If I can muster a momentary bit of courage I glance at The Times obits looking for just one name that died older than I am right now; I rarely find one.
Recently, I was awarded $30,000 from the city and sat thinking and thinking if there was one thing I really wanted to buy with it (I settled on a nice new black hair comb for six bucks – never paid so much for a comb before).
When Maggie died, the one thing that kept me going was WestView. I mean, of the 12,000 copies we print, I don’t know how many people read what I write, but I have to assume a few do; it is remarkable how very few “you’re doing a nice job” e-mails we receive.
In this issue, I go back 80 years to a memory clearer than what happened to me last Tuesday and sure, our minds are etched with engraved events, nearly all of them in our childhood.
Eighty five-year-old Jim Collier who has written all his adult life came by today on his way to rehearse for a jazz concert at Lincoln Center (he plays a trumpet) and I realized I was talking to a man at peace with himself – totally at peace. He had skills that people wanted and admired and best of all he could enjoy them as he did them.
And last night, I offered supper to a man I met on a plane 30 years ago who is married to a woman who held a knife at his ribs and said, “I hate you go away.” His sales job has one year to go and with his only son in college, he was looking forward to living alone and nothing, nothing.
Of course it is not true that when you get old you get “wisdom.” Most old people just get crotchety and I am not sure what wisdom is but when on Sunday, my 17-year-old grandson, attending a Catholic High School, tells me adamantly that de Blasio should have marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, you realize that telling him that gays should be allowed to carry an identifying sign right behind the bag pipers that there is not enough time in the few remaining encounters you will have with him to convince him that gays, like native Americans are a worthy liberal cause. Maybe that’s wisdom.