- © 2011-2018 My eBooks, Notes From A Working Cat, A New York Diary and Model Behavior: Friends For life are available @ http://www.amazon.com by tapping on their covers.
Susannah’s Fall, Winter Reading List, 2020-2021
A friend recently said, “No offense Susannah, but he died so long ago. You celebrate him like he’s still here.”
I had to smile at this since, I kinda think that he is.
If you watch footage of Bill taken 26 years ago, it plays as if it was just filmed today, and that’s not me being biased, either.
I’ve heard it from others, proving again how ahead of his time he truly was.
For years after he died I couldn’t watch him, it being too painful, but no longer.
I almost feel he was the one who helped me get over my heartbreak.
I had had a dream that Bill was performing, and went to the show.
The venue was like Yankee Stadium with him in full gallop, bringing down the house.
What I remembered specifically was how the audience seemed current, but all dressed Billesque, in jeans and leather jackets, with their backs to me.
I wasn’t troubled waking up, but relieved as if now knowing wherever he was, he was okay, transcending that genius he’ll always be known for, alongside humility that walked hand in hand.
They called him, a comedian’s comedian, respecting his peers, never preening, preferring to be just one of the boys.
Bill Hicks would have been 59 years-old today.
Happy Birthday Willie. I miss you.
There’s an older man I’ve befriended who sits in the Park….
aristocratic in bearing…gray flannels and navy blazer over a seasoned Shetland sweater offsetting the Wall Street Journal he reads.
I’m particularly taken with his yellow, cashmere socks peeking from his well polished, cordovan loafers.
The other draw…he lives in Jackie Kennedy’s old building.
He told me he knew her as a pleasant neighbor, nothing more, but always admired her poise whenever they met in the elevator.
When he said I reminded him of her, I preened like a tulip during a sudden sun shower.
One day he asked me...what there was to know about me, a question that took me a aback since, I find myself far from fascinating.
After wiggling out of the survey, once I got home, decided to answer his question on the page.
Well, I prefer morning to night, rising like a rook from a treetop, at my best, first light.
My idea of luxury is reading for an hour after I come in from running, basking in the quiet.
Coffee is my drug of choice, blueberries and bananas, bobbing in oatmeal, my breakfast of champions.
I don’t eat meat, only fish, and enough of it to earn gills.
Rather than limit myself to Black Lives Matter, I feel All Lives Matter, including dogs and cats, raccoons and squirrels, even that uninvited bear approaching your picnic table.
Service to others feels more a privilege than a must, believing, receiving is in the giving, the recipient, only coming along for the ride.
Easy to please, happy with little, believing less is more.
Casablanca, my all time favorite film. Chinatown, The Godfather, Love in the Afternoon, The Philadelphia Story, The Sting, and Yankee Doodle Dandy, its next of kin.
Pride & Prejudice, The Killer Angels and A Movable Feast, my three favorite books.
I love New York more than any other place, a fish out of water whenever I leave.
My friendships are few these days, disciples disappearing either from death or random desertion, accepting it as the norm when you’re in the final leg of your own tour.
Mustn’t forget my sense of humor keeping me afloat like a tender ship leading me into port.
As for love, I find myself thinking a lot of past partners who swore they’d never leave, grateful to have saved letters I can gently reread, careful of their brittle pages and paper thin promises.
Oh yeah, Snickers are my favorite candy bar I keep in the fridge, just like my dad did, though unlike him, don’t need to hide them behind the ice trays for fear someone might swipe them.
After my run in the morning, I often stop at my friend’s gourmet store, just opening up.
I do it for the company and the cup of coffee I leave with.
Sometimes Tony will ask me to help, like today when he asked if I’d go to the basement to get a bag of coffee filters.
I decide, since I’m down there, to use the bathroom,
When I open the door, a middle-sized rat is sitting in the sink as if he were poolside in Palm Beach. All he needed was a Speedo.
