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I spoke to my mother about an hour ago. My Aunt Aggie, who I spent a lot of time with growing up in NJ, had a heart attack Wednesday sometime and her condition is very grave. She might not make it through to Friday morning, the doctors say.

And I’m sitting her listening to iTunes when The Band comes on singing “The Weight” …. “ I pulled into Nazareth feeling ‘bout half-past dead …”

And I’m feeling pretty tired, yes, but thinking about times long past – days and nights spent at 24 Fir Place. The Curths had four kids, and for some reason, that always seemed like a lot more than our three. I spent a lot of time with my cousin Bobby, whom I was very close to, playing baseball at Union Ave. Elementary School, playing football in the backyard, playing basketball in the small rec room at the back of the house, shooting at the Nerf hoop … and mealtimes, it was sandwiches at lunch, some milk and a PB&J; milk and hot dogs at dinner. and a snack around the dinner table before we called it a night – and I would feel the pull of home tugging at me and claim a stomach-ache. How many times did I make my dad run over and take me home at 11 p.m.?

Aggie was always very, very kind to me. I was the son of her only brother, and that counted for something very special. It’s funny how easily you can gloss over how evident it was that she liked having me there, and how generous she was in hosting me.

And that’s what I’m thinking about tonight. Those times long ago – good times. And what they meant to me, as my Aunt Aggie leaves us behind. Peace to her, peace to her loved ones, including my Dad. Peace.

“… and you put the load/put the load/put the load … right on me”

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