Posts Tagged ‘Jim Eros’

Letter From Claverack 11 03 2016 Crowing proud…

November 4, 2016

Kevin James Malone is not my nephew.  He is the child of my oldest friend, Sarah McCormick Malone, whom I have known since we were three.  There is a picture of the two of us on her parents’ couch in our rain gear on our first day of kindergarten.  [We were adorable.] We were already fast friends then and have been ever since.

From the time he was born, I was around about as much as any of his maternal uncles as the Malones lived in New Mexico and Michael, Bill and John, her three brothers, lived in the Midwest and on the East Coast, where her parents had settled.

On one wonderful Mother’s Day weekend, Sarah and Kevin came to visit “Uncle Mat” when I lived in Santa Monica.  We flew kites on the beach and road around in my convertible, watched movies late into the night, Kevin outlasting both his mother and me.  Kevin was maybe three years old.

When the eldest McCormick daughter, Mary Clare, celebrated her 25th anniversary to her husband Jim Eros [I had brunch with them last weekend], her parents threw a dinner at their country club on Long Island.

It seems to me that I was still living in California but was in New York at that moment and John and Eileen, Sarah’s parents, told everyone there would be a surprise guest.  [Me.]

Kevin was then about eight or nine then.  At some point in the evening Kevin went to his grandmother and asked her why Uncle Mat had a different last name than her other brothers, leaving Eileen to awkwardly attempt to explain.

Forever captured in the photo album of my brain is Kevin Malone walking up to me at that dinner, dressed in a suit and tie, putting his hands on his hips and looking up at me and demanding to know:  what do you mean you’re not one of my mother’s brothers?

It was a hiccup in our relationship we survived.

Years later, when he and his father and I were visiting him at work, we met his boss.  Kevin introduced his father and then me and said, this is my Uncle Mat.

When he was married to Michelle, I gave a toast at the Rehearsal Dinner.  We shopped for a shirt for him that day, together.

Kevin is not my nephew by blood but he is my nephew by choice.  His and mine.  I refer to him as my nephew when I talk about him to other people.  There is no other way to describe my relationship with him or his to me.

When he emailed me yesterday, along with others in his family, to announce he had passed the Bar in the District of Columbia, I felt so proud and glad.  Today I learned he has also passed the Bar in Massachusetts and I felt another swell of pride.

You see, I have no words to describe how wonderful a young man Kevin is.  He is one of the most unique individuals I have ever encountered.  Caring, thoughtful, whip smart without being arrogant about it, determined to be the best Kevin James Malone he can be.

I don’t remember how I met Sarah McCormick Malone but I did and our childhood friendship has endured and I am blessed to have been included in her family as a member of choice and they in mine, as family of choice.

Because of logistics we will not be able to do it this year but we have spent many a Christmas together over this last decade.

In the Strum und Drang of these last days before the election, I am comforted by the presence in this world of a man like my nephew Kevin, now a member of the Bar, a lawyer for real, who will do extraordinary things in his life.

Kevin, I am so proud of you.  Congratulations.

Kevin and his mother the weekend of his wedding to Michelle Melton…

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Letter From Claverack 10 30 2016 The old clock is ticking…

October 31, 2016

As I headed north on the train, I watched mist close over the Hudson River as I drifted off to a nap after an extraordinary brunch with my friends, Mary Clare and Jim Eros, at Café Du Soleil on the Upper West Side. We laughed and giggled and ate and had a good time.

They were off to watch a flotilla of pumpkins in Central Park while I headed down to the station to head north.

It is dark now and the flood lights illuminate the creek.  The ticking of my old clock is about the only sound I can hear and I am contented after a good conference in New York.  Tomorrow is my meeting with my eye surgeon before the cataract operation a week from this coming Wednesday; I am weary of my blurry vision and am grateful I live in an age when repairs can be done to things like this.

A century ago, I would have been doomed to live with it if I had been so lucky to live this long.  My friend, the philosopher Howard Bloom, always points out that we have doubled our life expectancy in the last hundred, hundred fifty years.  A great accomplishment.

Things that would have killed us quickly have been either vanquished or we have ways of coping better than ever with what would have been life ending diseases not so very long ago.

Things like that give me some hope.

This week there were articles about robot warriors who could learn to kill using artificial intelligence, making judgments that only humans could before.  While that brings to mind images from “The Terminator,” robots are being also developed to help those who are helpless and to save human lives in other ways.  The Japanese are in the forefront of this because of their aging population.

Mary Clare and Jim split their time between Shepherdstown, WV and New York City.  They describe themselves as the new “young old.”  Both are retired and both are full of energy and life and a passion to explore the world and are an inspiration to me.

The three of us have all, to one degree or another, been tuning out the din of this the last weeks of this election cycle.  It was left to me to explain the newest twist in the Clinton email drama.  Both of them had missed it.  All of us are confused by it and are wondering why the FBI ignored the guidance of the Justice Department to not say anything so as not to appear to be influencing the election.

But it is what it is and is another twist in this most remarkable Presidential election.

Last night a truckload of manure was dumped in the parking lot of the Democratic headquarters in Ohio.  I find myself somewhere between outrage and hysterical laughter at the silliness of what is going on.  Manure?  In 2016?

As I cruised through the news today, I found an interview with Jerry Brotton, an English author, who has just published a book about Elizabeth I’s alliances with the Islamic world.  Shunned by Catholic Europe, Elizabeth I built alliances with the Shah of Persia, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and Morocco.  Fascinating.

However, in this present time the US is telling the families of workers in the US Consulate in Istanbul to leave the country.  This is combined with a warning to tourists to not travel there because of targeting by terror groups of Americans and other foreigners.

At the same time, the Turkish government has fired ten thousand civil servants and is crushing any media that disagrees with it.

I am saddened beyond words.  Fifteen years ago I was in Turkey and fell in love with Istanbul and have wanted to return.  Perhaps not or at least not now…

The old clock is ticking.  I think of it as the heart of the house.  I am content tonight and am living in the now.  Mindfulness is what I think they call it.