Previous month:
April 2021

May 2021

1.3 Thousand Comments

George Will, well-known Washington Post conservative columnist, turned eighty on May 4th, and wrote a column called “What My Eighty Years Have Taught Me”.  An “Eighty-Something” reader sent me a link.  Then a cousin sent me a link. So I read it.

The column got 1.3 thousand comments. See

Everyone processes a change in decades in his/her own way.  I left town with our family to celebrate my 50th at a Club Med.  I can’t remember 60, but we gave a party for my 70th.  We celebrated my 80th in a hospital room because of Peter's  broken femur.

Peter sometimes talks about his impending “Use By” date, and at 91 that’s OK.  George Will tells us that one of the pluses of turning 80 is that one is well beyond the danger of dying young.  Good point.

Some final advice:

“Exercise regularly.  Eat sensibly.  Die anyway.


Birthday Party

Peter and I went to a birthday party.  (Remember them?)  Ten vaccinated residents of our condo gathered in one of its largest units to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of a neighbor. I co-chaired the two-person-food shopping committee. Others took care of the cake, flowers, decorations, and entertainment.

I wore a special sweater that I hadn’t taken out of its drawer since the start of the pandemic.  I put on lipstick.  Unmasked, we could see each other’s smiles.  We sang silly songs and found good words starting with every letter of the alphabet to describe the birthday “girl”.

No brass bands. No heavy drinking. Just a reminder that good times lie ahead.  

The Maestro's Garden



                                                                                                    (Photos by Seth Kugel)

Last Sunday under a cloudless sky, we wandered over to nearby Brattle Street to show Seth some of its stately homes, most hidden behind tall fences or fence-like bushes. The modest home of Benjamin Zander, conductor of The Boston Philharmonic has a 2-ft high brick wall in front that frames a garden of hundreds of flowers.  A small sign invites people to go to his back yard “for more beauty”.  And if you are lucky and he sees you from the double doors to his music room, he might come out and greet you there.

We sat on the front wall and watched the flowers and the people watching the flowers.  A couple of the watchers, assuming we were in front of our own house complimented us on our garden.  One woman spent a lot of time taking close-up pictures.  It turns out it was the gardener herself coming to see the garden in just the right light to take pictures.

A picture is worth 1,000 words.  (For 2,000 words see above.)

Thirty Per Cent

There is no upside to a broken hip.  Especially if you are 91 years old and have Parkinson’s Disease.  The one plus is that it brings your sons home for a visit.  And that means a lot of laughter because our kids are funny even at middle-age.

As I write this, Seth is here for the second time since February and Jeremy visited a few weeks ago.  They think they are here to help, but they are really here to entertain their parents.

At breakfast, I asked Seth if he agreed that his father was about 30% more himself  than when he last visited,  Peter answered before Seth.  “Yeah,” he said, “the bad 30%”.

Seth’s “good one Dad!” made my morning.