Living Life on My Terms — Bill Pekarski

Day 541, Living life on my terms.

Since I have stepped up my activity as well as my public presence, I have spoke with a multitude of people who loved reading my stories. Whether on Facebook, Solomon’s Words, or Black Forest Broadcasting, people enjoy stories about the past and remembering a little bit how things used to be.

Quite honestly, those are my favorite stories to write. However, this whole project began as a way for me to come to grips with my health condition. It was a way for me to focus on progress and let people know what was going on. With that in mind, let me bring everyone up to date.


First, I have begun freelance writing for the Endeavor newspaper. I have been able to perform local news writing duties as well as submitting stories with my personal flair. I absolutely love doing it as it gets me out amongst people and moving.


Second, and probably what should have been first, is the Eliot Ness Fest: Touched by the Untouchables. This festival is going to be such a big boon for our community and local economy. There are so many activities, speakers, movies, street theater, music, special dinners, speakeasy dance, raids, scavenger hunts, family games, and more. Best of all, we are making a concerted effort to showcase local and Eliot Ness related vendors. We have drawn major interest the cities of Chicago, Cleveland, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh (only to name a few) and people are really excited for this unique, one of a kind celebration.


Many people are not aware that the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms still honors Eliot Ness’ contributions to this day. That is one of the reasons that when contact was made with the National Office, they were quick to stand behind our festival and get involved. They will be in Coudersport for our big weekend giving presentations and pledged to help in any way they can with our festival. That is some pretty impressive stuff!


Lastly, I have been taking some time for me. Just about a month ago, I decided that it was time that I commit to finding a way to start losing some weight. It is one of the final hurdles I must leap over before I can get back to being who I am supposed to be. I am embarrassed about how big I got through my illness as it was really beyond my control. Also, as a guy who has always been on the big side, it didn’t help.


Well, this week, after one month I have actually lost a total of 50 lbs. I still have another whole person to lose, but it is an incredible start. I can really fell it when I walk around and climb stairs. My energy is vastly improved, my breathing is better, and I am starting to make great strides with my lungs ability to oxygenate. Things are coming together and I could not be happier.


Today I stopped to visit my sister Anne in Bradford. I don’t get to see her all that often and she had not seen me since around Christmas. She instantly gasped and recognized how much weight I have dropped. Her pride that she had for me was inspiring to say the least. She even took the time to get a photo that has circulated on Facebook and elicited many positive responses. I could not be happier.


I have so many plans for my future and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have a real future. I hope to incorporate more writings under my Living life on my terms moniker as these personal stories are now a big part of who I am. I also promise to get back to some more historic stuff. There are many stories that need to be told.


Today I am dedicating my progress to me. I think I have worked hard and I know I could not have done it without the support of family and friends. God Bless you all!

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Day 522, Living life on my terms.

There is a game I like to play on my phone called Song Pop. It has all sorts of music categories and I have something like 25 people I play against head to head naming songs or artists in a category of their choice and then in mine. Needless to say, do not ever challenge me in anything 80’s as I am the king of retro.

Every once in a while however, a song comes up that starts to ignite some powerful memories. While playing tonight, the song “Set the Night to Music” by Roberta Flack and Maxi Priest was one of the selections and I actually had to stop to think about it.

Set the Night to Music was almost the theme song in my head to every date I ever had, especially when I started wooing my wife. I always seemed to find myself thinking of that song, or even another song that would fit the mood perfectly.

It made me think about how beautiful I always thought she was when we first met. She was so shy and I was anything but; she was so quiet and I was anything but; she was so small in stature and I was anything but; and I was falling in love with her.

When I would see her, I could literally feel my heart skip a beat and I would have to take a deep breath. Sometimes I just liked to watch her. To me, she moved like an angel, an angel only I could see and truly appreciate.

I always worried; “What can a guy like me offer a girl like that?” I have always been a big guy and not the most attractive. I had many friends thanks to an outgoing personality, but my physical appearance hampered my ability to approach women with whom I might be interested. Self confidence was a big issue with me, but around her I somehow seemed to become more confident.

So I became persistent and spent all of my free time thinking about her and how I could possibly get her to fall for a guy like me. Somehow, music always came to mind. Our first date with the movie Titanic, which had just come out. It was amazing sitting there holding her hand as Celine Dion uttered the profound lyrics to “My Heart Will Go On.” Even though the song was way overplayed on regular radio, it still reminds me of our first date.

After a while, I knew she was starting to take me serious, I asked that when I left she play a song and listen to it closely. That song said everything that was in my heart at the time. The song was by Garth Brooks titled “To Make You Feel my Love.” It was an attempt by me to set her night to music the way she did mine.

Now, fast forward 20 years and here we are today; happily married and she has been by my side for the worst three years of my life. She works very hard to keep us going until I am healthy enough to go back to work (which will hopefully be sometime this year). We have had to tighten our belts a great deal over that time so there is not any extra money to take her out to a nice dinner, but I am a pretty good cook so I can always plan a pretty special meal.

While we don’t have any actual children, we have a pair of cats that we completely adore and they have made us a family.

I used to worry about what could I ever offer this wonderful women that would make her want me? I found the answer; I had to give her myself–body, mind, and soul, forever. She is the Opus of my life and I love her this coming Valentine’s Day, and every other day of the year just as much.

Today I dedicate my progress to wonderful wife, Beth. You have my heart now and forever. We can always “Set the Night to Music.”

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Day 516, Living life on my terms by Bill Pekarski

It’s Groundhog Day!

Putting the hilarious Bill Murray aside, what a great day this is. Shadow or no shadow, we can finally see an end to the winter cold and snow in the offing.

That is why it was always my mother’s favorite day of the year. She did not get around real well in the winter months and was essentially homebound. She would only leave the house if me or my big brother Joe was with her as she was afraid of falling and not being able to get up.

It’s kind of funny in a way, I never used to fear falling, but I knew how she felt. She once fell outside in the winter and could not get herself up. No one was around at the time and she was really stuck in the snow. Thankfully John Milchuck happened to drive by and saw her in distress. He was able to help her up and inside the house. My siblings and I were forever grateful for his assistance because she very well could have died in that cold; I even remember crying to myself that I wasn’t there to help.

No one is safe from these kinds of falls, as I found out last weekend. On the bright side, I was able to get myself up rather easily (even though it was painful). My sisters have had there own horror stories of falling and getting injured in the last few winters as well. One would thing we have all become uncoordinated but the black ice is a serious problem.

To combat the problem, I think we all took stock in Ice melt and use it liberally on our sidewalks and stairs. I even put a bin of it by my front door with a cup so anytime I step out, I can take it with me.

I would encourage anyone who lives near, or has family members who don’t get around too well to make sure their outside stairs, walkways, and driveways are completely clear and safe.

Today I am dedicating my progress to the late John Milchuck. You were a hero to our family on that day you came to my mother’s aid and we all appreciate it.