For so long I thought baseball was a metaphor for life. You know…all about having more runs and hits than errors. Wrong. Our journey’s not played on a diamond so much as paddled ‘cross a river. It is, as I’ve learned from people like my sister-in-law, about canoeing.

If you don’t know Margie, let me introduce you. She is the subtle straw stirring our drink. Sitting three to my left (or three to my right) at Kangesser, she’s the quiet rock buttressing our clan from life’s calamities. In my ugly days of the 90’s she was there; through Hal’s nightmare, she was there. Shabbos dinners, family matters…BINGO.

She is the conduit assuring that as we each express family values our actions truly value family.

High Holidays—-just a few weeks back. “Who is the strongest member of your family?” the rabbi asked. He was urging congregants to rise, to share. I was, for the moment, prepared to stand.

Quietly reviewing the roster, thinking….. Hal was out, as was I. How strong could either of us be still holding meetings to prepare for our aunt? Should we really require pre-emptive strikes to interact with a ninety-six year old?

The answer crystallized: clearly the valiant one in our clan was the steady one. Margie. A stoic with heart, she thinks straight but sees wide. She is steadfast.

Who would have known it? Not me. As a younger man I didn’t get it—didn’t appreciate constancy. Having grown up I know better now.

“Put your hand over your heart,” reminds my friend David. “Is there any greater strength than that methodical, constant, reliable thumping?” He is right. So right. Margie’s consistency remains the heartbeat of our family—to this day. Our family’s pulse is as strong in rain, strong in sunshine. Is there a better test?

No, I didn’t stand in temple that day. Didn’t rise to tell the congregation about my wonderful sister-in-law. It was neither necessary nor her thing.

In my day, you see, I played baseball. Loved to slide into a base and, standing, call time, dust myself off, let others cheer. Margie’s different, though. She likes canoeing. No time for cheers or dusting off….not for her. She’s busy, still, holding our family with one hand and, yes, paddling with the other


  1. alan wieder says:

    Quite special Bruce

  2. Caroline says:

    So true! Thanks for the lovely post about my mom! 🙂

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