Shout out to Gloria’s mom- “pick your table wisely.” After a Mah jongg drought, which can only be understood by those in the know, I grabbed my ever ready mj bag and left the house. I showed up early and waited in the lobby to go up with the one and only Marilyn H. Everyone loves Marilyn. Much like the mj tiles themselves we all are distinctive characters in our own special way. My homies consist of two tables of play. We overlap, fill in for one another and share so much more than tiles and and dollar bills. A panoply of choosing tiles and catch up stories, as we glance at pictures of weddings and babies. Does it get any better, I ask? Cliches run wild as this game brings out predictable facets of our personalities. We open and close the window with frequency, decide upon the chicken or tuna for our meal of choice and in a medically prescriptive way we laugh a lot and often. Last evening was just one of those on pointe times. The Chinese tiles all have different symbols and meanings. A recurring tile that kept showing with unusual frequency was the 2 Bam. Symbolically bamboo represents the “axis of the earth.” One definition of axis, is a straight line about which any object may rotate. Here’s to our table of play being the constant and so many more days of belly laughing through two Bams.
We counted the 7’s while never loosing sight of our “Hearts.” Our day of play began with the knowing format, or so we thought. We took our seats, shuffled the cards and waited for the expected silence while figuring out the hand we were dealt. Only this time we were all dealt the same hand. Nostalgic memories laced with an opportunity to dejavu our way through the next several hours. We threw the cards and shot the breeze. We counted so many more “remember when’s” than 7’s or Aces. Our fourth player who completed the game was a lovely friend of Joy’s named Michele from Cleveland. And yes, as fate would have it, like the corner piece in the puzzle, we knew people in common. She snapped our picture, marveled at how many years Roberta and I hadn’t seen each other as the connection was obvious indeed. Joy and I had connected through my last few winters in the sun. We are old, new friends. In teenage like fashion we talked over one another, giggled a lot and brought old names to mind of people we knew way back when.
The beauty of the day was “the way back when’s we’re sitting at our table, and in between catching up and having so much fun, we got to play a little too. Joy couldn’t be sweeter and lives by the more the merrier creed. We played at Roberta’s home and she is as funny, kind and as easy going as I remembered. She not only had the dark, split pretzels I like sitting right next to the fresh fruit and popcorn- she smelled beautiful like Lily’s of the Valley and brought the bottle out so we could write down the name.
My take away is when they say you can’t go back home, it’s only because they didn’t grow up in Passaic. Yesterday was “Mighty Mighty Great!
Dear President Sh*t hole- this is a repost from two years ago. And this isn’t your focus because? “That certain night , the night we met, there was magic abroad in the air. There were angels dining at the Ritz- “And a Nightingale Sang in Barclay Square.” Words by Eric Maschwitz, music by Manning Sherwin. The song was written in 1939 in a French fishing village Le Lavandou right before the outbreak of the Second World War. Fast forward— On a steamy week-end eve you get dressed, put on your lipstick, turn off your music and walk out the door. You look forward to debriefing the week with a friend and meeting some new friends. You’re all set to chill in a high energy, safe haven club, on your local Barclay Square- the nightingales were singing. Dry martinis, familiar faces and music you listen to at home and know every word to. A perfect design for a five-star time. One would think. And then the World According to Garp doesn’t happen. No Lin Manuel, THESE senseless acts of tragedy are what is “promised.” Our promised land nearly 70 years after World War Two- on the the doorstep of World War Three. “Praising Isis, Gunman attacks Gay Nightclub, leaving 50 dead in worst shooting on U.S.Soil”– the headline in today’s New York Times. Yes, on U.S. soil, the same dirt that has a potential presidential candidate who made this horrifically designed tragedy about him. We scream in horror, we cry in disbelief as one more lunatic walks into one more gun shop and puts down one more stolen credit card. We then pay dearly for the laws that govern the strongest nation on earth. We pray for the insane and fund them in jail after they take away our freedom of choice, as to which place to dance the night away–that takes our Life away. In concentration camp like fashion we become prisoners of the loose cannon, suicide bombers who live to die. The adage of ” do guns kill people or do people kill people” is one big oxymoron. One avenue for slaughter is people buying guns. How long is congress on sabbatical from revising laws on buying over the counter rifles in a store that houses beef jerky too? Dear G-d please look in our direction. We need our backs covered and we are willing to double down for this.
Remembering it’s the happenings, the italicized big things that offer the inner smile, the laugh out loud good, tingly feelings up and down your spine. Sign up for those as a mini course and make it the journey. Don’t let the road to no where be the rest stop. Pull over to the side of the road for a minute, then call it a hiccup.
I’ve been reading a fascinating account of six elderly New Yorkers documented by a man named John Leland. He has tracked their lives over the past three years. It is a series of articles that are showcased in The New York Times. Adages galore about older/wiser, but a couple really hit home. The study shows through these six people how the emphasis of anything other than your core friendships of family and friends who become family are the small things. Shout out to the mighty, mighty Indians. Tonight I am going over to a destination mini reunion at a Boca steak house. The Clifton/Passaic area goes south. In my picture show there will be faces we’ve followed on social media, we’ll raise a glass and share a tale or two of where our paths have taken us. I look forward to going back in time to the days when we wore dresses and skirts to school- only. How bout that special vinyl box that housed our 45’s and yellow convertible plastic discs. Can’t forget the pink Curl free combs and Dip-pity do. When we told tales out of school it’s because we heard it through Marvin’s “grapevine.” Those were the days my friend when the magnitude of problems was keeping every snap on our one piece blue rompers closed during Mrs. Rudin’s gym class. My first real understanding of brave was Henry Flemings decision to stay at battle on the fields of war or flee and face the equally dangerous consequences. Ah, that pre-teen, eighth grade read of Stephen Cranes -Red Badge of Courage. All pride -no prejudice. So tonight as Jill and I walk in we’ll embrace the faces from long ago and feel never far home. I’ll look for Meryl and oh wait there’s Joy- hoping all along my skill at connecting the dots kicks in when I know the face and quickly search for the name.
And so on this 45 degree day in Sunny Florida let’s find our seat – lunch room style.