Saturday, December 16, 2017


You would have been 93 today.

Just checking in to wish you a happy birthday.

We're all healthy.  (kayne a hora) Donna retired.  I'm still working.  Bobby is great.  Matt, Shannon, Sophie and Jack are wonderful. Jack has become something of an ice hockey star. Scored four goals in his first game. Sophie is just a delight and so cute.

Kenny's son Scott married in November. Quite a nice simcha up in the Hudson Valley.  The official grew up not far from us in Sheepshead Bay--in the projects just across Avenue W.  What a character.  The guy had on this funky hat such that Kenny thought, when he met him, that the guy was going to double as the saxophone player in the band. Something to be said for children of divorced parents. There were four sets of parents wishing the kids well, and all seemed to be getting along. Lots of food. Lots to drink if you were so inclined and not driving.  Kenny has been on a high since.

Our 50th high school reunion was a few weeks before the wedding.  Kenny, Gary, Aiken and I all went.  Many of my classmates asked about you, still remembering from when you were their fifth grade teacher. It was at the holiday inn just past your Parkway school  Phyllis always comments about how you impressed her. Eddie and Doug as well.  Some sad news as is always the case at one of these because the list of the deceased has, of course, expanded. Some surprises there. Alan Whiteside, Larry Zalin. 

For Chanukah, Donna got me/us hoo hah tickets to see Judy Collins. We went last night and were parked in the second row, no more than thirty feet from the singer. It was inspiring to see Collins and the concert served in part as an antidote to thinking about those who have passed.  She is 78, is still touring obviously, and can still croon.  On stage for 90 minutes and did not take a song off (there was an accompanist and another singer who occasionally did a duet) the whole time.  The audience was filled with folks like us and older. When we first got in,  a woman sitting in the front row turned around and said she started listening to Judy Collins fifty years ago.  I stood up and looked around and I'll bet that was the case for every single person in the joint.  It looked like the Woodstock folks grown up and cleaned up. There probably wasn't a body in there younger than 60 and most were pushing 70 or over that hump.

 It was way past everyone's bed time when she did her encore after 1030.  A guy in the front row was yawning despite being entertained.  At times Collins forgot words and I wondered about her stamina, but the next to last song she sang was "Send in the Clowns" and boy did she belt that sucker out and make it meaningful.  No forgetting of lyrics there. "I thought you'd want what I want, sorry my dear. But send in the clowns. Quick send in the clowns. Don't bother they're here."

Are we all in need of clowns to undermine the sadness of not capturing time? Are we the clowns for "losing our timing" whenever we do throughout "our career."  I don't think that is the way to think even though that's what the lyric might conjure up.  I don't know a whole lot about Collins except what is revealed in encyclopedia excerpts and news clips.  I read that she is the musically gifted daughter of a blind musician who burst into success in the 60s. Then I read that she had problems with alcohol (to which she alluded last night). I also read that her only son committed suicide.  So some tsuris there, but here she was at 78 years young, performing and not giving up on this precious life. No clowns needed to deflect anything.

You taught us that, dad.  You taught us by your actions that life was for living. I remember when I would get nervous about you driving from Florida to Colorado to Wisconsin to Maine in a single summer. You had to be pushing 80 then.  I don't think Judy Collins drives herself to her gigs. She is going to be in New Hampshire tonight.  My hunch is that she has a driver and a shlepper who brings in everything to the theatres except for Judy herself.  You were driving to the lectures you'd give and shlepping your guitar and amps into halls all over the United States. No clowns for you.  You did not lose your timing.  You just captured time.

Meanwhile, I must be getting old, because to me it did not seem like Ms. Collins was wearing any real pants. She had on leggings, the kind of things women put on underneath their pants, and then a sparkling jacket, but nothing else.  Must be the style because I heard noone else commenting on this. What do I know.

I have another book contract so that is good.  Also have a hernia which is not good, but the doc says it is no big deal and I barely know I have it.  Been to the gym a bunch of times since it was diagnosed and no problem.  In the last two weeks we've had to call in a plumber for the sink and a Samsung guy for the refrigerator. So compared to the house I am holding up okay.

Lighting the candles this week and thinking of how you would break into song after we'd say the prayers. Miss you today--always.  Goober. 

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