Letter From New York 01 20 2016 May we all succeed…

Today was a long day.  It was my first day of class and it reminded me of how much work teaching is and how much work I will have to do to prepare for each class.

Class was dismissed early because I had to drive down to Livingston, NJ for my friend Paul’s Memorial Service.  I dismissed class at 11:45 and made it to Livingston, NJ at 1:58.  The service started at 2:00.

I was the fourth person to speak.  It was hard for me to make it through.  The sense of loss caught in my throat though I did not break down but it was all that I could do not to.

That was true of almost everyone who spoke.  The last speaker was his mother, now 105.

His grandson Daniel was riven by grief, hard to see, hard to bear.  When I arrived, his daughter hugged me and said, “You had fun, you two.”  And we did.

As I drove down, I listened to the radio, always attempting to find a station to listen to that could be picked up.  It was hard.  I heard about the stock market plunge and there was naught that I could do about it driving down New York 87.  The market dive seems to be driven by the fall of oil prices.  One commentator said that the markets weren’t factoring in the good that might come of lower oil prices.

With sanctions being lifted on Iran, it is about to start selling its oil which will further depress prices.  It is going to be a wicked winter, I fear.

I had thought to drive from Livingston, NJ into the city and spend the night but had decided against it as there is a storm brewing which could make driving tough as early as Friday.  So I came home and will train in tomorrow morning for some meetings and a dinner with an old friend, Jerry May.

He and I have known each other for thirty-two years, having met when we were young, in advertising.  I was at his 30th birthday party, having helped planned the surprise party that night.

He lived in San Francisco then and was my client when I was at A&E.  Now he lives in Seattle, at a new agency.  His now wife, Gail, lured me to Seattle on the pretext she was throwing a big birthday party for Jerry.

They punked us.  They threw a surprise wedding for themselves.  I was so pleased that across the years Jerry would want me at his wedding.  We had seen each other little but had remained in contact through LinkedIn and I looked him up when I passed through Seattle on one of my train journeys.

People make the fabric of our lives.  Riches come and go.  But it is the people we touch that really, really, really matter. 

For Paul’s Memorial Card, his daughter Karen chose a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I pass it on tonight to you.

“To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or a reformed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.”

Paul’s grandson concluded his speech with saying his grandfather had succeeded.  He had made Daniel’s life breathe easier.  He made many peoples live breathe easier, mine included.

May we all succeed.

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