Showing posts with label death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label death. Show all posts

19.1.24

Eulogy for Anthony Greig Roselli, Sr. (1950-2024)

Remembering Anthony Roselli: a heartfelt tribute, written by his middle son, Anthony Greig Roselli, Jr., to a life woven with New Orleans' spirit, culinary passion, and memorable adventures.

Eulogy

[Greig]: I'd like to share a few thoughts that I penned down in the parking lot. [laughter]

Anthony Greig Roselli, Sr.
Dad in the 1970s.
Anthony Roselli, a man whose spirit mirrored the vibrancy and resilience of the city he loved. In the past days, driving from Frostop to Airline Motors, I was struck by the transformations — y’all, Airline Motors is now a local branch of the New Orleans fairgrounds; that’s depressing. Can y’all believe that?

I found myself on the levee by the Mississippi River. Pam, remember when I brought you that piece of driftwood from there? The last time I saw my father was in February 2022.

I've only recently come to fully appreciate his impact. A woman on Facebook recalled seeing him regularly at Russell's, expressing her sorrow upon hearing of his passing. He touched lives, often without us even realizing it. At 73, he relished life's simple pleasures and profound depths, especially the culinary delights of New Orleans. From the bustling tables of Russell's Marina Grill to R&O's Restaurant, he was a connoisseur of our city’s flavors.

Like my younger brother Nicholas said, our knowledge of New Orleans cuisine stems from him. From high-end restaurants to the humble Waffle House, he found joy in them all. It seems silly to be moved by memories of Waffle House, but they’re part of the rich tapestry of his life.

My father’s life was a blend of deep roots in New Orleans and adventurous escapades. From humorous run-ins with the Causeway Police to mistaken identity mix-ups during my European student visa application — I’m “Anthony Greig Roselli, Junior, not Senior,” I said. Several altercations during Dad's single nights led to his imprisonment in the Parish jail. I'll let you connect the dots...

Dad certainly brought interesting moments! Despite the distance when I lived in Europe, his calls and texts, often oblivious to time zones, kept us connected. “Dad, it's 3 AM here!” we'd laugh.

His Italian-American heritage infused him with a zest for life, bringing joy to all who knew him. His presence was felt everywhere, from Coffee's Boiling Pot in Madisonville, where I worked as a busboy, where he'd lovingly pester me for refills, to the St. Tammany Parish Public Library, where I also worked after school, he'd proudly announce to everyone in the quiet periodicals section, “I’m searching for my book-shelving son.”

His unwavering support for Nicholas Adam, Brad Michael, and myself was constant. Also, his close relationship with his older sister of nine years — Carol Roselli Fallo.

One of my fondest memories involves his friend Jane LaBarre. Dad took us to City Park, where we met Jane for the first time. I’m sure she thought we were feral cats. And what an adventure that turned out to be — including a daredevil escape from the train ride, much to the ‘amusement’ of everyone, including the police later searching for a "Caucasian male."
My father and I fishing at
Percy Quin State Park (circa 1984).

Dad had a way of turning moments into memories, often accompanied by laughter. But the song 'Cats in the Cradle' – it’s a song that now holds a deeper meaning for me.
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon / Little boy blue and the man in the moon / ‘When you coming home, dad/son?’ ‘I don't know when / But we'll get together then / You know we'll have a good time then.’
[tears]

I was the son who moved away and did my own thing, which I believe was my father's gift to me, albeit a sad yet beautiful one. 

As we bid farewell to Anthony, let's celebrate his life not just with tears but with gratitude. He leaves a legacy in his children, grandchildren — Isabella and Ethan, his beloved family, many cousins, nieces, and nephews, and cherished friends — Susan, Danny, Jerry, Sharon, Michael Arevalo, and many more. His life was a tapestry of joy, love, and laughter, shared generously with all of us.

So, as we gather here, let’s cherish the memories, the laughter, and the love he shared with each of us. Let’s celebrate a life well-lived, a heart well-loved, and a man who will be deeply missed.

