Wild Story My Father Told Me Today

This is one of the most fascinating true stories I have ever heard, and it happened a few weeks ago. 

My parents live in Naples, Florida, in one of those retirement communities on a golf course. They live in a “community” in the sense that there are clubs for everything: golf, bridge, wine, reading, etc.

So here is my father’s story about a man in one of the clubs – my father swears this is true and just happened.

So the man, who is about 85, was at an event in Naples and he saw an old woman there.

He walked up to her and said, “excuse me, but do you recognize me?”

She looked him up and down and said she did not.

He rolled up his sleeves and showed her a number that was branded on his arm. The number was there because he was in a concentration camp in WWII.

She also had a number on her arm – and their numbers were one apart. They had sequential numbers because when they arrived at the concentration camp, they were married.  They were separated in the camp and afterwards could not find each other and assumed the other dead.

I guess this happened just a few weeks ago and so my father was unable to answer my subsequent questions, which included: “So, what happened next? Were either of them married?  Are they going to try to pick up where they left off?”

I know this sounds like an urban legend, but my father swears this happened. It’s the kind of event that is so hard to believe that if you put it in a movie, people would say, “that would never happen”.

But it did.  


New poem


It was late in his life when he looked at a framed picture of a happy
family and looked twice.

He went one night, not alone, to the local art school’s museum,
looking at painted faces that were not quite perfect but could still
transmit a clear message that said “I am a young artist, and therefore
this is a fuzzy picture, but I will sharpen it, and I might be old
that day, but only then you will understand me.”

His eyes were caught by the picture’s confident stained wood that
elegantly, like a wise old couple, holding hands, dressed as best they
can, engaging their hands below the table, knowing love is twinkling
underneath, supported the beauty within.

He stared at that painting.

He had been sitting in front of it for nearly two hours.

He found it because there was a comfortable seat in front of it.

He wanted to rest his legs while she explored the museum with her mother.

He agreed to go the museum, saying to the women, “there is nothing for
me, but I will find a place to sit.”

A 72 year old man can say these things.

And he found a seat and watched the two women, one old, one young,
skip away into the museum.

That emerged as his life’s saddest moment: those closest to him skipping away to inspect art
and life while he labored to rest his legs.

But his saddest moment became his second saddest when he began to think.

A museum.

Young artists trying to capture life.

An old life, as such surrounded, too tired to walk around, look, and
look back.

He thought this situation might be one worthy of framing.

A moment in life.

He stared at the picture.

He thought of getting up, but he was too tired.

So he looked at the pictures and remembered.

“What Kind of Women Do You Like?”

I’m not sure if I am asked this question because I have been single for quite awhile, or whether it comes from curiosity, but it seems like I have been asked this a lot over the last year.

I think some people expect answers that either address physical attributes (tall, short, blond, brunette), race, age, or personality traits.

The answer I find myself saying, and it seems simultaneously very vague and specific, is an answer that also explains my choice in friends.

“They just get it,” I say.

Not having to define “it” is, perhaps, part of the test.

My closest friends are the ones I can cruise with in just about any situation.

I told my good friend Pistol that “I spend more and more time with fewer and fewer people.”

I’ve told those who ask “what kind of women” I like that I’ve always been content hanging out with myself. I’m not one to seek companionship to simply not be alone.

As strange as it may sound, I enjoy my company.

When I was in high school, I would go home from school everyday and go into the basement and play my guitar for hours.

I remember my father, who was a math teacher and therefore concerned about my education and resulting career, advising me, “you know, you might like science because you don’t have to be around people very much.”

But I like being around people.  People who get it.

While I am not looking for a job, I am sometimes asked the all to common interview question, “where do you want to be in five years?”

The next time I am asked that, I am going to say, “even more in the present.”

I know, it sounds new agey.

A few years ago, my father (70 at the time) hurt his back.

He pointed out that the injury was one of the first he had experienced that was simply a fact of aging.

And he said that he wasn’t sure how to deal with it, because “he had never been this old before.”

Life only grants us the luxury of precedence for common problems, which is why being with people who “get it” is so important.

A compass is calibrated based upon past quests.

The only compass for the uncharted is the intuition that enables one to “get it”.