Monday, June 30, 2014


On Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:32 AM, Harry Danvers <> wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harry Danvers <>
Date: Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Subject: WOODY

   He lived in Plainsville, Ohio, which was founded in 1798 and had one stop light, one grocery store, one bank and the rest were antique shops. In face it was the center for antiques in Ohio as well as other states. The had one of the oldest Quaker Meeting Houses in the nation and next to that was a home for the eldely insane. That´s where Woody existed.
   It was determined by the state psiquiatrías that Wooddy did not live in this world. He had the mind of an infant who had never learned to speak and was surrounded by memories of an unknown origin  Noone knew exactly how he arrived in own or where he came from. He was just there and the oldest border in the elderly insane asylum. He therefore had a long, white beard, which coveed his face up to his eyes. These were remarably vivid, without color, but piercing and alert. He was of middle height, somewhat pauncy andf well endeared by all the inhabitants of Plainsville, Ohio. The state.psychatrist determined he was not dangerous, so he ws allowed the roam the streets of the village at his leasure.
     "Morning Woody!"
     "Heh Woody!"
     "What´s going on ole man?"
   were some of the salutations he received, to which he would smile, in a toothless way and grunt back to them.
   Thyat grunt and other similar grunts, spliced together like a kind of morose code, sufficed for his conversation and the people seemed to understand.
   He didn´t frequent the antique shops but had a habit of going to the grocery store. Usually he just looked arund but one day he took a pack of cigarettes off the wrack, put it into his pocket and started walk out before a cashier yelled out;
     "Heh! You have to pay for that!"
   Woody turnd around with an astonished look. He didn´t know what she meant. He couldn´t undestand her. He grun ted and made such undecipherable sounds that she called Mr. Nell and he shepeared Woody outside;
     "Woody," he said, "we know you didn´t steal anything, but here the people pay for what they take. Do you understand?"
   Woody changed his palor and even beamed, making three grunts before walking away.
   Mr. Nell was so impressed that he told the check-out girls never the charge him and spread the word hat maybe Woody was speaking in an unkown tongue
   Mr. Nell was the proprietor.of the grocery store. He had inherited it from his father and grandfather before him Therefore there was not one soul who did not know about someone in his family tree. moreover, his opinions were well regarded.
   Now the old Quaker Meeting House was still attended by a few people. Of course nothing was said unlss someone wanted to break the silence with dsesultory remarks. AT the same time it was established in their doctrine that anyne could enter the metting house and one day Woody did.
   No one wasw surprised fr he seemd as old as the came, colonial building itself. Everyone knew Woody from the next door elderly insane asylum. Therefore he sat down on one of the hard benches and joined in the silence
   It was a long, protracted, invisable silence in which each individual tried t lose himself in meditation. There is not much to think about in  small town, but there is still the individual with his wandering thoughts. If you are a child this is simple but when you become an adult, you are the shadow of all that and Woody was a shadow.
   One hour led to the next and no one said anything. Woody remained motionless, until he decided he wanted to have a cigarette. Instinct told him he should not do this but he could not cointrol this instinct. He stood up abruptly and uttered a bellowing grunt. It echoed offthe ancient walls and woke the people from their restless sleep. Many knew what Mr. Nell had said and now it appeared it was coming true Woody continue to grunt in different tones and octaves as he walked down the asile.
   He went next dfoor to the elderly insane asylum and poaused ont he front porch to light a cigarette. He had no idea how he was affecting the town now or that he was fast becoming a local saint.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014




              "The two don´t mix and I´ll swear on a stack of Bibls, that they don´t ! Jeb Baker exclaimed, in the one room sore, along a lonely West Virginian road.

    All the folk hat was gathered around the cracker barrel were born and bred there, just as their parents and grandparents had been. Therefore, there were no secrets here and one could tell a lie as well as the next on, but sometimes they told the truth and this was beginning to sound like an interesting story.

              "Now you probably all remember John Miller´s boy over there in Buckley and what kind of an erasable creature he was, as though he was born mean!"  Jeb pronounced, with a voice he used for killing snakes.

    Everyone knew that the old man retired from the mines and later made his fortune in moonshine. Everyone present had dabbled in that lucrative art at one time or another and ole John Miller was a well known distributor around the state. It was even rumored that the movie Thunder Road, staring Robert Minchin was based. on his exploits, although that could not be proven.

            "so it was that the son followed his pappi in the trade and right away became addicted to the profit. That is to say, he became a raging drunk!" Jeb spit out, as his hand went to the pickle jar of white lightning, which he and everyone else had beside them. "Now I´m not saying to drink is to bring down the devil on you although I´m sure the devil drinks a lot, but hell even Jesus was said to change water to wine and he was the son of God!" None crossed themselves for they wre all Protestants, but the message wa loud and clear. "Now this irascible varmint continued in his ways. There was not a pretty girl from Huntington to Buckley that he had not ravished, left a kid and went on his way. It was, as the scriptures state: an abomination!"

    When Jeb paused, to take a drink out of the pickle jar, everyone followed. For them making and selling of moonshine was not a sin. Jesus Christ himself might have been more ensured to their hard liquor than the wine he used to drink. That was the way they thought.

