The Kindness of Strangers – Day 20
by Jim Herbert
Thank you to a Stranger #20
Last week I found myself at a shiva for one of the few times in my life. Since I was raised Catholic the majority of the memorials I have attended in my family have been Christian based. This particular shiva was relaxed and casual. Great wines were flowing and plenty of all types of foods from both sides of the kosher veil were available. I mean how often do you get to enjoy king crab and latkes on the same plate?
The man we gathered together to remember was a Cool cat named Oz Schoenstadt. Oz came into my life about 13 years ago. We were friendly co-workers. He was one the biggest and earliest supporters of my relationship with Christiana and for that we are truly grateful. He was also very tuned in to the spiritual side of our human existence and we had many wonderful conversations about crystals, meditation, non-denominational spirituality and vibration. I have a good bit more to say about Oz’s impact on my life, but I’m not ready to say to all yet. Frankly he’s not done talking to me. That’s another story all together.
This story is about a man I met for the first time ever when I went to Oz’s shiva last week. His name was Carter. Carter had know Oz way back when he was a young man long before I had the good fortune of knowing either of them. They traveled that path together as friends while Oz ran all three of his legendary Chicago establishments through the years: Oz Bar, Harvest on Huron and Lakeview Supper Club.
I went to the shiva predominantly to see the family, all of whom I had know for many years and some of whom are now dear friends. Carter was the un-expected wild card in the deck though. He told me stories about Oz from chapters of a life I never got to see. He was an extra host to many of us that day. A drink re-filler. A positive vibration source. He always seemed to have a “pen” when it was needed! Carter was a bright light on a day of reflection and a few tears. I look forward to a day I get to talk to him again.
So thank you Carter for coming into my life as a stranger and opening up a door to a new friendship. Thank you also for being what I know was a remarkable friend to a remarkable man. You made a big impression on me in a short time. I can see why Oz loved you so well…
I wanted to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I’m hitting my stride. I’m also a budding speech writer. I’ve recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Website: http://www.emergingintojoy.com.