"After that old guy's bur-dey?" she asked.
"Old guy? Whattaya mean, old guy?"
"You say he 89," she said.
"That's mean," I said. "If he's old, what are you?"
"Me, 87, no 89."
But anyway, that's not the point of this story. The point is at his birthday, Cy made a speech, which he promised us was not a fable. I really wanted to share it:
In 1945, when he was deployed to Rome to help with the Allied recovery effort, Cy was stationed in the Citta Vecchia. In the middle of it all was a crumbled down church, within rings of homeless or nearly-homeless people in rags, working on getting their pieces back together.
One day, Cy passed a man in a torn shirt that looked like it hadn't been washed in weeks. The man was really thin, as though he hadn't eaten much in a long time. He was the kind of person Cy was supposed to be helping.
Then a collector for the church rebuilding fund walked by. When the collector held out the basket to the ragged man, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of coins, which he dumped into the collection basket.
Cy said to the man, "You're obviously in need of that money. You could have used it to eat or wash your clothes. Why did you give it all to the church rebuilding fund?"
"I wanted to be a part of making something beautiful," the man told him.
Rally Monkey says "Eff that. I would have used the money on food." But for me, the story resonated.