Uncle Kurt

Jeffrey here. Today, the day of Uncle Kurt’s funeral, Joey is silent.

The Talmud says the day of death is better than the day of birth. Birth is like a ship setting sail; we don’t know whether it will weather the inevitable storms. Death is like a ship returning to port; we see the results of the voyage.

Kurt was born into a Jewish farming family in Germany in 1916. In 1937, a priest and nun with whom the family did business awoke the family at midnight. Their message: “Get out. Now. Not tomorrow. Tonight.” The family fled to Holland before the Nazis could arrest them.

Kurt needed asylum, but in those days there was no such thing. There were only visas, or no visas.

Kurt was lucky. He was granted a U.S. visa on his 21st birthday, and came to New York.

Kurt never was written up in the newspaper. No building or institute will be named for him. He worked, served in the U.S. Army, worked some more, ran a grocery store and a newsstand, looked after his wife and daughter, nurtured his grandsons through difficult patches, and followed the NY Mets. He was helpful to family and friends, cheerful and kind, a popular man.

He wasn’t admitted to the U.S. because he filled some economic niche. He simply was allowed to come here, and then, except for the WW2 draft, he was left alone. And he did what immigrants do. He made a life for himself and his family.

That is what American freedom means: letting good people come in, then letting them be.

Kurt had a successful voyage. The world is better for him having been in it. We miss him.

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Some highlights from today’s ride:

Morning fog in Elkhart, Indiana.

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A large Indiana lawn ornament. What does this mean for the person displaying it? I would have liked to ask, but it was 8 AM on Mothers’ Day Sunday, so I didn’t knock on the door.

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A railroad trestle evoking another era.

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Approaching another Great Lake.

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On U.S. 12 in Michigan City, Indiana.

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I took the BikeE for a hop on a ramp at a Michigan City park at the suggestion of Ron, the Pied Piper of the kids in the park who were doing the same. Ron was the photographer.

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I stopped at this picnic area in the Indiana Dunes.

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When I saw this, I knew we were getting close to Gary.

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This locomotive was next to the first building erected in Gary (1906). I photographed the locomotive because it looks more interesting.

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One of many huge industrial sites we passed in Indiana, just outside Chicago.

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I’m not sure exactly when we entered the Central Time Zone or Illinois today. I saw no sign for either. But I assure you, we are in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, home of The University of Chicago, after riding 100 miles from Elkhart, IN.

Check back tomorrow for some Chicago views.

2 thoughts on “Uncle Kurt

  1. I’ve been to that picnic area!! You’re def on the right track… welcome to ChiTown!

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