Donuts and Life with Jeff Katz


By: Jeff KatzJuly, 2015

Jeff KatzMy usual writing ritual involves a hot cup of coffee, extra cream, no sugar in a specific mug. If that coffee is not in one of my official writing mugs, well, there’s some major writer’s block that I am sure to encounter. Today, in addition to the coffee I have added a Boston Cream Donut from my local Dunkin’ Donuts. Right about now, I can almost hear you saying, “Hey that’s great…why do I care?”

Well, a few weeks back I read a Facebook post from an old friend of mine talking about her husband’s desire to have a Boston Cream Donut. “All Jerry wants is a Boston Cream Donut and Dunkin’ Donuts is out of them. Thankfully, the hospice nurse was able to find one and bring it to him. “From a donut to hospice in the span of a few words?” I felt like I had been punched in the gut.

I sent a direct message to my friend Christine and asked what was going on. She told me simply and directly, that Jerry was in the last stages of his life here on earth. After many years of smoking, his lungs were no longer working and everything had become an ordeal. Getting out of bed as well as getting in to bed, getting dressed or showered. Every action took a great deal of time, because Jerry needed to stop to try and catch his breath. Jerry had never been a big guy but he was now at a weight that would be more suited to a middle schooler than an adult man. He did not have much time left. As I read those words, I broke down and started crying. I often thought of Jerry and Christine, but I had not spoken to them in way too long.

Many years ago, during one of my various work related moves, I had wound up in Connecticut. I did not know anyone at all, and somehow Christine and Jerry kind of adopted me. We were all ex-cops so maybe that was it. Or maybe they just wanted to take in another stray, but regardless of what inspired them, I now had a home of sorts. I lived in the same small town as they did and they were forever inviting me over for dinner and lunch and brunch and, well you get the idea. They were serious when they said the coffee is always on so just drop in whenever you want. It was and I did.

What always struck me about Jerry and Christine was how much they truly loved each other. No apologies for it. No hesitation. They were a team and they made each other better people. They were both wicked smart folks, too. The three of us would sit around in their living room, drinking coffee solving all of the problems of the world until the early morning hours more often than not. There was never a single solitary time that I left their house not feeling great.

When I read that Jerry wanted a Boston Cream Donut, I decided that I would figure out a way to send him a box of them. I inquired at Dunkie’s if it was possible to ship them. It was going to be a little more complicated than I had originally thought. There were all sorts of shipping logistics to tackle. Would I need to freeze them first? Should I wrap them? Cushion them? Send them by Fed Ex, UPS, or the Postal Service? As I was planning my donut shipment, I got word that Jerry had passed away. Instead of trying to figure out the best way to send them, I should have just sent them.

Would you join me and hoist a donut high for my friend Jerry…and make it a Boston Cream, please.