ELEGY
by Burt Prelutsky
If you want to Comment directly to Burt Prelutsky, please mention my name Rudy. burtprelutsky@icloud.com 

(This is a year of anniversaries, among them the 70th anniversary of Israel’s birth and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death. It also happens to be the 50th anniversary of my father’s death. As such, it seems an appropriate time to share a piece I wrote at the time.)

While my dad was alive, I’m afraid I gave him short shrift. We didn’t seem to have very much in common. We were like two friendly strangers who happened to live in the same boardinghouse. Only after he was gone did I become aware of my profound loss.

As a young man in America, Sam Prelutsky settled in a part of Illinois where the most popular organization going was the Ku Klux Klan. After the Cossacks, though, I guess a bunch of farmers wearing bedsheets weren’t such a big deal. Years later, he used to laugh about his former neighbors inviting him – him with his nose and his accent – on Klan outings. Maybe they decided to overlook the obvious evidence in the belief that Jewish people didn’t raise chickens and candle eggs.

Later, after he was married, he moved to Chicago. For a while, he worked for a cigar company, rolling the stogies he couldn’t stand to smoke. But for most of those years he was a fruit and vegetable wholesaler. He’d drive his truck to the big central market at 3 a.m., pick up his load, and spend the next 12 hours delivering produce. In the dead of winter, he’d be out on that truck schlepping sacks of potatoes. In the middle of summer, he’d be muscling crates of watermelons, just begging for the hernia he eventually got.

We moved to L.A. in 1946. At that point he came to the conclusion that the grocers he’d been delivering to over the years had been living the life of Riley, home in bed snoozing while he was up schlepping. He decided to tackle the retail end. A few months at a bad location ate up most of his savings and sent him back to the truck. But L.A., massive sprawl that it was even then, was murder compared to the more compact Chicago.

His next venture was a cigar stand in the Harris Newmark Building at Ninth and Los Angeles. Not counting the roundtrip downtown, it was still a 12-hour day, spent mostly on his feet. But at least the lifting and hauling was limited to soft-drink cases and trash barrels. On the other hand, you had to learn to live with the goniffs who swiped candy bars during the noon rush and the merchant princes of the garment industry who’d run up good-size cigar bills and let you stew until they were ready to pay up. And my father would stew because he couldn’t afford to offend the potbellied, cigar-chewing, fanny-pinching, sweatshop aristocrats.

My dad was not an educated man. He couldn’t correctly spell the names of those sodas and candy bars he sold six days a week. I don’t know if he read two dozen books in his life. He loved America, Israel, pinochle, FDR and the Democratic party. He liked Willkie, Kuchel and Warren, but he could never bring himself to vote for a Republican.

He wanted me to get good grades, a college degree and have a profession, something safe and preferably lucrative like medicine or the law. He couldn’t imagine someone’s wanting to write for a living. Still, when I sold a poem for 50 cents, he cashed the check for me -- and much, much later I found out he always carried that undeposited check folded up in his wallet.

The other day, we went to the mortuary. We went through the ritual of selecting a casket. “They start out at $300,” the salesman informed us, pointing at something that looked like an old Thom McAn shoe box, “and go up.” We passed on the coffin that cost as much as a new Cadillac and settled on an oak box you could swap for a ’65 Chevy.

Then we had to sit there while some woman gathered data for the cosmetician. We tried to explain that it was to be a closed-casket ceremony, but she had not been programmed to receive such information. “Did he wear clear nail polish?”  Did Sam Prelutsky wear clear nail polish?! No, he never wore nail polish. But if he had, safe to say it would have been clear as opposed to purple or fire engine red.

It was finally spelled out for her that they could save their rouge and polish and stupid questions. She turned pale at our impertinence. Her shock was reassuring; she was not a robot, after all.

We buried my father the other day. I didn’t think I would, but I shed tears. I cried because he had worked too hard for too long for too little. For many years, I had resented him because he had never told me he loved me; now I wept because I’d never told him.

The rabbi’s speech was short and simple. What is there, after all, to say at the funeral of such a man? Had the responsibility been mine, I would have said the following: Sam Prelutsky, who was born in a small village 7,000 miles from here, 67 or 68 years ago, was a remarkable person. He was not a great man or a famous one, but he was the best man Sam Prelutsky could be.