I’m pretty sure my heart stopped since I froze, before backing up slamming the door.
I turn to the kid at the sink, washing lettuce. “Do you know there’s a rat in the bathroom?”
He says, unfazed, “You mean Pedro?”
Did he think I said cat? “RAT…A RAT.” He shrugs, caressing his romaine like a girlfriend.
I run upstairs, falling, skinning my shin now wishing I hadn’t worn shorts.
Speechless, I can’t get the words out when Tony asks, ‘Where are the filters?”
He and Harry, the produce man, stare at me awaiting an answer as I shoot for the front door.
Greg, who’s hosing down the front sidewalk, says…”Hey Susannah, what gives?”
He sees my face,
“You didn’t go into the bathroom did ya?”
A day or so later, after regaining myself, learned, Pedro, unbeknownst to Tony, was adopted as a baby, fed well, salami being his favorite fare. I suggested it just might be time he was taken to the Park since, a sink is just so big.
They promised to think this over.
Only in New York.
As I come out of my building, a little girl of 3 is screaming her head off while a patient woman tries putting on her hat.
She will have none of it, despite the polar temperatures.
I stop, wearing my coonskin cap that makes me look like Ben Franklin in drag and say, “Look, I’m wearin’ a hat.”
She stops in mid wail to think this over, just to scream again, repeating herself three times, like a car stuck in neutral.
I smile, she frowns, kicks her kind dresser in the shin, I hope gets a new job, while yours truly admits defeat.
Last I saw, the hat was being retrieved from the puddle it landed in after falling off her little, spoiled head.
As I walk towards the entrance of the Park on 90th Street, I pass an older man of color asleep in an alcove of a prewar building, now home to an embassy.
His name is James, who has lived outside in Carnegie Hill (86th to 96th along Fifth and Madison), for the past 40 years.
I’ve watched him age as a young man, his black hair turning gray then white, with a full set of teeth, now down to 3, causing him to whistle a bit when speaking.
He’s sane, well as sane as one can be being humbly homeless for so long, and friendly, since he’s known to at least two generations of Upper East Siders. I recall him telling me he stopped smoking, because it was bad for him.
He sleeps across from the lady in the box, a woman I’ve written about, also on the streets way too long. There’s comfort in this, knowing, James would never harm her, but protect her if necessary.
Is it a wonder a homeless man can be one to count on?
In James’s case, yes.
I remember years ago, faithfully attending 7 a.m. mass at The Church of Saint Thomas More, while James snoozed in a back pew, snoring soundly.
The late, Bishop Ahern, the sweetest member of any clergy, would excuse himself from the altar to gently shake James whispering, “James, could you please snore a little quieter?”
James would jump and say, ‘Sorra’, sorra’ Bishop, I’m so sorra’.”
Bishop Ahern would answer, “That’s okay son. Have pleasant dreams,” blessing him before commencing with mass.
Peggy, a longtime worker at the church told me, many members of the parish, including Jackie Kennedy, tried helping him with work, as well as finding a home.
He always politely declined, she said, even when the Bishop, whom he liked tried, preferring to just live his life like a man, perpetually crossing the desert in no hurry to reach the Promised Land.
I don’t know about you, but after looking at all I have, often taking it for granted, find great poignancy in that.
I’m on my way home after buying myself a long-stemmed pink rose.
If I wait for someone to grace me with my favorite bloom, let’s just say, I won’t be blooming anytime soon.
As I cross the esplanade on Park, an older man is coming the other way with a young Golden Retriever.
As they’re about to pass, the dog pops over to greet me, the warm way dogs do, but when I lean in to give him a quick pet, before one if us could stop him, takes a nice big bite out of my rose.
The look on his owner’s face could only match my own, as we miss another traffic light, standing stunned, staring at one another.
I finally say, “It’s okay sir, “he didn’t mean it. I guess retrieving wise, he may need a little more practice.”
As me and my stem head home, we can’t help but to smile.