Today's an important day for me. It's the birthday of two people who had outsized impacts on my life: my dad and my dear friend Anne Brisk.
My dad died a few years before I met Anne, but I'm certain they would have loved each other. They were, in many ways, alike. Both were a bit larger-than-life, both loved a well-made drink, and both loved to tell and listen to a good story.
Now that I think of it, both of them came from similar backgrounds. My dad was happy to stay in his blue-collar, lower middle class slot, but Anne longed for the big city, big culture and big ideas. Luckily, she was able to move to NYC as a young woman. Few people appreciate what the city had to offer as much as she did, and she spent her free time gobbling it up.
My dad, on the other hand, was really content to sit in his back yard and listen to the Cardinals on the radio. Every year my mother tried to get him to go to Europe with her. She'd never been, and really had a strong desire to see at least a few parts of it. His answer was always the same. "I've been there." My mom would remind him that going over on a troop transport in 1943 and laying sewer pipe in Belgium for a couple of years was not quite the same as flying over and seeing La Tour Eiffel. But he was unbending. He had simple tastes, simple needs, and loved predictability. Luckily, my mother outlived my dad and finally got to travel a little. God knows my dad would never have changed his mind!
I learned to listen to people and their stories from my dad, and I learned to write stories in a better way from Anne. I owe them both more than I can say, but all I can do for either of them at this point is remember them. They say you live until no one thinks of you any longer. Both of them will continue on as long as I'm alive.