It’s my dad’s yahrtzeit today. I don’t know if that means it started last night or it’s starting now, at 8:30 p.m. as the late summer day starts to stretch out its last. The app I have on my phone that tells me when it’s the third day of the Jewish month of Tamuz doesn’t tell me if it’s erev or not. And I didn’t buy a candle, anyway. They’re getting harder to come by, it seems, so I buy three at a time. But now that Harv is gone, too, I go through them more quickly. I’m also a little freaked out by leaving a candle unattended, so soon after California’s epic drought has abated. But really — I just didn’t get one. I looked for them at Whole Foods today as I got a few things for dinner. They didn’t have them. It seems they only have a Jewish section at Passover and Chanukah time. And I’m about as Jewish as they are. So this last letter will have to do.
This isn’t actually the last letter I got, just the last one I plan on posting in this little series. The last one I currently have access to is a short note, sent from my brother’s house in Jacksonville, that mentions his maintenance chemo. It’s written on some random “Shalom” notepaper that makes very little sense for my dad and certainly isn’t the looseleaf, lined paper on which all of his letters throughout my whole life were written — started on the lefty side. There may even be other letters around, waiting in boxes and drawers to still and delight me later.
This short letter is postmarked May 2012; so, two years before he died. It includes the Harv’s patented financial advice, which I’m pretty sure none of us has ever followed. It does not include any lists, but it does include plenty of fancy-striking. And it came with a gift, as you’ll see. It is a gift.
All creative spelling and punctuation is my dad’s.
Dear Stefanie Mindy,
I have found that life is full of surprises. (both good + and not so good) Now that I have been given a relatively good mark on my heart “problem,” and have resumed my schedule of activities, the next surprise appears. I find that I have a surplus of shekels. So I have enclosed a few of them.
Remembering the Kalem formula of 1/3 bills, 1/3 save and 1/3 live it up, use it for whatever. Maybe pay some to the wretchard credit cards — whatever.
Here in my area all is well. My days are spent doing whatever strikes my fancy. I walk at 5am as when the sun comes up + the humidity rises its difficult to walk. Then I cool down, take a shower and watch the BBC news. After that I wait for something to strike my fancy. Right now I am heading down to the pool for a little swim, sun and reading. And so goes my retirement days. OK my daughter — I hope all is well with you. I worry at times about your alagies (Jesus, I surprise myself at times with my spelling) Be that as it may I sign off with love and enjoy the day.