Dear kindly Dr. FauciToday is your Big dayWith grace and adoration we’re all here just to sayYou’re celebrating “80”This year we came to learnWith scientific knowledgeTake a bow as it’s your turnYou imparted so much wisdomYour research proven through factWe are on the brink of gettingA piece of our world backWe’ll raise a glass to honor your grace and gravitasYou never once did waiver your path was well definedSo Kindly Dr. Fauci, Our treasure and Our findWe’ll toast another go round, the planet needs you hereYou worked toward a solution You are Precious and so Dear!
Ma Nishtana מה נשתנה), On this night we unclench our teeth, sigh a breath of relief and feel we are headed toward a way out. An uncharted year, unprecedented and riddled with devastation has a glimmer of hope in sight. A “Happier” New Year, as we add the corner piece to our puzzle. Hit it Joni- “ I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow, it’s clouds illusions I recall, I really don’t know clouds at all. “Moons and Junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way you feel, As every fairy tale comes real, I’ve looked at life that way. So just for today, let’s pick ourselves up, wipe ourselves off and start all over again. Hashtag Options Strong.
And then one day we just stayed in bed, under the covers, eating Hebrew National pigs in the blanket and drinking Whispering Angel. A day of feeling sorry for our mess of a country moment. With so many things on our “to do” list, the pathetic state of affairs has immobilized us. With devastation we are getting through the Kavanaugh Countdown. The only panacea is time. We long to watch reruns of Dobie Gillis, I Married Joan and Topper. One episode at a time, pre- binging. We derive comfort in exhuming memories of eating a can of Buitoni ravioli after school before leaving to go to our algebra tutor. Did anyone really need to know what a parallelogram or a quadrilateral was, ever?
Ah, the simple joy of listening to AM radio and Cousin Brucie, who is now 80 unbelievable seven. The glory days when one of our pleasures was listening to the Temptations, cause we were “not to proud to beg” while we waited to be built up by buttercups, knowing at this point it was the “worst that could happen.” Run on sentence counters I know. Guilty pleasures were driving under the tressel at Third Ward Park and the endorphin rush in spotting our friend’s cars.
The long ago and far away days, we so long for now. If only the worst of frustrations came in the form of busy signals and not because we had to upgrade our cell phones due to out dated-technology. We lovingly remember setting our hair with big, pink plastic rollers, spritzing Aqua Net hairspray and adjusting the awkward tubes from our portable hairdryers. We looked forward to our snacks of peanut butter cheddar crackers, Ring Dings or Funny Bones and always grabbed our can of Tab, the acronym for the first (Totally Artificial Beverage). They all came without hangovers. With lots of quarters, nickels and dimes we’d stop for snacks at the candy store next to Jan, Jill and Jon’s on Main Avenue. Shout out to Rhoda and Seymour Zucker ( antique aficionados) for 50 years . What a run. So back to today – under the covers with bated breath waiting to hear if our future decisions will be weighed in by one more unstable narcissist who has perfected the art of lying through his porcelain veneers. We pray for the times when Cosmo Topper, married Joan the only thing unstable were the rabbit ears on our black and white Tv’s and -that was an easy fix.
“Wasn’t it yesterday we used to laugh at the wind behind us? Didn’t we run away and hope that time wouldn’t try to find us? We might not have tomorrow, but we had yesterday.” And the memories linger on.
We all got the memo. We showed up brought a wing and a prayer in hope that revisiting the site of our youth would play out without too much disappointment. The evening more than overrode the old adage “you can never go home.” We theoretically put on our tennis sweaters, madras shirts and dexter’s mentality and double hugged each other.
With cataract improved vision we entered the time machine and there we were, the place the cafeteria at PHS, the late 60’s only obvious difference was cocktails replaced chocolate milk.
And so the juke box of our past, that held all our secrets, preconceived notions and memories of who stood with who before the bell rang and our days began, was replaced with the here and now.
The beauty of last eve was we were all one. We talked over each other, left quick catch up stories mid stream to get up and sit next to another very familiar face. Perhaps our personas remain in tact but our storied lives over the past “50” holy mackerel years have added the depth and Kodachrome patina that adds to our allure, our glow.
