New Beginnings

Dear Junior,

I hope you enjoyed your first Christmas in California. I apologize for the late reply, things have been so busy here in New York, and time does fly. Thanks for checking in with your mother, you know she worries about you and hearing your voice on Christmas Day gave her a huge sense of relief. It didn’t stop her from barking orders, but we take what we can get around here. Things are good here; we’re waiting for 2023 to arrive. We’ll be at home for New Year’s Eve, you know at our age we don’t hang out on that night and stay at home. We leave that for the young people. And speaking of which, we did get a funny email the other day, it was allegedly from your cousin Kareem, and in it, he claimed to be living in Istanbul among a group of gypsies. And get this, all he needed from us was $2500 to move to London.  It was a good email, but the only problem is I saw Kareem at the supermarket a few blocks from here three days ago. Wait… put up a Christmas tree??? I think hell just might freeze over! Very good son, I’m glad to see you’re in the holiday spirit. 

Chess, eh? Good, when the time comes you can show your old man what you’ve learned. I promise I won’t beat you up too much when we play. That’s good that you have support out there, keep it going and enjoy each day.  Hmmmm…strength can mean many things. But if I had to define it from what I know and have seen, what makes someone strong is their ability to get hit, fall but get back up and come back improved. We tend to think of physical feats or physical aspects when we talk of strength, but numbers can pale in comparison to what life throws at us. My mother was strong not just for raising multiple children on her own but dealing with her own issues and still getting up at dawn each day to give us what we needed in life. I pray I always come close to matching her strength.  What do you think makes someone strong? 

I agree that there is no place like New York City. It’s a tough place to live but also rewarding at times. The mayor is determined to clean up the homeless population and I wish him luck as he will have to make difficult decisions that will not sit well with him. But that is the reality of being in a position of leadership.  Crime is another problem that will need to be addressed. The NYPD has stepped up patrols on the trains but I fear we may make the mistake of treating the symptom and not the cause. Mental illness is a very big issue, and I see it also affects California. Be careful when you are out and about, people may look harmless but there is no telling what they are capable of. And never let anyone see you going through money in the streets. You’re a city kid though, so you know what to do to remain safe. Thankfully, the only person I need to worry about picking my pocket sleeps next to me every night.  

Please email us the pictures of your Aunt Liz’s wedding, we would love to see them. I can’t believe how many years have passed since then. It seems like ages and is probably more than 40 years ago. Enjoy your youth kid, time moves so fast as you get older. It’s a good idea to take a step back at times and enjoy the moment. Our lives get so busy that we often forget this, but it’s never too late to go back to the basics in life. Nature has a funny way of reminding us of what is important in life. Mother Nature and Father Time will always see to it that we come to our senses when necessary. The key is that we pay attention. Your mother is still having her moments and has feelings of sadness and guilt. She sometimes thinks she could have done more but I remind her she is not God. Slowly she’s coming around and making peace with it but the healing process from death is a long and unpredictable one. At this age, sadly more people leave here than arrive, but it’s a fact of life you are forced to accept. Time comes for us all, but until you do get called to check out, live the best life you can. And when it is time to go, you can go in peace knowing that you had one hell of a ride. I miss your aunt and think of her often. I am grateful for the memories I have with her that stay with me. And knowing her the way that I did, she would want all of us to keep enjoying life before we also leave here.  

Do you have any resolutions for the new year? Mine is to keep going and make another year. Sounds too simple but you’ll understand as you get older in life. 


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