Archive for December, 2011

ONE WEEK

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

“…Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”               Lou Gehrig

If I didn’t see my life with my own eyes I might not believe it. Once again the blessings have blown me away.

These have been nimble days. The game plan had been to see the doctor on Wednesday and have a heart cath Thursday. Alas, men plan but God laughs!

Last week’s hospital release came midway through Margie’s Chanukah party. As such, there’d been no way to keep the lid on things. Walking into a house replete with caring family and life-long friends, what might otherwise have stayed quiet became, at some level, a communal concern.

“What will happen,” asked Hal, “If you have pain in the middle of the night?” (For days, then, I slept in their home).

Even Aunt Helen got real. Hours earlier it was forced on her.

“I can’t get your chicken,” I told her from the hospital. “I’m stuck here.”
“I hate to ask your brother,” she purred, “Can you phone a friend?”
(Who did she think she was—Regis Philbin?)
“I’ll call Weiskopf,” I relented.
“Ed, I need you …”—I said at 2:25 PM—I was laughing too hard— ”I need you to…go to Boris for Aunt Helen.” Even before his response, yet another call was coming in. It was Helen again.
“Tell him to hurry. They close for Shabbos at 3.”

Last weekend dragged. There was a tick-tick-tick to it all. From meeting to meeting I went, keeping busy, waiting…

My phone rang…alot:
“Who’s going with you next week?” “You can’t drive alone.” “What can I do?”
Friends and family reached out.
“I’ll be fine,” I said.
“Take a notes.” “Write everything down.”
“OK.” “OK.”

We met Wednesday, (the doctor and I). Succinctly he explained the procedure, when to arrive, when I’d leave—I wrote it all down. Then, with a handshake and a “See you tomorrow” he moved to another patient, leaving me to check out at the window. It was there that the wind shifted.

“We took you off the list for tomorrow,” said the lady at the window. ‘You don’t have insurance.”
“That can’t be,’ I said. “I told them that last week.”
“Sorry—it’s just the policy.”

By now my cell was dying; sleeping out had meant errant charging patterns; one bar remained. Relentlessly Michael’d been calling about my health I owed him a call. I didn’t, frankly—at that very moment—know whether to spit or go blind.

“The procedure’s off,” I rued from the hall outside the office.
“What are you going to do, Dad? You’re a time bomb.’

(I’d made one interim call, just before Michael. It was to a friend…a “program guy”, someone I’d friended driving Meals On Wheels a Thanksgiving, years ago. He worked at that hospital and he, if anyone, would know what to do).

“I’m off today, “ he said, “Don’t move! Go sit in your car, juice up your phone, and wait for a call.” CLICK

Minutes later he rang back. “I’m coming up there. We have an appointment—let’s see.”
CLICK.

I recalled being a kid at my draft board physical; this was different. Over sixty now, we were talking about my heart. This wasn’t, (as they say), a dress rehearsal. Sitting, waiting, fearing…

I dare say what followed next, (for me at least), tops the ending to “Field Of Dreams” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” combined.

There we were, sitting upstairs in this ivory institution, talking hard dollars and cents. The issue wasn’t: am I a nice guy, or what bills I have or don’t have, or why I don’t have insurance. The lady was nice enough; she was trying to help.

My friend, methodically, kept prodding, asking about programs for this, avenues for that. And then, with a swoosh, it happened. They spoke of deposits; they spoke of payments; they spoke to funding. And they found a way.

Game on.

I’ve felt for some time now that there are no coincidences; there are no accidents. Something special’s going on out there.

What other explanation is there? A decade ago me a nice, Jewish boy from Cleveland meets this tough Catholic from The Hill. Years later they deliver meals together, ONCE. And today, even more years later, the kid from St. Joe’s is paving the way for my heart catheterization?

I can never repay the gratitude I feel today…for the family and friends, from the core to the coincidental, each of whom remains steadfast. I see people on the street, at the coffeehouse, or anywhere. Invariably I’m asked generically, “How are you?”

My answer, you should know, is always the same:

“Better than I deserve,” I tell them.  “Better than I deserve.”

MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

“Mom”?
“Bruce, is that you?…”
“You have a minute?”
“What’s the matter, Sonny? What do you need?”
“Nothing…just wanted to talk.”
“Oh please, a mother knows her son–you never call without a reason.”
“I love you Mom.”
“What’s the matter—was your father at lodge meeting?”
“Can’t a son just call?”
“Was the coffee shop closed?”
“MOM!”
“OK, I’ll play your game.” she said. “What’s new?”
“Nothing…”
“How’re the kids?”
“Fine.”

There was silence. Not knowing how to start, I went for the laugh:

“Mom, you there? Should I call back after ‘Jeopardy’?”
“Patience….I was fixing my hearing aide.”
“Sorry,” I offered. “Didn’t think you needed it up there.”
“Bruce, when you going to learn everything is not a joke?”
“Sorry.”
“You’re 62. When you going to grow up?”
“Mom, I didn’t call for this. I don’t need a lecture.”

More silence—deafening silence. How many times in her lifetime had she spewed that question? Had she not been paying attention? Had I not GROWN UP?

Her words, like the passive-aggressive wisdom of an ex-spouse, left watermarks.

“The baby’s beautiful,” she said, ending silence.
“I’ll be out there next month.”
“All your kids are grown—that’s wonderful.”
“Yeah, Mom….”

(I wanted to tell her why I called. The words wouldn’t come).

“Are you seeing anyone?” she asked.
“Jewish girls don’t want fat guys without money!”
“I married Ed!” she reminded (as we both laughed).

More silence for a bit, and then, even long distance, it began to feel like communication. She knew I had something to say and I knew that she knew I had something to say, and we both knew that at some point I would. (A mother knows these things).

“Out with it,” she urged.
“Mom…”
“Mom, I’m scared.”
“I know.”

Suddenly I felt not only warmth, but memory. Memories….of the times growing up when, riddled by fear, I’d reach out to her. Truly in her prime, she always had the answer, and it was always the same. Time and again she’d smile—these were her most maternal moments—and quote FDR, the hero of her generation:

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” my mother told me. I considered it her sacred pledge.

My mind flushed with flashbacks…

Hit-by-pitch in Little League and the ER at Huron Road…and the time I lied to her and was playing night football at Bexley Park. A cross pattern had me running smack/dab into a “No Dogs Allowed” sign, and Bobby’s father drove me home and she took me AGAIN…to Huron Road.

…And the time years later—it was a Sunday morning. I was catching and some clown came in high at the plate. I made the tag but broke a rib…and Malkin took me to
Euclid General Hospital…I was married then and the pain did not lessen once home: “When you going stop this nonsense?” the wife asked. “You have children. Isn’t it time to grow up?”

OUCH! The memory snapped me back, and I was still on the phone with my mother.

“Call me next weekend,” she told me. “Everything will be fine.”
“You have to run?” I asked. Indeed, now I felt like sharing!
“Be well. And don’t forget me….” Her voice was fading.

Talk concluded, I did feel better. A mother’s calm will do that.

Bolder, even fortified, at least for the moment nothing bothered me. (Not even, I might add, the sound from the phone just before she hung up. From the background I heard it: soft but recognizable. It was the voice of Alex Trebec).

NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

It happened again last week. Minutes after hanging up with Rochelle my phone rang:

“I was still talking,” the voice, said. “I didn’t know you weren’t there.”
“Oh,” (I was laughing), “Thought we were done.”
“BRUCE,” she declared, “No one said goodbye. I was telling you a story. What part didn’t you hear?”
(More laughter).

It must be me, though. Stacy’s complained for years.

“You never say goodbye, Dad. It’s rude. You’re so polite in some ways, but…”
“I’m sorry,” I’ll tell her. “You said ‘goodbye’. I figured that was it.”
“But YOU didn’t say it. You need to say it too.”
“I thought it was implied. I’m sorry.”

It’s my issue, I suppose. Looking back, goodbyes have never been my strong suit…

I picture the 70′s. Dad and Harriet lived on Prince George in Columbus—a second-story garden apartment. The Jersey Girl and I are heading home to Cleveland and the Old Man is standing on the top step, staring out as if he was watching Magellan set sail. From behind the wheel I can’t let go; I’m looking back, not quite ready to leave his line of sight. It was a fear back then—that I’d never see him again. She was probably urging “Look where you’re going” (and rightfully so). I was driving slowly, though, and didn’t want to say goodbye.