Thank you, Dad. We love you, and your spirit will always be with us. Yeah, you right.

[Laughter]

Oh gosh.

N.B.: Dad passed away on Thursday, January 11, 2024. The above eulogy, given on Friday, January 19, 2024, is a text in a slightly modified form. To hear the original eulogy, navigate to SoundCloud, where you can listen to the unvarnished version.

Obituary 
Anthony Greig Roselli, Sr., aged 73, passed away on Thursday, January 11, 2024. Cherished father of Brad Michael Roselli, Anthony Greig Roselli, Jr., and Nicholas Adam Roselli, who is married to Brooke B. Roselli. Beloved best friend of Jane LaBarre and her son Michael Arevalo. He was a devoted brother to Carol R. Fallo, a loving grandfather to Isabella and Ethan, and an uncle to many nieces and nephews. He was a proud retiree from the Shell Oil Company. Anthony will be fondly remembered for the warm friendships he nurtured at Russell's Marina Grill and Dixie Chicken and Ribs, where he was always greeted with open arms. Family, friends, and those who were touched by Anthony's life are warmly invited to join in commemorating his life. The funeral service will be held at Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home on Friday, January 19, 2024, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. To share memories or condolences, please visit Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home.

24.12.23

To Philosophize is to Learn How to Die: Thoughts I Had While Attempting to Clean My Domicile

Exploring life's depths through philosophy while tidying up. Discovering life's value amid chaos and guessing the philosopher - not Nietzsche!

Embracing life’s chaos, rearranging not just my room but perspectives 🌀. Philosophizing from the floor, amidst a mess, because delay syndrome’s real. 🕰️ Understanding death’s inevitability teaches us to value the in-betweens. 🌌 Room’s a mess, but so is life, right? By the way — let me know in the comments if you can identify the philosopher whom I mention in the video. Hint — it's not Friedrich Nietzsche.

27.7.23

Aesthetic Thursday: Encountering St. Firmin, the Ultimate Multitasker from the 4th Century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Embark on a historical journey with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home to a striking 13th-century French limestone sculpture of St. Firmin, the fourth-century multitasker. Explore the mesmerizing world of medieval art and uncover the enigmatic saint's intriguing tale of unwavering faith, becoming a bishop, and his peculiar post-decapitation joy. 
I am at the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, and I embark on a captivating journey through time as we explore the mesmerizing world of medieval art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our focus lies on an intriguing 13th-century French limestone sculpture of none other than St. Firmin, a high-achieving multitasker hailing from the fourth-century (i.e., a Roman Catholic Saint with a penchant for carrying his decapitated head).

Encountering St. Firmin, the ultimate multitasker from the 4th century, at the #MetropolitanMuseumOfArt today. 🎨🏛️ Staring at this 13th-century French wooden sculpture, it's clear this #Saint wasn't your average holy man! 😇🙏 Quickly ascending the celestial corporate ladder, he claimed the coveted position of Bishop at #Amiens.

But here's the quirky part — he's joyfully holding his head! Yes, you read that right. A case of post-decapitation bliss, perhaps? 😂🤔 Nevertheless, he seems quite content. Go, hun!

A day well spent appreciating #ArtHistory and uncovering some divine oddities. Truly, there's nothing like a #SaintStory to keep things interesting! 💫📖

As we stand before this masterful creation, we can't help but wonder about the life and accomplishments of this enigmatic saint. St. Firmn's journey was one of immense determination and unwavering faith. Climbing the celestial corporate ladder, he eventually earned the esteemed position of bishop at Amiens, France – a feat that undoubtedly demanded great dedication and virtue.

Yet, what truly captivates us is the portrayal of St. Firmin holding his head in his hands, an expression of joy illuminating his features. His happiness and contentment in this sculpture are palpable, leaving us with the question: What was the source of his boundless joy?
A limestone sculpture of Saint Firmin
Saint Firmin


Indeed Saint Firmin is a real person and is said to have been beheaded in Amiens, France; his feast day is celebrated on September 25th. However, historical records do not confirm the exact year of his death. It's believed to have occurred during the early 4th century, possibly around 303 C.E. Miracles attributed to the discovery and translation of his relics during the time of Bishop Savin are part of the saint's hagiography.

