Greetings, Friends: It has been snowing and raining all day here in PA . . . the snow was really beautiful this morning, but the mixture of snow and rain, mostly rain, is kind of ugly! Days like this are good for curling up under a blanket and reading a good book (Fifty Shades of Gray?!?!). I really wish I were at the shore house now as I have a gas fireplace there, and that would do so much to dispel some of this gloom.
Following is a paraphrase of what John’s daughter, Kate, said at John’s service:
A large number of people have already come up to me to tell me their best “John Roberts story”, so I echo Andrew’s sentiment and ask that you put it to paper, whatever comes into your head about our dad, so that we can relate to the young grandchildren what their grandfather was really like. I feel comforted knowing that my dad lived a really full life. Not many regrets. He did regret missing the opportunity to spend more time with his own father, a Lt. Col, in the military who died when the plane he was flying went down in Korea. I know he admired his own father greatly, but he died when my dad was only 10 years old.
My dad was an outdoorsman and he loved the perfect storm and survivor type stories. One of the things he always dreamed of doing was kind of a dare: he wanted to be dropped out of an airplane over Alaska with only the clothes on his back and a pack of matchsticks. It was a challenge to him . . . he wanted to see if he could make his own way out on his wits alone.
My dad imparted a lot of wisdom . . . and I realized he was an adviser to many.
He also told me one time his own measure of a true friend. I was asking him who he considered to be in his inner circle – his true friends. It was only a handful of people . . .
Most people here know that my dad was never shy about expressing his opinion. And yet . . . you may not know that he was pretty open-minded. When I announced I was marrying my husband Mahdi, who is from Morocco – with very different culture, religion and customs – my dad was the first to say “are you sure about this?” But I can honestly say that later on, my dad was one of the first to come to me and say, “you know, I REALLY like Mahdi a lot.” And later, “I really LOVE Mahdi, he’s a really great guy.” The two of them would sit around having political debates, and Mahdi become my dad’s fishing buddy of late.
I am so pleased that my dad lived to see me have a child. Baby Amir is now 11 months. My dad often said to me over the past year “you don’t know how lucky you are . . . you have such a joyful baby.”
I would like to read a poem . . . W. H. Auden, Funeral Blues:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows around the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
As we all continue thru this journey, I am sure you can all imagine how much we miss this man . . . husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, colleague, mentor, and any number of other roles he played for each and every one of us . . . but our lives go on and we can only hope that our daily lives honor him in every way possible. He taught us all so much . . he changed me from a shy insecure wallflower into a self-assured woman (who is certainly no longer shy!) and to each of his children he imparted wisdom, knowledge, and power to suceed in life. You, his friends and extended family can fill in your own blanks – what did he teach you about life? Care to share?
I continue to travel back and forth between the PA home in the country that John loved so much and the beautiful house we bought at the NJ Shore . . . things are getting done at the Shore house and transfers are under way to get the PA Country house in Andrew’s name (mortgage included!). After a lot of teeth gnashing and 3 ungodly awful visits to the MJ DMV I finally have both names titled and registered in my name alone in NJ and my car even passed inspection (I had forgotten how easy inspection was in NJ!); will take the Land Cruiser down the next time I go and see if that will pass inspection.
My house is coming along, slowly but surely. All of the electrical had to be re-wired after Hurricane Sandy and that has taken more than 3 weeks . . . we now await the township electrical inspector and then we can move on to the next step.
I finally “bit the bullet” and ordered a new tub – and I SPLURGED! I bought myself a wonderful big soaking tub. I promise not to do too many more splurges . . . maybe only a couple more. One splurge will be the built in master closet and then I’m gonna have to behave myself. The pool pump and heater will have to be replaced and that is another biggie . . . but not considered a splurge since I need the pool and I need the pool very warm!!!
I now also have to have the backyard regraded and stoned after the huge project of the new bulkhead finished in September . . . that bulkhead really saved us more extensive damage, so I am sure it was money well spent.
Now that I regaled you with my stories of splurges, frustrations with DMV, and another eulogy, I will go see what I can pull together for my dinner . . . but first, a martini!
Til next time, Linda