They’ve dubbed him Art, Kraut—even “the Nazi.” For a lifetime this bleeding heart, both as do-gooder and kvetch, has groaned with such consistency, such pleasure, that we’ve come to accept rantings as merely “Arthur being Arthur.” And today, at 62, he is beloved.

He’s been part of me since Rowland; I’m lucky. Moreover, despite a Lifetime Achievement Award for complaining, he’s appeared throughout my past…always smiling.

From sixth grade to sixth decade…snapshots of Arthur—smiling:

I remember when we first learned dancing. Maybe sixth grade. The box-step was hard, the jitterbug impossible. Art nailed ‘em both. Gliding ‘cross Heights Temples’ floor, he was the one all the girls wanted to dance with. He knew what he was doing! (Heck, my only shot at rhythm was knowing the lyrics. Jill Lerman, specifically, refused to dance with me).

Snapshots of Arthur…FROM SPORTS:

In high school we’d play football on Wrenford. Once I tackled him into a tree, hurting his ankle. It cost him some soccer. By spring, though,
he’d recovered, and I remember well shooting baskets in the Stonehaven driveway. They were carefree times which only got better. By college we were Sol’s Boys. Banner years. Still, Wieder hid Kraut’s arm in right, batting him 9th (ahead of me), even as I led the league.

I’m blessed with a life of seemingly unimportant moments, ALL MEMORABLE and each with a common thread: Arthur.

Like in eleventh grade gym. It was a Monday; my dog Adam died over the weekend. I still see it: Art entered the locker room—I collapsed on him…and cried. A pre-cursor? This veterinarian remains today my only childhood friend working now at what he’d planned back then.

He’s been Zelig…always there….

Like the ski weekend in Mt. Summit, Pennsylvania. (I didn’t ski, but went for the story). Driving back that very first Super Sunday the troopers nailed Bob. We waited at roadside when they took him away. Then, on Bob’s return. hearing all about the ticket and fine—never once did it occur to either of us that we should kick in…

Or the time—even before college— he took me to a holiday party in Lyndhurst. It was all strangers, but we bumped into Kraut’s friend from work. The girl found me charming and we evaporated into the house. No one was drinking then and ultimately I reappeared. Driving home he was laughing, all aglow: “Do you have any idea how ugly she was?” (he asked).

Or the one and only toga party I’ve been to…(in Oxford).

There were, of course, rough times too—for both of us. He was sitting Shivah for his Mom the week Sam Lerner died. A block away…moments apart. We even connect there. From the blessed memories of Rose Swier and Sam Lerner came Ross and Stacy—lifelong friends.

Time marched. The eighties became the nineties became today. There was the lodge; there were the plays…and always Arthur.

Like the summer eve with Benny Erlich in Chardon. Staring at a litter, Kraut picked out Rocky and NO, we didn’t drive straight home. He insisted, rather, that we stop at his clinic first. (The dog needed a bath).

Does he think I don’t remember?

More marching. The nineties became my bottom became better. There was Paradise Island where we watched Treinish sleep and Vegas where, rooming with me, Art slept with lights and TV.

And today. As good as it was, today is the best.

Today we share moments better than any. We smile not from adventure but from peace. We share more today than laughter and memories.

We share health.

5 Responses to “SWEET AND SOUR “KRAUT””

  1. Unknown says:

    You’re so lucky to have a friend like Arthur.

  2. Carly says:

    Arthur is my father. Thank you so much for writing this. It is truly heartwarming!

  3. Marc says:

    We are all lucky to have Arthur as our friend-Happy Birthday Art!

  4. Stuart says:

    Eloquently written about our friend with the heart of gold. Happy Birthday Art.

  5. bob says:

    Leave to B to put into words.
    Love, to you both.

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