Monday, February 23, 2015

"But since it fell unto my lot...That I should rise and you should not" --A Peter-full Weekend

Though 10 weeks have passed, most days I hit a place where I am shocked to remember that Peter is gone.  The days since December 7th seem like no-time and yet forever.  

But some days, like this past Saturday and Sundaymake it feel like Peter isn't very far away at all.

The first event of the weekend was on Saturday - the ninth Murphey School Radio Show.  Peter was a big part of this group from the very beginning, serving as an incredible publicist, but also playing guitar and harmonica and performing in a variety of ways.  His last show was November 8th, at the beginning of his rapid health decline.  He had a horrific coughing spell right before he left for the first of two shows that Saturday and I didn't think he'd make it through.  I went early for the second show to check on him.

In the "Green Room" between shows at the November 2014 Murphey School Radio Show

He had made it through the first show and was resting for the second.  He was in good spirits, and then played what I think was his best harmonica solo ever.  He just gave it is all with Jennifer Evans.

November 2014 Murphey School Radio Show

At this past Saturday night's show they gave a beautiful tribute to Peter that was both heartfelt and funny, as Peter would have wanted it to be.  Georgeanne Eubanks remarked on Peter's persistence, and said that he'd reminded her that there was only one letter's difference between "Peter" and "Pester."

Then the 7-woman acapella group Stella sang a beautiful rendition of "Parting Glass."  Here is the song graciously shared by Donna Campbell and Stella. I will also put the lyrics at the end of this post.

Below you will hear Georgeanne Eubanks give her dedication to Peter, and then our old friend Alice Gerrard performed "Goodbyes" with Laurelyn Dossett on harmonies:

The link below is a version that Alice did with Phil Cook, who recorded her Emmy-nominated album here at Down Yonder Farm.

 "Goodbyes" Alice Gerrard and Phil Cook

In some after-the-show email correspondence, Kevin Ginsberg, not knowing that Peter loved anagrams (and worked them out in his head constantly), sent several possible anagrams of Peter's name, my favorite of which was "Mr. Art Keeper."  I think that is what the Down Yonder Fund for the Arts will have as its goal.

It was a joyful night and a sad one, as so much of life is mixed like that these days.  I thank everyone from the MSRS for all that they have done for Peter and for me.  If you don't know about this show, visit 
Moving right along...

Jessie, Amanda, Levin, and I met for lunch on Sunday to start planning what is being called "PeterFest." This event will be composed of a Memorial Service and, immediately following, a Musical Celebration that was largely planned by Peter.  More information will follow, but the date is April 18th and the start time is 1:00 p.m.  Please help us share this with anyone who knew Peter.

I left our gathering in Durham to drive to Hillsborough for the 25th Anniversary of the Pauli Murray Awards, given by the Orange County Human Relations Commission--in the building where Peter worked as a counselor for so many years.

Peter was the 2001 recipient of the Pauli Murray Award, and this was, undoubtedly, one of the things he was most proud of.  

I remember that day well because of what Peter said in his acceptance speech.  He claimed that he'd "won the lottery" when I agreed to marry him.  I was so surprised by that statement, but later he said (jokingly) that it was just a ploy to meet women --because they are always attracted to men who love their wives. Typical Peter, but I never forgot that he said that.

Peter would want us all to be thinking about good nominees for the award in the future, so here's the link if you know someone fitting. 

Pauli Murray Award Nomination Form

I am always amazed when people cry with me.  That happened after the MSRS when a number of us had tears falling.  But it happened also at the Pauli Murray event when I ran into someone that we both knew, but not that well.  She didn't recognize me at first with my short hair, but when I said my name tears welled quickly in her eyes, and then in mine.  Some people are just so tender.  I still fight tears, but I am learning to let them come.

The final event of the weekend was to go see "Motown" with friends Joe and Geri Coates.  The task of the evening, for all of us, was to figure out if Peter would have liked the show or not.  I'd love to hear his music friends chime in on this, as I still don't know.  What I DO know is that if Peter had been sitting there beside me in the theater he'd have been whispering to me non-stop....elaborating more fully on who someone was or what other things happened that the show did not portray, and he'd have no doubt discovered mistakes from his rolodex memory of musical factoids.  I think he'd have been blown away by the theatrical aspects of the fast-paced, and so much music and story from a relatively small cast. And this was their second show of the night!

Well, as promised, this long post DID end and here are the lyrics to "Parting Glass."  I'll get the words to "Goodbyes" up asap.  Check back soon.


"The Parting Glass"
Of all the money that e'er I had
I've spent it in good company
And all the harm that e'er I've done
Alas it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit
To memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Of all the comrades that e'er I had
They are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had
They would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
Good night and joy be with you all


Monday, February 16, 2015

Peace Cranes on the Pond (Paper Cranes)

I am not sure what to post here anymore, except for information about PeterFest (Memorial Service and Musical Celebration) and other events related to Peter and the Down Yonder Fund.

But I write a bi-weekly newspaper column and sometimes they're about Peter, or about the aftermath of his death.  The one I wrote two weeks ago was one of those, and I wanted to post it here.

It is about the paper cranes that I've been folding and taking to the pond, so here are a few photos and one video of them--and a photo of a REAL crane (heron) on our pond..  Enjoy.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Peter Kramer Day at the American Red Cross

Thanks to Holli Crawford Patillo for the idea to have a "Peter Kramer Day" at the American Red Cross, where Peter was a regular platelet donor until his disease made him ineligible.  He kept count of how many times he'd given, and I am sorry I don't have that number. 

