Two score and two years ago. Yes, it was that important that I can invoke the memory of the Gettysburg Address, one of the finest speeches ever made. I met Sam 42 years ago. He was a young man then (and I was a kid).
Over the years, we managed to make some great things together. And, I’m honored to be able to call him my friend. (He already thanked me for his birthday card this morning!)
But, it’s another special event, too. It’s the 8th birthday of my grandson, Eli. A wonderful, smart, creative child. (He’s too young to take that test that Allison Lakomski had me take recently- which agreed that I, too, was creative.) The good thing for both Eli and me- curiosity only kills cats. That’s why I still walk this earth and my grandson is safe.
Given the nature of American life today, it’s atypical for families to live near one another. (The grand exceptions are those born in small towns- or from the New York Metropolitan area. Yet, I left New York a LONG time ago. More than those two score and two years ago….) And, my grandson (with his mom and dad) lives a few hours away. So, I don’t get to see them all the time. (Sniff, sniff.) But, each time we spend time together, it’s just fantastic. Which is what is going to happen as you read this- I’ll be on my way to spend a belated birthday with him and his folks.
I recall my grandfather, Sol, with great affection. I’ve written about him before. He was larger than life- as this picture with Black Jack Pershing and Teddy Roosevelt will hint. But, for me, personally, he kept me on my toes. Drilling me (lightning rounds, only) in addition when I was 3, multiplication by the time I was 5, division by 6…He had a wonderful car (one I wanted as my first car, but he died and grandmother did not drive at all, so it was sold a few weeks too early- a beloved 1948 Nash Rambler with an FM radio and air-conditioning) and took me everywhere- Coney Island (when Coney Island was cool), Rockaway Beach (ride those waves), the Bronx Zoo, libraries, and more.
That’s the way I want my grandson to remember me…With smiles and love and admiration.
Happy birthday, Sam. You earned a special place in my heart.
Happy birthday, Eli. You know you own my heart.
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