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Sunday, January 6, 2013
Despite her stated wishes to the contrary, my cousin Paul decided there really should be a memorial service for my Aunt Ellie, who you remember died a few weeks back at the very ripe old age of 99 years and 5 months. So I hopped the subway (something which I rarely do at this point) out to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the shindig.
Now picture this! Of my father and Aunt Ellie's 4 sons, Pete (my oldest cousin) is a surgeon and Chief of Surgery at Hartford General Hospital. My brother Jimmy is also a doctor and runs a huge endocrinological practice (with 8 sawbones working for him) in Baltimore where he graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School. Paul (my other cousin) is a Professor of Dance at a prestigious university in Jerusalem (can't remember the name right now). And me? A bull shit blogger! Talk about a black sheep!
Regardless, when I arrived, all any of them could talk about was the wonderful eulogy I'd written about Ellie on this very blog. Really?!?! I played it off commenting that if I thought anybody was gonna read it, I'd have spent a few more minutes editing myself...but thanked them for their patronizing words. And then Paul whipped out a printout of the entry and asked me to read it for the service. Now how's that for high praise from my highbrow kin? Maybe they weren't patronizing me after all!
First, I was mortified. Once upon a time, I almost passed out addressing the class in 8th grade Social Studies I was so nervous. And years later, I suffered a severe case of stagefright when I went on a talk show out in California as a wisecracking cabby! My brother who addresses huge groups routinely volunteered to do the job for me, but Paul thought the actual author would be better. Well anyway...unwillingly, I said I'd do it and waited as each relative either stammered through or broke down crying during his or her eulogy.
When it came my turn (and there were probably 100 people in attendance as my aunt was a popular individual), I addressed the crowd with the disclaimer "I'm one of those bloggers you've been hearing about...and when I heard of my Aunt Ellie's passing, this is what I wrote."
I began reading and before I could even get nervous the crowd broke into gales of laughter at something I didn't even realize was funny! After that it was all downhill! No problem hamming it up for an appreciative audience! And when the recitation was over, Paul gave me a big hug with a tear in his eye. Not only that...all the relatives admitted they'd seen the blog and were more impressed with the redeeming quality (given the context) than they were depressed with the content. Doctors and professor notwithstanding...I didn't get the idea that anybody held himself above me. Several people I'd never met before came up to shake my hand and tell me how fabulous I am and all that good stuff. But really...I just wrote how I felt about my Aunt Ellie in my diary (this blog) and holy crap...everybody was loving it! Go figure!
So now, I'm thinking maybe excerpts from this dump site could serve as stand up material in a club! I gotta tell ya...I could deal with a room full of people laughing their asses off at how clever I am. Whether I actually am clever or not would be immaterial!
And then there was the guy who looked at me with a wink and said "I've seen you before somewhere"...and I realized he knew about this blog already! Just like the guy in Grand Jury duty.
Anyway...life has not been that terrific of late (leave me not enumerate the reasons) and it was nice to have a good day in the real world. So now it's time to incorporate 5 minutes from this blog into a standup routine I can present at some open mike. Why not? I worked at the Memorial! Maybe it could work at Caroline's too!
On the last day I saw my Aunt Ellie she made this comment: "Well, Billy You sure have led an interesting life!" Not so much from where I sit but whatever...my eulogy for my uncle brought a tear to her eye when I read it for Ellie on our final visit and hopefully, this one did as well...as I trust she was listening in recognition and appreciation wherever she is right now!