Involuntary manifestation of  abandonment issues (first set in motion by the Colavito trade)?  Thank you, Dr. Crane.

Grandma Bogart lived to 98 or 99. No one really knows; her birth certificate says she was born “the year of the big storm”. She survived our dad, though, and in her later years I’d call her two, maybe three nights per week. She loved it (of course) and I suppose it sustained my connection to The Old Man.

“Goodbye,” she’d say each evening.
“No, Grandma…good night.”
(It became our ritual).

Not that I never say “Goodbye”. There’s a finality to the phrase, however, and I don’t like it. With this in mind, Hal and I’ve crafted a warm, wonderful way to end our talks.

“Have a good one,” he says.
“Thank you very much,” I respond.
Or visa versa….

How is that farewell? (one might ask). What is the genesis of such colloquy? The answer, like so many regimens of our clan, may be traced to family neurosis. Aunt Helen, you see, abhors both expressions.

“Why,” she exasperates, “Say ‘Have a good one’”? A good what? One must say ‘Have a good day’ if that is one’s wish.”

Likewise, she deplores the courtesy “thank you”. Long ago we leaving Barri Lee Cleaners when I had the audicity to acknowledge the clerk. “Thank you very much,” I said. The lady, moments later in the car, admonished me. Why, she demanded to know, would I thank someone who was merely doing his job? Years later, H and I regularly honor her idiocy, bidding adieu with her words. Note further that for some time now our good friend Stuart, so taken by the homage to our aunt, concludes our talks with the same two lines. “Have a good one,” he’ll urge.

Stu, Hal and I aren’t the only ones with trademark exits. My favorites, in fact are Bobby (for swagger),and Meredith (for speed). “Call me”, says Snyder, (never “I’ll call you). And my daughter-in-law? She’s coined her own three-syllable word: “OKBye”. Whish———————and she’s gone. Swagger, speed….it matters not; We understand each other.

All of which brings me back to Rochelle and Stacy. Each knows me—really knows me. You’d think then, that they’d understand, that they’d get it: It’s not that I’m being rude; I’m really not. It’s just, though, that I don’t want to say Goodbye.

A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

     “Time, time, time, see what’s become of me
     While I looked around
     For my possibilities
     I was so hard to please
     But look around, leaves are brown
     And the sky is a hazy shade of winter…”

How often have I heard the expression “It’s as simple as ’1 plus 1 is 2′”? Indeed, there was a time life was that pure….when the world was black and white.

Often I’ll be in discussion with a child and say something compelling a roll of his eyes or the thrust of her cheek (accompanied by a “Dad, that’s not what I want to hear”). These reactions, you should know, always make me smile and sometimes make me laugh. They don’t get it. They don’t see my advantage in these debates. I after all, have been their age; they’ve never been mine. Who do they think has a wider lens?

Growing up I had it all figured out—arithmetic on the important stuff:

Addition was simple. If I had eight hits going into the game and went 1 for 4, I’d have nine hits on the season. RBI’s were more difficult. Listening to Jimmy Dudley do the Tribe on the radio: a guy’d hit a home run with two men on base and they’d give him three runs batted in. I never understood (when young) how you got credit for hitting yourself in. What a revelation!

Even subtraction came easy. At Rowland each spring I’d count the days ’til school was out. By Brush I was counting down to my 16th birthday (and driving rights). Heck, even into the 70′s it was “Eight weeks of Basic Training take away the two I’ve been in Ft. Polk…leaves six more.”

Multiplication and division? It was the spring of ’69 and sitting with my Dad at Johnny’s State Restaurant on High Street, he was explaining how if I just worked hard that summer, I could buy a new car.

“There’s no reason why you can’t sell 50 units a week and still get into Cleveland for your softball.”
I nodded.  “Just forget about Bobby and Alan for a few days.  Trust me, they’ll survive without you.”

“If you just make ten sales a day—and we both know you’re capable of more—you can go back to Cleveland Thursday or Friday and be with your buddies.”
“OK,” I said. (He made it sound so easy). “But what kind of car will I get”?
“It’s just a question of how long you’re willing to work,” he urged, and, unable to control himself, “and if you don’t piss away your money.”

