Thank you to all, who have sent me so many kind thoughts and offers. You’ve all helped, in your own ways. I get a special kick when someone I’ve never even met face-to-face sends me some touching note—via email—because I know dad hated email. I kept trying to tell him it’s a viable means of communication, but dad was a traditionalist. Oh, well.

I am especially touched by one note I received from an old family friend, both for her words, which I will keep to myself, and for some words of John Updike, which she included in her note and are so fitting for my father that I feel compelled to share them here, and leave it at that.

Perfection Wasted

And another regrettable thing about death

Is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,

Which took a whole life to develop and market-

The quips, the witticisms, the slant

Adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest

The lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched

In the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,

Their tears confused with their diamond earrings,

Their warm pooled breath in and out with your


Their response and your performance twinned.

The jokes over the phone. The memories packed

in the rapid-access file.

The whole act.

Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;

Imitators and descendants aren’t the same.