Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccine

books and music

JFK Thanksgiving Day proclamation 1963
JFK Thanksgiving Day proclamation 1963

Without a doubt, it is Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccine.

Because of the vaccine, I could go out to eat with my friends, such as Carol, Karen, Bill, Michael, Cecily, John, and Mary, as well as my wife and daughters.

My church is meeting in person as of June 20, as well as on Facebook. The choir has restarted rehearsals in person as of October 10, with only fully vaccinated people, which is everyone.

The Wizard’s Wardrobe is a program, started by two members of my church. “Children spend time with a special tutor just for them — to read, write, and explore the wonderful world of books. My wife and I attended the Readers Theater benefit on October 4. The featured readers included William Kennedy, Brendan Kennedy, Joseph Bruchac, Elizabeth Brundage, Ashley Charleston, Ted Walker, and Ayah Osman.

The Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library had its Literary Legends Gala on October 16. I got to tell Bill Kennedy that I heard him and his son read from Charlie Malarkey and the Belly-Button Machine (1986), 12 days earlier. Last year’s event was online, while this one was a hybrid.

I wouldn’t have been comfortable going to my high school reunion or certainly taking the bus home without the Pfizer shots. Yes, it’s a Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccine.

In spite of

As much as I complained about ZOOM and its ilk I’m thankful for the chance to have participated in the Thursday Bible study group. I got to see my niece Rebecca Jade perform over a half dozen times, including with Dave Koz.

I streamed some movies, not the best way for me to view them. But I got to see ALL of the Oscar-nominated shorts. Usually, I get to watch only a fraction of those films because they don’t all make it to this market.

I’m still on ZOOM for the Tuesday Bible guys, the Dads group, and certain church meetings. My sisters, in two different states, and I in a third, meet at least three weeks out of four. The Olin reunions took place remotely.

Lessee, what else?

I’m fiscally solvent. This allows me to order things via mail order, such as all of those blue masks and music that I don’t REALLY need but want. I also got a bunch of baseball books from Jack’s widow and music from the collection of my late father-in-law.

I had a brief but significant moment of mutual forgiveness with an old friend.

My mother-in-law lives much closer. This makes her and her daughter mighty happy.

I’m glad that Arthur and Kelly and fillyjonk and others are still blogging. Chuck Miller is still plugging other blogs each Saturday.

I’m sure there’s more, but this will do for the nonce.

The Library Gala

This picture of me with Scott Jarzombek is NOT indicative of my mood that night.

Roger.ScottI went to this Literary Legends event Saturday night, sponsored by The Albany Public Library Foundation, organized by former APL board member, and current Foundation head, Holly McKenna.

I had met the three honorees before. Interestingly, two of them work for the local newspaper, the Times Union, and one did for about a decade.

William Kennedy has written eight books of fiction, based on the colorful real characters in Albany’s past. He also wrote a non-fiction book, O Albany! which might be another starting point for the history of the city.

The last time I met Bill Kennedy, he had arranged for Douglas Blackmon to speak at a Friends of the APL event. Blackmon wrote the book Slavery by Another Name. There was a luncheon before that, and I got to sit next to Blackmon, a Wall Street Journal writer. Finally, at some point, he asked to switch with me so that he could talk to Blackmon. I got to sit with Bill’s charming wife, Dana.

Dana, BTW, was outbidding me for several items at the silent auction at the gala. I got to meet two of their children.

Paul Grondahl, who is the best pure writer on the TU staff, I saw read from his book on the long-time mayor of Albany, Erastus Corning a few years ago, and run into him periodically. I’m pretty sure I was the first person to tell him of the death of his buddy Donna George, a year or two after the fact.

When Amy Biancolli was a movie critic, I used to comment regularly. The first time I ever met her in person was at my church when her late husband Chris Ringwald was talking about his book A Day Apart, about the importance of the Sabbath in different religious traditions. Her current book, Figuring Sh*t Out, is about dealing with life after her husband’s very public suicide. I see her at concerts and plays occasionally. I talked with two of her children at the end of the evening.

Anyway, I had a really good time, talking with Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Theresa and John Portelli (I went to college at New Paltz with John), lots of the library staff, and several others. So this picture of me with Scott Jarzombek, the relatively new Executive Director of the Albany Public Library, is NOT indicative of my mood that night. For one thing, even though I was wearing a suit and dreaded tie, I was also wearing my new blue Chuck Taylor sneakers.
The obituary for Lenny Tucker, who was, among many other things, the long-time president of the Friends of the Albany Public Library, a title I now hold.

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