Steeped in history, medieval art provides a rich tapestry of stories that often speak to the human experience. St. Firmn's sculpture is no exception. The depiction of a saint holding his head symbolizes his unwavering devotion to the church, even amidst the trials and challenges he faced. Also, Saint Firmin is a martyr, which means he gave up his life for his belief and devotion to Christ. In this way, martyrs are often depicted in the same way they were killed — in this example, by cutting off the poor saint's head. To illustrate that for the Christian — death is not the end, but a beginning — he carries his head as a defiance against the ravages of sin and death. And how are you doing?

Seeing such a treasure trove of medieval pieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is also cool. The museum serves as a befitting venue for our encounter with St. Firmn. Its halls house an extensive collection of art that transcends time, mimicking the architecture of a Gothic cathedral, allowing us to connect with our past and embrace the beauty of diverse cultures and histories.

So, next time you find yourself at the Met, take a moment to visit this 13th-century French limestone sculpture and meet the remarkable St. Firmn. Witness his joy and dedication, and let it be a reminder that happiness lies in pursuing our passions and fulfilling our purpose in life. Keep your head on properly.

In conclusion, a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art can be more than just an exploration of history – it can also be an introspective journey, connecting us with the triumphs and struggles of those who came before us. Let St. Firmn's story inspire us as we continue our paths, aiming to find joy and fulfillment in our endeavors, just as he did in the fourth century.

18.4.20

Quotation on Human Existence: To Be Or Not To Be

To be or not to be. That is the question.
Hamlet  William Shakespeare
Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash

25.12.12

From the Womb to the Tomb

Joseph Campbell, Hero With a  Thousand Faces (1949), page 8

14.2.12

Reflecting On Despair According to Søren Kierkegaard (and Others)

“Infinitude’s despair, therefore, is the fantastic, the unlimited for the self is healthy and free from despair only when, precisely by having despaired, it rests transparently in God.” — (Søren Kiekegaard, The Sickness Unto Death, pg. 30)

Must we despair in order that we don’t despair? 

     Must we suffer, so as not to suffer? We find ourselves in a paradox, stuck between finitude and infinitude, wanting to die and not wanting to die. Life can be artificial oftentimes — death has already struck us a blow, a death that is more internal and threatens the infinite more than any physical death could. Every day we face ourselves; we face our possibilities, sometimes cringing and other times barely aware that we are sad.
    Søren Kierkegaard experienced despair. The words he writes on the subject reek of subjectivity; you can almost taste-smell-touch Kierkegaard’s despair as you read a work like the Sickness Unto Death.
    Kierkegaard never claims to be someone whose been “transparent before God”; he probably never was “healthy and free” from despair — for he says all of us whether we are Christian or not, have despaired or continue to despair.
    There are probably many events in Kierkegaard’s life that disrupted his own synthesis of infinitude and infinitude.

