Posts Tagged ‘Robin Williams’

Letter From New York 12 31 14 Some thoughts at year’s end…

December 31, 2014

Outside, the sun is setting and I am prepping for my New Year’s Eve – as probably are all of you. I am following what has become my tradition of the last few years and I go down to Hudson, have dinner at the bar at Ca’Mea or the Dot and then attend the Red Dot’s annual New Year’s Eve party.

To avoid all the dangers of driving on New Year’s Eve, I check into the Inn at Ca’Mea and make it a bit of a holiday. I don’t have to worry about driving and I don’t have to worry about other drivers.

As I was driving back home from checking in, the obituary writer for the New York Times was being interviewed on NPR. She posited that the industry hardest hit by deaths during the year was Hollywood, with many of the last that went through the old studio system passing away, such as Lauren Bacall and Shirley Temple, as well as those who went too young, like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams, both having so much left to give. And let us not forget Louise Rainer, who died this week, having been the first to receive back-to-back Oscars for her work in the 1930’s. She lived to 104. Today saw the passing of the great character actor, Edward Hermann, best known for his work in Gilmore Girls.

This last day of the year is a good one for contemplation. To think about the ones who have gone before us and to hold close to our hearts the good things that have happened. I find it a bittersweet day and not one I particularly like. That’s one reason I make a plan for New Year’s Eve and probably make one that is not dependent on others.

As I often do, I peruse the stories breaking around the world and the world is going on its drumbeat. 2015 has already begun in Australia. New York security is supposed to be tighter than a drum. A two year old accidentally killed his mother when he reached into her gun-loaded purse.

Out in Asia, bad weather is hampering recovery efforts for the AirAsia flight that crashed. The news is the news; often not much good is reported. But I like to remember that good things happen, too. My friend, Mary Dickey, brought me a Christmas gift today, a battery powered toothbrush, just the right size for my backpack. We share a passion for brushing. I’m taking it with me tonight.

It is that blend of good and bad that makes the world so interesting and so unpredictable as well as frightening. Nature plays with us. It will snow in California tonight, I understand.

Dark is falling on Claverack. The old year is ending. The new one will begin. May you all have the Happiest [and safest] of New Year’s!

Letter From New York August 15, 2014

August 15, 2014

Or, as it seems to me…

It is the middle of August; you can almost touch the end of summer, a summer that has been delightful, warm but not hot, humidity low, an unusual Eastern summer. Because of a break in my schedule, I have retreated to the cottage for a few days. Waking this morning, the day had broken grey again, cool, almost chill, a day requiring a sweatshirt with the temptation of starting a fire in the wood stove to charm away the cool.

It is almost too chill for the shorts I’m wearing. And, after a little soul searching,I did decide to light a fire to charm away the cool.

This afternoon’s chore is to sort through a bunch of old papers, letters that I think date back to my college days that have somehow managed to follow me through all these years in an old wicker basket taken from the basement of my mother’s house in south Minneapolis.

It feels like a good time to cast off those memories. I have been getting my house in order; no one lives forever and I would like to not leave behind a mess. Not that I have any plans in going anywhere for awhile but we are all mortal and I’ve been feeling the winds of mortality at my back.

My good friend Tim Sparke, younger than me, is waging war with the cancers in his body, defying medical odds and doctor’s prognostications, continuing to live after a being given a six month horizon some two years ago. I received an email from him this weekend that chronicled his battles, the victories and defeats, the advances and the retreats of the long campaign since last we had communicated six months ago.

These are days of reflection, underscored and punctuated by the reality of Tim’s illness, a personal touching of mortality on my life while the whole world, it seems, ponders the seeming incomprehensibilty of Robin Williams’ death, a passing which has cast an unexpectedly large shadow over our lives.

It seemed he had always been there in the background of our lives, a manic, whirling dervish of a thousand characters that punctuated our lives. From Mork & Mindy to The Birdcage to Good Will Hunting to A Night at the Museum, he was part of the fabric of our cultural life. And he will be missed.