I spent all June and into July knocking on doors. Week by week funds accumulated as the Old Man’s formula played out. By Independence Day, though, I was getting lazy. My Dad sensed it perhaps, and suggested I go with Dickie Lomaz to look at cars. This culminated in typical Al Bogart division, which he related in the showroom of Worthington Ford:

“You’ve got $1,750 and the car’s $3,500. That divides out rather equally,” he started.
(I still didn’t know where he was going).
“Why don’t we each pay half, and you can go into Cleveland and enjoy your summer?”

There was, looking back, a predictability, but still…a purity to it all.

My age has doubled since then. OK, tripled. Sightlines too, have changed, and I’m using The New Math.

It still comes easy…computation…on important stuff:

Addition: Let’s see, if I started the year with two grandchildren and add in Matthew and Lucy—2 plus 2 is 4. Subtraction: We lost Will’s Dad this year, and Corky, and…

Multiplication, of course, hasn’t changed…really. My father’s gone now, but substitute the kids for the Mustang and the game goes on:

“Dad,” says Michael, “If you just put your extra change away each day you can easily afford to fly here. Even ten dollars a day.”
I nod.
“That is,” he continues, “If you don’t piss away your money.”

And then there’s division: It used to be a tough one; no more! I stopped dividing, you see, some years back. Just saw no use for it.  Life’s too short, I’ve learned. It doesn’t matter any more.

Another year ends.  Still people choose to divide. And for what?

I’m comforted, though—and confident.  I am buoyed by a belief that as they grow older Matthew and Lucy will learn the New Math, where the common denominator is love. 

     “…Hang on to your hopes, my friend
     That’s an easy thing to say, but if your hope should pass away
     Simply pretend
     That you can build them again
     Look around, the grass is high
     The fields are ripe, it’s the springtime of my life….”

                             Paul Simon

THE MILLERS’ TALE

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

“British Literature” was the course. Walt and I sat, back back back back back of Mr.  Frantz’s class watching the clock. I hadn’t read “The Canterbury Tales”, but did study the Cliffs Notes. Marc hadn’t read the Cliffs Notes, but had studied my paper. 

I don’t recall what we learned that quarter—maybe nothing. I do, though, have my own “Miller’s Tale” to share, and its lesson’s invaluable:

Twice in Max’s first five weeks I found New York. The Bris was eight days out; the Pidyan Ha-ben thereafter. Each was eagerly awaited and Biblically mandated.

I really didn’t know, though—a year ago this month— after the initial pomp and circumstance, after I’d checked out of The Andrew that second time, how often I’d be heading east. It wasn’t my travelling thing, (lifelong aversion to journey). Not at all. Quite frankly, it was …all about the Benjamins. Have you STAYED in a New York hotel lately?

I remember those first trips. I recollect thinking, (quite logically), that I was destined to be not only a long-distance grandfather, but a very, very part-time one. That’s just the way it was, I thought…the way it had to be. Fleeing Ohio post-college, making his way in a realm beyond Cleveland, Michael had effectively set the table for the world to come.

Sometimes, though, God just puts the best people in our paths.

Enter the Millers:

Five years ago they were Meredith’s parents. Those days, alas, are gone. Today Caryn and Stuart are better known as Max’s grandparents. Moreover, they are not only family, but friends.

We learn in recovery that when we get well, when we do well, everyone benefits. Consider, then, The Millers’ Tale.

It wasn’t long after the Pidyan Ha-ben that my phone rang.

“Stuey and I want you to know that you’re always welcome in our home. You just get yourself back here.”

(Was this just a gesture? Did she really mean it?)

“Mi casa es su casa,” she said. It was either Italian or Spanish—what with all the vowels—but I GOT it.

I called Michael.

“Look,” I told him, “I don’t want to take advantage. Were they serious?”
“Yes, Dad—don’t worry. Just come.”

So I did. In a fashion I’d never imagined, a volume I’d never afford—I saw my grandson. Our grandson.

As the snow fell in February…at his Gymworld graduation…

In a swimming pool (before he crawled)…
At Jones Beach (before he walked)…

In a fashion never dreamed of, I WAS a grandfather:

From reading him a book to “sitting” him for an hour one Saturday night, to being there for his first blueberry:

Things he’ll never remember and I’ll never forget.

I’ve many things to be grateful for. As always. Among these, are the Millers. As the year winds down I think more and more how they opened their door.

