Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fond Farewells

Diwaliween de Los Muertos has come and gone at our school —three celebrations in one week! And outside the school gates, Trick or Treating on Belvedere St. with the Interns and then the Day of the Dead parade in the Mission. We’re all delightful exhausted and ready for a celebration-free weekend.

In the spirit of Day of the Dead, I looked up the famous folks who passed away in 2017 to spend a moment remembering them and thanking them.

To Chuck Berry. Fats Domino, Al Jarreau, Larry Coryell, Geri Allen, Mose Allison, Glen Campbell and John Abercrombie, I thank you all for the music that gave me so much pleasure. I imagine you feel happy knowing your musical voices will continue to sing long after your passing.

To Barbara Hale. Mary Tyler Moore. Jerry Lewis. Martin Landau. Roger Moore, Sam Shepard, Jeanne Moreau, Dick Gregory, Shelley Berman, thanks for the pleasure of your TV shows, movies, comedy records and plays. My mythological kingdom is peopled with Della Street (from Perry Mason), Laura Petri (from The Dick Van Dyke Show), James Bond, the Mission Impossible gang, the remarkable Jules and Jim film and more.

To Hugh Hefner, thanks for some educational moments in Davy Horn’s attic. But no thanks to the further objectification of women.

Walking on Thursday night past the fence of postcards with messages to the recently departed, I strangely had trouble remembering who I knew that passed away this year. I thought about writing an R.I.P. to Democracy in America. But then I remembered my dear friend Fran Hament and our years of singing the old jazz songs at the Jewish Home. She passed away almost one year ago and I miss her terribly. And I wrote another one for Rudy, the Holocaust survivor who talked to my daughter’s 5th grade last year, enjoyed the classical pieces I played at the Jewish Home and then surprised me one day after I had played an all-classical repertoire by asking, “How about some jazz?!”

And so a much-needed schedule-free two days ahead of me, a rainy November morning and grateful for the chance to still be here to witness the whole deal, both the beauty and the terror.
This time last year was the unbearable tension that the worst could happen. And then it did.
More on this later. But for now, the day awaits.

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