News about Uncle Frank’s passing, a new iPod Touch, and Bill’s annual deck party…

At about 1:00, just before I turned off my computer to get on with my day, I received an e-mail from my cousin in Atlanta:

Hi John,

We haven’t spoken in awhile, and unfortunately I’m writing now to tell you sad news. Dad died at home last night at 5:00 pm.

He’s been home since early September and remained bedridden and very ill. His last week was aided by Hospice, but for the most part Mom has been his primary caregiver. Apparently he was in much pain the last week; but was made comfortable by Morphine.

There will be no service at this point. He has donated his body to Brown University. After Brown’s research, Dad will be cremated and his ashes returned to Mom. At which point, she may have a service of some sort. I’m traveling up there Tues and will stay til Friday or Saturday. I’m still working on flight arrangements.

I’ll hopefully catch up with you soon on what’s happening in your life. Hope all is well. Hi to your parents.


I turned on my phone to call my aunt, and had a voice mail message from her, time stamped at just after 11:00AM.

We had a tearful conversation, and describing his state before they put him on the morphine, he had said: “I didn’t know it was this hard to die. I’m in so much pain.”

Frank Casmiro

After I hung up, I thought about how glad I was that I went up for a visit in July, how I stepped back into the room, and exchanged “I love yous” with him before I left, and then followed up the visit with a card to him to tell him what an influence he has been in my life. As Robert would say, “Aloha, my dear uncle.”

I feel so very fortunate to have had my time with Jeanie-baby four months before she died, and this time with Uncle Frank two months his death.

I went inside Crabtree Valley Mall for the first time in probably a year-and-a-half. I was there a few weeks ago to meet my friend Rhonda at Kanki for lunch, but that restaurant is accessible from the outside, so I didn’t go inside the mall. It’s incredible how ginormous that place is now.

As my shopping always is, it was very focused—as in one store—and with one purchase in mind. Today’s focus of attention was The Apple Store with an iPod Touch the purchase.

I had my old iPod with me, which stopped working—for the third time—about three weeks ago. Just stops in the middle of songs. This time, after doing all the things I did the last two times this happened, nothing jump-started it.

The place was teeming with customers, but as has been my experience with Apple’s stores, there were plenty of associates available to help me. I spoke with two guys, and explained, “This iPod stopped working about three weeks ago. Just stopped in the middle of a song. I didn’t drop it or anything. I was on the treadmill, and it just stopped in the middle of my workout music. It’s old, and I don’t have any kind of service agreement on it, but what I’d like to know is if there’s anything the “genius’s” (their term, not me being sarcastic or anything) can do for it, or if there’s anything I can get for trading it in toward something new.”

The one guy said, “Wow. That’s a classic. Well, you can get 10% off a new purchase, or you could put it on eBay, or heck, I’d give you 20 bucks for it.” My first reaction (in my head) to that was, “Uh, I think 10% off the iTouch I want would be about $40. I think I’d take that before selling it to you for $20.” But I digress in my mind…

“Let me take it to the back for a second,” he said, and returned just a few minutes later with it working. “You’re all set,” he said.

“What was wrong with it?”

“The hard drive froze, and we have a utility that we can run when that happens. I ran it, and it fixed it.”

“Darn,” I said. “That really puts a dilemma on my decision, because I really came here to buy a Touch today.” I debated a few seconds about trading it in, and then thought, really, for $40 bucks, I ought to just go ahead and keep it. I can use it for workouts instead of taking my Touch in there. That way if I drop it or something, it won’t be a big deal.

“I’ll take a 32 GB Touch, please,” I said.

Good week for… Bad week for…
Brilliant insights, after Lynne Spears said in an interview that it probably wasn’t such a good idea to turn her daughter Britney into an international sex syumbol at age 15. “It’s kind of like Britney was sent out into the world a little bit prematurely,” Spears said. The ultimate flight delay, after an XL Airline flight from Orlando to London that was taxiing for takeoff with 260 passengers aboard suddenly stopped and turned around. The passengers were told the small airline had just gone out of business and were ordered to exit immediately onto the tarmac, where they were left stranded.

—From The Week Magazine 09/26/08—

Tonight was Bill Smith’s annual deck party, and it was delightful as always. We finished the BBQ, chicken, potato salad, slaw, baked beans, and hushpuppies, followed by some banana pudding for dessert, all just before the deluge of water from the sky invited itself to the party. A good time was had by all.

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