Peter also worked hard to recruit platelet donors.  I'd like to think he's still at it through Holli's effort.  If you're ever so inclined, when you call the American Red Cross in Durham, tell them Peter Kramer sent you.  They'll believe you.  

Thanks to all who signed up and all who came--both to donate and to offer support...that would be (and please let me know if I missed someone) -- Holli, Jay Cunningham, Joy Javits, Rick Keena, Donna Campbell, Leon Patillo, Geoff Hathaway, Stacey Curelop, and Gordon Neville.  Lots of regular donors at the Red Cross showed up, too.  I am sorry I don't have all their names.

But the staff did SUCH a great job!  Take a look:

Art by Kayla Honeycutt

Food  was donated by Janice Welch, Diana Hicks, Rosie Todorova. Stacey Curelop and Mary Spradlin.  I wish I had a picture of the spread!

Here are a couple other pictures.  Obviously I wasn't up taking them!

Susan, Geoff Hathaway, Leon Patillo, and Holli Crawford Patillo

Gordon Neville (donor) and Mary Spradlin (right).  I am sad I don't remember the names of the other two...both had recruited with Peter and both donated in his memory.
Staff who worked that day were:  Stefana Angelova, Kayla Honeycutt, Nicole Baker,Janice Welch, Arthur Roland, Heather Welliver, Diana Hicks, and Mary.

Recruitment Staff who reached out to and assisted the donors in scheduling an appointment were Michael Williams, Barry McKillop, and Erica Potts.

The butterfly art piece was made by Kayla Honeycutt.

Finally, here is a photo of Peter himself donating some years ago.  He wrote the story, and the Red Cross had it framed for him.

REMEMBER!  PeterFest is scheduled for April 18, 2015, starting at 1:00 p.m.  
Details to follow as they unfold!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Platelets for Peter (2/10/15), PeterFest (4/18/15), and Peter's Mom


It has been a long few weeks...8 as of this past Sunday.  The time has gone slowly.  The time has flown.  Time doesn't seem like itself anymore.

I haven't known how to use this blog going forward.  Perhaps it will find its own use as plans unfold for the Down Yonder Fund for the Arts, and also for PeterFest.  But first...


Most of you know that Peter was a regular platelet donor at the Red Cross.  Not only did he give, but he recruited donors and at times organized friends (and family) to donate at the same time...a kind of party atmosphere.

Our good friend Holli Crawford and the Red Cross' Mary Spradlin teamed up to schedule another such event for Peter on February 10th.  DONORS ARE STILL NEEDED.  Here is the information:

The Red Cross is planning a Platelet Donation Day as a memorial for our friend, Peter Kramer, on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, at the American Red Cross Donation Center in Durham. This promises to be a day filled with food, music, and fond remembrances of Peter. Please join us on this day with a platelet donation in his honor. We have openings from 7 am to 2 pm. Please reply to this email ( with a time that fits your schedule and I will respond with a slot as close to your request as possible. Help us to make this a loving and sharing day for Peter’s family and friends.

For those who have never donated platelets, they mainly are used to help cancer patients. The donation starts out just like whole blood, but instead of taking a pint of blood, we only take a quarter cup of platelets from the blood stream thru a filter method and then we reintroduce all the remaining blood products which include your white and red cells and most of your plasma back to your body thru your other arm. Please plan to spend about 2.5 to 3 hours with us that day. While doing the donation however, you are given the ability to watch TV or a movie of your choosing as you have your own video screen and headphones at your donation chair. You may also talk and share memories of Peter.

You should eat a good meal the night before and breakfast and get a good night’s rest. Also, drink plenty of water a few days before coming in and try to increase your calcium intake by eating more yogurts, milk and ice cream. To make sure your iron is ok, try not to drink any caffeine products the day before or the day of. You must also refrain from all aspirin products or any antibiotics 2 full days prior to coming in and bring a picture ID. We look forward to seeing you on February 10th.

PETERFEST 2015 - April 18th, 1:00 p.m.

I think it was on our second date that Peter started telling me what music he wanted played at his funeral.  He has added and subtracted some over the years, but the list has stayed pretty consistent.  Does anyone know Dickie Betts?  Peter really wanted him to come play Blue Sky.  In lieu of that, I have a list that Peter gave me in late November.  

We could not pull this together for the gathering that took place 12/13 (thanks to all of you who came) and since we had to wait, we decided to wait for spring and outdoor weather.

So, we have a date and we have a time - Saturday April 18th, starting at 1 p.m.  The afternoon will consist of a service and then a re-gathering at the farm, much like the event of 12/13/14 but with more structure this time.  We're calling it PeterFest!

More details will follow.  Please email with your name and email address to be sure that we have you on the list to get information.

SUNNY GINZBERG DRIMMER 02-23-1926 TO 01-28-2015

We are sad to report that Peter's mother, Sonia (Sunny) Ginzberg Drimmer died early on the morning of January 28th.  Sunny was a delightful person, a grandmother par excellence, and a loving mother-in-law who checked in on me frequently following Peter's death.  Peter's ability to remember song lyrics no-doubt came from his mother who knew every show tune ever written.

Sunny called me on the 27th, and Jessie spoke with her that afternoon as well.  She made a solo trip down in September to meet her great-grandson, Levin.  That turned out to be the last time she saw Peter.  Sunny will be sorely missed, and our thoughts are with her daughter, Karen, her granddaughters Jessie and Amanda, with her brother, David, and her sisters-in-law, neices, and nephews.


Thank you all for keeping up with the blog.