Thursday, October 04, 2007
I can't call you this year because you died and I don't have your new number. You would be 105 years old today, which is amazingly special, just as you were amazingly special for all of those 104 years and 9 months.
It's notable that you never lost your kindness and compassion for others, nor did the full function of your brilliant and far-reaching mind ever fail even slightly. I think that sad and inconvenient as losing your eyesight in your 90's was, it was wonderful that you (and all of us who loved you) had the full use of your mind to the end.
You were in every way a man others should emulate. You gave so much to so many, and always had time to listen. Your interest in others never flagged, which may be one of the reasons for your phenomenal longevity.
You personally witnessed the entire 20th century and remembered it verbatim. You were the best kind of living history because you had the insight and mental acuity to connect the dots and draw conclusions from events both technological and political.
You remembered both World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the 6-Day War, the Gulf War, and were dismayed by the Iraq War. Your recollections ranged from travel by horse and buggy to moon rockets. You lived in many parts of the world and understood at the cellular level that all people are connected, despite the fact that some deny it. You were deeply concerned about global warming and urged me often to buy a place where I would be safe.
I've marked your birthday on my calendar as I always do and will probably continue to do for as long as I live. I miss you every day and my life is smaller for the loss of you, even as it is immeasurably bigger for having known you.
I would toast you with a Rob Roy, your favorite drink, but as you know, I'm allergic to liquor. Instead, I've bought you a box of thin mints, which you liked so much, and will eat them for you. I hope you enjoy them.