            "And then one night he strayed into Mary´s Place on the main street of Buckley. It was a festive occasion because it was Saturday night and all the miners had their pay checks. May knew this and dealt out their drinks with proportions that would leave enough money left over for their wives and children. Of course there was a quick business of under the counter moonshine, but you have to remember that these were worn down miners who deserved a night on the town at Mary' Place, to drown out their woes. All was going all right until the devil himself walked in. Yep, he was the son of ole John Miller and determined to turn night into day! He was fit to be tied and long gone on moonshine.

    Now one cannot be sure, in a cracker barrel store, on top of a mountain, relating to something that happened before, would be the truth, but a hushed silence followed which bore instance, for the moment of truth and justice which they all waited for.

                    "So John Miller´s boy come in and the first thing he does is knock all the bottles off the bar. He demanded moonshine and pretty much terrified everyone there. Everyone cept Mary. She didn´t flinch and as cool as you will pulled out a pistol from under the bar and pointed it right at his forehead. It took one bullet and he was dead on the spot."

                  "I suppose the sheriff came and took Mary away," an old man volunteered.

                   "He came all right but he didn´t do nothing to Mary, cause in the first place nobody liked John Miller´s son and in the second place everybody knows that moonshine and gun powder don´t mix."




Thursday, April 25, 2013



It's not the passing

I lament

For we must all go

The way of the earth

But the absence

Of grace

Not time

Nor place

For the moment of departure

Leaves a space

Which can never

Be filled

And perhaps

Eventually forgotten:

Even those

Who swear

They will never forget!

This breeds seeds of doubt

For the living are blind

To the mysteries of death

And the dead

Can no longer shout

Nor whisper

Their presence any more

And that is an absence

Of grace

And a cause for lament

She was my cousin

And her life

Was well spent

Friday, February 15, 2013


                                                        YOU'RE A BLOCK PAST IT…..


                  Marc Greenburg was a New Yorker, to the tips of his fingers and including his toes. He lived In Queens, after the massive migration from the Bronx, of those of his faith.

                   He was a Jew, who was observant, although his accent never changed. Sometimes it was undecipherable. In the five Burroughs of the city, you had to listen closely, because eril became oil if you went from Brooklyn to the Bronx. There were subsequent problems in the various translations. Marc understood this, but his own accent was so thick, that you had to sometimes ponder his words. His Yiddish and Hebrew were , but that was not the national language and at 75, his accent almost landed him in the county jail.

                 It all happened when he was returning from the Shul on a Shabbat. He was still meditating on the Parishot for that week, which was Mishbatim or the statures of the law. At that moment he was stopped by an Afro-American, on a corner, to ask directions. He knew the area like the back of his hand, so he immediately told him that he knew the address he was seeking, but: You're a block past it…

               Now the Afro-American, who was the size of a linebacker and looked just as mean, shouted: "Discrimination!"  That brought an Irish cop and since they lived in a democratic country, Marc was swiftly taken to the local judge in Queens. She proved to be an Afro-American as well and had a striking resemblance to Opra on the television. The charges were declaimed and poor Marc, who still had his Talit and Kippur under his arm, was faced with a grave crisis.

               The plaintiff, who was adamant, was determined to make the defendant bleed justice. This was the United States and no discrimination was permitted here, so he blurted out to the judge: "He called me a black bastard!" They were all part of the same melting pot, Marc reasoned, but he also sensed that Opra (the judge) held a strong inclination for the other side.

                         "Are you a racist, Mr. Greenburg?"

              She didn't have a New York accent and he found out later that she had graduated from Harvard, but that didn't really matter. He knew that if she believed that he had insulted someone of her own race, then he was guilty before he could plead his innocence. He was congering  these thoughts, when the judge continued:

                         "If you insulted an Afro-American, by calling him a Black Bastard…you are guilty under the law. Are you aware of that?"

                Marc paused for a moment, for it had been written in the Mishpatim that same dictum, albeit thousands of years ago. It was that you had to treat the stranger with kindness. That much was clear and the stranger, metaphorically speaking, is a fellow citizen. Therefore, it would be against the law of the Torah to even contemplate insulting another human being. These ideas were solid in his being, but he did not think that he could adequately explain this to the judge and since it was getting near noon, he knew that all wanted a lunch break. Therefore, if he pleaded guilty, the fine would probably be minimum, because they all wanted to go home to eat. But, if he did that, he would be confessing he had broken a holy law. It was true that on Yom Kippur he had confessed repentance for many laws he had never broken, but that was a spiritual thing and this was real.

                 The judge shuffled some papers in front of her and waited impatiently for the defendant to reply. She knew he was a Jew and that the mayor of the city was of the same religion, so she really didn't want to make a big thing out of this, if it could be avoided. Nevertheless, this was a New York standoff and justice had to be done.

                              "So, what do you have to say for yourself Mr. Greenburg? Did you or did you not call the plaintiff a Black Bastard?"

                  There were thousands of years of light, between that moment and when his ancestors received the law on Mount Sinai. There was also slavery in Egypt and forty years in the desert. In fact, it was remarkable that he had survived so long. So, what could he do, but tell the truth.

                             "Your honor, I was born in New York. My ancestors moved from the Bronx, to Brooklyn and later Queens. Therefore. I get mixed up with my accents. Nevertheless, I Am not a lewd person. In fact, I respect my fellow man and when this fellow asked me, on the corner, where a certain address was, I simply replied: You're a block past it…"

                  A dead silence followed, in which both the judge and plaintiff were at a lack of words. The case was immediately dismissed and the only who laughed, was the Irish cop, who was from Brooklyn. Who immediately doubled up and blurted out: "You're a block past it!"