Thursday, November 19, 2015

Report from Planet Earth


Hi Dad,
It’s your birthday. Or what would have been your 97th birthday had you hung around eight years more. You were kind of bah-humbug about birthdays when you were here, so it wouldn’t surprise me that they mean even less wherever you are. But you see, it helps me remember you and think of you and thank you and write to you. Again, no way of knowing if you hear it or appreciate it or what, but it feels good for me. And I do believe that remembrance is the elixir of immortality, so cheers and bottoms up!
The report on Planet Earth is the usual heaven and hell, but each intensified. The hell needs no elaboration, if you have CNN up there, you’ll find out in a nanosecond. The heaven is more subtle, but I do think that some people’s souls are awakening in response to crisis and showing the kind of care and concern that can ultimately overpower the hatred and ignorance and death-dealing dogmas. Well, at least my Facebook friends.
Meanwhile, I’m heading up to Portland soon to help put on Zadie’s 4th birthday party and get to see 4-month old Malik as well and maybe Ian’s son Ezra. Your three great-grandchildren. Isn’t that something? All the rest of us mostly doing well with some rough spots, but I’ll save the details for a more private conversation. You might get a kick out of Karen and I trying out a lot of Perry Mason videos this Fall before deciding the plots were too convoluted. But loved the opening music and re-visiting my old friends Perry, Della and Paul Drake, remembering the time we spent with them together on the couch in New Jersey. Ended up seeing about 10 or 12 shows and you would think I might remember one, but that never happened.
Drove over the Golden Gate Bridge tonight listening to Rubinstein play Chopin and it’s a good time to thank you yet again for the immeasurable gift of music. You set me in the bath of the Masters (well, the European ones) and filled my ears with subtlety, nuance, elaborate forms, memorable melodies, exquisite orchestrations and sophisticated harmonies. I believe they helped build a complex emotional scaffolding partly responsible for the way I can cry in front of strangers. And not feel embarrassed. Of course, you yourself held your cards close to your chest. Did I ever see you cry? I think not. But I know you felt things a bit deeper than the average Joe and caught a glimpse of that sensitivity watching you listen to Beethoven in your final days.
That’s the news, such as it is. I still miss you, of course, am sad that there’s no one left to call me “son,” but happy that I’m still here to call you “dad.”
Forever yours,
Your son

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