Kierkegaard's Failed Romance with Regina Olsen
    Kierkegaard fell in love with a young woman named Regina Olsen. There is no doubt that many of the works produced by Kierkegaard were a result of the relationship he had with her.
    They were planning marriage until Kierkegaard decided to end the relationship. It seems when great happiness is evident, or the possibility of happiness is on the horizon, despair settles in deepest. In the Moviegoer Walker Percy’s character Binx Bolling makes that clear in the Moviegoer when he says, “whenever one courts great happiness, one also risks malaise” (121).
    Kierkegaard had straddled that possibility and it made him afraid; he didn’t fall out of love with Regina Olsen (he loved her dearly — till his death). When he broke off the engagement with her he made sure she did not suffer embarrassment. In Kierkegaard's time, if a man breaks off an engagement with a woman, the woman is stigmatized. Kierkegaard prevented that stigma so he forced her to break off the engagement with him. He made sure friends and family saw him as the villain and Regina as the victim. He quit seeing her; he quit sending flowers; he quit courting her.
    Why did he do this? Obviously they would have been happy. What caused him to end such a relationship? Kierkegaard was afraid that if he married Regina Olsen, he would be unable to continue writing — he considered himself unsuited for the married life (Coppleston, Vol. 7, p. 338) — he was a man with goals and ideas and sealing a marriage, he felt, would prevent him from achieving his philosophical goals.
    He alludes to the engagement in his writings; one gets the sense that he regretted his decision — that he gave up on a beautiful thing. He writes of the relationship, pseudonymously, in a wry, novel-like section of Either/Or or also called The Seducer’s Diary.
    A few years before his engagement to Regina Olsen, he seriously considered suicide. Kierkegaard grew up in a strict, religious family. His father was a melancholic, religious man who believed that God’s wrath was imminent. The father’s dire religious overtones hung over the family like a doomsday saying. Kierkegaard's father read to his son stories from the bible from an illustrated tome that depicted graphically the violence of the crucifixion. I think the young Kierkegaard was seared by those images of a brutally beaten Christ hanging on a cross.

The Theme of Despair in the book The Sickness Unto Death
    The central story of Sickness Unto Death is an interpretation of the rising of Lazarus by Christ recounted in Chapter 11 of John's Gospel. Lazarus, the brother of Martha and the Mary who anointed the body of Jesus with oil and dried his feet with her hair, is ill and near death. Kierkegaard reads the story as an explanation of despair. Christ says Lazarus's sickness is not unto death (John 11:4). The disciples misunderstand Jesus to mean physical death, but Jesus means spiritual death, the death caused by despair. Raising Lazarus from the dead is the greatest "sign" Christ performs in John's Gospel. In fact, it is the culmination event of many minor "signs" Jesus performs. Kierkegaard reads the story as an allegory on despair. Raising Lazarus from the dead is meant to serve a point: that death won't kill Lazarus. To raise him from the dead only for him to die, physically later on, is to suggest that Christ has saved him from the death caused by inner despair.
On a Recent Visit to Copenhagen I Visted Kierkegaard
    I wrote on Kierkegaard as an undergraduate philosophy major. I went to Copenhagen to visit his grave, which turned out to be a great pun for in Danish graveyard is "kierkegaard" so when I asked someone where was the grave of Kierkegaard they thought I was asking where was the churchyard. It is fitting that Kierkegaard's name means graveyard.
   On my way to Copenhagen I took a ferry from Germany to Denmark in a train. The train enters the ferry via built-in tracks. It was late at night. I was sitting next to a German girl who was going to Denmark for a summer job. Since we were talking to each other, when the train boarded the ferry, we both went on deck to look out into the sea. I remember looking down into the dark wine waters and feeling vertigo and this sudden desire to plunge into the vortex.
   Perhaps what Kierkegaard was trying to say is that we can die way before our actual deaths. Feeling the vertigo made me feel alive but at the same time hearkened a baleful note to my mortality. I recognized the horrific contingency of my being, that I won't last long. Kierkegaard's point was that we succumb to death long before we physically die in a kind of covering up of our selves. Famously Kierkegaard defines the self as a relation that is in relationship with its own self. Sometimes this relational structure becomes muddled, scratched over, hidden and we become lost to our self. We are unmoored from our relationship to our very self.
    The greatest form of despair is the despair that does not even know it is in despair.
    To know I am in despair is the first step to not be in despair. In other words, to know that I am born, introduced to this world without any instruction, or even with my permission, so I recognize that I am not at home in this world. To be in despair is to kid myself into thinking that I am at home in the world when really I am not.
  Heidegger was influenced by Kierkegaard. What Heidegger has to say about anxiety is closely mirrored to Kierkegaard's theory of the self. Dasein (Heidegger's neologism for the human being, which means literally being-there) is a being whose very being becomes an issue for it. This is very close to what Kierkegaard was trying to say. And I think it is what Walker Percy was trying to say in all of his novels: we are strangers in a strange land.
   That night on the ferry to Denmark I wanted to jump into the void for it promised an escape. Not that I had any external reason to be in despair. At that time in my life, I was feeling pretty good. But the recognition came to me that what defines the human being is despair.
The Mass of Men Leads Lives of Quiet Desperation
   I think it was Thoreau who said the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. I think he was onto something. And so was I at that moment. Since then I have forgotten. Only to find my notes on Kierkegaard in a notebook from my college days which I reconstructed to write this blog post. The me of 2000 when I was 20 is sending a message to me of 2012 at 32. I think that is how it works. There is no essential self. Just fragments. Thank god we can communicate.

