Posts Tagged ‘Tom Fudali’

Letter From Claverack 08 15 2017 Sorting through history…

August 15, 2017

rocking horse

Staring out my brother’s kitchen, the day is beautiful after a series of grey and gloomy ones.  After prevaricating for days, I have finally determined I will return home on Friday and am now looking forward to returning to the comforts of the cottage.  My kitchen is freshly painted and I will do a re-org of it upon my return.

This afternoon, I am going over to St. Paul to visit my cousin’s ex-wife at the home where she works with her mother, caring for developmentally challenged adults.

And then, this evening, I will be dining with Christine Olson, a friend from college days.  She dated one of my roommates; we have stayed close.  He and I have not.

Being in Minneapolis is always a time of sorting memories.  Yesterday, I had breakfast with my ex-sister-in-law, which is hard for me to say as she is still, in my mind, my sister-in-law, even if she and my brother are no longer married.  We, as we always do, laughed and giggled and had fun.

Last night, I dined with my nieces, Kristin and Theresa, Theresa’s son Emile, his girlfriend, Irene, and we, too, laughed and giggled and reminisced about some good things and some hard things.

And so there is a sorting of thoughts.  The rocking horse was my brother’s and I inherited it and rode it in our “rumpus room” in the basement long after he had last touched it.  Now it sits in his bedroom, a reminder of the past.

My best friend from high school came up from Chicago to see me this weekend and as we sat on Friday afternoon, working at this kitchen table, I looked up at him and laughed.  We both settle back in to being with each other in minutes and it is a comfort from knowing him a lifetime.

It was important for me that he knew how much I loved him and how important it has been that he has been in my life.  I hope I succeeded.  We have reached the part of our lives where we definitely can’t see around the corners.

As usual, jazz plays as I write.  I care for jazz the way Sidney does in “Grantchester.”  It has become a thread in my life.

And it captures the melancholy that comes from sorting thoughts, working to put the pieces of the puzzle together, a never-ending process in life.

At dinner last night, we talked of my mother and one of my nieces shook her head.  Her grandmother was a complicated individual who sometimes delighted us and often vexed us.  Always kind to strangers, that kindness did not always extend to her kin.  As she aged and as dementia set in, her granddaughters occasionally saw her rage and it shook them.

As the rage of the White Supremacist movement shook me this weekend when one of them, barely an adult, drove his car into a group of counter protesters and killed a woman and injured nineteen in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Our president’s tepid “many sides” response to the incident has resulted in a series of resignations from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council.

The first to leave was Ken Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical company, Merck.  Trump viciously attacked him for doing so.  Critics of Trump have pointed out that Frazier is black.

The others who have left are white and, so far, have not been targeted by the kind of ire that hit Frazier. They have also not mentioned Charlottesville.

FORTUNE, a magazine I do not think of as a bastion of liberal thought, has praised Frazier’s resignation as an act of courage.

The others have only been called “grand-standers” by Trump. The latest to go is Scott Paul, head of the American Manufacturing Alliance.  And Mr. Trump knows “plenty” who will replace these “grand-standers.”

As I begin to wind down my time in Minneapolis, I continue sorting my thoughts, fitting the past into my present.   As I must sort and parse the actions of a president whose reactions and words defy my understanding of his position and the kind of deportment it requires.

Here is a link to what Jimmy Fallon had to say and it was well said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack 06 19 2017 An Attitude of Gratitude

June 19, 2017

It is the evening of June 19th; Father’s Day is beginning to fade as is Pride Weekend in Hudson.

Pride

An on again, off again rain falls and an hour or two ago the sky was nighttime dark.  Cosseted in the cottage, a martini by my side, I watch the raindrops splatter on the Claverack Creek.

It’s interesting.  I was very sensitive over the weekend, a little raw.  When I woke Saturday, I was in an unexpectedly foul mood and at the end of the day I took myself home and had a talk with myself.

I felt raw because it was Pride weekend and I woke acutely aware that I am not part of a unit and that I haven’t been very good at dating.  The last one felt like I had entered a reality version of Sartre’s “No Exit.”

I am alone and normally it doesn’t bother me and over the weekend it did.  Hudson is a town of couples and I am not coupled, which puts me at a bit of a disadvantage. You’re the odd one at the dinner party.

And, then, Sunday, it was Father’s Day.  Always a hard day for me.  I did not have a great relationship with my father.  He was good to me the first few years and then, he wasn’t.  The last seven years of his life he had almost nothing to say to me.  The night before he died, I was being a squirrely twelve-year-old and he angrily sent me to my room.

It was the last exchange I had with him.  The next morning, he had a stroke and died.  So, I have spent my life trying to read the runes of the little time I had with him.

Okay, so it’s problematic.  Parental relationships are problematic.  Maybe mine a little more than others and mine probably a lot less than others, too.

It’s just it pops up on Father’s Day.

