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The Return of the Inimitable H. Storytelling PDF E-mail
The Year of the Illnesses
The Return of the Inimitable H. Storytelling

Dear A:

Andrei, you're so sweet, no wonder you are my oldest and most treasured friend.

Your words of empathy were like honeysuckle to a bee.  A bee displaced by global warming, confusedly expecting forsythia and lilacs to bloom in May, not get deluged by a blizzard!

Everyone is so busy lately, and so stressed, and freaked-out about the state of the country, the world and the planet that empathy has become another rare commodity.  And when you have one trauma after another, people feel burdened listening to it all.  Or, at least I felt that way telling them about illness after illness.

But inside, I was desperate.  I know that you are probably the only person who truly believes me when I say that after I got that diagnosis of arthritis in my 2 writing fingers, I left the doctor's office and almost walked in front of a moving truck.  Why those fingers and none other? Because I basically wore out the collagen in them, always preferring to write by hand, so by holding a pen there for almost exactly 50 years, starting when I was 7 yrs old & learned how to write (I so vividly remember that feeling...I couldn't wait to learn to read, but to write?!  That was all I ever wanted in life!  That was magic, that was heaven!) I overused those fingers and the collagen in them.  So now I have osteoarthritis, not rheumatoid, so I won't get all gnarly hands.

While other altruistic tykes were detailing their dreams of becoming nurses and firemen, I still have my framed 2nd grade composition, "What I want to do when I grow up" in which I most emphatically state that I want to become "a FAMOUS writer" signed, "Robert Louis Harriet" (I changed the spelling of my name in 7th grade when I started learning French.  It was such a grandmotherly name to have amidst all the JAP-py Rhodas, Rhonas, Loris, Susies and Debbies in 1960's Queens, NY.)

My devoted ex-husband worries about me, but as you know, he joined the Canadian Army, and has since gotten a promotion to sergeant.  I swear on a stack of Tim Horton's, a pile of maple leaves! He recently went out on maneuvers, loaded, cleaned and shot his rifle.   Now he has a license to carry a gun, eh?

Hey, btw, Darlin' what is the name of that hotel in "The Shining", I mean, the one you were staying in at the Jersey Shore?  My mom wants to celebrate her birthday by going to the Jersey Shore with her children, in-laws and two grandchildren.  Esther has NO health problems except for osteoporosis, so she is basically bent over on a cane like a 90 degree angle.  Naturally this does not deter her from participating in her weekly vigil which consists of standing in a traffic circle in Union Square, with three other old Jewish ladies who hold up a banner that reads "Palestinian and Jewish Women United."  To date, no Palestinian women have expressed interest, although Esther has been verbally assaulted and even pelted with foodstuffs by the crowd, as well as labeled an "enemy of the Jews" on an internet site.  Like a postman, neither rain, sleet, global warming or mouthy assholes will deter her.

So, we've been trying to plan this family getaway since forever.  Bro Karl, in typical fine form, suggested that we go the White Mountains of NH, which is where we spent our summers at that communist resort run by Minister Willard Uphaus who was jailed by HUAC.  It's a very sentimental thought.  Ever helpful, Karl adds that we don't even need to rent a motel room when we can go camping at night, and by day, mountain-climbing! While the cosmos may be completely anarchic, one can always count on Bro Karl to be nuttier than all the pecans in New Orleans Original Pecan Pralines & other divine confections.



                                    Happy Birthday, Esther!
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Illustration by Logan TSibrel

P.S.: I neglected to fill you in on the fate of Bernardo the Dog.  Remember his original owner, Prima Donald from "Summer Vacay"? Vacay/summer-vacay.html

Donald was the repeat-offending rehabber who asked da boyz down the hall to come rescue his brand-new puppy after suddenly realizing that he hadn't left his own crib in weeks, and that he needed to feed, walk and take care of this animal.  He summoned Dean to rescue the pup, found cringing and starving under a bed, and whom Da Boyz treated just as if he were their very own gay adopted child.  Dave made headlines of his own last September when he dropped an air-conditioner out of his window onto the head of a guy every resident of this building unanimously referred to as "Fuckface."  In fact, I only learned his real-name when this incident became an international news story!

I did write to you all about that, didn't I?  (The senior moments, they come so often, like a non-barrage.) Or should I?  It's another one of the thousand and one tales  I have sent you direct from this building.  I never have to even open my door to get this 100% verbatim material.

Anyway, Prima Donald finally went to court with Da Boyz, suing them for ownership of Bernardo, claiming that they had "stolen him."

Yeah sure, as in, came in through an unlocked window?

The verdict just came in and Bernardo is back with his abuser.  That peanut-brained judge might as well have imposed a death sentence on
the joyful mixed-breed terrier. 

No male has ever loved me as unconditionally as Bernardo does. Whenever he saw me, he would jump straight up and down, over and over, w/out ever bending his knees (he really gained serious traction and got up high, too...almost as if he had an invisible trampoline!).  And when it came to my titties, well, he would run into my kitchen, where I'd be sitting in a chair, climb into my lap, and nestle his furry face against my 38 DDDs, like a baby seeking nurturance, or like a male of any species, just wanting to put his head there.

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