Thursday, May 1, 2008

i cry on planes

one day, a long time ago, before all the hype, i was on a plane and read a little book called "the bridges of madison county" and i cried like a baby. i can't remember who was in the cheesey movie, or if i even saw it, but that book had me balling.

then, today, i watched "bridge to terabithia" on my laptop flying from dallas to dc, and again, cried like a pansy right on cue. i stopped crying when i came to realize that i have a crush on zooey deschanel. then i started crying again.

and before that, on the way down to charlotte this morning, i got an email from mom with the following letter attached, and that was when i had my morning airplane cry-session.

April 28, 2008

Mr. Robert Longo, President

Atlantic Cloisters Association Inc.

1299 S. Ocean Blvd.

Boca Raton, FL 33432

Dear Bob,

I am writing at the request of and on the behalf of the “Swim Group” (although we do not swim), aka the “Pool Pals”.

Sam Greif, our beloved leader of the Swim Group/Pool Pals, passed away on April 10, 2008. Sam was a devoted, dynamic, and enthusiastic leader who gave of himself to others for the ten years that he lived in our community. He brought to the community a health-based exercise program designed especially for residents who were entering middle to senior age, although many youngsters participated from time to time.

Sam welcomed everyone who entered the pool during the daily hour-long program with a hearty, “Good Morning. Would you like to join us”? -- and he meant it! He gave special attention and treatment to every new person to join the group. He patiently explained and demonstrated the exercise as he progressed through the entire series. Moreover, he explained the purpose and the benefits of each particular exercise to the newcomer.

Over the years, many residents have participated in the daily program. Some have passed away, some physically cannot participate any more, and some have long sense moved away. There was always a core group of about 15 or more at the height of the winter/spring season who regularly exercised under Sam’s direction.

Sam was more than just a leader in the exercise program; he was a teller of tales and a generous and giving person who possessed a great sense of humor. He loved children and when they came into the pool area he singled them out for special attention. Sam had a large family – children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren – of whom he spoke lovingly, and he shared with the group pictures and stories about them. He was a loving and generous man.

Sam had a loud, commanding voice that could be heard throughout the pool area, and some said so much so that it sometimes woke them on a peaceful Sunday morning. We loved him and respected him. He knitted together a group of residents who became friends, who shared experiences, who helped each other, and who talked together about ways to make our community a better place to live and play.

Sam gave his heart and soul to his friends and to his dedication to helping others. On his last day of life, he led our group in the exercise program. Near the end of the series, he stepped aside for the last few exercises to rest a few minutes before meeting a therapist at 11:00 o’clock. He walked back to his apartment, sat down in his favorite chair and expired. So much that he loved and respected us that he gave to us his last few minutes on this earth.

In his honor and memory, the Swim Group/Pool Pals respectfully request the Board of Directors to approve the naming of the pool as “The Sam Greif Pool” and the placement of an appropriate plaque in his honor.

Very truly yours,

The Pool Pals

(Representing the Pool Pals for this correspondence, Ernie Cross)

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