Who’s Left

As some of you may be aware, on March 4th, my brother in law Lefty Snyder suffered a brain aneurysm that ruptured three times, requiring three emergency surgical procedures. He remains in Bryn Mawr hospital’s ICU. He’s in and out of pain and in and out of sedation but is miraculously making ever so small steps towards recovery. This will be a long haul but I feel optimistic that he is wired to fight the good fight. I can see it in his eyes and I can feel it in his grip.

But today, I feel the need to talk about Lefty the man, not David Snyder the patient in bed 5.

I have had the honor of calling Lefty a brother in law for almost 32 years. But from here on out, we will lose the term “in law” in describing our relationship. In reality, Lefty, and all of his siblings, have always made me feel like a blood member of the family when I married Mary Grace and not an in law connected by a marital dotted line.

Prior to becoming his brother, I was well aware of who Lefty was through our mutual baseball connections and having both grown up in Ardmore. In fact, my house on Malvern Road had a basketball court and was pretty much a magnet for the neighborhood to gather. And I have sharp recall of neighborhood friends like Paul, Woody, Reds, Gal, (and Gal) spending many hours in my driveway. Given Lefty’s friendship with all of these guys, there is little doubt that he was there as well. That means I’ve crossed paths with Lefty since about age 10 ish.

As we got a little older, our baseball paths started to cross. Lefty is two years older than I and when you’re a kid playing baseball that puts him in the “big kid” category. We never actually played on the same team. But we played on cross town rival teams Ardwood & St. Denis in cadet ball and then later both played Ardmore Manor American Legion but just missed being teammates by a season. Ardmore was a baseball mecca loaded with some amazing talent. And Lefty was right at home. He, along with his teammates were fun to watch. And there were some legendary battles between St. Denis and Ardmore Manor every 4th of July.

When I first met Lefty’s sister Mary Grace at a five star upscale fine dining & drinking establishment beautifully nestled between Orsini’s and Boulevard TV repair on Haverford Road, it took a few conversations of her referencing her brother “David” for me to realize that she was referring to LEFTY Snyder. And like many people I had my “WAIT, YOU’RE LEFTY SNYDER’S SISTER???” Moment. Which she has obviously heard her entire life.

I was actually more concerned about winning Lefty over than I was their parents. I felt pretty good about meeting the parents. I knew how to engage and carry on a respectful conversation while selling the fact that I’m a good guy who is worthy of dating their daughter. Sure we needed to get past my earring and the fact that I was raised Presbyterian and not Catholic but after that I was home free. But getting big brother approval seemed much scarier.

Big brothers look after little sisters. So when Mary Grace and I went out on our first real date, guess who accompanied us? – None other than Lefty.

But it didn’t take very long before Lefty and I formed a bond and he realized he could trust me with his little sister and stop going out with us. It also didn’t take long for us to realize how much fun we all had when he WAS around.

While baseball and the neighborhood was one of the first connections I made with Lefty, a music connection was close behind. Not to imply that I can play a note of anything on anything… but my in depth music geek factor is greater than average and Lefty shared a similar passion for wanting to know who played what on who’s album which was recorded when and where. In fact I think listening to Money for Nothing by Dire Straits while Lefty and I drove to Avalon to see Mary Grace may have been our first music connection. The album? Fittingly it was Brothers in Arms.

Every once in a while, the world blesses us with someone who is so special that there aren’t enough adjectives to describe them. – That’s Lefty.

Everyone once in a while we are blessed with someone whose heart is so full of love and compassion that he will do anything for anybody at a moment’s notice whether he knows you or not – That too is Lefty.

Don’t stop believing

Don’t stop praying

Don’t stop Living Like Lefty


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