Man! Was it a scorcher!!! That summer day in ’59! Of course, it did not keep us from playing baseball and football all day in the schoolyard. But, that was all helped along by the Grand Opening of a new store on Philadelphia Pike, where the owner offered “All You Can Drink” of SODA all day. i remember the heat, i remember the oasis, and i remember it was the first time ever that i saw the word, EFFERVESCENCE. What does that mean, mister? i must’ve asked. And the answer was simply – cup after cup after cup after cup…drink this! The guy must’ve had shares in BubbleUp!  Whew, did it hit the spot! i think i drank so much that day – thank God our mothers didn’t know – that i never took another sip of it since.

i didn’t even know it still existed until recently, when Brenda Murnane at her “Beacon Bath & Bubble” Shop in our town decided to add Vintage Candy and Soda to its inventory. There it is, the Height of Effervescence, right in Brenda’s window!

NOT SO FAST! NOT SO! If you are looking for Effervescence Personified, if you are looking for that person that i like to call a genuine, real-life “Jedi,” you need to look no further than our COUSIN DENISE! i like to call Denise Knight the Bubble Up Bubala – for both her exuberance and her endearing enduring ways.0113161243b

Now, wait a minute! Her exuberance is not always endearing, mind you. i have seen many a person exasperated trying to keep up with her. Why, Denise can wear out EVEN the Buddha!

Twenty-three years or so ago Denise suffered a massive stroke. It left her paralyzed on one side. After the initial treatment in the hospital the doctors tried to break it to her, that she would never be able to function on her own, she would never be again a productive member of society. Well, this being a PG-rated blog,  i cannot repeat here the response of this lady to the medical professionals. Suffice it to say, that they did NOT know her, they did not know whom they were dealing with. Not only has Denise lived on her own over all of those years, but she is not only very “productive,” she is also a gigantic source of INSPIRATION to anyone she meets. As i said, if anything, she wears you out. Her light is so bright that you must step back, or ask her to step back and give you a break from her endless enthusiasm. Most of us can only handle just so much BubbleUp Effervescence!!

Denise, like my Hunna Bunna of the World, Mrs. Ortquist (a few blogs ago), is another of those persons whom i always look forward to “helping out,” whether it be a ride to the doctors or to a store, whatever it be. When the trip is over, i AM THE ONE who feels helped, uplifted, inspired, strengthened. She in her utter weakness FORTIFIES anyone who dares to draw near her. Wherever we go, she lights up the room, she talks to everyone, she empathizes with everyone who is wounded in any way. And that person feels truly cared for, truly loved. How much more productive could a life be than Dee’s?!

The secret to this jedi warrior is that she has perfected a certain wonderful ART of life. Denise is one of those experts at crying and laughing at the same time. i have seen it so often, i have marveled at it. Suffering and Joy are truly One in her, the way they are supposed to be. The way that a good batter for bread or cake must be totally mixed and stirred. There can’t be any chunks left floating around. They will spoil the end product. And so in the same way the human-fully-alive will blend the tears and laughter perfectly to create “the Wonderful Life!” Look at her. Step back and take a deep look. Many would say, “Poor soul! Look at how she walks or holds herself!” Look closely now. Those who really know Denise find themselves mostly speechless. My favorite of her many, many words of wisdom is “Vanity Schmanity, we all have to give it up eventually. Why not do it now, get it over with, and live a happier, freer life!?”


Author: friardad

what's it like having a wife and six kids after having been a friar for many years and being still married to St. Francis' Lady Poverty?

5 thoughts on “BUBBLE UP BUBALA!!!”

  1. I read somewhere that the ancients called it a stroke because the change was often so profound that one had to have been touched by the gods — God. Mike, I think you’ve just proved it so with this strong, beautiful portrait. Keep writing your epistles. We need ’em.


  2. This blog makes me laugh and cry at the same time. I love the first part, remembering all those goodies you pictured. Vintage junk food.
    But this friend of yours, Denise, must be a real trip, but such an inspiration when you think you got it bad, look at her, and she loves life!


    1. Yes, this is ONE AMAZING LADY! If anyone ever had reason to just “hang it up!” But NO WAY! She loves LIFE too much, even with her life being shattered to pieces. Denise is my wife’s first cousin. They are like sisters. We try to have her with us all that we can…and MORE for ourselves than her. She makes us soooo grateful!


      1. Diane is Denise’s TWIN SISTER – and ANOTHER BubbleUpBubala! Imagine? There’s as much energy in them as in Niagara Falls, if only the government could find a way to tap them! LOL!


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