My Closest Call

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

My closest call came about 30 years ago. The incident occurred on 12/7/89. It was 11:30 p.m. on a Thursday. Kris was pregnant with Chad. She got a craving for pizza, as did I. I walked the 2-3 blocks from our house to the main boulevard in Woodland Hills, CA.

On the way back I heard the words, “Hey buddy, slow down.” At the corner, 300 feet from our house, he stopped me with a gun. I could see it shining under the streetlight. He was on my left and his companion was in a pickup truck on my right.

When I saw the gun, time slowed down to almost a standstill. This felt dreamlike but it was real. I prayed fervently and quietly.

The gunman asked for the pizza and my wallet. I tried to be as gentle and non-confrontational as I could.

Then I handed him the pizza…

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East of Eden, a Book Review

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

If you’ve never read East of Eden I think you have missed a transcendent experience. It is quite extraordinary. Steinbeck himself considered it his finest work. He was the recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Nobel Prize for literature.

It contains the most beautiful description of the bloom each spring in the California valleys I’ve ever read. This one in particular is the Salinas valley.

East of Eden is a powerful tale of good and evil. Most of the women in the book are lovely and engaging in contrast to a Jezebellian woman of compelling evil. She lies in covert wait or takes venal action throughout the novel. One is reminded of verses from Frankie Laine’s hit record, Jezebel, in 1951:

“If ever the Devil was born without a pair of horns

It was you, Jezebel, it was you

If ever an angel fell


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“The Color of Water” by Richard McBride, a Review

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

When he was small the author of this brilliant memoir, whose father was African American, asked his Caucasian mother an important question. His mom was born an Orthodox Jew, but became a Christian. He asked, “What color is God?” She responded, “The color of water.”

And so one follows two remarkable journeys, that of the author and of his mother alternating through this beautiful work. She had been abused as a child, left home as soon as possible and was widowed consecutively by the deaths of her two African American husbands. She was left to raise twelve children, alone.

Mr. McBride has been an award winning composer and heralded author. All of his siblings have been remarkably successful.

This book in part is about the elements of humanity we all share. It’s specifically about a mother’s momentous effort to make her numerous children whole. To those who love the genre…

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May First, Yet Another Month

“…inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.” Terry Pratchett, the author of over fifty best selling books.

I am trying to figure out how I lost all that melanin in my once black hair. Where did a set of numerous tennis serves go now that each one creates a micro-quake in the muscles of my back? Is there a contest between my two upper eyelids to see which one can droop the furthest? That one gets ever harder to follow.

I am still that 29 year old in what is left of my mind. It’s just this new guy I awaken to in the morning who I notice in the mirror.