Sunday, July 8, 2007

R.I.P. Morris Friess, March 27, 1914-July 8, 2007

My grandfather died this morning.

Miles and I often debate euphemisms for that verb, since I'm a stickler for word economy and accuracy, and the term "passed away" always sticks in my craw. Yes, even in mourning I am a bit of a language curmudgeon.

That's him back in around 1991 with my grandmother and grandpa's sister, Aunt Sadie, browsing one of my earliest clip books. Other than me, they're all gone. And each of them died past 87 years of age.

We got the call from hospice at about 7:30 am today; it happened overnight and now my aunt is kicking herself over not staying last night. But, as I told her last night, when you're trying to go to sleep, it's easier when people aren't talking to you and the TV's not on. Grandpa wanted that peace to be on his way.

Or whatever. It's all in what you believe, what you need to believe, what makes these things seem better, more noble, more meaningful.

But now, this being a blog, I turn to a rant: AIRLINES SUCK. Bereavement fares are fictitious or, at the very least, anti-Semitic. That is, Jewish funerals are very quick affairs, no open casket and little pre-burial to-do. He died this morning, he'll be buried tomorrow at 2 pm in New York, then the weeklong period of mourning known as shiva occurs, largely a period of sitting around visiting with thoughtful relatives and friends and eating many bagels and whitefish. So, with just a few hours to arrange for Miles' crosscountry journey from Vegas to New York we discover the rates are obnoxiously high -- nothing short of $360 each way. Just too much. With the "bereavement fare" charade. I actually hung up on the reservationist for Delta, the airline of my salvation just a day earlier, when she started citing a fare of "One thousand two..." Click!

So I'll go it alone, although I'll be with my entire family. And I'll hightail it back to Vegas early Tuesday morning and Miles, who was going to visit his family in Atlanta the same day, will leave one day later so we can be together for a day. Thank goodness for Southwest Rapid Rewards tickets and the affordability and flexibility they provide.

And so it goes. I'll be giving a eulogy tomorrow for my grandfather, whom I adored and admired, on behalf of my sisters, their kids and my cousins. I'll post that later tomorrow since everyone's been so kind and since I really will want the world to know what a marvelous man Morris Friess was.


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