After everyone else had gone home from Michael’s funeral, I stayed on with Mom, Dad and my brother Chucky, and I learned more about dignity from my Father that week than I ever have before or since.
At that time my parents had a modest house on Greenbay Road in a small section of Highland Park, Illinois, called Ravinia. About half a mile south of them was a world famous summer theatre also called Ravinia, into which my brothers had regularly sneaked on balmy nights to hear Ella Fitzgerald sing or Vladimir Horowitz play.
Five blocks north of their house was the tiny village of Ravinia, in which the barest minimum of shops serviced the needs of the immediate area: A barber shop, a pizza parlor, a drug store, a dry cleaner, and a deli. During the week I remained in Highland Park, I went on a lot of walks with my father. Sometimes we walked four or five miles north to visit my Aunt Libby and Uncle Jack. Sometimes we went even farther to the library in town, where we examined a few magazines or newspapers, and then walked home. Sometimes we just went around the block.
One day, though, my father led me to the little hamlet of Ravinia. He did not tell me what he was going to do before he did it. He walked to the barbershop and opened the door. I followed him in. He approached the proprietor.
“Hello, Mr. Reuben,” the barber said.