Tag Archives: grateful

QFBR: Measure of a Man

Person: Martin Greenfield; Maximilian Grunfeld
Thing: This book—Measure of a Man; a well made suit
Place: Pavlovo, Czechoslovakia; Concentration camps—Auschwitz, Buna, Buchenwald, Baltimore, Brooklyn… Various locales.
Idea: Grace makes an improbable life wonderfully possible.

Martin’s life started in Czechoslovakia. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, but Martin says their faith wasn’t especially zealous. Life was good. They worked their own farm, took care of their livestock and even employed workers.

Then the trains arrived… and scuttled Martin’s family away. His mom, baby brother, younger sister and grandparents were sent in one direction. His other sister—taken away as well.

And then there were two. Martin and his dad. But they, too, were separated.

Martin never saw them again.

He survived Auschwitz, brutal marches through the snow, and Buchenwald, which is where Americans liberated them.

Martin’s main question through the succession of atrocities: “Where was God?”

His life took a few twists and turns after liberation–a stint in the Czech army, making a living as a cigarette runner, and meeting young ladies and having fun.

Martin was working as an auto mechanic when a letter arrived from the United States. He got someone to translate it, and learned he had extended family across the Atlantic.

Eventually, he settled in Brooklyn, worked for the suit maker GGG, a company with a client roster that included many high-profile Hollywood names.

Martin married, worked his way up the GGG ladder, and eventually purchased the company and re-named it.

Some have said Martin’s top-notch, made to measure suits are the best in the world. Repeat clients include U.S. presidents, Hollywood stars, athletes, and late night TV hosts.

Martin, whose family was almost decimated by hate, now runs the business with his sons. He notes how grace afforded the opportunity to create another family to love and nurture. Though there were MANY opportunities for death to smother him during World War II, it wasn’t able to snuff his existence.

After decades of hard work, opportunity, and success, and a bar mitzvah at age 80, Martin says he’s “left with nothing but gratitude for my life. Some things, it turns out, are beyond measure.”

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Day 6: Days off! Yes, Lord!

Who isn’t’ thankful for these?  They are a gift from the workhorse gods.

Working in the news business can be exhilarating!

But there are some days I want to bury myself in the stupidest TV shows or movies to ditch reality–even for a few  hours.  Some days life’s happenings are extremely disheartening.  By workweek’s end, I’m ready to turn off, tune out and drop away from all news reports.  I try to use my vacations to catch up with loved ones,  unplug from all news, read inspirational books and catch up on my fave reality-suspending television shows.

I am also thankful for weekends and days off so I can connect with friends.  I also  take care of the mundane… like running run through my laundry list of errands and chores—which always includes, well, loads of laundry.

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Day 5: Light-blocking curtains deserve a day of observance

When I moved into my place, blinds were all I had shielding my eyes from the outside light of day or streetlights of night.  They kept the glare off, but mercy me!  Slumber was jacked up every night!   These half-baked sleeping patterns continued for many months, and included  snoozing during daylight hours.  I actually thought I was sleeping well–at the time.

Then a Wonderful Soul bought me light-blocking curtains and offered to install them.  Awesome sauce!

Glorious was that first night of sleep without the glow of streetlamps worming in between the blind slats!

Then I slept during the day.  That, too, was glorious!

As the India.Arie song says–“It’s the little things… and the joy they bring.”

[*Insert “church hands” or “jazz hands”*] Hallelujah for the small things!  I declare today a personal day of thanks for light-blocking curtains!

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Day 3: Grateful to learn

I’m grateful for the ability to learn new things.

Not everyone can. Time and disease can erode this ability. Neither asks for permission.

Sometimes willingness wanes, which is also tragic. In my humble opinion, as long as you’re willing to learn something new, you’ll never be washed up. Who knows if someone said this before, but I’m saying it today.

Can’t help but think about how refreshing it was to read about the retirement plans of a Los Angeles-area judge.

Lance Ito was thrust into the national spotlight during the O.J. Simpson murder trial in the 1990s. When Ito retired, it was reported his plans didn’t include much outside of learning to play guitar. Other than that, who knows what he’ll do during his retirement years. Who cares? He plans to learn and grow. And even if guitar learnin’ is all he does, that’s a-plenty.

My guess is skills like that take years to master—and practice to maintain. There’s no shortage of songs to learn, either. So guitar learning, learning different styles of play, and song learning will take up plenty of time.

I’m thankful for the ability to learn new things. Yes, people can become experts or masters, but I also think [IMHO] it’s healthy to maintain a sense of wonder and to remember education is an ongoing process—no matter how much a person thinks he or she knows. There’s always something else out there to learn. If you can learn, do learn.

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