The former Stacy Bogart looked me dead in the eye, smiled, and
       with love and fascination shot me an underhanded compliment:
       “Dad, you are a master at pointless conversation.” It is, then, in
       the spirit of reciprocity that I dedicate this pointless entry to her.

Smack dab in the middle of a May Friday, having no business in central Ohio, I was down there meeting Mark Ermine at Starbucks. Early one Sunday, just weeks later, nieces Caroline and Amy marched five kilometers through Bexley. And…thirty or so of my brother’s classmates are now planning a Rowland School reunion.

What connection might there be, you ask, to these seemingly unrelated, marginal events? Ah, to the well-versed Bogart this is easy. They share a distinct genesis, a unique cause. Each was placed in motion by one even more remote occurrence. Margie, you see, toward the end of ’09, bought Hal a book about Jan & Dean. What followed, then, was merely dominoes.

Trust me—details matter not. Honor the concept. H and I share great pleasures causally (and cosmically) connecting actions in our lives that others might not necessarily relate. It is not only fun and thought-provoking, but confirms yet again that each of us has too much time on his hands. We can live with that.

….Which brings me to tonight. Yes, at Shabbos dinner, after careful analysis, I will unveil yet another stream of etiology.

Consider: Just weeks ago my Aunt Helen criticized me AND just days ago my brother advised I was capable of doing something “the odds were a million to one against…” Both events, it is clear, occurred for the same reason, to wit: our mom married a thief.

Here are the facts….just the facts:

In the late ‘80’s our mother wed yet again. We thought she’d taken a third husband; clearly, though, he’d taken her.

2009: Mom died the first week in April. Shivah was at Hal and Margie’s. Although specifically invited back, The Thief never set foot in their house.
Not once.

2010: We finally learned why Ed never showed. The man, it seems, was busy studying. Indeed, internet/local media carried an article praising our step-dad, detailing his recent receipt of a G.E.D. (Mazel Tov).

My brother acted swiftly! With a sense of honor and duty, he emailed the author, detailing the truth of the man behind the curtain. Pointedly, elegantly, he labeled Ed “a thief who does not deserve glorification.”

“That’s my brother!” I thought. “That’s my brother!” (I wrote). Clearly, he’d answered the bell; I was so proud. So proud that I forwarded a copy of his transmittal to the immediate world—including the rabbi.

Harriet, of course, got my missile in Columbus. She, too, was proud. In knee-jerk reaction she called our aunt and read her Hal’s note. That was on a Wednesday. Friday, of course—just two days later— I went shopping with the Woman Most Likely To Meet Willard Scott. Within moments the inevitable occurred:

“Why didn’t you read me Hal’s letter? Why do I have to hear it from Harriet?” (Her pout was stronger than my desire to ask “Why aren’t you mad at Harold for not telling you? He wrote it. Why me?” I let it go….
Wouldn’t—couldn’t throw the kid under the bus.

Three weeks passed. Then, the afternoon of August 10 Hal got an EMAIL from our rabbi, (acknowledging my forward). “You will have to explain it to me someday” urged the spiritual leader in a letter from the temple website.

My phone rang. It was H.

“I have to ask you,” he opened. Hesitating a bit he then blurted it out: “Did you send the email from Rabbi Skoff?”
“Are you kidding?”
“Just checking,” he offered. “It’s something you might do.”
“You mean you think I’m capable of entering Park’s website and sending a dummy email as a joke? Do you know what the odds on that are?”
“About a million to one.” he proffered.
“Thanks for the compliment.” I said, amazed, yet humbled.

I was smiling…I was bubbly. My little brother thinks I’m capable of a million to one shot. Hmmm.

And all because our mother married a thief.

Can’t wait till after Kiddush tonight!

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