Last week, our friend from St Luke’s Church, Abby Imberman, died. He never passed me at the end of a service without asking “How’s your oldest boy doing?” I’d tell him about Nate’s progress through Eastman and Michigan, then sometimes he’d ask, “And the other one?” I’d tell him how Si was doing at Marlboro. He never asked about Pippa; I’m not sure whether he just didn’t notice her, or that he observed for himself that she was evidently fine.
Yesterday, Emmy McMann died. She was the cook for the fraternity to which Margaret and I belonged in college. Emmy had cooked for ARU for years before we got there, and she continued to cook for years after. She was a lovely grandma for generations of college kids; I used to read fairy tales aloud to Emmy’s kitchen full of students between lunch and dinner, back in the days I was working as cook’s helper and dishwasher. No matter what terrible things I said about Emmy’s cooking — and I said some awfully harsh things about her repertoire — she loved me and heard in my words only the affection I felt for her.
With sad news on top of sad news, I’m all the more thankful for Josiah’s birthday. Si is
29 22 today, finishing up his senior year, preparing for his wedding with Laura. As Abby and Emmy lead a way toward greater grace, and as Si follows along with strength and joy, I give thanks on this Shrove Tuesday for all the messengers of the dignity and integrity that ennoble human striving; and as tomorrow we receive a sign of our mortality, I pray for Si and Emmy and Abby and all the saints, that we never be separated from one another in the hopeful joy of undying love.