kaddish in two-part harmony podcasts

daily kaddish: for don, sr

A kaddish for our neighbor don, sr; we just learned of his passing two weeks ago.


Yesterday Victoria ran into our neighbor Don, Jr while she was draining the pup. He rolled down his car window to say hello, and she asked after him and his dad, Don, Sr, to which Don, Jr replied:

“He passed.”

It turns out that our kind, sweet old neighbor across the way had been having some heart trouble again and had gone into the hospital on the 1st. On the 11th, while still in the hospital, he died.

Victoria and I were both startled by the news, because we each thought we’d seen him around more recently than that. We often see our neighbors as they’re getting their mail or coming or going when we’re out walking the dog, and that’s how we’d gotten to know Don, Sr and Don, Jr over the years. They have always been keepers of the neighborhood history—Don, Jr and his brother grew up in this neighborhood and played in the wooded hills across the street long before the other houses were built. Don, Jr told me about an old fort that he was pretty sure was on my lot way uphill behind my house, and sure enough a few months later when I clambered up the deer trails to check the state of things for our annual spring fire-prevention vegetation management, I found it.

Don, Sr was a friendly gentleman with a warm smile, always ready to take a few minutes to say hello and ask after us. He was generous with his knowledge of the area and never had an unkind word that anyone can remember—despite quite a few neighbors who would have deserved a few at times.

We’ve always known both father and son simply as “Don,” and I’m suddenly struck by the fact that I’ve never known the last name of these two gentlemen who have always referred to all the neighbors past and present as Mr and Mrs Whatever.

Victoria joined me in the kaddish for the first time tonight, reciting some text we knew Don, Sr would have appreciated.

By erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…

One reply on “daily kaddish: for don, sr”

An exchange on Facebook:

Colin This inspires a myriad of feelings…makes me think of good friends, family and colleagues who I miss, and how lucky we are to have those still with us. Thanks Erin!!

Erin It makes you think when something like this happens, doesn’t it? It’s not like it was a huge surprise for us—he’d been getting frailer in recent years—but it was odd that several weeks went by without our finding out, and how we both felt sure that we’d seen him just in the last week or so.

Colin Ironically, what struck me was the very simplest of associations…the name “Don”…who is my long-time neighbor, colleague, friend, and who is 71+ years old but looks, lives and acts like he might be 40-something due to his habit of distance running. I think we need to sit down and share a bottle of good wine soon…

Erin Please do, and toast our Don for us! We’ve been talking about wanting to have Don Jr over for a beer or several, too. He’s a good guy and has a ton of stories to tell about the neighborhood, his dad, and so on. I want to offer to play a kaddish for his dad’s memorial service once they get it scheduled, too.

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