My sister, Paula, asked me if I’d go to a funeral here in Venice. Her former boss had died last month–way too young, 69 (yes 69 is young) –of some rare cancer. Paula couldn’t go and so she hoped I’d go and represent her. He was a fabulous boss, wonderful mentor and terrific guy. So I went. And I’m sitting there waiting for the memorial service to begin when the guy next to me says, “So do you live in Plantation (the golf, country club community where Lee had lived)?
No, I say, I don’t.
So how you know Lee? he says.
Well, I don’t, I say and before I can say any more, he says in disbelief, “Do you just make the rounds of funerals here in town?”
Right, says I. If there’s nothing else to do. Retirement can get pretty boring. But then I went on to explain why I was there.
And it was a lovely service. All three of Lee’s kids spoke and all I could think was, “Lord, if my own kids can say even half that much about me, I’d be ecstatic.” He was a good man, a kind man, an accomplished man..the smartest guy in the room, said his son. The nicest guy in the room, said his daughter. He could listen. He never judged. He liked people. He loved life. I’m telling you, my friends, Lee Williams’ eulogy is the one we all hope to have. I stopped to talk to his wife, Cindy, afterwards…lovely woman, my age…She’s going to miss this guy.
All in all, it was nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Dad and Annette spent it by the pool; Jerry worked out at the Y and then joined them by the pool and I went to a funeral.
Two abandoned books….I used to think that if I started a book, I should finish it. But not any more. There are too many good books out there to waste time on things I don’t love….First, I gave The Book of Strange New Things a good try (sorry Barry) I had heard it was good and it did have an interesting premise. A guy believes he is called by God to be a missionary to a planet called Oasis. So he goes there (from Cape Canaveral) to preach. Meanwhile, his wife is left behind in England. Evidently, all hell breaks loose on earth…what a mess. Tsunamis, plagues, food shortages…Sounds interesting but it was moving too slowly. I just couldn’t stay with it. I’m going to start something else tonight.
The other…The Girl on the Train…is a runaway best seller but after listening to it for about an hour, I decided I couldn’t put myself through it. The first narrator (I think there are three) is a divorcee who has lost her job but still takes the train into London every day so that her roommate/landlord won’t know she is unemployed. She is seriously overweight and drinks way too much and sometimes, when she’s very drunk, calls her ex-husband (remarried with a child) to tell him she needs him and wants him back. Not my kind of book. I quit. I know it gets interesting but I can’t slog through it.
I did read a beautiful book…The Book of Unknown Americans. It’s about new immigrants to the US and what their lives are like. The narrators all live in the same tenement house in Delaware (I think). The focus is a family from Mexico with a daughter who has a traumatic brain injury. They moved to the US to get help for her. This was a good one.
Our book club had a guest speaker this week…a young woman from a group called Selah Freedom. This group helps young women who have been victims of human trafficking in the Sarasota area. Surprise, surprise…there are LOTS of young women in the area who are being trafficked…young American girls who get sucked into prostitution and can’t find a way out. And Florida is #3 in the nation for human trafficking in the US. And the Sarasota/Bradenton area is #2 in Florida. It makes me sick.
Anyway, I just filled out the paperwork to volunteer. They’re looking for volunteers in lots of different areas but I figure I could help with grants writing, public speaking, tutoring…something like that. Some volunteers are teaching knitting or sewing or cooking or even how to make a bed. People are helping set up safe houses, find funding, etc. I had an idea that we need to connect with schools. Kids usually start at age 12-14. We probably need to do something with fifth and sixth graders in terms of prevention. So much to be done…so little time.
Dad and Annette are here. Honestly, my dad is 92 and doing so well. We walked the beach today and he did just great (stopped halfway to rest and made a new friend while Annette and I continued down the beach) We’re glad to have them around. They are so incredibly appreciative of everything …even meals that are just leftovers reheated and jazzed up a bit with a little wine in the gravy and some sautéed mushrooms.
The photos below are from Calli’s seventh birthday party. Neat little “walker” for new skaters, huh? Never saw one of those before. And these little Texans are huge Patriots fans…wore their jerseys to school the day after Super Bowl (right in the middle of Dallas Cowboy country) Everyone had been in a football pool run by the guy who lives across the street from them and wonder of wonders, Lana won. She won a LOT of money, most of which is going into a college fund. Anyway, we had two reasons to cheer on the Patriots…they’re our team and Lana was going to win big. Exciting night for all the Ginleys.