for Michael Fiscaro, the ambassador of good will
Getting a wake-up call from Michael at 6 a.m. and having him drive me in his white new rental car to the Cardio Testing Center, waiting for me while I got injected and put under big machines, my feet tied together like a corpse in a morgue, and then running on a steep treadmill, twice within one morning, faster and faster, to see whether my heart would give.
And then Michael would take my mind off tests and doctors and hospitals and death by driving me to a "Drunken Donuts" where we bagled and coffeed and milked, talking about lifemates and missed chances, vivisecting language and life, and on to my house, picking up the pieces of the trellis that served as my entrance gate, now smashed to pieces by today's storm while I was hooked up to wires and Michael glued to Time Magazine.
Even then, he made time available to help me analyze my aging computer and downloaded special software which would give Michael, the computer Doc, access to my ailing machine.
And off we drove in his car to Drexelbrook, that Country Club without a golf course, sharing lunch with architects and lawyers, with business men, all dedicated Rotary members, networking, hearing a prayer, heads bowed, even agnostics like myself, then singing "God bless America," with this non-American joining in, aware that my topic was not exactly praise for one of the most self-indulgent countries on Earth.
Walking into a Lion's Den seems to be the lot I was given in life, and actually getting a whole club to speak and share, and uttering things unutterable before a crowd until today, made me feel damn good, damn alive.
Being driven home by Michael, the friend, even the Holy Spirit at times, except when he loses his temper, or falls into old dichotomies, but that, "frankly speaking," happens rarely these days, as Michael, the good man, shares his love with the world, playing the phone like a piano with business associates, women, family, and friends, a modern knight who occasionally gets confronted by Lords who lord over their wives like prison guards, monitoring their inmates’ e-mail secretly, but Michael, even when confronted unexpectedly, stands his ground, fully aware that he has, like a knight of old, done the honorable thing.
And now the day has come almost to an end, and I do not know how to thank Michael, the executor of my will, whose granddad in Lithuania, the man who hated Jews, did things, unspeakable, during World War II, instantly rewarded with dozens of diamond-studded golden rings, weighing heavily on his fingers, his hands, wearing him down terribly the way my dad almost broke from the weight of having witnessed a mass execution in the East, his eyes opened to the damage he had done spewing out anti-Semitic propaganda texts for years, while we, the sons and grandsons, live with the survivors and their children in harmony now, willing to share, willing to mea culpa things we have not done, thoughts we haven't thought, but feeling responsible all the same.
To Michael, a very special "Danke schön," a warm "Labai ačiū" for sitting next to me during the many roller-coasting hours on the day after New Year’s.
If I were religious, I would bless all those women and men whose ancestry lives on in Michael—beautifully, powerfully, soaring upward, even if some of those wings, at times got beaten badly, bruised, even broken, Michael knows that
January 2-3, 2008, revised March 21, 2014.