Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

Dear Dad,
Thank you for working so damn hard for all of us every single day. Thank you for being such a wonderful storyteller. Thank you for singing and laughing and barbecuing and making sink sandwiches and kneeling in prayer every night. Thank you for “Anh anh, ea-sy, ooh ooh” and “All I want is ladies!” and “What’s the chill factor?” Thank you for teaching me to drive and loving the ocean and the beach. Thank you for being smart and funny and a voracious reader and for hanging my Religion Award in a place of honor in the kitchen. Thank you for teaching me my times tables and for helping me to see the patterns and for giving me the cheat I still use for the sevens. Thank you for dinners in the basement and in the garage to celebrate after you and I had cleaned them. Thank you for taking me for pony rides at Roger Williams Park and for Del’s Lemonade. Thank you for explaining what a mile long hot dog was and showing the teenage boys how to wrap their beer cans in aluminum foil. Thank you for planting tomatoes every Memorial Day and weeping with me when we had to cut down the Rose of Sharon. Thank you for getting me my red ten speed bike with the sales points you’d earned and for letting me ride it all over two towns all the time. Thank you for saying how beautiful I looked in my wedding dress and for wanting me to take it back as soon as you found out we had paid next to nothing for it. Thank you for walking me down the aisle even though it was to marry the wrong man. Thank you for saying I love you and for big hugs and watching Johnny Carson in the living room in the dark. Thank you for being humble and quiet and for being fierce and bold for your family. Thank you for driving us everywhere to get the best views of the ocean and for saying “Sign? What sign?” as we ventured down roads marked private. Thank you for standing in the middle of all those police officers and then kicking the front bumper back into place and then telling me I should still go to the dance after the accident. Thank you for hauling my stuff back and forth to college and checking under the station wagon to make sure it wasn’t dragging on the ground. Thank you for being so damn proud of me when I made Dean’s List every semester in college and for letting me get away with lousy grades in high school just because my conduct scores were “A”s. Thank you for teaching me how to frame and take a photograph and for calling rock and roll music “ker-plunk, ker-plunk, ker-plunka”. Thank you for Lawn Darts and for sharing your Heinekens with my best friends. Thank you for telling me I could stay at the house when my marriage was falling apart and for hugging me so hard when I said no, I had to go back. Thank you for doing “It Pays To Increase Your Word Power” with me and helping me with my project on the SDS. Thank you for laughing wicked hard while punching me firmly in the shoulder when I sang you that mildly scandalous musical joke I made up. Thank you for sneaking over to watch me hawk cheese samples in the mall and and for teaching me how to lay a fire in the fireplace. Thank you for grounding me that one time and sitting with me the next night as we cried together about all of it. Thank you for rescuing those baby robins and for bringing up the worms with the laundry pole and for celebrating when their parents took them back and for being heartbroken when one of them didn’t survive. Thank you for teaching me what love means.
I love you Dad.
I miss you Dad.
We all do.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Uncle Carl

Uncle Carl had just turned 33 when he was killed in action in Italy during World War II. He had graduated from Harvard but not yet married when he was called up. He was the eldest of seven. When his younger brother, my late father-in-law, was following him into the army, he wrote him a letter filled with practical and brotherly advice - including how to deal with the anti-semitism he would encounter.
Thank you for everything, Uncle Carl.
You are loved and missed and yes, your memory is a blessing…

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hearts II

Dear loved ones of Suzann Diehl,
We visit that heart shaped rock slab on top of Cadillac Mountain twice a year.
We will check in on your heart each time we do…

On this April visit, all was well and as we first found it last October.
Lee and Chuck

Previous post: Hearts

Thursday, February 25, 2016


January 16, 1920 ~ February 25, 1988
28 years.
I love you and miss you every day.
Thank you for everything, Dad.
Zichrono liveracha / Your memory is a blessing...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Be Not Afraid

Kol haolam kulo gesher tzar m’od
v’ha-ikar lo l’facheid klal

The entire world is but a narrow bridge;
the most important thing is not to be afraid

~ Reb Nachman of Breslov

Photograph and Layout LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto ‘08 & Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac. Fonts: Helvetica and Papyrus.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Tiniest Word

Indefinite Article
Used before nouns and noun phrases that denote a single but unspecified person or thing: a region; a person...

a cancer...

