Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1923 – so long ago! As a little boy, you rode a wagon with your Zeidy Max behind a horse named Dick, a horse so smart he knew where to stop along the route, despite being blind. Your Zeidy delivered ice to his customers in those days before homes had refrigerators. They had ‘ice boxes’ to keep food cold. Oh those were the days!
You arrived in Michigan on July 3rd this year, in time to celebrate my 40th marriage anniversary the very next day. The Luke Winslow King band played under the tent after lunch and you danced with me, just like we did long ago.
You were my first dance partner. Mom didn’t enjoy dancing, so you danced with me at all the weddings and bar mitzvahs. I took classes in ballroom dancing in 6th grade and that helped me follow you around the dance floor.
Daddio, you take such pleasure in life! Drink, gezunte haid!
Farm interns who are lucky to be here when you come visit me, always learn a few Yiddish phrases. D’rehdle raitzakh – the wheel turns! Now it is time for you to share the wisdom of your experiences.
I love the way you talk to yourself ’so someone will listen’. I rarely need to admonish you, because you eventually tell yourself to sheket, to sha, to be quiet, Julie boy.
You make people smile wherever we go. You disarm them with your ’Hable Espaniole, Baby?’ Or by asking the young girl at the ice cream parlor, ‘Do you sell ice cream here?’ Out of respect, people don’t ignore you. They think you’re confused, but soon they realize that you’re just having fun with them. They laugh. Whatever they’re doing becomes a pleasure. Because of you.