Musings from above the ground...
Berns, when I cancelled your subscription to the LA Times this young man with a Latin accent helped me. He was probably the most persistent, polite salesman I have ever met. Having been one I know a few. Anyway he closed me at least five times trying to get me to renew or start a subscription. I thought he would give it up when I said you were dead but no, on he sailed...
What does that have to do with this little epistle? This, if there is anyone who can carry a message to you, wherever you are, he can and I darn sure know he won't stop until it's hopeless, so here goes...
A toast to you, my psalm/song/poem from a son of New York to another son of New York, you Bernikins!
I celebrate you and sing you Bernikins. And what I assume, you shall assume, for every atom of good belonging to you belongs to us all! courtesy of Mr. Walter Whitmann, paraphrased by much lesser writer, me.
Berns, you had many of atoms of good; goodness and good behavior. Not that goody-two-shoes kind of good behavior, you know like Melly Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. She looked like she couldn't say poop with a mouth full of it. No, yours was more like higher behavior in the face of low behavior from others. Politesse, kiddo, that's you! You made an indelible mark in my feeble memory about tolerance and grace. I suspect I wasn't the only one noticing.
You left and I am glad you got to go, living like that for someone with your joie de vivre is difficult, hard for us to watch and harder still for you to hold on. When they called me that morning and told me you were non-responsive I called you slobbering into the phone, saying what you meant to me and how blessed I am to be in your life, in your death, and even now just closing things carefully as the gloamy dark closes the day, softly I hope and gently, just as you were. You deserve that much. You deserve more.
Then you did what you have done so well these past 4 years, up you popped like a Jack-in-the Box. I think this was life number 27 but who's counting. And I was able to talk to you through Carol and Eleanor. This time you taught me someone can hear even when they appear to be unconscious. No small lesson, I suspect I will be using it a lot. Pneumonia got ya Berns, nothing else could!
I wish you had been outside the day of your service. We would have laughed a lot. You as usual would have had plenty of looks and quips that would have left us amused and gotten us in trouble with someone. The Rabbi was great, we all liked him. Only in Hollywood could you find someone to officiate who worked at every studio you did! You both would have had fun having a beer together.
Oh, wow, you won't believe Eleanor. She's something else. When that woman makes up her mind just get out of her way. Really Berns, I am a determined person and you sure as hell are, (it's your jaw), but she makes us look like jello.
Remember that night after you died but were still in the room? She called me immediately. She was a wreck. I wasn't much good but at least when she asked me if she could have the pajamas I had sent you that day I said yes, of course. Berns, if you didn't have them the only other person I wanted to have them was her. I think you probably liked that.
Well, since then she has been moving quietly like some kind of spy, looking for the DVDs we sent that you both enjoyed, trying to find that little, soft, tan comforter I brought you, and who knows what is next. She's working on a shrine I think. Wouldn't you chuckle at that. She sure loves ya.
Jeff had a hard time. He didn't break down at the service but he looked like his head would fly off from the pressure of holding it in. Lee did a smart job speaking about you. We all loved it that Greg made sure you were wearing your Alfa Romeo hat when you went to see Marcia. What a laugh we had when Jeff told us how you went from county to county trying to get a drivers license. They had your number kiddo! How many did you go to anyway?
Hey, before I forgot, we got a newsletter from your UPA union about the January party. Harry and Dawn sent it to us, more great neighbors! We let them know you couldn't make it, but wanted to. So they may put you in next months newsletter, check it out. And what was this Barney name all about? Most of us didn't know you were known as Barney? Keeping secrets right up until the end, always knew you were in the Secret Witness Program...
Well sweetie, I am going to close for now. Thinking of you every time I walk these hills.
Love ya Berns,