Joe & Sonja's wedding anniversary was easy to remember: Tax Day, April 15th. Every April 15th I mean every April 15th I called them to wish them a Happy Anniversary. Similarly, every February 9th I called Joe on his birthday. For almost 20 years, I did not miss one of these two annual phone calls.
Until last Tuesday. I couldn't call Joe. It was such a strange feeling.
You've read in these pages the story of the evening I first set foot in Christ Lutheran Church in Natick, looked up at the wall, and saw Sonja's Moses. I was never quite sure of the connection between Sonja and that church, until yesterday evening. In attendance at yesterday afternoon's Hymn Festival was a former pastor of the church, the Reverend Arthur von Au. He recalled an art show at Harvard Divinity School (where a parishioner was a student); the artist was Sonja Holzwarth Maneri. Rev. von Au was taken by Sonja's work and immediately became a patron. Meanwhile, he grew to know and appreciate Joe as well (who didn't?), to the extent that at his farewell service in Natick, whom do you suppose he asked to play? Joe Maneri.
Joe played at my church ...