A STORY FOR THE NEW YEAR

‘My mother told me that when her parents were married – my grandparents – one of the gifts they got was a beautiful bedspread,’ recalled Nell Minow, the wonderful corporate responsibility guru and movie critic, to a group of us this past weekend.

Apparently, it was a really exquisite gift – so much so that they decided not to take it out of its packaging, but rather wait for a really special occasion.

Well, the children were born and there were holidays and anniversaries . . . we won World War II . . . and yet somehow, the time never exactly seemed right.

‘And then,’ Nell’s mother told her, ‘your grandfather died.’

Long, wistful pause.

‘And my mother took the bedspread’ – [here I expected her to say something about draping the casket] – ‘and took it back to Marshall Field, unopened after all those years, and got a refund.’

Shorter pause.

‘Do you see what I’m trying to tell you, Nell?’

‘Yes, Mom,’ Nell replied. ‘I think I do. Live for today. Make every moment count. Don’t let life pass you by . . .’

‘Oh,’ replied her mother, thrown slightly off center. ‘Well, yes. I suppose that, too. But the point I wanted to make . . . always deal with a reputable retailer.

(Nell tells it better, but I did my best.)

QUIZ

If you have time for fooling around, here is the New York Times 27-question 2004 Trivia Quiz. I don’t have time for fooling around, but couldn’t resist. I got 18 right, putting me at the top of the ‘well-informed’ range, just below ‘suspiciously well-informed’ and safely short of (23 or more) ‘get a life.’

Tomorrow: A word – but just a word – about the horrendous devastation abroad . . . and supervolcanic reasons to enjoy that bedspread now, while you can (and one very large rock in the Canary Islands)

 

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