We held on tightly to the remember when’s and were equally glad to share pictures of our children and grandchildren. The sense was that we were on a veritiable speed date, get all you can at the supermarket game before the buzzer sounds.There were no whispers, only out loud emotional confessions of how very thrilled we were as we looked around the table and stole visual moments of our youth. “So do you think there were other towns like Passaic that offer this kind of welcoming,”was the ever present buzz throughout the night. Was it something in the Passaic River, or Rutts relish? Perhaps Awful, Awfuls or the steak sandwiches on Friday nights at The Bonfire in Paterson. We marveled at how well we looked in the absence of not too much Botox. There was no height requirement to get on the ride and exhume a very big piece that fills the shadow box on our mantles.
My take away as I debrief the evening was how easy it was to pay subtle attention to who ordered the dressing on the side, as we were really all there for the main course. I’ll double down this time and go for seconds. “Oh what a Night.”
In a binge like fashion- one episode at a time- we reconnected with old friend’s, while streaming our constants
and rearranging the table for some new welcomed additions. Run on sentence counters you got a whopper there. At any given moment a text, an email or a rare phone call could get us engaged in exuming memories, catching up on daily doings of our everyday peeps, or learning something new about someone new. “The Luckiest People in the World.” Yes, Barbra with an A – you got that right. No better stocking stuffer, in the absence of an eye to eye, mano to mano, or a great big , juicy bear hug than an interchange of sharing with no limit on caring. Wow, so you liked Columbo too. Really- “ in the hours before the morning walking home I passed your door and sent a special prayer up to the room on the second floor.” In that one sentence the idea of crooning, swooning and dancing the night away feels right outside our door. Johnny Maestro, so glad you had a love affair with The Brooklyn Bridge. As the sun is rising and the dailys kick in- I position myself for my virtual canasta game and learning about the new blood. We continue counting the days until the gates are opened and we welcome a side swap in the form of someone cutting in line at Bloomy’s, and not having to sanitize the outside skin on our avocados. So for today as we prepare to start binging The West Wing, we defrost some chop meat for dinner and look ahead all the time remembering “The Way We Were.”
Counting 50 Fast forward strong On the 20th of January Let’s sing right along We are signing up to join “A Place to call Home” Our focus on “Undoing” Nurse “Ratched” —so long We are renewing our future, We got “Saved by the Bell” Dear Justice Bader send them straight to their cell We are betting on the winning We wil take back “The Crown” We are hitting the pavement Our “knees” on the ground Our lives won’t be in “Jeopardy” We will hand over the pawn, our opening “gambit” Please play right along We’re heading toward safety We’ve positioned the Queen And one thing’s quite certain. Our lives we’ll redeem.
Bridge traces its origins to the British game of whist, first played in the 16th century. It may be named for the Galata Bridge in Istanbul, which British soldiers crossed during the Crimean War of the 19th century to reach a coffeehouse where they played cards. For the first time since the inception of the game they have reconfigured the bidding. They have eliminated the NT bid from the options. So just bid the next suit up when Biden- ing. May you always find your 8 card fit. You are part of mine.Blessings abound.
To the belief that we can start believing we have leadership who will care about “Us” first. The feeling we were independent contractors thrown into the sea and having to find our own path home is nearly gone. Our swim to shore is rounding it’s last lap. Naysayers might offer the wishful thinking perspective that only time will tell. Just for today we choose to sigh relief, feel we discovered a map with clearcut directions toward the door, letting us out of the doom and gloom room and out of the dark. The ensemble of “our table” is a favorite allegory always offering who we choose to sit and break bread with. The Algonquin Roundtable was a group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits. They met for lunch each day at The Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929. A favorite quote from Harold Ross, “ I asked Ring Lardner the other day how he writes his short stories, and he said he wrote a few widely separated words or phrases on a piece of paper and then went back and filled in the spaces.” Today we completed a chapter, the story is not over, but the writer’s block is gone. We can now assemble our table of choice, air out our sense of trust and hope we will never lose our way this far from home ever again.
As something to look forward to in a new normal fashion I will relish my time around a table. Shuffling cards and remembering to take the talon will bring back the tactile component that is essential to the game of play. In our Chicken Little the Sky is falling reality, we geared up the electronics, dialed into our familiar voices and brought the game auditorily alive. Yes, it gets us through, yes it connects us to “the what used to be’s.” In the absence of masks and gloves, we are comfortably sequestered in our game spot on the couch. We bring our own drinks and snacks and we click away. We miss faces, although it feels like two months have aged us in the mirror two years. Perhaps it is the hue and the palor of limping through the malady that has claimed the world. So just for today, with an additional increment of hope, let’s visit our closet, check out our earrings and remember the everything old is new again adage. In short order we can be bringing our own coffee, and snack packing our way around a real live deck of cards.