Giving 2

I win.

You know how it is really fun to find someone exactly the right gift, and they didn’t even know they wanted it or even suspect it as a possibility?

And then they react to it, and you feel all smiley inside because they love it, and its perfect, and you are so amazing to have found it!

I did that.

When I visited my parents over break, I perused the outside of their refrigerator as I always do, scanning the postcards, photos, newspaper clippings, and other things that find themselves stuck on refrigerators.  I tend to re-read the poems there, clipped from the Buffalo News and yellowed with several years of existence.

Mom saw me reading and remarked that she would love to have a book of poems by Albert Sterbak, who wrote three of the poems on the fridge.  So, since her birthday is in January (she shares the birthdate with  Stephen Hawking, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, and Mary Queen of Scots) I immediately started searching for such a book.  No luck.  Not on Amazon.  Nothing on Google.  But I was able to find an address.

So I wrote to Mr. Sterbak, with a nice pen on nice paper and sent it in a stamped envelope, hoping to have found the correct Mr. Albert Sterbak in my search.  I did, and he called me up on the land-line phone!  (This is the way we all used to do things)

We had a lovely conversation, and Mr. Sterbak agreed to send an autographed  poem to my mom, since he has no book as of yet.  We decided on a sonnet that is also a recipe, albeit a recipe for weasel (he didn’t tell me that part on the phone) and in less than a week I was on the phone with my mom hearing the excitement in her voice as she read the address from the envelope (in poem form), the sonnet, and the letter from Mr. Sterbak.  She was very happy and very surprised!  WIN!

I wrote back to Mr. Sterbak with a check enclosed.  After all, he had spent time and postage and this was a gift for my mom.  And while he has no book I would have bought one.  But today, I received my own poetically-addressed letter.  Actually, it is a limerick and an additional couplet:

O Postman:

Please rush this without a delay
To Ms. XXXXXX in MORTON, P-A
The Zip, when you go
Is 1 – 9 – 0 – 7- 0
But the rest doesn’t rhyme much, I’d say

Yet, lest this cause you further pain,
Try 1 – 3 – 8 ALTHEA LANE

He refused my check (sent it back), and mentioned that he has placed my letter and the one my mom sent him in thanks on his own refrigerator.

So, maybe eventually there will be a published book of light verse by Mr. Albert Sterbak.  In the meantime, write your favorite living poet a fan letter!  You never know what may happen!

4 Responses to “Giving 2”

  1. Joanna Says:

    You definitely win! What a great story!!!

  2. Doris Says:

    It was the most amazing surprise birthday present ever! Thanks again. Love you!

  3. little sister Says:

    my mom told me about this. So amazing! what a wonderful gift (and such a nice response poem!!)

  4. Diane Sterbak Says:

    Am sitting with my husband, Albert Sterbak, who sadly is under Hospice care. I just found your blog. You brought Albert great joy when you called him requesting a poem. To update you: our son, Dan, compiled his dad’s poems and has them put into a small book using HULU. The book of around 90 poems arrived this past Friday! While my husband is unable to read the book, he is of course, thrilled that his poetry has been printed. The book is titled “Poetica Giocosi”, subtitled poems of a jokester.

    Thought your mum might like to know.

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