And opened their door.

Kindness is like a pebble flipped in a brook. There’s a rippling effect.

Who benefits by their largesse? We all do. There is me (of course), and the joy I receive. There are Michael and Meredith…and the east coast family…

And there is Max. Head full of hair, eyes full of smile, he looks up when I enter…

And I think, (I really do), that he knows me.

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

In the mid-90′s I’d been called back tor a final round of “The Sound Of Music” auditions at Chagrin Valley Little Theater. The director (that night) did something I’d never seen before. Role by role, she asked each hopeful to step up and sing his character’s song from the show. It was tantamount to head-to-head competition. (Nothing, by the way, tests one’s patience so much as sitting through seven consecutive solo, a capella renditions of “Edelweiss”).

As one of two vying for the role of Uncle Max, I’d plenty of time to eye my opponent. David was a seasoned actor with a clearly trained voice. Called up first, he not only broke into song but dashed my spirit. Clearly, as my Dad would have said, I “couldn’t shine his shoes”.

Then came me. “Bruce!” they called.

Hesitating, this, I sensed, was not the protective womb of Beachwood’s theater. No, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

Rising slowly, I felt a nudge.

“Just get up there and sell it!”

It was Phil, a guy I knew from Beachwood that had, in fact, been acting for years— saying exactly what I needed to hear.

Two days later I had the part.

“Thanks for the kick in the ass,” I told him by phone that week.
“You don’t get it, do you?” he asked rhetorically. “They can teach you to sing but they can’t teach him to be funny.”

It was a lesson I’d never forget. Indeed, years later I still get cast in musical comedies despite the fact that I can barely sing (politely they term mine a “character voice”), and I surely can’t dance. (Once, when the script of “Li’l Abner” called for my Senator Phogbound to strut and lead a parade, they re-choreographed it to get me off stage the moment my first line of the song was sung. To this day I wonder if the cast-members wore cups).

I still audition. Insecure to this day—wondering when they’ll see I’m all sizzle, no steak, I still audition. No one seems to care.

Like last spring at Fine Arts.

“What key do you sing?” asked the musical director.
“I don’t,” I told him. “Let’s make this easy. I’ll start and you find me. It’ll save time.”
The pianist winced and looked to the director, (who knew me).
“He’ll be fine,” said Mango. “Just let him start.”

I got the part.

It still amazes me they give me parts in some of these shows—and it still leaves me insecure.

Two weeks ago I tried out for “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”. Opening in March, it conflicted with neither a grandchild’s birthday nor my honeymoon, (both of which would clearly come first). Moreover, it’s a GOOD show…being done close to home…and (again, as my Dad would say), is rated G for Gladys.

Entering the theater that night I thought I knew the drill (and show). Trying for one specific role, I expected only to read from the script and sing. Clearly I was taken aback when urged to dance.

“We want to see if you can move,” they said. “I’ll show them I’m a team player,” I thought, (all the while feeling like Elaine Benis).

Next we read and this, of course, went better. Not only was I confident, but I was on.  Perhaps sensing my redemption, the director pulled me aside.

“Bruce,” he asked, “I’d love to use you. Would you take a role other than Biggelly?”
“No, not really,” I said, taking my seat.

Ten minutes passed. One by one the would-be’s, when called on, approached the piano.

A guy stood up–his demographic most like mine. “This must be the competition,” I mused.

He opened his mouth…wide….and sang. Like an opera singer. Like f’ing Pavarotti or something—or Park’s cantor on High Holidays.

This, I sensed, was not a good thing.  “Please don’t let me follow him.”   (I yearned)…and then:

 “Bruce, you’re up! ” I heard.

“Did you bring sheet music?” she asked.
“No, you don’t have to play—I’ll just go with it.”

I gave them the best “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” I could muster. Short, rarely done, it allowed me to move a bit, play, and give’m a little shtick, as well. Win-lose-or draw, they’d remember me.

My phone rang last weekend—I got the part. Whodda thunk it?

Our first rehearsal, by the way, was Thursday. There I stood, with a cast of talent, in a role I craved. Pavarotti? Oh yeah—he’s in the chorus.

We went around the room, (as they often do), and introduced ourselves. It was a short session. I thanked the director again for the opportunity; truly I’m thrilled. 

