Memorial Day

Dear Jim,

You would have liked today. I left the apartment at 5:45 to walk up to the park.

It was already real light and I loved listening to the birds. I stood on the wet lawn and read essays by an Argentinian writer that I tore out of his book so I didn’t have to worry about carrying it with me. I just throw the pages away.

It’s an old paperback. It smells, but not as bad as that other book I told you about.

Usually in collections of essays the publication date of each essay is listed. But there was no list in this book. I don’t think it even had a copyright date.

I can’t tell you when he wrote. 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. I don’t know. But I’m sick of looking at a computer, so I will not look him up. Eventually I will order a new copy to see how my reading of Spanish has improved. There are so many words I don’t know that I only look up a few.

He’s from Buenos Aires. I think he is to Buenos Aires what Charles McCabe was to San Francisco.

He writes about all the different neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. When I read him I think, ”I wish Sacramento had colorful, rich, distinct neighborhoods.” But it doesn’t.

We are boring. I wouldn’t know what to write about if I had to write an essay every week about Sacramento.

Maybe I should try. There are a lot of great murals. There is a barbershop that serves liquor. I walked by a new community garden yesterday. It had all kinds of stuff growing and weeds between plots. It would be a nice place to sprawl myself out in.

But there’s no pzazz. No soul here. I can’t see myself loving Sacramento except for the weather and the trees.

And today the birds. I always complain that there aren’t a lot of birds, especially with all our trees. But today they have been chirping all day. It feels magical.

Dad and I talked this afternoon. He wasn’t in a great mood, but we had a nice conversation.

You know how I loved to drink as a kid? Well, I’ve always been fascinated by the famous old bars in San Francisco. So today I asked dad about Harrington’s and McCarthy’s. He told me where they were, then said he hardly ever went to them.

The place you worked at. Were those bars still there then? Did the staff go there a lot?

Bars are bad news. Remember the sports columnist for The Examiner who wrote a column like it was an episode in history? When he died of alcoholism at 37, you and I were upset. He was one of the few things about growing up in San Francisco that I liked.

McCabe was another. He always talked about his own drinking, but if it killed him it wasn’t until he was old.

On Saturday is a party for our great nephew. He graduates from a Catholic elementary school on Thursday night, then will attend a public high school when school starts again.

I will take the long tiring trip to Sis II’s on Friday afternoon. I hardly ever go there in Summer.

Our nephew is easy going like we wish all kids were. He’s a whiz with his hands. He loves the times he lives in. Just the opposite of me.

It will be a challenge for me to attend a milestone party for someone who will be a success in the modern world that failed me (and you), and what I have failed in.

As they say in Spanish, un abrazo.

As mom used to write,




Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko