A Hold on Hope

Last night I was sitting at the bar at Canele eating a Not Nancy Silverton Burger with some friends and chatting with the very cool Lesley Balla about Twitter and why she Twitters and whether she thinks anyone really cares where she is or what she is eating, when Lesley logged on to Twitter to alert her followers of what she was eating and where, and we learned that Ted Kennedy had died.

I like so many people had a soft spot for Ted Kennedy. My step-dad, Hugo, who raised me, had been a campaign manager for JFK in California, and I grew up believing that the world would be a more hopeful place if John and/or Bobby had had a chance to run it. My parents repeated the story of Chapaquitic the way others must recite fables from the Bible. A lesson on what not to do and of how bad things can go for how long as the result of one bad decision. I’m not sure if it was my parents’ intention or the opposite, but I liked Ted Kennedy all the more for his mistakes. Hugo was a judge and I remember him telling me how frustrating it was that one after another, a man would stand before him, his life in Hugo’s hands: Why hadn’t he heeded some of the earlier warnings or learned from the lesser punishments along the way? Now here Hugo was, bound by sentencing laws to send them away to a place where they would learn how to become better criminals, not better men. Ted Kennedy was the opposite. He got off for his crime as Kennedys do. But he went through life like a man who had sentenced himself. He carried himself with grace and humility as he devoted his life to public service. Of course nothing could repay the debt he owed, but don’t we all make mistakes? How shallow would we be without our regrets?

I made rice balls today and they didn’t turn out. I mean, they tasted delicious–and they were indeed rice balls–but the bread crumbs were too coarse and the risotto not tight enough. As Rufus and I walked home from Mozza, our failed rice balls and the stuff I needed to try again tomorrow in hand, the sky was turning from dusk to dark and the night blooming jasmine was beginning to perfume the air and for no real reason other than hope itself, I felt happy.

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