Closing books on a year is bittersweet. Time’s elapsed—forever. Still, as Ermine warns, “It’s OK to look at the past— just don’t stare at it”. So here’s one more glance at 2012, and to its special blend of love, laughter, friendship, smiles, tears, mistakes and (hopefully) growth!

It was an entertaining year in so many ways:

As to cinema, I sustained a lifelong practice of viewing no James Bond, Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, or for that matter anything akin to The Hobbit or Lord Of The Rings. Thrice, however, cultured as I am, I thrilled to “The Three Stooges Movie”. (Most memorable was the sitting with Michael and Stu Miller. Exiting the theater I picked up a text my son’d sent minutes into the film. “This will be two hours of my life,” he noted, “I’ll never get back.”

Then there was my theater stuff. On stage I played a business tycoon (“How To Succeed…”) and a Nazi soldier (“Sound Of Music”) and yes, even directed a show. My most fulfilling role? That of father, grandfather.

Ah, family…

It was a year Max learned to daven and Lucy to crawl….when my sobriety turned 15, my youngest 30, and my eldest 35. Still, hearing Max call my name, seeing Lucy point to her head, I felt nothing but younger.

It was a year too, of lessons. How I scoffed as my aunt felt ignored by the rabbi. “Perhaps he didn’t get your message”, I urged. “You should send emails. Then he has to respond.” We debated it often through summer and fall. Our discourse ended only recently. “You’re stupid,’ she told me while shopping for Chanukah.

No, I didn’t have all the answers. Nor did others. All my detective work couldn’t find Hindy’s coat and neither sportswriters nor Matt Klein ever did explain the Jets’ handling of Tebow.

On a personal level, it was a year of loss…

From cousin Barby to friend Al to Uncle Ernie. I conjure still, Barby of the 60’s, twixteen wearing pastel lipstick at the Riviera Swim Club. And I picture Brother Al, black shirt, gold chai and grimace, poking me in the chest after lodge— lecturing, always lecturing. “Yous guys don’t understand,” he would moan. And Ernie Fanwick: a treasure. Just months earlier so many of the family had gathered in Stamford as he and Aunt Lee marked 60 years. He was sitting at a round table at the brunch in the hotel when I left for the airport. Patriarch to many, friend to all….

There was too this year, life being life, visceral disappointment. Nothing glares out, even now, like the election and how some treated one of their own. Positions come and positions go and Lord knows I never tell others how to think…but I wore my bumper sticker proudly. Amen.

The Breakfast Of Champions, of course, continued. We enjoyed guest appearances by Gruber, Chronic and Wido, dubbed Kanter “Ozzie Nelson” and continued to wait for Kramer (Siegal) to return. And for the second year in a row, one fell in The Bet. As of Wednesday, but three remain.

And speaking of food: It was a year I got to take Max to Great Neck Diner for breakfast, Lucy to Lulubelle’s for lunch and Aunt Helen to Harold’s for dinner…. A year I found the world’s best salmon at Ben’s Deli (Bayside) yet but weeks later, (unwittingly), began eating “at home”.

It was the year too that Fred helicoptered in. Taking the second bedroom in May, it’s fair to state that between my meetings and theater and his runs to the race track, our paths rarely crossed. We were, clearly, two schleps passing in the night.

And it was a time of life-saving moments. Snyder saved Skippy in Chicago and but weeks later my niece found a home for the Darryls in Baltimore. Bob’s actions made for a Happy Thanksgiving and Liz’s actions resulted in truly a Festivus miracle!

It was a time for farewells…I said Shalom to Great Neck, what with Michael and Meredith moving out. The flag too is up in Chitown, as Stace and Jace move on.
Goodbyes also to 3-a-days in restaurants, and my PC: home cooking and an Apple? Who’d have thunk it! Oh, and Hello to Pandora Radio, by the way. (Why pay for Spotify?) Does it get any better?

The year began with a Catholic friend praying at a mass for my grandbaby and ended as a country prayed together for all our children…When it began I was retiring each night alone yet waking with Darryl and Darryl aside me. Today I fall asleep with my arms around a treasure, and wake with a big “hoont” named Rusty vying for position. Yes, I began the year with a catheter in my heart but am ending it with love in its place.

More than anything else then, this was the year of The Concert. Ten years after the London’s Concert For George, I sat among friends at Cain Park learning “All you need is love.”—-which explains why, in the year Wieder wrote a another book, after August first, I had no time to read one.

I’m excited, clearly, for the brand new year. Grateful for ’12 though, No, not all prayers have been answered. Out east remain stars I still wish to gaze on. (It had to be said). And I will. Maybe not when I want…but in God’s time.

I close then, one eye out the window on the falling snow, and the other set straight for tomorrow, and its promise. And it’s true, like I said as this year started: I do live a climate where regardless the weather, I feel sunshine.

One Response to “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”

  1. Marc says:

    I am so happy for the joy you’ver found in 2012 and hope 2013 brings you all you want because you truely deserve it. I hope you have a very happy and healthy new year.

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