We were driving along, slurping slushy Del’s Frozen Lemonades and relishing the unique-to-Rhode-Island taste when his cell phone rang. The number displayed didn’t look familiar. He was about to ignore it. Then I asked: “What if it’s Lahey Clinic?”
But that didn’t make sense because they told us the biopsy results could take 7-10 days and here it was, little more than 48 hours later.

I pulled into the parking lot of the Garden City Whole Foods as he answered the phone.
Yes, it was Lahey. More precisely it was Dr. M. She is young and smart and skilled in her speciality and in surgery. She is a natural teacher and she has a wonderful bedside manner.
He pressed speaker on his cell phone.
“Hi it’s Dr. M”
She told us everything that mattered, in a way that showed he mattered to her.

After he hung up I dictated into my cell phone everything I could remember of what Dr. M had said.
The most important things I remembered were “this is the best possible type of cancer under the best possible circumstances” and “don’t panic”.

I broke the notes up into manageable blocks and texted it to his sister who is also an MD. His sister is such a fine doctor that she could have mentored Dr. M.

The sun was shining brightly even as it dipped lower in the sky. We sat in the parking lot for several minutes. We heard a siren and then more sirens. Cars zipped by; carriages wheeled and clanked; doors slammed shut.

We continued to drive home. We talked, were quiet, choked up, laughed, ran a couple of errands, talked and laughed some more.

At one point he said: “I have cancer.”

It suddenly struck me at a deep, intuitive level and I replied: “You have A cancer.”

Both of us are old enough to remember the way cancer used to be written caps-lock on people’s hearts; screamed out in people’s minds, but it was spoken of aloud only in hushed, fearful tones.

And we both have lived long enough to have family members and friends die of cancer. One friend died Monday; one family member died in May.

We also have friends and loved ones who have cancer written on their medical charts, but for whom it has receded. Yes, receded. I’m not talking about remission or cures or watchful waiting. I mean that a cancer diagnosis and treatment is something that they went through. They have certain ongoing responsibilities. But the experience has taken its place among all their other life experiences.

“You have A cancer.”

That tiny word; that perfectly named indefinite article of “A”, is helping to restore perspective; transform our understanding of this cancer and make it into something manageable.

I wrote this in August 2015.
Today is Chuck's first day of 42 radiation treatments.
As we have told our family and friends, all will be well.
That message was echoed by all of his doctors.
Yes, all will definitely be well...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday

For as long as I can remember, the day after Thanksgiving has involved shopping. Being 57, we’re talking over half a century! But when I was growing up we didn’t refer to it as “Black Friday”, even though the term has apparently been around much longer than I have. It was just the “Day After Thanksgiving” sales and shopping.

When I was very young my mother, my sisters Karen and Gail and I would all head to downtown Providence, Rhode Island to do our Christmas shopping. I loved every minute of it - the busyness, the crowds, the escalators in the fine old department stores, the Christmas decorations and the excitement of finding just the right gifts for family members. But the highlight of every single one of those Day After Thanksgiving excursions was lunch at Shepard’s Tea Room. It was always crowded and always worth the wait.
Like Shepard’s itself, the Tea Room had beautiful, gleaming wood and I remember an overall rosy glow to the place - could have been paint; could have been lighting and surely fond memories as well. Shepard’s Tea Room managed to be both elegant and casual all at once. I remember the Turkey Club Sandwiches as being a favorite along with a fountain Coca Cola. We would sit around the table, enjoying our lunch and pore over our Christmas lists as we planned our shopping strategy for the afternoon.