19.3.11

Trinity Churchyard, Lower Manhattan, New York City

A quick visit to the churchyard at Trinity Church on Broadway in Manhattan reveals a little bit of early American History.
Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan
    Visit Alexander Hamilton's tomb here. And no, he was not a president. He was secretary of the treasury. He was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr on July 12, 1804.
     Showing this photography to a friend, he called it a memento mori. The financial center of the world rises in the background while the foreground reminds us of death.

3.1.11

True Story: The Death of a MacBook Pro

The specs: 17" 2008 Aluminum MacBook Pro; 2.5 GHz; 4 GB RAM; 200 GB hard drive. But, that's only the hardware. The truth is ...
I loved my Mac as much as a human being can possibly love a machine. My friend Bonnie says people are growing up with attachments, not with people, or pets, but with machines. She says this is the cause of the proliferation of Autism.

Maybe she's right. We're more fond of our binary buddies then we are of our flesh and blood compadres.

I know it's not "right" to have loved a machine. To use the word "love" is sacrilegious when what I really mean is what Aristotle meant by storge. A kind of love that is built on use and use alone. I love my Mac cause I used my Mac.

What I miss is not the machine itself but the use of the machine which fired my loins and made me whisper, "Mac ... Mac ... Light of my life ... Fire of my loins."

(Mac is not my Lolita. I just couldn't help but use a Nabokov reference.)

The practical loss is I'm bereft of a machine.

The iPhone is my primary computer now.

The good news is I'm backed up on Carbonite. If you don't know, it's a nifty online storage solution that backs up your files in the background to the Cloud.

I'm thinking my next Lolita will be a Mac Mini. I'm fond of its portability. I thought maybe I would go bold with the iPad but I'm still not rogue enough to give up the traditional computer. Besides, I don't think the first-generation iPad is capable of replacing a computer 100%.

What I miss most about my Mac in its absence:

1. My cute Finder boyfriend.
2. iWork: and how the only library computer lab with Mac's exclusive productivity suite is Bobst.

3. Movies: But, hey I'm reading
more. Last night I finished Lyotard's Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime.
4. BitTorrent (Using Transmission). On an iPhone, I can't download an entire Season of Dobey Gillis.
5. Google Docs. I can't edit Docs on a smartphone. :-(

25.10.10

Film Still: Playing Chess With Death

In this post, I jot down some thoughts on when I first saw Ingmar Bergman's 1957 black and white masterpiece The Seventh Seal.
"The Seventh Seal" (written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and 
starring Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot)

