Thursday, April 29, 2010

A stroll down Hatboro Way / So long, Billy!

Set free from my Census Class, I drove to Hatboro and whom should I meet but the Buddha! Well, not exactly the Buddha, more like a bodhisattva. Every so often I go into LeRoy's Flower Shop to visit the bodi. I namaste and look at the unique position of his hands and inhale the delicious aroma of the flower shop.

Do stop by and you may find Leroy there himself, as I did. He said his son Bob runs the store now, but it's the same lovely shop as always.

Leroy, I said, I'm starting a movement to SLOW DOWN LIFE. To STOP HURRYING.

Impossible, he said w/compassion.

I called my friend Pam today. "Talk fast," she said, "I'm in a hurry."

I can't, I said. And began to tell her about my friend Bill Cardinale. Hadn't heard from him in ever so long and his phone was disconnected. On a hunch, I googled his name plus the word 'obit' after it and sure enough, there he was, quite dead. I kept sending him postcards up to the very end but I guess when you're dead you're dead.

I have no way of knowing how he died though he had a variety of ailments. Read the great poem "Cremation" by Robinson Jeffers.

Ironic he died today, the day my Intelligencer Guest Column was published. We first met over the phone. Bill called me after my Letter to the Editor to the WSJ was published. I'll never forget it. I was stuffing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into my mouth cuz I was on my way somewhere. Bill lived in Highlands, NJ, and we became fast friends, even after he moved back to his beloved Bay area, California to be with his family.

Pam did remember him all right. We'd had our Coffeeshop Gig in Hatboro, Bill drove all the way down from Jersey to attend, just walked right in the shop as if he'd been coming there for years, and afterward the three of us went out to Ming's across the street. While we slurped our food, we talked about life, love, and politics.

How I wish I'd taken a photo of good ole Bill. He took me out a couple times. We saw a B'way show, oh, that's right, he invested in Sweeney Todd, so we went to the opening, and then a cast party afterward with all these incredibly rich people dripping with diamonds. I wonder if they could tell I'm a penniless pauper. I couldn't find a good pair of shoes to wear so I wore my sandals. Probably borrowed a coat from my sister. I never have time to do any shopping, it's so g'dam boring.

I would hold Bill's hand as we walked so he wouldn't topple over. Didn't have much feeling in his feet due to neuropathy from diabetes. Gee, I wish I could've told him I'm losing my kidney function. What a riproaring time we'd have talking about my lousy kidneys.

See that, Dear Reader! Gobble up every opportunity you have in life cuz you don't know when Sullen Death will knock you dead. He died at his daughter Tami's house. Oh, how he loved that girl.

Could I ever tell you stories! That was the best thing about Bill Cardinale. He was insatiably interested in who you are as a person and he let you know it. I'd always end our conversations with

Love you, Bill!

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