Archive for Friendship

Politics and Friendship…

Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is a man of few words. He is the boyfriend of Mme. Precious Ramotswe, the title character in Alexander McCall Smith’s literary series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. A car mechanic by trade, Mr. Matekoni is a simple man – wise and laconic. When asked to explain something, he often responds with “I have no more words,” a phrase I sometimes use when M and I are in the midst of a heated discussion.

Today, I’m speechless as I watch our newly inaugurated president fight to restore order to a country reeling from an assault on its capitol while addressing the need to vaccinate the entire population against a killer virus, repair the damage to our place in the international community and deal with long lines at food banks, police brutality, immigration crises and racial division. I, literally, have no more words. read more

A Lesson in Freedom…

Following last week’s assault on the US Capitol, CNN released this video of sequestered Republicans refusing to accept or wear masks offered by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. At the time, the room was occupied by close to 100 members hiding from the insurrectionists. Less than a week later, at least four people in that room, including a 75-year-old cancer survivor, tested positive for Covid-19.

In an Op-Ed last week, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “Refusing to wear a mask is no more a “personal choice” than is drinking all evening and then stumbling into your car and heading down the road. In a time of plague, shunning a face mask is like driving drunk, putting everyone in your path in danger.” read more

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Sometimes good fortune feels like destiny. Stars align and something magical occurs. In the spring of 2001, before 9/11 and 20 years before Covid-19, Marilynn and I rode our bikes from Bordeaux through the Dordogne in southwestern France. No itinerary, just three weeks alone rolling through the countryside. 

We had grown up together, married other people, and were back together after a 40-year break. I had traveled a lot in those 40 years. She had done some but wanted to do more. I asked if she would be willing to try it on a bicycle. She was game and we were off on the first of our ten self-supported bike trips. read more

Art in the Pandemic Era…

If art, music, dance, or theater were an important part of your world earlier, the pandemic has turned it upside down. With the ability to travel, attend events and visit museums limited, we have been left casting about for alternatives. Art is meant to be experiential—best when it’s a one-on-one experience with the original. 

A picture can’t begin to deliver the feeling of standing next to Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Accademia in Florence. In its presence the stone pulses with energy, muscles ripple, veins throb and eyelids almost blink. read more

Paying it Forward…

You’ve got to admire a friend so eccentric, so eclectic, that his magazine subscriptions included The National EnquirerNew England Journal of Medicine, Popular Mechanics, The New Yorker and How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot). Dr. Fred Terry Simmons was that friend – a Boston brahmin, graduate of Exeter, Yale, and McGill University Medical School and all-around tequila loving polymath. 

In 1975 I sold him my 1967 Volkswagen Squareback. He named it F. Potato (yes, that F), re-registered it, drove it home to Los Angeles, ordered a vanity plate, kept the Idaho registration until they stopped renewing by mail, and drove it until it rolled down his steep driveway and self-demolished. Whereupon he bought an identical Squareback, named it The Biscuit, and drove it until he died and it was towed away in 2014. I often fantasized he might choose to be buried in it like one of the Pharaohs. read more