"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York Minute

Yesterday afternoon I thought about the neighbor in my building who died last year of ALS. She was in her fifties, married to a professor. They have a teenage daughter. When I thought of her it was the kind of fleeting thing that doesn’t even register until later on. But it came back when the daughter called last night. Emily and I were in bed listening to the Mets game on the radio. It was after 10 and we hadn’t heard from the daughter in a good while. She asked if we were available to take part in an ALS walk in a few weeks.

The conversation didn’t last long and when I got off the phone, Em said, “I think it was a year ago that she died.” We talked about it for a few minutes. It made me uncomfortable so I put the game back on.

Then I got an e-mail from the husband. It said that today, Monday, marks the anniversary of when his beloved wife was “sprung,” a term he likes better than “dying” or “passed away.”

“I hope to mark the occasion by finding an unmanned police car and setting it on fire,” he continued. “I think she’d appreciate that. When we started dating more than 30 years ago, back in her ACORN days, I noticed a sticker on one of her notebooks that read ‘Let a Burning Cop Car Light Up Your Night.’”

I don’t know about burning any cars but I will be thinking of her today, as well as her husband and their daughter. I am relieved for all of them that they have been sprung.

[Picture by Patricio Suarez]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver