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one of a kind

My American cousin Peter B., a photographer who’s known for his intimate shots of the Statue of Liberty – he climbed all over her many times and took an especially gorgeous close-up of her toe – sent a sad email today:

Kasuku, my 37 year old parrot, had a stroke on Veterans day and died on Friday the 18th and was buried the Friday after Thanksgiving with 15 of his human friends at the ceremony.
He was placed in an African Mahogany coffin, with a miniature rubber Statue of Liberty, his Nikon Professional Service membership card (he was the only bird that was a member since 1992) and some peanuts for his trip to the afterlife. The service was performed in the Jewish faith; Sharon and Ricki read from a prayer book that my Father used in 1916 when he was Bar Mitzvah, Ricki also used it for her Bat Mitzvah and Gabriel used when he was Bar Mitzvah and now for Kasuku’s Funeral. A real family heirloom.
I met Kasuku in the Seventies during visits to Peter’s loft on W. 22nd in NYC, decorated with photos he’d taken around the world of animals and insects copulating. Kasuku was an extremely intelligent bird with stern political opinions. When you said, “Nixon,” to him, he replied, “Fucker!” Peter and Kasuku visited us in Vancouver in the early 80’s, so my baby daughter made friends with her first parrot. You were one of a kind, Kasuku. And you still are, for that matter, Peter.

Speaking of one of a kind, an old friend and neighbour was over yesterday during Penny’s jewelry sale, which went very well, and we got caught up on our children. One of her daughters was an awkward, unhappy girl, slightly developmentally delayed, who went through a long goth phase where she wore hideous black clothes – you know the kind. She met a young transgendered man turning into a woman; they fell in love, lived together for years and had a joyous wedding last year. They’re now living in connubial bliss in Northern Ontario, which is a very tolerant place. Once upon a time, these two would have lived as pariahs; instead, they are a happily married couple. The story made me grateful for these modern times.

Today’s excitement, besides Carol’s class at the Y and a haircut: the vast new Loblaw’s is opening in Maple Leaf Gardens. The ads for the place promise “A great wall of cheese.” In downtown Toronto on a grey November day, it doesn’t get more cheerful than that.

P.S. Two days ago, people out in shorts, and right now – the first sprinkle of snow. Welcome to Canada.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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