        The Seventh Seal is a visually stunning movie. And it has a narrative that keeps the viewer fixated. Death has come to collect Antonius Block (played by Max von Sydow), a crusader who has returned home from war to find his home stricken by Bubonic Plague. Death offers a concession — beat him in a game of chess. And the crusader can cheat death. What transpires after this pact is a visual lexicon of human suffering and hope for that which is beyond all hope. Filled with religious symbolism that is concurrent with the era of the plague — Europe in the Fourteenth Century — the film plays on themes of chance and deceit to deliver its message. In one scene, the Crusader goes to a church and confesses to a priest, all the while, revealing what his next chess move will be. The curtain is revealed, and it is death itself pretending to be a prelate. 
       Ironically, the movie offers a sublime treatment on the theme of death and despair. And presents a couple of transcendent moments as well — including what appears to be a vision of the Virgin Mary who appears to Jof (played by Nils Poppe), a lovable roving theater actor (which I found to be shot in soft light, a trick of the camera that enunciates the ethereal moment and leaves the event to mystery. Was it really the Virgin Mary? Or was it just a mirage that the actor saw through bleary, morning eyes?
        I first saw the Seventh Seal as a teenager. I had checked it out from the local public library and I know it had an effect on me. It was the first movie that I had seen that played with visual allegories — like an early scene where Death cuts down a corpulent human who has tried to escape by climbing up a tree! I remember trying to show the movie to a couple of friends, but they were bored by it and could not relate to its what seemed out-of-date imagery. I think I related to the idea of Antonious Block, preventing death from taking him, so he could carve out one meaningful event in his life after having lived it so vainly and disagreeably in war. At one point, Block asks, (and I am paraphrasing), "What is there?" and Death gives a matter-of-fact answer: "Nothing."
        What I felt the movie was saying was that life is fleeting, and beauty is captured in a moment, then gone. The famous final scene — all of the cast carried away in a dance towards Death — seems to me, a visual for life lived, of the fragile connections we have with others and the suddenness with which life comes to an end. That is why Bergman chose the Plague as his setting. In a time of disease, death is everywhere; one can smell it, taste it, know it. And it forces one to come up out of one's everyday dealings and contend with finality.
        Deep stuff.
PDF Copy for Printing

12.4.10

Fiction Excerpt: Copy of a Novel Theme

I can remember him simply. We were sitting in the sand pits near the river; it was hot that day. He had let his hands rest on a rotten log for too long and red ants had bitten him. I was lucky the neighbor had something to soothe the itch; still, a smiling satyr, although replete suburbanite, full of questions, insistent in his resolve to wrest from me the magnificent solutions, the impossible answers, the raison d’etre of a human life, because he heard me talking about the inexplicable haunting of a man found dead in his car — of asphyxiation; turned on the ignition and let the engine run, attached a pipe to the exhaust, went through the trunk and wrapped it around through the back seat. A jogger had found his corpse days later. No one had noticed him missing. They were used to his threats of death. Why did he do it? I don’t know; I guess he wanted to die in a peaceful place … It’s hard, I thought to myself, to talk to him about this, not because I know the facticity of death, but because I don’t want him — I turn to see him — to die;  so impossible for this stone smoothed boy pregnant with vim, with generosity and ardor, as if talking about decay will somehow mollify an already implacable course into the imaginary.

Pray for the dead man, I say; pray for his family and friends.  He didn’t want to die but he had no other way out.
Extracted from "A novel I have yet to write"
image credit: Greig Roselli

4.3.09

Essay: On Feeling Unrequited Love

Keith Haring Love
So does this story ring true for you? So, he has not called in a week nor does he answer calls. Voicemail messages are never recorded (the phone rings and rings).
     Nor does he respond to text messages, e-mails, Myspace messages, or mental vibes sent through psychic airwaves. The last time we spoke was at a party, but even then the conversation was limited. He was drinking a beer and gave lots of non-verbal clues that he was not going to engage in conversation other than, "Hey, wassup?" When trying to establish a day or time to "hang out" his response is non-committal: a simple shrug of the shoulder. He says, looking everywhere except in your eyes, "We'll get together, yeah". When questioned why he had not answered any calls or responded to texts, he explains he always gets them too late to respond. Feeling the need to be annoyed, the words "Yeah, I don't think you're an asshole, though" spill out. At that moment there is a tension there that was not there in the past. When the truth emerges that he is not that important in your world, you think, "Move on" but it is hard to completely remove someone from your life. So you make adjustments. The relationship is akin to a liberated son promising his mom he will visit on weekends. Not likely to happen. Abandoning ship does seem to be the best option, but at the same time, you do not sense the relationship is going to suddenly take on wings and fly to new unexplored heights.
   It is a tough call to determine when a relationship has reached the end of its lifespan. When is it necessary to bail out or adjust the terms of engagement? Needs change and expectations dwindle. There may still be love but the need "to be together" has faded. Friendships have boundary lines. There are unsaid lines drawn in the sand. The desire to move a relationship forward could be negated by the other party's unwillingness to go with it. Perhaps they lose interest. Or they got a bad vibe. People are super sensitive. We process subtle messages and act accordingly. The pain of separation is equal to the amount of initial energy and time invested.
   If it is a friend you only met recently and oddly the relationship ends because she moves away, the pain of separation will probably not be as great as a friendship cultivated throughout many years that suddenly terminates.
   The lyric from the Sondheim song "every day a little death" makes sense when one considers the many times love is given only for it to eventually subside and cease to be. Every day there is a little death, not only in our bodies but in the course of our relationships.

