Pete’s a middle-aged guy in the program. Don’t know much of his past — he’s bounced around for a while — but Jews sort of know other Jews, and while he’s been sober a bit, rarely does he open up. He’s a sweet man; there’s a gentle sadness to him and I like him. We speak now and then, so it wasn’t really a shock when he called me last Thursday.

“Hey, I’ve got a few bucks together and I might need you to represent me.”
“Can it wait?” I asked. I’m going away for a few days with my son.”
“Just call when you get back.”
“Tuesday,” I was saying as my friend interrupted:
“Good for you buddy,” he said wistfully, and as his voice trailed off: “Boy, I’ve missed a lot.”

My Dad mentioned more than once how grateful he was his adult child liked spending time with him. It was a sentiment I accepted yet didn’t totally “get”. Ah, but how could I? My eyes then were but thirty-something.

Cautiously I’d approached him last year. “What do you think about going out of town for a weekend? Just me and you.” (Look: I knew he loved me and all that, but with two boys under five, a wife and a career…would his upward mobility be stunted?). Perhaps it was a timing thing — I don’t know. For whatever reason, though, my boy jumped! Without taking a beat he was in.

“Where do you want to go?” he asked, but I cared not. “Whatever makes sense,” I responded. (I mean, really! What am I— a traveller? Give me food and air-conditioning and I’m happy). “You decide.”

It didn’t take him long. Within weeks (I think sooner) he’d suggested the venue and earmarked the weekend. “How ‘bout January 10th?” he asked. “We could watch the NFL playoffs and if you can fly back on Tuesday that Monday’s the college game”.

As quickly as he’d called when I’d opened, I too was all in! That was months ago.

I’m on the plane now, coming home. Yes, our weekend is done.

We met, hugged, roomed, ate, watched TV, skirmished (once) and even walked. We mused, laughed, learned (he taught me to use chopsticks), and shared. Mostly though we sat, side-by-side in a Vegas sports book—conjuring bets, rolling eyes, tearing up tickets but not tearing time…


He’s at JFK by now, I figure. Carrie (quite likely) is driving toward Hopkins. He’ll be working at this time tomorrow. Me too.

This, for me, was a weekend to cherish. Hold it close, I will, as will he.

(If not now…in about thirty years).

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