Stanley Siegelman was never at a loss for words — and they always rhymed. Over the past decade, Stanley, who died of cancer on April 11 at the age of 87, regaled Forward readers with his light verse, first as a contributor to this newspaper’s “Der Yiddish Vinkl” column, more recently with his online “Siegelmania” column and occasionally on our opinion page.
Toward the end, as he lay dying, pretty much all I wanted to do was make him laugh. I called him every week with a line or a joke or a story he might find funny. I plied him with levity. And laugh he often would. Even so, I suspected that as I tried to humor him, he was actually humoring me. Together, we whistled in the dark.
’Twill come, I know, as no surprise. / (I speak, of course, of my demise.) / The signs abound, for all to see: / A curtailed life expectancy.