“Good to go’, the adage goes, and “Good to come back.” For the first time in three weeks — and only second time since May — my Sunday eyes will open in Cleveland, Ohio. (Not that I’m complaining. Weekends this virtual month of Sundays have each been better than the last). It’s just that I’m tired.

I need to sleep where my boots are. It’s my natural rhythm…and yet I’m blessed:

Cameo appearances, even as a weekend warrior, were nothing but joy. Consider …

We woke June 5 in the greatest capital city in the world: Columbus, Ohio. Our overnight sojourn held its standard agenda:

1) The poker room at West Broad and Georgesville Roads was friendly; it usually is. (Ed. Note 1: Needless to say, I couldn’t resist reminding Carrie for the umpteenth time that before the interstate ‘twas a Lincoln Lodge Motel at that spot and that while lunching there with my father some worker left his paint bucket and mop on the floor at our booth and walked out. And I told her yet again how my Dad had opted at that precise moment to go to the mens’ room— but couldn’t get out. And I told her YET again how his lip puffed and his voice raised, and…and then mercifully my monologue ended turning into the casino).

2) The Jack Roth Run/Walk was in Bexley that morn. (Ed. Note 2: Not that we ran, mind you. Or walked. It was the ebullience of “The art of conversation” that ruled as we renewed acquaintances with the myriad of Shafrans).

3) The cemetery. My father.  “You’ve gained weight,” he told me, “but it looks good on you.” (Ed Note 3: Which is why he was the best).

4) Breakfast with Harriet at an eatery with profound staff, and where on that very day at the age of 66 I concocted the perfect — and I mean PERFECT morning spread: buttermilk pancakes topped with sliced lox. Was it not the ideal ending to this 24-hour outing?

We awakened to the penultimate day of our Vegas trip June 19. The 68th anniversary of my parents’ union — Father’s Day — and it punctuated what had already been a wondrous trip.

1) Dinner with Linda and Jeff. Catching up. Something about Linda always makes you smile; something about Jeff always makes you feel safe. Friends of a lifetime are friends, and a lifeline. Just the best.

2) The Wayne Newton concert cancelled, but curtail it didn’t my recounting that Hal and I saw the crooner open for Jack Benny one ’66 Philadelphia night.

3) You didn’t see it on ESPN. Nor for that matter did it trend on Twitter. My entry in the 2016 World Series Of Poker, however, completed a rare trifecta some six decades in the making. (Ed. Note 4: My appearance in the 1987 World Gin Rummy Tournament was short-lived, although my father did cash. Years earlier, midway through the twentieth century, I came off the bench to hit a bunt double at old Brainard Park in the 1960 South Euclid-Lyndhurst Little League World Series).

5:54 AM it was, just last Sunday. In a well-slept bed near an Illinois mudroom where a bichon hangs his leash, a sprite four-year old tapped my shoulder. (Ed. Note 5: I used to have a dog like Adam).

“Pappy,” she murmured, “I want to watch ‘Curious George’”.
“OK, Lucy,” I obliged, wiping crust from my eyes — as I had also some 24 hours earlier.

Highlight I could my Chicago adventure. Share it I could: in a hundred words or less…

Salads from Michael’s. Stacy says I chew loud. Fixed it, ordering three grilled cheese next meal. Babysitting Ruby, one-on-one (like I had early Max). Stacy skinny. Walked girls and Adam. Forgot tissues. “I’ll get it later” said Stace. She forgot. It found Jason’s shoes a day later. Everyone laughed (except Jason). Read Lucy a book and Stacy a book. Town hall meeting with Bonesy. Good interview, available on tape. Best spinach pie ever. Bohrer refrigerator stocked by a reincarnate of Aunt Helen. Starving in bed. Smuggled in bagel-wrapped hot dogs for Night Two. Kissed Rooney goodnight on top of head. Jason too.

— Memories pale, though. All of them: from the 5K I didn’t run in Columbus to the set of queens I did flop at Bally’s to the joy that is Deerfield —all of them dim to the light of one short colloquy between that sparkling young lady and me:

“Lucy,” I’d told her as I bid her Good Night, “I wish we lived in the same city.”

“Pappy,” she said, “I wish we lived in the same house.”

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