And I know so many good fathers; I sent text messages to them today.  My godson, Paul, among them.  He has two children, a girl, Sophia, and a boy, Noah.  I don’t know them well and know enough to know they are interesting children and that’s because they have wonderfully invested parents.

And then there is Tom Fudali, who is Paul’s father, who made me Paul’s godfather and I am eternally grateful for that because Paul is not my son and he is my godson and our relationship is something I had hoped for and didn’t think would happen and has.

And there is my friend, Robert Murray, father of five, who exchanged texts with me while watching his son, Colin, play soccer in New Windsor.  Robert reminds me of my oldest friend, Sarah’s, father, John McCormick, who had six children and made their home the place to be.  On bitter Minnesota winter nights, the neighborhood would gather and skate on the rink in John’s backyard.  They are some of my most magical childhood memories.

And then there is Kevin Malone, Sarah’s son, who has always thought of me as his uncle even though I am not actually his uncle but we have an avuncular relationship that is so effing wonderful!  He is not a father and he is wonderful and is a jewel in my life.

So, I was being self-indulgently depressed, and I need to focus in on all the wonderful things which go on in my life and all the wonderful people who are in it.

In the craziness that has been in my mind this weekend, I am so glad I wrote this as it reminds me of all the things for which I need to remind myself that I need to have an “attitude of gratitude.”

In Memoriam:

I read today that Stephen Furst had died.  He gained fame in “Animal House” as Flounder, went on to “St. Elsewhere” and “Babylon Five” and directed movies and television shows.  For a time, in the 1990’s, we were friendly.  He was a gracious, gentle soul, doing his very best in life.  RIP. I remember you fondly.

Otto Warmbier, the young student returned from North Korea in a coma, has passed away.  It is heartbreaking. At least he was at home, with family.

 

Letter From New York 06 06 2016 On feeling as if I lived in Cloudcuckooland…

June 7, 2016

I am sitting in a bar where I stopped to wait to hear from brother and his wife, about their progress into Manhattan via Uber.  It is slow going out there.  I just arrived in Manhattan from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, having flown in on a private jet from Martha’s Vineyard.

It is not a normal occurrence in my life but I do have a friend who belongs to the private jet club and he was coming into New York and offered me a ride with him so that I could be in New York tonight when my brother arrived as opposed to tomorrow morning.

At Teterboro, there were, it seemed, hundreds upon hundreds of private jets lined up waiting for their owners to go somewhere.  It was an amazing sight.

We then looked at a plane my friend is thinking of adding to his fleet, a plane capable of making it from New York to Beijing, non-stop.  It is another world in which I occasionally waddle but do not live.

Long ago, when I was young, I was in a production of Aristophanes’ “The Birds.”  Two con men find their way to Cloudcukooland, where birds talk and rule.  It is a political satire first performed in the Fifth Century BCE.

And I thought about it tonight when I was looking at headlines about the current political scene.  In one of my letters recently I said that I was appalled that Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.  His position as such is causing me to come out of the closet as a liberal, which I am not exactly… 

A reader of my “Letter From New York” wrote back with a five page email about why, in the end, he is voting for Trump.  I haven’t answered yet.  I can’t quite figure out what to say.  His position is all based on the fact Trump is an “outsider” and it is time that an “outsider” was elected to shake up the system.

Well, I think it well might be time for an “outsider” to win the election but not this “outsider.”  He’s a wacko, a bigot, a looney tunes billionaire who has hijacked the Republican Party and no one in the Republican Party is actually calling him to account for that. 

The press is treating him like he is a serious person when in reality he is a serious charlatan.  He is a billionaire and has declared bankruptcy more times than Carter has little liver pills, as my best friend from high school, Tom Fudali, used to say.

I am so outraged right now that this poseur, who is stirring up the worst elements of American culture, is riding them to a nomination for President.  I am aghast.

Not that I am not aghast at the Democrats, too.  Who, riven with discord, are tearing at each other every step of the way to the nomination.  In the end, it will probably be Hillary Clinton, a flawed but qualified candidate, who will, until election day, have to deal with the bitter divide stirred by Bernie Sanders, some of whose supporters say they will vote for Trump if they can’t have Bernie. 

What?

You would give the country to a flawed AND unqualified candidate out of spite?

No wonder I was thinking today that I am living in Cloudcuckooland.

Republicans, look at your candidate.  You are about to officially nominate a racist bigot to head the ticket of the Republican Party, Lincoln’s party, the man who freed slaves.

He is criticizing an American born judge who is presiding over a case against him because he is of Hispanic heritage and encouraging his supporters to denounce the man. 

The man, albeit a billionaire [we think], is pandering to the worst instincts in our culture and is absolutely not calling us to be better, to be greater, to actually deal with the very serious issues facing America today.  He is calling us back to a past we had thought we had escaped…

But before I go today it is the anniversary of D-Day.  Salutations to those men who served our country, waded into death and took back Europe from the Nazis.  All honor to them.  Thank you.