In addition to being a friend and fellow Massachusetts native, Jack Crane will always have a distinctive place in my blogging heart.
The reason: he was the first, and thus far the only, person ever to recognize me in person from my picture on the blog.
To be fair, he had a couple of advantages.
To begin, he knew my brother Jon through his daughter Liz, with whom Jon has worked on a number of projects.
Beyond that, Jack and I had spoken on the phone while I was cutting my teeth as a reporter at South Shore Community News.
Still, it was an undeniable thrill on a sunny Saturday morning, when Dunreith and I were walking along the lake and heard an oncoming lanky gentleman exclaim, in essence: “Jeff Kelly Lowenstein! I recognize your picture!”
Beyond feeding my vanity, Jack regularly offers thought-provoking and sensitive comments (One of my favorite Jack chestnuts came in response to a post I wrote about Aidan’s upcoming college visits: “It’s all about the tour guides!”).
The lakefront, and, indeed, the spot near where Dunreith and I first met Jack in person is the site of this touching and typically well-written story that Jack posted as a comment last night about Father’s Day.
I am confident you’ll enjoy it as much as I did:
My daughter and son asked me how I would like to celebrate Father’s Day, knowing I would say just plant me anywhere on the lakefront and I am a happy chap. And so we strolled down to the lakefront after a lovely meal of lox, bagels and plenty of prosciutto! The lakefront being a rather dangerous place, I was escorted by two brave warriors (age 5 and 7), carrying their bows and sponge-tipped arrows, as well as their walkie-talkies in the event of a need for a rapid response rescue.
As is often the case, there was a vigorous volleyball game in process, and the typical guess at the ethnic origins of the participants. This particular game was clearly Middle Eastern of some kind. Iraqi, Turkish, Iranian, or perhaps Gypsies? It was particularly interesting to see two tall, thin young Euro teenage girls leaping five feet in the air at the service line, zipping in mean looking serves to all male opponents. You are not going to see that in Saudi Arabia I whispered to my daughter.
Meanwhile, my warrior escorts had attracted the attention of several other young warriors interested in checking out the arrows and walkie-talkies. I was pleased to see my grandsons managing the recruits with steady hands and nerve: The 5-year-old in charge of communication training and the eldest warrior pointing out the fine art of archery. They occasionally brought in my son, the Uncle, for advise.
My daughter and I continued our ethnic guessing game, as it became more interesting noting the traditional clothes worn by the Mom’s of the young warrior recruits. Finally Liz asked one young girl (maybe 8 years old) where she was from. “Afghanistan,” she says, taking our breath away a bit. ” We can’t go back home because it is not safe there. My Dad’s dad was killed there.”
And so a large Afghani family played volleyball, shot bows and arrows, learned about walkie-talkies, rode bicycles and their little children told stories to affluent americans about their “home.”
It was a good day, and yes, images of kite flying filled my head.