Come September

August August is coming to a close.We enter in the upper half of our planet the transition period into fall. To most of the US it’s a time of beautiful mixtures of color across our wooded vistas. To Californians it’s a season of wildfires. Ah, the contrasts.

I look forward to a celebration of love and commitment in the holy matrimony of my son and the sweet, astute, beautiful woman who wants to spend her life with him. They will marry in a few short weeks.

And so, there lives will deepen. They will grow. They will learn much about each other. God willing, they will learn patience and how to fight fair. In its shining moments, their marriage can be a glorious, life enriching experience in the hands of our loving God.

The Bagel, Oh the Contrasts

The joy of the right bagel…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

Per Amanda Fiegl on,”… bagels are mentioned in written records from Krakow as early as 1610…” ( For me they just date back to about 1948. I remember wandering through my dark, maternal grandparents place in Detroit as about a three year old tasting a morsel that was scrumptious, a bagel. We even must have had those delicacies with either lox or the ultimate, Nova Scotia salmon, a melt in your mouth addition. Of course that was piled high with some onion and a thick layer of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. That was living even for this three year old. Actually that is living even for a 73 year old, my senior version.

Ah, but time takes its toll on what we can eat. Almost twelve years ago my primary physician warned me about the dangers of carbohydrates to my future existence on planet earth. A bagel clocks…

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“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein.

It was 12/7/89. I was 44 years old. My wife was pregnant with our son and I took a walk near midnight to pick up a pizza for the two of us. Before I knew it, a handgun was pointed at me. 

The good Lord gave me enough peace not to panic. The gunman and his companion in a truck next to us took my pizza and the remaining seven dollars, leaving me shaken, alive, and still praying. That defined for me the pain of sudden change.

The Odd Couple?


Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

So Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were good friends. Why not?

They both wrote clearly and beautifully, appreciating the quality of each other’s scholarship as jurists. They both loved opera. They both had minority, Mediterranean ancestry. They both grew up in New York.

Families have strong bonds despite their differences because forgiveness and love are twins. They can be particularly evident in those who mellow with age. Jurists Scalia and Ginsburg were of that ilk. Theirs was a lovely friendship

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Our Native Tongue by Osmosis

And so the NYT obituaries today included one entitled: “Lila Gleitman, Who Showed How Children Learn Language, Dies at 91.” She did essential research throughout her life to show us.

She affirmed some of her thinking with her two-year-old daughter: “One day when she was driving and Claire was in the car, Dr. Gleitman took a sharp turn and said, ‘Hold on tight.’ Her daughter immediately replied, ‘Isn’t that tightly?’” The utterance showed how even a toddler could understand linguistic nuances, without having been taught them.”

I am fascinated by our original language, which we seem to learn by osmosis, unlike other languages. The essay says about the incident with Claire, “Dr. Gleitman called the process “syntactic bootstrapping” — the use of an innate grasp of linguistic structure and its relationship to meaning to figure out new words.”

She describes the child as discovering what he or she already knows from a complicated code where language is hidden. Per the article, Dr. Gleitman opined “… that the structures, or syntax, of language were hard-wired into the brain from birth, and that children already have a sophisticated grasp of how they work.”

Wow. I think I get it. So glad she had the intellectual curiosity and perseverance once retired to keep on submitting papers working on the linguistics she so loved.

May God bless us with that kind of passion and the years to let it blossom to benefit the lives of others.

The Written Word

The joy of writing…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

The written word, how valuable it is. Mesopotamia developed the first written words,

“The cuneiform script, created in Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, ca. 3200 BC, was first. It is also the only writing system which can be traced to its earliest prehistoricorigin. This antecedent of the cuneiform script was a system of counting and recording goods with clay tokens.” This quotation is from the abstract of a University of Texas online article by Denise Schmandt-Besserat. (See:

It was of course central to establishing civilizations, i.e. records had to be kept. Reproducible written literature then became doable.

I love what started those thousands of years ago. I am having a mind to mind connection with you. Likely, after we are both gone, I will still be having mind to mind connections with others. It may simply be my grandchildren and great grandchildren etc. reading my memoirs and perhaps my…

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Sea and Hill

“Wood, sea, and hill were the intimacies of my childhood, and they have never lost their spell for me.” John Buchan, a Scottish novelist.

The hills of Dayton, Ohio, were a part of my childhood. Then, at ten years of age, the family moved to the flattest place I have ever lived, Miami, FL. It was so flat it had (has) a street system with numbers and letters that made MapQuest unnecessary. But oh how I missed those hills as a child, the views from them and towards them.

I suppose that is why I was enamored of California from the first time I saw the Rose Bowl, where the magnificent mountains covered the horizon. It is one of several reasons my wife and I have lived in Southern California these past 43 years.

However, Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean became my go-to places of serenity as a teen in Miami, now replaced in adulthood by the pacific Pacific. The majesty of those bodies of water, the variety of blues and greens across those waters, and the rare dead calm unstirred my soul.

The Masters: Is it the Golf or the Serenity We Seek?

A 2018 peek at The Masters at Augusta National and serenity…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

And for yet another year I visit the Masters virtually. I do so on a device first presented to the public by RCA at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.

I’ve enjoyed the tournament over television for over 60 years. In some ways it’s not the golf. The joy is more akin to what Joyce Kilmer said of trees. “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”

The numerous, tall, willowy, pine trees over the abundant, manicured grass is a site rich with the beauty of spring. The site heals the soul as do the winding creeks crossed by lovely, stone bridges.

The golfers come and go. They have a game to play. Involvement in the game may be transcendent for the ardent golf fan. But I would argue that the transcendent state evoked from the course’s splendor is richer and would catch the…

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Our “…Odd and Precious…” Lives

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.” Anne Lamott, renowned writer with whom I was lucky enough to take a writing lesson, virtually.

Just one life. It is the people closest to us who manage to forgive us, teaching us about ourselves. Some of it, that is oh so true, we don’t want to hear. But, they love us enough to tell us.

God, please grant each of us the wisdom to hear them.

H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, a novelist with a draft novelette in progress, and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon

A Well-Regarded Behavioral Therapist’s Thoughts on Love

Worth a moment’s reflection…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

“Unfortunately in our culture vulnerable relationships don’t happen as often as they should. People feel they have to have it together, be totally positive, and not show weaknesses. They are surrounded by warm bodies, but there is no deep connection. The one word that best describes the situation is 𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒕𝒚.

On the other hand, a few vulnerable relationships will always create a sense of connectedness. With any significant connection with someone, over time we will disagree, bug each other, hurt each other’s feelings, or separate from one another. No relationship of any gravitas is without its speed bumps. It’s just the nature of being human.

If you have never disagreed with someone important in your life, one of you is not necessary. But the great relationships are those which employ the love, persistence, character, and skills required to work things out and move on. The connections are often stronger once…

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