Today, Upper West Side

Pinkberry:  mango and watermelon swirl.

Isabella’s on Columbus and 77th.  Honeydew and prosciutto salad.  Tiramisu.  Glass of white wine.

Penny, always so good to see you!

Happy with work.  Self finished a play!

A toast.  Penny and self had a toast.

Gorgeous weather.

No problem getting a cab.

Back to San Francisco today.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Nourishing Spirit: Peter Godwin

Self may be getting on in years, but her love for the Splendid City remains undiminished.

Today, as she rode in a cab back to brother-in-law’s apartment after a long day of work, she craned her neck at every storefront, every street corner.  The cab had to take an alternate route because of all the blockages caused by the pesky UN General Assembly.

The book self was reading when she left California, and which she is almost finished with, is Peter Godwin’s memoir of growing up white in Zimbabwe, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun.

How she loves this book.  It didn’t engage self immediately, but she stuck with it, and last night, as she read, she found herself shedding big, fat tears.

Was it because he describes so movingly the death of his father, a Polish Jew who re-fashioned his identity in Zimbabwe and tried to obliterate his Jewishness, even breaking ties with former family members?

Godwin hates Mugabe.  He does not shirk from identifying characters by race:  the black doctor, the black policeman, the black classmate.

In the last couple of pages, Godwin is trying to help his newly widowed mother by organizing his father’s office files.  Going through cabinets in his father’s study, he discovers a cabinet:

They contain clippings of all the pieces I have ever written, carefully glued down and meticulously cross-referenced.  Every review of my books and TV documentaries.  Every ad for every book reading.  Videos of all my programs.  It is a master record of my entire career.  My father has been minutely following it, the career he officially hoped I would abandon in favor of “a real job.”  And the pages show signs of some serious wear and tear.  Of having been well thumbed.

“He would come in here some nights and get them all out and just sit here on his own reading through it all,” says my mother, who has entered with a mug of chicory for me.  “And he would rewatch your old documentaries too.  It was almost as though he was seeing the world through your eyes.”  I struggle to hold back tears.

“He was very proud of you, really,” says my mother, putting her hand on my shoulder and squeezing it.  “For some reason he found it difficult to tell you.”

I just start to howl, and the egret flaps away up over the burned bougainvillea.

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