a try. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience and raved about it to his family members.

His older brother Aaron, a newspaper reporter on Cape Cod, covered an event at the Cape Cod Curling Club in Falmouth a short while back. Intrigued by the unusual game and remembering his brother’s stories, he decided it would be a great Christmas gift to sign the three of us up for curling lessons.

You may be thinking it can’t be all that difficult to slide a big rock down a sheet of ice – and you would be right. But curling is a much more skilled and difficult game than it looks like on television, as I quickly found out. Sliding the rock is easy, but getting it to stop where you want is not.

There is much strategy involved in the game, and I am just beginning to understand it all. The captain of each team – called the Skip – calls all the shots and tells his teammates where he wants each rock to land. The first player to throw on each team – called the Lead – is asked to simply get his rocks in the way of the other team. The third thrower (the Vice Skip) takes over when the Skip throws the last rocks and “has the hammer” as he tries to score. You sweep the ice in front of the rock to make it slide further.

Confused? Me too. But I’m slowly learning.

You deliver the 42 pound granite rock by sliding down the ice and gently releasing it as you gracefully glide. My first attempt ended with me face first on the cold surface. My sons were hardly perfect in their early attempts, but they did catch on much more quickly than their competitive Dad.

There is a definite code of conduct amongst curlers, and a lot of etiquette rules. My fellow curlers are of all ages, although a large percentage of the club members are my age or older. This may have something to do with the fact the average age of a Cape Cod resident appears to be 98 or so, but age is not a big factor in curling. It is much more a game of skill than endurance.

My first match in league play will be Tuesday night. I’m practicing my sweeping. My lofty goal is to try and not make a fool of myself. I’m playing Nate’s team. If I fail, I’m sure my sons will let you know.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist, a grandfather, and hopefully a curler. If not hospitalized, he can be reached at

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Power of Will

The column below originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Saturday, January 3, 2008.

It has been said having a grandchild changes everything. But when whoever coined that phrase said everything, I didn’t know they really meant “everything”.

As I might have mentioned once or twice before in this space, I was blessed with my first grandchild this past April. Grandson Will (did I mention his name is William?) is everything a grandparent could possibly want. He is adorable, personable, and smart as a whip. He has made the lives of everyone around him so much better.

Well – almost everyone.

You see, since Will was born on April 3, 2008 strange and mysterious things have been happening. Changes have occurred not only in the lives of Will’s happy relatives, but in the political world, the business world, and in particular the sporting world.

Since Will was born, politics have undergone tremendous change. The Republicans nominated a woman for Vice President. The Democrats carried Virginia in a presidential election. And of greatest note, the country elected an African-American President for the very first time.

Since Will was born, 300 point daily swings in the stock market have become the norm. The Fed has lowered interest rates all the way to zero. Mortgage rates are at their lowest in decades, and the Big Three car companies are begging for money in Washington like panhandlers on a street corner.

But Will’s greatest impact may have come in the sporting world, in ways both good and bad. Let’s review what has happened there since Will’s debut.

Shortly after Will’s birth, the Celtics went from a last-place team to winning the World Championship, their first in 22 years. The Boston Bruins, the laughing stock of Boston sports for the last decade, are now the hottest team in hockey.

On the flip side, since Will was born Tom Brady has played less than one quarter and suffered a season-ending injury. The Patriots won 11 games and somehow did not make the playoffs. The Red Sox went from World Champions to losing the American League Championship to – it is hard to say this – Tampa Bay.

On the opening Sunday of football season, my son brought Will to our house to participate in our good-luck rituals. He wore a Tom Brady jersey, and we watched Super Bowl video’s (not last year’s) to warm up for what promised to be a great Patriot season.

After Brady went down with his injury, the tiny Brady jersey was promptly removed from my angelic grandson and stuffed in a drawer where it can no longer harm anyone. Later, my son put a Tedy Bruschi jersey on him – and Bruschi got hurt. We are not blaming Will for either injury – but we didn’t put anyone else’s number on his back for the remainder of the season, just in case.

After the Pats were eliminated from playoff contention last Sunday, my family members began to discuss the post-Will world in which we now all live. It quickly became apparent to us that my grandson has been endowed with some type of strange power, and is struggling to control it.

We will now try and find ways to harness the wonderful power of Will. We must find ways to channel his karma for purposes that help us, and steer it away from the unwitting damage his unchecked aura has created.

Maybe we could get him Yankee pajamas and hope it leads A-Rod to marry Madonna and retire from baseball. No, forget it – there is no way we would ever allow Yankee pajamas on a beloved family member.

Of course, non-believers like Will’s mom and grandmother firmly reject any notion that young Will could somehow be connected to anything that brings bad luck. They need to understand we are not saying Will is unlucky – just that he has yet to grow into the superstitions and rituals we all know control the world. We just have to get him through this difficult stage.

I love my grandson with every ounce of my being. But I’m telling you, if the Celtics go on a long losing streak, Brady breaks his other leg, or the Detroit Lions beat the Pats in the Super Bowl next year – we are going to have to cover that kid in rabbit’s feet.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and has a grandson named William, who is the greatest. Grandpa can be reached at