1.8.06

Eulogy for My Dog Maggie: 1990-2006

Dog walks on a gravel road
Maggie on a walk
When my dog Maggie died, I wrote her eulogy.
     When a girl reaches that age of sweet sixteen uncertainty, my girl has reached the age of mortal certainty, her skeleton worn out from a teenaged span of use, her gauzy eyes barely seeing, her ears clotted with wind, her matted hair uncombable  she sits in the living room panting, refusing water, wagging her tail nevertheless.
     She was a Humane Society special. $50. That’s what she cost. Including her shots. Nick was 9. I was 11. Brad was like 16. Brad, Nick and I picked her from a mixed bitch’s litter, the babies all scrunched up beneath her teets, we picked the one  eyes still kinda closed  who had the personality we were looking for, independent but lovable.  Mom was concerned, “How big is she going to get?”  The vet assured us this dog could be a house dog (She ended up being an outside/inside dog).  She was a Springer Spaniel mix; we didn’t meet the father. And the mother is a strange memory -- because why would I remember her, the dog who bore my baby when I myself and my family would become a mother to this mutt? Maggie is the name we gave her after severe brainstorm in the living room.  We called her many titles over the years.  Fat girl, we called her. Pretty girl. Morga. Maggie. Morgus. Thing. Baby. Hey, baby. Mooga. Maggie Roselli. Maggie the Magnificent.
     Her first night we were afraid she would shit all over the house, so we put her in the bathroom and shut the door. She cried all night. I slept in the top bunk, being older  and Nick slept on the bottom. Both of us heard Maggie’s cries. She hated being by herself. Even till the end. She hated it. She would prove to be a dog who followed you wherever you went. Just to be with you. So she wouldn’t be alone.
     She would get on a kneeboard in the Tchefuncte river just so she would not have to wait alone in the boat. She followed Nick and I to the bus stop  and sometimes attempted to get on the bus!  She went with me into the woods and we got lost a few times.  We were off the beaten path; we had gone into the woods to eat blackberries; I turned to her  as lost as she was  “Maggie, where are we?” She just looked at me, crushed chlorophyll frescoed into her face.
     We finally got out of the woods, onto a country road a few miles from the house.  She didn’t complain.  And just a few years ago  in her later years  she followed Zack and I to town.  It’s a long walk to town but Maggie insisted she come along.  When we got to the river she walked down the algae-covered concrete steps and got soaked; she loved it.  But when we got to the hamburger shop near the main drag and I tried to get Maggie some water from the clerk, Maggie wanted to get inside into the Air Conditioning.  Her tongue was panting so painfully, that it almost reached the ground.  But I wouldn’t let her.  She looked like a sea hag come from her morning bath.   She waited behind the paned glass door and at the first moment she got she squeezed past a customer and showed up by my side.  She scared a lady exiting the restaurant. “Get that thing away from me!”  I have to admit, inadvertently, Maggie looked menacing.  I pretended she wasn’t my dog, but when the owner asked whose dog it was, Zach turned me in, “It’s his dog,” pointing directly at me.  I picked up Maggie and cradled her sloppy wetness to my dry shirt and walked out.  We called a cab; they charged a canine tax.  Bastards.  Zach loved it.  So did Maggie.  I don’t think I let Maggie follow me on my walks ever again.

