More than once, I have considered writing some version of “All I ever needed to know about Life…” (or politics, or philosophy, or even the revolution) “…I learned in retail.”

Amazingly, we continue to act as if our “customer is always right” attitude is something other than universally mutually-licensed sociopathy (hint: it isn’t, and never has been), even as we are more and more medicated against the sadness and loneliness caused by our own distancing actions.

My favourite Ernest Hemingway story by miles is a small piece he did about the Spanish Civil war, in which he tries to find someone else to inform on a waiter, who he now realizes is with the fascists – simply because they had such a great relationship before the war, as a cheerful regular and an amused and amusing server.

Nothing in the least bit trivial about such a relationship – and that was his far too rarely made point – even in an extreme situation, those friendships can have lovely and even life-enriching weight and inertia.

We can all have a lot more connection in our lives, if we simply show more respect!

I lost a dear friend the other day – knew and talked to him for decades, but I could not tell you his last name (and he would have had to read mine off the cover of the poetry book I gave him, on what would sadly turn out to be my very last visit to see him).

The thing is, we just clicked – felt great mutual warmth, respect, and intellectual delight. For quite awhile I held back my strongest politics, but as we got to know one another better, I realized that he would go further with me than many of my friends – no fear and no sacred sore-spots that we had to avoid – wow did we ever have some fantastic and hilarious talks!

I always got a terrific haircut from him also – right to the very end, perfect every time, without ever having to tell him how I wanted it. But the real point is that, as Catherine said, when I came home looking miserable the other day, “You always came back from seeing Reno with a huge smile on your face, full of creative ideas. You’re really going to miss that guy.”

Last year I had a try at writing a poem for him, but it didn’t quite work. Subtle stuff.
This is the best I can manage for him right now.





The world looks even bleaker to me today. One less comrade, with whom to laugh at all of the madness – and just when madness is all the rage!  But it was truly lovely that he was here at all, and I feel very fortunate that I got to know him and enjoy the warmth of his affirming respect.

Peace to you my friend – and love eternal to you both

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