Eulogy for Karen Ricky Ginsburg April 4, 2011 First and foremost, let me thank you all for coming, especially those of you who traveled so far with such little time to prepare. Few things are more important in life than having lots of friends and family when you need them the most. Your being here softens the pain and loss we are feeling now, but it also brings joy to a moment when anguish struggles to bring us down. So again, from my heart, thank you all for being with Erica and me today. This is not a funeral; this is a celebration of Karen's life. There will be plenty of time for weeping and crying, trust me; I'm already running out of tissues. But for now, I want us all to remember Karen with a smile on our face. And in that vein, I want you to feel free to laugh and even applaud. However, if I make myself cry, as I know I will, I want you to cry along with me, so no one feels awkward. One of the many questions I've asked myself several times in these last days has been, "What will I remember about Karen when she's gone?" Sure, I'll remember the love, the companionship, the vacations, the non-rising chocolate cake, the open toothpaste tubes, her car coming down the street at nearly supersonic speed, the collection of vitamins, herbs, and skin care products that occupied every available cabinet in the house; all the little details that made Karen who she was. But what really sticks out in my mind? I would have to say first on the list: Karen was a tennis player. No, that's an understatement. Karen was addicted to tennis. We traveled to Jamaica two or three times a year for the last 10 years. Nine days at a stretch. Karen played tennis every, single day. Sometimes twice a day if it didn't rain. She played with the Pro and beat him, not once, not twice, but with such consistency that the resort offered her the position. I sat on the beach and drank rum. The rest of the year, she played at a bare minimum, four days a week. This meant she was out of the house three, four hours at a time. Guys, if you work from home and you want to make your marriage last thirty-two years, buy your wife tennis lessons. Karen was a shopper. Nope, that's another understatement. Try this instead: Karen could sniff out a bargain like a bloodhound on the trail of a convict. The clearance rack in Bed, Bath, and Beyond wasn't a wire bin with discards; it was a shrine that she visited on a regular basis. Karen is personally responsible for the downfall of Albertsons and may have had a hand in the closing of Linens and Things. I can't begin to count the number of times she'd come home from food shopping, having saved more than she spent. For our entire life together, the only part of the Sunday paper she read was the coupons section. There are at least a dozen people here who have called me at one time or another over the years and said, "I just came from such and such a store and I did a 'Karen'." Fortunately, she passed some of her secrets for getting the best price on to her friends, but any good dictionary will forever define "bargain" with her in the description. Honestly, I can look at every major appliance in our house and know she saved us more money than I could have hondled on my own. Most of you have heard the story of her getting me a free set of tires for my truck, so I won't repeat it here, but for years after that, Karen would be telling a bunch of us about some great bargain she got and we would all say at the end, in unison, "and a free set of tires." You gotta love a woman who spends less than you. Karen was a constant source of entertainment and I mean that in the most loving terms. She made me laugh. She made us all laugh. She provided the inspiration for some of the characters in my writing, but I'm the only one who will ever know which ones, so don't ask. She made me happy, in that thirty-two years ago, I said yes, when she proposed to me. That's another long and amazing story that I'm sure I'll tell many times over the coming days. Karen was a seasoned traveler. Together we visited countries on six of the seven continents, everything from an African safari to the plushest hotel in Hong Kong. I'm certain there are shopkeepers in dozens of cities who would remember her, but more importantly, we made friends around the world who will miss her as much as any of us here today. Karen was the mother of my only child. I rejoice in the fact that she lived long enough to see Erica become a successful businesswoman. That alone gave her peace. Our future is in our children and I will never be thankful enough that I am a father. Karen got fifty-seven years out of this life. Far too short for someone as special as her. The good die young isn't a cliché; it's a sad fact of life. Every one of us is unique and thus irreplaceable. Having now lost the most unique person I could ever have asked for, I must, we all must accept that there is no one in the world exactly like her, nor will there ever be. But I made Karen a promise that I would go on without her, that I would not grieve for her the rest of my life. I have a responsibility not only to keep that promise to her, but to my daughter, as well. And today, I pass that responsibility on to all of you. Celebrate her life with Erica and me. Relish the time we all spent with Karen and let's look at our lives with the hope and love that I know she would want from us all.