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4 Birthdays and Some Wisdom

My friend, Cindy, turned 70 December 14 the date my ‘Finding Mr. Rightstein' editor, Kendra, turned something younger. I emailed Kendra Happy Birthday wishes. I will take Cindy out after her Florida trip. We’ve been friends since we were 12. She had her hair done at Cecilia’s Salon for her Bat Mitzvah. Check out the beehive she did herself for the surprise 17th birthday luncheon she threw for me.

Lucky me to have a treasured friend, who moved to NYC when I did. We celebrate birthdays and more.

On December 8, my father would have turned 109. I hear him every day. His remarks are part of my family’s lore. Aunt Dora had a standing 10:00 am hair appointment on Saturday and stopped by after on her way home. My father would look up from his book and say, “What’s the matter? They didn’t take you?”

In his 80s, upon discovering that the doctor, assigned to visit and treat my mother daily in the hospital, never saw her and had no clue who she was, he notified the hospital head and the AMA of the scam. The doctor was fired. His license was revoked.

Mainly, my father’s advice, spirit, and life guide me. He didn’t want things. Reading, Bridge, and the cheapest Early Bird Specials delighted him. His family delighted him more. “Family is everything,” he reminded me from childhood on. The extended family now--through marriages and births—would make his heart sing as it does mine.

His other reminders:

--don’t keep up with Joneses, they don’t know what they’re doing,

--grades in school don’t matter, but a sense of humor and kindness do

--the getting is in the giving

--belligerence is the belligerent person’s problem. Not yours. For years, both a relative and a colleague hammered my father. He shrugged. Pitied them. Forgave.

His advice, like my mother’s, took years to appreciate. Our parents are right about most things. Listen.

My father kvelled each time I had a piece published. He said after each rejection “It only takes one.”

My One’s birthday is December 22. We’ll go to a restaurant we like and go out with his kids the next night. Jonathan majored in kindness, forgiving, and giving. I love other things about him, too. But his kindness and generosity of spirit continue to wow me. “There are so few opportunities in life when we can help and give to others,” he says.

I’m sorry my folks didn’t meet him. I’m so glad I did.

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