When a Medford resident lost his life partner, a man who had lived with him for close to two decades, the most traumatic moment of the man’s life, one person made a phone call to see if he could be of assistance. The man who had the integrity to reach out to a constituent in that constituent’s time of need was Robert M. Penta.
Without Bob Penta’s assistance in helping make the funeral arrangements, I absolutely don’t know what I would have done. It was inconceivable of me to think that a crisis of this magnitude would be upon me when life was good and getting better. Two guys who would have dinners at Carroll’s, Bickford’s, Bertucci’s, Joe’s American Bar and Grille, Applebees, the 99s, Outback in Medford and in Burlington – we had our rotation of dinner establishments and had great conversations with the members of the staff at each restaurant. We had our vacations planned for 2014, we had lots of plans, but one very cold week in the winter of 2014 ended a partnership of two guys who just got along so very well. As a lovely woman at one of the restaurants said “He was the yin to your yang.”
In ancient Chinese thought, the concept
of two complementary and opposing influences, Yin and Yang, which underpin and control all nature.
In traditional Chinese philosophy and medicine, the goal is to have a proper balance of such forces.
A woman who I invited as a guest to Paul Donato’s breakfast at Anthony’s was divorcing her husband. I was closer to her but always got along with her husband, so we had breakfast together a few weeks ago, he and I. He has a new girlfriend, she has someone else, but we wanted to stay in touch on our own now that their lives had changed, as had mine. He, an attorney, has a sharp mind, so I posed a question. “We had a commitment to stay together forever. When he passed on did he make good on the agreement?” My friend said “He didn’t have a choice.” Wise man, good answer. I kept the passing as private as possible as my friend was a very, very private man. Me being outgoing, into rock and roll, he being quiet and introspective, and into classical music, it really was a pairing of opposites that worked wonderfully.
Bob Penta had met my friend at Carroll’s – as had Rick Caraviello and a few others. Robert Cappucci never realized it, but he and my partner had struck up a conversation at Carroll’s one night when I wasn’t there, and my friend had planned on voting for Cappucci after meeting him in person. He found Mr. Cappucci genuine. Every birthday my friend would get a birthday card from State Rep Paul J. Donato and it made him smile. He looked forward to them actually, and voted for Donato many times.
The 2014 vacations to Maine and elsewhere did not happen. When I picked up his ashes at Casper’s in Dorchester (thanks to the kind people at Cincotta’s in West Medford) I came home holding them tight, not letting the heavy box go from my arms, and a TV movie was on, strange, the only time Casper the Friendly Ghost was on my set, not something I would watch. It was a message. Lieutenant JJ McLean phoned a few days later offering condolences, and he said to phone the police anytime if I felt ill and they would be there for me. Bless them. It’s a private matter that I didn’t discuss on the internet, it was personal…and still is personal
Bob Penta phoned a man in distress and made the right phone calls to somewhat ease an emotional burden that I would not wish on anyone. The unexpected and excruciating task of burying a loved one.
On Christmas day, 2014, I received an e mail from another city councilor, one who is not running for reelection. It was one of the most abusive and appalling things an elected official could do. The content was meant to destroy the holiday – it was a cruel and vicious note about being alone on the holidays.
That individual threw salt in the wound because he, clearly, got a sick pleasure from kicking a dog when the dog was down.
City Councilor Robert M. Penta, on the other hand, showed dignity, concern, sensitivity and compassion. Both men want to be Mayor of the City of Medford. Thankfully, only the right person out of the two is running for Mayor. When a resident lost the most important thing in his world, one man stepped up to the plate, very quietly, with no fanfare, not looking for anything in return. Bob Penta didn’t need my vote or my life partner’s vote. He already had them. Bob Penta reached out for no other reason but because it was the right thing to do.
For years a 501c3 violated the Internal Revenue Code rules and would relentlessly bash Breanna Lungo-Koehn, Stephanie Burke, Rick Caraviello and Robert Penta, but they – with a special delight – used the ugly word “homophobe” in reference to the senior member of the city council. My experience in this city is proof that the 501c3 in question was not being honest with the citizens. The councilor, now a lame duck, aligned with the 501c3 was the one who harassed a gay household in Medford. The candidate belittled by the 501c3 was the person who showed compassion.
In my time of need one man in Medford had the dignity to reach out and help in a truly sad time of total distress and catastrophe. That’s the man my late life partner would have voted for to be Mayor of our city. That’s the man I’m voting for to be Mayor. It’s exactly what my life partner would do had I been the one to pass on first. It will be 19 months this week that my friend passed on. If Bob Penta hadn’t been there for my family at that crucial moment, I really don’t know what I would have done.