A New Beginning

Dear Pop,

I’m sure you followed the results from the elections last week. The results surprised everyone, but I think we may have seen the beginning of a turn away from the craziness we’ve seen. If we want to preserve the democracy we claim to believe in, then we must protect it at all costs. We easily forget that throughout history, empires have fallen never to rise again. Just think, Ancient Egypt, Persia and Ancient Rome were once seen as empires that were invincible, yet they all collapsed. It could happen to us if we are not careful. But I’m optimistic that we have turned a corner as they say and can back away from the extremism that threatens our society. Sam will eventually find his way but that’s good he’s getting more bookings. I’ve always been proud and in awe of his talents. To this day, he’s the only person I’ve seen take over an entire bar simply by dancing. The AIDS epidemic is one of America’s darkest moments and I do remember the impact it had. I recently re-read Randy Shilts’ ‘And the Band Played On’. We watched the HBO film years ago and it feels like yesterday when everyone was living in fear of the killer disease. Today HIV is rarely mentioned but I will never forget those times. Of course, we now have seen Covid and if history is an indicator, we can only guess as to what may come. Don’t worry about texting, the last message I received from you was two years ago, so I know the phone is still your preferred choice.

Sadly, Pop, at my age I’ve already seen several friends leave here and at this age it’s hard to accept. Sure, if we were 80 or 90 years old, death wouldn’t be so surprising but right now it still feels surreal when it happens. But we are not promised tomorrow. However, I won’t make the mistake of worrying about death so much that I forget to live. Ron had an infectious laugh and his ability to converse was second to none. I’m grateful to have known him. Well, in case you didn’t know, Google knows everything. Last week I started seeing ads for a language institute all because I did a search on the Mandarin language. And if you haven’t read it in a while, you might want to get a refresher on Orwell’s 1984! Orwell had no concept of social media, but he wasn’t far off from what we’ve seen become a reality.  Is there anything about technology that does scare you?

I did my duty and voted and the few people I do know also voted. I think voting will always be a challenge and there will be those of us who simply do not care to vote for any politician. But we must keep moving forward. Order is being restored in Brazil, but the situation was escalating before the military got involved. Hmm…if I could go back in history and meet one person, I choose Ralph Ellison, the author of the Invisible Man. Pop, when I read that book, I saw so many things in it that we still see today. And if we understand the point of Ellison’s story, it gives us a better understanding of how groups are neglected by society. I would love to sit and talk with him about so many things in his lifetime and in ours. How about you? Give me some time on the Himmler brothers, I did find out a lot but I’m still reading. I will say that I did not know this story. Pop, I owe you one!

This coming weekend I’ll head over to L.A. and will be back up north by Monday.  For Thanksgiving, I’ll be having dinner with a couple of friends I made, Jean and Arthur. They’re a lovely couple two doors down and are obsessed with my New York accent. I didn’t know I had one! I agreed but didn’t promise to cook anything. I don’t want my first dinner to also be my last with them. Are you all ready for Thanksgiving? Mom making anything special?  Time moves so fast these days. I swear I saw Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. Last week I saw Christmas trees for sale and Thanksgiving Day hasn’t even arrived yet! Sometimes we move things too fast and forget to slow down at times. The other day I turned off the phone and computer for a couple of hours and sat outside with coffee and the newspaper. It was amazing. It was early in the morning, so I had the natural sounds of nature providing a rich soundtrack to start the day. We take so much for granted. But it’s okay to hit the reset button at times and start over from scratch. Speaking of which, I had to start using reading glasses as my near vision is not as sharp as before. I know you’re laughing as you read this because I am “getting old” like you. However, I can still get out of bed in one motion!

Give everyone my love,

Junior.

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