My brother-in-law's grandfather, Howard Ruback, died yesterday. Howard had spent the last six months in the nursing home my mother works at, before being taken to the hospital a few days ago. The funeral is tomorrow.
Howard was one of the first people my parents met when we moved to Omaha 28 years ago. He was always involved with the synagogue and helped make my parents feel welcome. He was a good friend to my father.
I never knew Howard as well as my father did, or, of course, as well as my brother-in-law. He was a big guy, with a deep, gravelly voice and the hearty laugh of someone who enjoys laughing, and that's what I'm going to remember the most, I think.
He cared about his family, and about his synagogue. He enjoyed poker night with the guys every couple weeks. I remember him at my sister's wedding, beaming with pride as he served as his grandson's best man, and when my sister's children were born. Those kids, all his great-grandchildren, put such a big smile on his face.
My thoughts and condolences obviously go out to my brother-in-law and his family, my mishpocha. I honestly can't imagine how they're feeling right now. I mean, I can certainly empathize with them, but I've yet to have someone I was really close to die, so I don't really know how I'd feel, let alone how anyone else would feel.
I'm leaving Monday, for Denver. I'm going to spend a day or so with my brother and his family before I continue on to Los Angeles. I haven't seen them since ... Thanksgiving, maybe? I'll get to observe my crazy niece and nephew in their natural habitat, so that'll be fun.
I'll continue out west Wednesday morning. I'm planning on heading south into New Mexico, and then hanging a right at Albuquerque and taking I-40 the rest of the way to L.A. I'll be taking my time, relatively speaking. I'm in no particular hurry. I want to get to my friends' apartment sometime next weekend, so I should have plenty of time.
And yes, before you ask, there will be yet another edition of "America @ 80 MPH," because I know you're all begging for more blurry photos taken from inside my car as I speed down the highway. I'll be taking and uploading plenty of pictures of this trip, and of my time at Boom! Studios. Part of my assignment for this internship, since I'm getting college credit for it, is to write a couple papers about the experience, one when I've been there for a little while and then a second one when toward the end of the summer, so I'm planning on keeping a relatively detailed account of L.A. and the internship on the blog, along with some visual aids on my Flickr page.
I've got a suitcase packed already, with the majority of my clothes, and then I'll pack a smaller duffel bag on Sunday with what I'll be needing for the drive out there. I need to go through my CDs (yes, some people still listen to CDs) and choose my traveling music, and decide what, if any, DVDs and books I'm gonna want to bring. I have no idea how much free time this internship will afford me, and I want to be prepared.
Got the car washed yesterday, and while it's probably already got some bird crap on it, the inside is nice and clean and smellin' like cherries, which was kind of the main purpose. And I hadn't gotten that thing washed since before winter, so it really needed it.
Oh, and I got all A's this semester. My cumulative GPA is over 3.2 and, more importantly, I am officially a senior. Only two more semesters to go. Unless, of course, I get offered a $50,000-per-year job while I'm in L.A. Cause then school could wait some more. ;)
Okay, time to get showered and shaved and ready for the day. I want to buy a new pair of jeans before I go, and maybe a couple more T-shirts. And tonight, I guess, the family is goin' down to Rosenblatt for the Royals game. My nephew and his baseball team (T-ball team? Coach-pitch softball team? Whatever) get to walk around the field before the game or something, so that'll be fun, and it'll help take our minds off tomorrow's business for a few hours.
Unless something incredibly vital happens in the next couple days, the next time I post, I'll probably be in Colorado. Y'all got my email and phone number if you need me.