Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

This beautiful Buddhist chant means devotion to the mystical law, and I’ve been chanting like a lunatic all week.  Poor dear Gerry, who is to turn 98 on March 13th, is gravely ill and we’re all holding vigil at his bedside.  This makes it very hard to be in a witty mood, though he’d want that as he’s an extremely funny man.

Gerry moved in with my mom when he was 87 and she was 77.  They got their first dog the following year, and Schwartzie the poodle is now 9 years old.  The funniest part of that is how much mom has always hated pets, and now says getting the poodle was the best thing they ever did.

Gerry was born in New York, and when I try to describe Gerry to people I say, “He’s Woody Allan’s dad.”  And truly, when Woody is that age, he’ll talk and look exactly like Gerry.

For example, two days ago the nurse came into the house to visit Gerry in his bed.  She said to him, “Are you comfortable?” and he shrugged and said in his New York accent, “I make a good living.”  Bada boom.

And so we shouldn’t be sad, but it’s always hard not to go berserk when you care about someone who’s departing this Earth.  But he’s got my mom, his two sons David and Gerry Jr and Schwartzie at his bedside, so he’s in a very upbeat mood.

I’m semi-joyful with some small progress on my memoir Nuttier than a Fruitcake.  You have no idea how enjoyable it is to recount the beginnings of the fruitcake business.  The hard part is to stop obsessing over details like how to improve a sentence, and to just keep moving ever onwards to completion.  That’s when all the picky editing can begin.

Many beginning writers would kill to have this, but I have a creative writing department professor from UBC Okanagan who’s going to read my manuscript and edit it for me!  Crazy or what?  And then I’ll have to see if I can figure out an e book, and hope for the best.  And really, as long as it’s a fun exercise, that’s the main thing.

And then purely for health I left the computer and did some brisk walking around the thrift stores to break up any clots that might be forming from prolonged sitting.  An amazing find occurred at the Salvation Army thrift store as I got a pair of vintage Bill Blass pumps in mint condition for $6.00.

That sort of thing puts a person in an excellent mood of optimism.  And sure enough I found a McCalls tunic pattern for 50 cents at the Mennonite thrift store.  Uncontrollable, I went into the Bibles for Missions and bought an adorable sapphire blue handbag for $3.00.

So it’s as the Dali Lami says, it’s our duty to be happy, even during those times that try us.  And when that becomes very difficult, I sit at my shrine, light some incense and then chant nam myoho renge kyo and leave it all up to the Heavens.  A while later I’m feeling much better, typing away, dreaming of vintage Bill Blass somewhere out there.

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