Yes, the stores were crowded. Yes, there were many sales in all the stores. But it was never as chaotic and aggressive as it has become in recent years.

When the Midland Mall was built in Warwick in 1967 and the Warwick Mall followed in 1970, our Day After Thanksgiving shopping forays to Providence soon came to an end. Shepard’s was anchoring the Midland Mall; Jordan Marsh and Filene’s, both from Boston, were anchoring Warwick Mall. Our lunches at Shepard’s Tea Room were replaced by lunches at the Woolworth’s Lunch Counter and the Newport Creamery.

The new stores in the new malls were oh so very modern; the parking was always crowded but readily available; all the stores were close together and we didn’t need to bundle up before we headed out onto the street to dash off to the next store. My glasses no longer steamed up as I entered a new store; the Christmas lights didn’t twinkle and glow the same way through those foggy cat’s eye glasses.

We missed the Tea Room, but made new memories.
We were certain we had gained so much through the addition of those sleek malls.
It would be years before we truly understood all we had lost.

Monday, November 16, 2015


"Blue Marble" photograph via NASA
Transliterated languages via Columbia University

Layout LMR/Pink Granite. Photo: "Blue Marble" via NASA. Software: Apple iPhoto ‘08 & Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac. Font: Hypatia Sans Pro.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Broken Heart

"You will lose someone you can't live without…"
~ Anne Lamott

Layout, photograph and design by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto ‘08 & Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac. Font: Hypatia Sans Pro.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Honor and Gratitude

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...

“On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Presidential Proclamation

Honoring all who served

Honoring all who were wounded 

Honoring all who gave their lives

You stood in our stead
You stood for our country, for our constitution

You stood for our freedom, for our liberty

You have our gratitude, our respect, our memory

We pledge our service, our advocacy, our work for peace…

Dad ~ 1942

Sunday, November 1, 2015

On Grief

"Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried."
~ Megan Devine

Learn more about Megan Devine

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Saturday, October 24, 2015


Dear loved ones of Suzann Diehl,
We visit that heart shaped rock slab on top of Cadillac Mountain twice a year.
We will check in on your heart each time we do…
Lee and Chuck

Friday, October 23, 2015


Gorgeous sunset tonight over the Mount Desert Narrows, between Trenton and Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pope Francis & A Clerk From Kentucky

Kim Davis is the elected civil employee in Kentucky who disobeyed Federal law and refused to issue civil marriage licenses to same sex couples in her jurisdiction. Davis, the daughter of Roman Catholics who currently identifies herself as an Apostolic Christian, has said her religious beliefs preclude her from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Professor Katherine Davis of Columbia University has stated: "Kim Davis has all sorts of religious liberty rights secured under the First Amendment and under other laws, but they are not at stake in this case. All she's asked to do with couples that come before her is certify that they've met the state requirements for marriage, so her religious opposition to same-sex marriage is absolutely irrelevant."

News reports say that Kim Davis, along with her fourth husband (who was also her second husband), had a private audience with Pope Francis. Kim Davis spoke with ABC News saying of the meeting: "Just knowing the pope is on track with what we're doing, and agreeing, you know, kind of validates everything." She had previously stated the Pope told her to “Stay strong”.

Vatican spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi said (in Italian) yesterday: "I cannot not deny the meeting took place but I have no comments to add.”

I normally link to all the sites where I found information and quotes. But a quick Google search will flood your screen with news reports and opinion pieces about this meeting. I will leave you to it.

I keep thinking of all the people Pope Francis could have chosen to have a private audience with:

The Richard Family whose son, Martin was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing; the same Roman Catholics - parents Denise and Richard; their surviving children Jane and Henry - who spoke out against the death penalty for the man who murdered their son.

Any of the survivors or family members of the victims of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting in South Carolina. They were targeted in their church as they prayed.

These just a few of the people Pope Francis could have spent time with and said to them “Stay strong...”