4.8.05

Obituary: Georgette Pintado 1924 -2005

Georgette Pintado (1924 - 2005)

Les enfants, les enfants,” whispered Georgette Pintado, when Br. Bede Roselli and his mother Pam found her at Covington High School’s cafeteria, curled in the fetal position on a thin mattress on the floor. “All she could tell me was ‘I’m worried about the poor children,’” Br. Bede said. “We called her Nanan. Anybody she took care of was called Nana’s kids. She even had a personalized license plate on her old Cadillac: NANAN. She took care of my brother and me when we were kids and was one of the first people I confided in that I wanted to be a priest.”
     Georgette, along with dozens of other patients from Pontchartrain Health Care Center in Mandeville, had been temporarily relocated to the school turned shelter. Br. Bede, a monk at Saint Joseph Abbey, didn’t know she was at the school but stumbled on her while distributing Bibles with his mother, a certified surgical assistant from Madisonville, who had been volunteering her service at the shelter in the days following Katrina. “We didn’t know she was at the high school so you can believe how shocked we were when we found out she was there,” said Br. Bede.
     Georgette Pintado was born in France in 1924 and grew up during the time of the Nazi Occupation. As a young woman she had been harassed by SS soldiers at a train station for not having her papers on her; she couldn’t understand them so the German soldiers slapped her and threatened to rape her. Fortunately, she was able to get away unharmed but vowed to emigrate from France after the war. Leaving her family behind, she sailed to New York after the liberation, moved to New Orleans, had a son named George, married Nicholas Pintado, a Coast Guardsman, and moved to Mandeville where she lived over forty years. “When they met, her husband knew how to say, “oui,” and she knew “yes,” which was all the language they needed to fall in love,” said Br. Bede.
     Especially after her husband’s death of a heart attack, Georgette dedicated her life to caring for children at her home in Mandeville. In her two-story blue house in Old Golden Shores, she fed, cleaned and bathed scores of children through the years. “She wasn’t just a baby sitter, she was a real nanny,” said Jackie Lark, whose two children, Brian and Jeffrey, were cared for by Georgette from birth until they were old enough to be home alone. “She did everything for our kids, even baked cakes for them on their birthdays,” she said.
     For twenty-five years, every Wednesday she visited the sick at Pontchartrain Health Care Center as a Eucharistic minister. She was so committed to this weekly service, that if a parent kept their child late at her house on Wednesday they knew to pick them up at the nursing home. It wasn’t unusual for Georgette to arrive at the nursing home with five or six children in tow, assigning them special tasks for the patients. She not only distributed communion to the patients but spent ample time with each person, talking to them and giving out candy or cigarettes as needed. This was the same nursing home where she would move into after her quadruple bypass surgery in 2003. Her condition worsened after her son, George died of a heart attack in 2004. The impact of Katrina worsened her condition even further, along with the stress of relocating, her debilitating arthritis, and poor vascular circulation became too much for her body.
     Georgette was moved back to Pontchartrain Health Care Center three weeks after the storm. Father John F. Talamo, a Salesian priest at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church gave her the anointing of the sick before she went into a coma and a few days later she died on October 4, 2005. Father John declared her a “living saint” at her funeral mass and commended her for her unfailing service to the church. He mentioned that in her final days she still remembered the “Hail Mary” and the “Our Father” even though she was quickly losing consciousness.
     Georgette’s daughter-in-law Marci Tittle of Hickory Creek, TX and her granddaughter, Megan of Seattle, Washington, arranged the funeral and the gathering afterward at the home of Jean Champagne of Mandeville. Many of the children she cared for, the “les enfants” she spoke about before she died, gathered together there and shared stories about their Nanan. Nanan’s kids. Simone. Katherine. Sarah. Brian. Greg. Jean. John. Jeffery. Margaret. “It felt good to share what we remembered about Nanan and to know it was her who brought us all together,” said one of the children at the gathering. Nanan was the glue for these children’s lives — an influence that cannot be easily forgotten, no matter what may befall us.

N.B.: Georgette Pintado's obituary was published in The Times Picayune, Wednesday, October  12, 2005
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