my 70th birthday, a week from today.

I am remembering the wild celebration of Zalman's (z'l) 70th, at the Jewish Renewal retreat center in the old location in Accord NY...

Family and folks came from all over. It was a warm August. The family had commissioned me to make a cartoon, which they printed onto T-shirts, of Zalman as a Leo/lion, kippah and tallis katan and all.

We heard stories from folks who had come from all over to celebrate and honor him.

I saw one couple from Arizona whom I had met in Tucson, at a concert of Shlomo Carlbach. z'l. When the concert was over, Shlomo yelled from the back of the room, "You're all invited to a party at---!"

I saw the look on their faces: sheer shock, and possibly horror.

When we were telling our tribute stories about Zalman, I retold how I had met this couple, and how she had heard I had been invited to Alaska, and had gone quietly through the family's dresser drawers collecting warm clothes to lend me.

"Ah," she said; "but I remember when everyone was praising Shlomo, and you turned to me and said, 'Oh, but you should only hear Zalman!' " (I had no memory of this.)

If only I could hear him now.