Saturday, October 04, 2008

understanding joy - and viruses

We interrupt our rhapsodizing for a pleasant viral interlude. And Yom Kippur.

(somehow, it strikes me that the two of them go together well)

Hoping to return with slightly fewer stars in me eyes and a relaxing white cell count, I wish all of you a thoughtful season of self-examination, and much forgiveness, whether human or otherwise.

May we all, as joy wrote, be written down for a year in which we allow ourselves both to fly and to fall.

Somewhere in a haze of tissues and very hot tea, I did notice that Paul Newman died last week, at the end of a long battle with cancer. I sat down and read the long, generous obituaries in the Boston Globe, the NY Times and Time magazine, and want to tell you that they totally missed the point. Yes, he was a big movie star, and yes, he had fantastic blue eyes. And yes, it's kind of funny that he was colorblind.

Movies are great, but what made Newman fascinating is that he didn't stop at the edge of fantasyland. He was also the guy who created this place. People need joy and silliness, and Newman got that to a rare degree. And then, of course, he made it happen.

He used to visit the camp every year, during the big, boisterous general sessions, and quietly hang out. (It was, after all, just on the other side of the lake from his house.) One day, he was sitting in the dining hall, when a little girl realized that this old guy's face looked a lot like the face on her lemonade bottle. She looked at the lemonade bottle. Hm. Looked at Newman. Back at the lemonade bottle. Back to Newman. Finally, she asked, Mister, are you lost?

Newman laughed his ass off. Because, after all, no, he wasn't lost. In fact, if his camp is anything to go by, this was a man who very, very much knew exactly where he was. Baruch dayan ha'emet (blessed be the true Judge).

Next weekend, we Imperfects will follow Newman's map up to the Hole in the Wall camp, and we will drink a lot of lemonade, and remember a man who understood joy. And fish.


Anonymous said...

I was sorry to hear of his passing. I don't think most ordinary folks truly understand the good that the HITWG camps do for the kids (and adults!). His absence will truly be felt.

Here's to forgiveness...

Anonymous said...

I have thought of your camp posts often in recent days. The story you share is a nice portrait.

Gmar tov. May it be a year of improved health and decreased stress.

Auntie A said...

I didn't know that he was behind the HITW camps, but that does make his passing even sadder. Great to hear that he accomplished something so important and meaningful though. (All this and The Sting, too...the mind boggles...)

Shabbat shalom and g'mar chatima tova to all at Chez Imperfect. Hopefully there are fewer viruses in residence today.