I read a hardcover copy of Peter Guralnick’s excellent, at the time brand new, biography of Sam Cooke during a visit to my recently widowed mother in Florida. I probably read the bulk of it sitting in the padded swivel chair my father had spent hours in every day, in the guest room where the computer was. I recall my father’s reluctance to get a computer and my mother’s excitement to acquire one.
(I can feel already that this will be a quick, twisty ride down tortuous roads, rather than a focused slice of anything, but so be it today. I am overdue to get out of this chair anyway and it can’t be helped.)
My mother wound up having little interest in, or use for, the computer, but my father wound up really enjoying it. He quickly discovered he could read the New York Times on-line, as well as the Jerusalem Post and several other publications he liked to read cover to cover every day. He could follow Syracuse’s sports teams and get news about who was drafting their stars. He spent hours every day at the screen, in that very chair, even tapping away with a single crooked, arthritic finger to compose the occasional short e-mail. I got a steady stream of lawyer jokes from him during my three breezy years in law school.
I am thinking of that hardcover copy of the Cooke biography, though. I got it from my brother-in-law, who had a talent for acquiring unmarked, hardcover copies of brand new books of interest. He sometimes loaned them to my father, who read voraciously, as does my brother-in-law. But it occurred to me today that I got that book from him. Made me think, and then think again.
Anyway, out of this chair now and into the street, to walk in the fresh air of the city of my birth.