Now, let there be no more tears today, for we are laying to rest a man who’s earned one.
If you want to Comment directly to Burt Prelutsky, please mention my name Rudy. burtprelutsky@icloud.com 

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we never do see all we could when the people love are alive we do not stop long enough to appreciate we are alive and living.

your dad seemed to be a great man in his own way we all are.  it just may take us time to see it.

God bless

Bonnie

Yes indeed...

You can also reply to Burt. He would love to hear from you.

I am sorry for your loss. Your family was not the only one, where emotions were not shared. As long as you knew inside that both you loved him and he loved you, do not mourn any more for that. That generation was stoic, not emotional, and you are your father's son, after all. God bless.

I had many problems with my Dad, while my  Mother was my stoic soul mate. Hindsight memories have made me exceptionally grateful for being born to the two who I was born to. The silver linings from their strengths and weaknesses, and the extended family's silver linings, have provided me with the knowledge that those same problems gave me later strength———MUCH later, that finally, as someone over 60 and teaching, that I can use to help my students, especially those with similar traits as I have.

Believe confidently, that this was God's plan, and it included His plans to bless you and grow you through the journey you have walked, with your Dad, Mom and others, to make you someone, who through grief, can console someone else. Who through joy, can share joy with and for someone else. Through trials, to learn patience, persistence, and hope. Just look at how shallow the left is, how cold, how murderous, how duplicitous, and contrast that with who your Dad was, and you are, and the rest of your family, because I bet they are just as good as you are. God says we are beautiful, perfect, righteous, and holy.

It cannot get any better than that.

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LIGHTER SIDE

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ALERT ALERT

GOP Activist Investigating Hillary Clinton’s Lost Emails
Found Dead — Apparent Suicide By Black Plastic Bag Republican activist Peter Smith was found dead in his hotel room in May 2017 in Rochester, Minnesota.

The hotel staff found Smith with a black plastic bag on his head. He was trying to obtain Hillary Clinton’s lost emails.

UPDATE: Mueller and Congressional investigators have interviewed Smith’s acquaintances several times. Our sources say there is much more to this story.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Peter W. Smith, a Republican political activist and financier from Chicago who mounted an effort to obtain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, died on May 14 after asphyxiating himself in a hotel room in Rochester, Minn., according to local authorities. He was 81 years old.

Mr. Smith’s body was found by a hotel clerk in the Aspen Suites hotel, located across the street from the Mayo Clinic, according to a Rochester Police Department report. An associate of Mr. Smith said that he had recently visited the clinic. A representative for the facility wouldn’t confirm if Mr. Smith was a patient.

Mr. Smith died about 10 days after an interview with The Wall Street Journal in which he recounted his attempts to acquire what he believed were thousands of emails stolen from Mrs. Clinton’s private email server. He implied that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then serving as the senior national security adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, was aware of his efforts…

…The police report said Mr. Smith was found by a hotel clerk with a plastic bag around his head attached tightly with black rubber bands. Mr. Smith “left documentation on why he committed suicide, medical records, his written obituary, and life insurance” on a table in his room, the report said.

OMG

Massachusetts Man Arrested After Trying To Hire
A Hit Man On Twitter To Kill ICE Agents For $500

A 33-year-old lefty from Cambridge, Massachusetts named Brandon Ziobrowski was arrested Thursday after offering anyone on Twitter $500 to kill ICE agents.

Ziobrowski also expressed his desire to slit John McCain’s throat in several tweets.

FOX News reported:

A Massachusetts man was arrested in New York on Thursday after trying to hire a hit man on Twitter to kill ICE agents for $500 and sharing his desire to slit the throat of Sen. John McCain, federal officials said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said that Brandon Ziobrowski, 33, from Cambridge, Mass. was charged with one count of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat and injure another person for the alleged Twitter posts this year.

Federal officials said Ziobrowski tweeted a murder for hire solicitation to kill Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for $500, and repeatedly tweeted his desire to slit the throat of McCain, R-Ariz.

“The agents and officers out there enforcing federal laws are doing their job, plain and simple,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a news conference. “There is a difference between public debate and putting others in fear of their lives.”

Federal officials said Ziobrowski in March started tweeting threatening messages against federal agents that work for ICE.

On July 2, the 33-year-old allegedly tweeted: “I am broke but will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills ICE agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this lets make this work.”

The Justice Department released a statement on the arrest of Ziobrowski:

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