My aunt (dad’s sister) died. I hadn’t seen her in decades, due to family estrangement. But her family and ours were close up until high school, when they moved to another state, and she and my dad got sideways with each other.

The emotions triggered by her death are confusing to me. Her son, my cousin, and I were close as children and were playmates. We spent a lot of time together, but lost touch when his family moved away. He is now serving a life sentence for a crime so abominable that I am grateful that we do not have the same last name.

The last time I saw my aunt was at another cousin’s funeral in the early 90s. My father was not able to attend this funeral (his mom’s sister’s son), and sent me to “represent” him and our family (it is an old school Italian thing). She sobbed and hugged and said she wanted a relationship with my dad. But she never reached out to him, and as far as I know, they never spoke before he died in 2008.

I got a bad phone call this morning. A state senator has told a dairy association to disassociate from me or face political consequences. The motives behind this require an explanation of my entire career, and I lack the energy. Suffice to say this is payback for a lot of things I have done over the last 17 years. I have no powerful friends to help me, like my enemies do. I am on my own.

So I drove my car. I am way too small potatoes foe a legislator in the nation’s most populous state to be concerned with my small-time, trifling ass.