Monday, November 14, 2011


Of course his present is late.  As my father says, the day I get a birthday gift to you on time is the day you need to worry about the state of our relationship.  That said, I did mail it today.  It is small and not early extravagant enough, but it does contain an important message--I love you brother.

He came to us on September 11, 2001.

I know, right?  Accompanying my sister to a weeping home, he let us be as we were.  Laughing one moment  and heartbroken the next, he rode our roller coaster, finishing the ride with the pirate eye patch and earring that Matty and Rayner determined was just the thing for a new friend on an old day.  We'd have proposed if he hadn't gotten to it.  But he did, and here we are ten years later celebrating his life from more than a few locations.

"A good man is hard to find," said Flannery O'Connor. Life is tough and begs the easy answer, the angry retort, the default method.  But I have seen him walk beyond these, quietly teaching the young men watching him that authenticity and quiet strength, partnership and kindness really are possible in this jaded world.

Bob Otsuka, you are a gift to so many people.  And unlike me, you're always on time.

Happy day, happy year, happy life.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thanks of a Grateful Nation

They are invisible, even today.  

Is it not amazing to realize that they walk among us?  No tattoo of bravery to let us know they jumped out of planes, tiptoed through jungles, or suffered night after night of bitter cold and little food.  They buy apples and milk at the grocery store and wait in the lobby of the doctor's office, and we brush against them daily, with little knowledge of the sacrifices made--loves lost, nightmares found, greatness achieved with no witness but the dead.

We've had our fill of gut-wrenching failure this week, humanity looking worse for the wear.  Today our best will be on display.