Before leaving the musical director pulled me aside. “By the way, Bruce, “ she asked, “What key do you sing?”   The lady, God bless her, is still waiting for an answer.

FAMILY MATTERS

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I’m thinking about family this week: what it means and what it doesn’t, and how grateful I am for the kinship left.

The the rules were simple “in the day”. We had parents, grandparents, cousins and more cousins. There were second cousins, third cousins, first cousins once or twice removed and YES, a few relics (Lilly Flate, maybe..or Leah Lader) of questioned consanguinity. Regardless of lineage though—irrespective of disparate finances or intellect, we were a unit. Everyone—-those wanted or unwanted, liked or unliked…belonged.

From picnics at Forest Hills to picnics at Wiegand’s Lake, from Seders to Shivas to Mitzvahs: some didn’t speak, others wouldn’t listen—but as part of the same whole, we always fit under one umbrella…together. How tight was the fabric woven? Not once (as a kid) did I ever notice that some had no voice and others no respect. All I saw—all I felt— was family.

So did Hal, by the way. We still do.

A few years back H got hold of film from Cousin Barbie’s confirmation party. It was 40 years old. How happy was he converting it to DVD, distributing copies to interested parties!

Family.

It was important, too, not long ago, when Cousin Howard made Cleveland’s Softball Hall Of Fame. Hal and I sat ringside as our tuxedoed blood was inducted by yet another clansman, former all-world Shelly Hoffman. (Indeed, reminiscing that night, Shel reminded how pissed his Dad was at our father when the latter gave Shelly a baseball glove for his Bar Mitzvah. Those were the days, you see, of fountain pens).

Family.

The world is different than it was back then. Families split today; they merge, they blend; the kin leave town. Heck! My aunts lived streets apart; my kids’ aunts? States apart.

I miss the good old days, (as air-brushed as they may have been). I crave the community, the innate bond.

My brother teased me the other night. I’d been complaining about the latest tsuris with Aunt Helen, and he sensed, perhaps, that I enjoyed my monologue a bit too much.

“You two have a special relationship,” he opined. “You’re very close.”
“By default,” I suggested.
“I’m just saying,” my bro continued, “You talk to her alot. Some times I think you enjoy the fight.”
“Please,” I defended, “We’re all she has.”

He wasn’t wrong, you know. And he made me think. As difficult as that woman is she remains our father’s sister—our family. Who am I, with or without her nonsense—to push her outside the umbrella?

Family is either everything or it’s nothing.

I’m thinking about family this week: what it means and what it doesn’t, and how grateful I am for the kinship left.

LOVE IN 3-D

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”

I first heard that line in the mid-90′s on my one and only date with a newly-minted divorcee. Ensuing years have clearly proved her right.

It’s hard not to think back—especially recently. As yet another chapter began in our daughter’s life, I filled flights to and from Chicago with both reflection and gratitude. God has certainly placed some special people in her path.

Deborah was an advocate in Columbus and housed in the Student Union. It’s been ten years, give or take. I watched then as she steadfastly supported victims of sexual abuse, all the while bucking the administration that signed her paycheck. We marveled as she mustered strength and planted hope in our baby.

Daniel made his home in (of all places) Knoxville, Tennessee. Still, somewhere about that time this gentle man not only became aware of our daughter’s story, but latched on to it. As “luck” would have it, he was Director of the only national non-profit organization devoted exclusively to assisting the victims of violence on college campuses. And …there he stood in (for HIM, of all places)…central Ohio. By her side.

And David. Lord knows how many prosecutors Franklin County had back then. “We”, however, got him. Sensitive, compassionate and understanding, he was the perfect professional to guide the journey. Like I said, “we” got him, but better yet, he “got” it.

I’m still in contact with Daniel, to this day. He was in for Rooney’s wedding and we email. Deborah’s somewhat evaporated but I dropped her a note when Lucy came. (Haven’t heard back). David I speak to once a year, around Thanksgiving—always have. This year was no different. I reminded him again this week that Stacy won’t forget his good deeds.

People come and go in our lives. Gifts emerge for a reason or a season, but rarely by accident.

Yes, it was difficult not to think back recently… not to again recall love shown for a reason and a season that will pay dividends for a lifetime.