Friday, February 20, 2004

Get The Lime Day!

33 years from today, speaking with your daughter:

I was walking along the Upper West Side of Manhattan, on my way to a date I'd been thinking about canceling. As I approached a sidewalk fruit stand I watched a lime spill down the green pyramid over the edge of the crate and bounce down onto the sidewalk. Gosh, it only took a matter of seconds but when I look back on it the moment seemed to span a lifetime. The shift of mass, the zig-zag tumble down, the bop to the edge of the crate, and finally the jump. Down. Down. All the way down to the concrete with a bounce like a happy man's first step out of the house on a sunny Saturday. The lime came rolling straight to me. I bent to retrieve it with my gloved hand, but a big, naked hand swooped down and snatched it away. I stood back up and saw the lime held up next to a smiling face.

"Beat'cha," he said.

I liked him. I said, "So agile."

He laughed, then looked around for someone to tell him what to say. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar to shove into the fruit-stand guy's hand. He tossed me the lime. I caught it with some fumbling.

"I want you to have it," he said. "To remember me by."

I thanked him. And I never forgot about him. Every time things aren't going very well between me and your father, I remember that man by the fruit stand and I wonder if my life would have turned out better had I cancelled my date and taken a walk with him.

Happy Get The Lime Day!