My friend Cathy Crimmins died recently. Far, far, far too young. She'd had a difficult life, but there should have been lots more of it. She was always utterly hilarious, the sharpest wit I've ever known.
In the late 80s we lived next door to Al and Cathy - and then Kelly too. I say "next door," and I really mean it. Or "next window." Our living room windows were three feet from each other, in two row houses on the 23rd block of Spruce Street. In the warm months, when windows were open, we heard everything going on in each other's lives. When infant Kelly was up all night (screaming for an hour at a time), sometimes I would lean out the window and talk with Cathy as she walked the baby around on her shoulder, trying to quiet her. Sometimes I would even hum the baby a lullaby from my neighborly perch. I can't remember what Cathy and I talked about on such occasions, but I'm certain it included hilarious riffs on the ironies of parenting. She was of course deliciously funny, especially at moments otherwise tough to endure.