Sunday, September 29, 2013

Carry On, Soldier


 "Why'd you join the Army?" I asked Dan when we first met. We were in Texas and I was responsible for orienting him to the base.

"I didn't like the hats they wore in the Navy," he said.


"Why did you join?" he asked.

"Okay, your reason was better than mine."


We were watching M*A*S*H.   Hot Lips' dog got killed. She was crying. So were we.

"Stupid dog," said Hot Lips.

"Stupid dog," Dan said.

"Stupid dog," I said.


It was Thanksgiving. We were sharing an apartment off base.

"Do you really think we should give the turkey carcass to your puppy?" I asked.

"Sure," said Dan. "He'll love it."

Ten minutes later we were cleaning up dog vomit.

"Why'd you get a damn beagle anyway?" I asked. "And why'd you name him Sooner?"

"I know. I should have called him 'the Littlest Angel.'"

"Fucking kill me," I said.


"Do you ever miss the Army?" I asked him. We were living in Seattle. I topped off his daiquiri glass from the pitcher we'd made out of the berries in our back yard.

"Never," he said.

"Not even color guard? Not even when we got to wear those cool, shiny helmets?"

"That sucked," Dan said.

"Remember when Top said we were going to get court-martialed for ragging on the President and we gave him a copy of the First Amendment?"

"That was hilarious," Dan said.


"ALS?" I said. "You've got ALS? Like Lou Gehrig?"

"Yeah," said Dan. "Like Lou Gehrig."

"Shit," I said.


"Thanks for coming to see me," said Dan. He still lived in Seattle, I lived in Minneapolis.

"Of course."


"What kind of nightmare is this?" Dan asked.

"It's winter in Minnesota. A fucking wonderland."

"This is worse than the Army."

"Nothing's that bad."

"Why did I come visit in February?" he asked.

"Plane tickets are cheaper?" I suggested.

"I wonder why," he said. "My damn hands don't work. Zip up my jacket."

"What's it worth to you?" I asked.

"What's it worth to keep me from telling your wife you were picking on a cripple?" he asked.


"What's that song?" I asked. My middle son and I were in Portland, staying with Dan, his wife, and their kids.

"Johnny Cash's version of 'The Mercy Seat,'" said Dan.

"It's haunting," I said.

"Try listening to it when you're dying," said Dan. He laughed.


"Hey, I'll see you in a few months. I've got business in Portland," I said.

"Perfect," he said. "Maybe the Packers will be playing. We can catch the game on TV."

"Yeah, whatever," I said.

"Nobody loves the Packers like I do," he said. "Except maybe your wife. Hey, did I tell you they sent me an autographed ball and a bunch of other stuff? Somebody wrote them and said I was a fan. They must have felt sorry for me."

"That was awfully decent of them," I said.

"I felt like I was stealing from the Make-A-Wish Foundation," said Dan.


"I'm sorry," said Dan's wife. "He's gone."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Goodbye, Dad

Bernard "Bud" Greensweig, age 84, passed away peacefully at his home in Royalton Township outside of Pine City, Tuesday, September 3, 2013.  Bud was born May 11, 1929 to Solomon (Sol) and Sadie Greensweig in Brooklyn, New York.  Bud received his undergraduate and law degrees from Northwestern University and his master's degree from the University of Chicago.  

Bud was a successful executive in Minneapolis and Atlanta and for a number of years ran his own law practice.  Bud was also an accomplished violinist who played with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, North Side Symphony Orchestra of Chicago and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra.  Throughout his life he enjoyed playing string quartets and making bad puns.  In January of 1984 he married his wife Jacquelyn.  They enjoyed their grandchildren, traveling, music, art, and their pets.

Bud was preceded in death by his parents Sol and Sadie, sisters Audrey and Ruth, and brother in-law Al Goldrich.  Bud is survived by his wife Jacquelyn of Pine City, son Dan (Colleen) Greensweig of Circle Pines, daughter Eve Meys (Tony) of St. Louis Park, son Thom (Alana) Petersen of Pine City, his grandchildren Josh, Ben, Noah, Ellie, Dylan and Waylon, and his nephew Barry (Jill) Goldrich and Noreen Goldrich of Chicago.

The family would like to thank the staff of St. Croix Hospice and Family Pathways for their assistance.  In celebration of Bud's life a reception will be held on Sunday, September 15, 2013 from 2pm - 5 pm at the family's home, 9218 Linden Lane, Pine City MN.

In lieu of flowers, memorial may be sent to Pine City Arts Council to help sponsor a community concert.  Pine City Arts Council, 65 2nd Street SE, Pine City, MN 55063.