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King of the Road

Sunday night Simon, Matt, and I went over to my Uncle Sam’s house to visit with my cousin Connie and her husband Louis.  Connie is  Sam’s oldest daughter and the only other granddaughter of Helen and Aaron. As I’m the youngest grandchild–we’re 18 years apart–I’ve always thought of the two of us as the Goldstein bookends.  Louis, meanwhile, is one of the coolest rabbis I’ve ever met and a wonderful addition to our family.

It had been a long and stressful week for Connie as she settled her father into an assisted living facility, returned home, to New Hampshire, got news from my dad that things didn’t look good, and then traveled back for a funeral and shiva. As the administrator of her father’s trust, she also had to wedge in a fair bit of business among the grieving. Throw in some moving-related chaos as her brothers tried to figure out how to move large pieces of the estate back to their homes in Missouri and Florida, and you have one woman pulled in way too many directions.

By Sunday night, the house was nearly bare and she was a bit shell-shocked from the rapid series of events. Matt and I decided to bring over dinner and see if we could offer some laid-back socialization. And so the evening unfolded with stories of her dad, stories of her parents’ travels together (Sam was married to my Aunt Marcia), a tour through memory lane via family portraits stacked against walls and a few remaining trinkets, and a bit of comic relief compliments of Simon.

Towards the end of the night, Connie began telling me of her brother’s plans for this May, plans that were now up in the air. David was going to fly up with his youngest daughter (a girl Simon enjoys playing with), drive with his dad to Indianapolis to hit the children’s museum, and then drive again  to Cincinnati to visit the zoo. The conversation was emotional because Connie had been worried that her dad wasn’t up to that much driving and because now, of course, the whole question is moot. Simon, looking for  a way to enter this very adult conversation, heard the word “Indianapolis” and seized his chance.

“Indianapolis is on I-65 North!” he proclaimed loudly and with great enthusiasm.

He brought down the house. It was so funny that he knew this, and so funny that he wanted to join discussion so badly. Later on he found ways to explain that Cincinnati was on I-71 North and that Lexington was on I-64 East.

Having him there to laugh and make us all laugh was a balm. And he couldn’t have chosen a more apt way to go about it. My Aunt and Uncle traveled the entire US and to over 60 foreign nations. They of all people would have appreciated that their great-nephew is shaping up to be a little king of the road.

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