Didn’t “need” to get away—Cleveland’s rhythm has been nice. Still, the tone of this week’s trip was easier and softer than last time through. Two Vegas trips, two sets of pals conjoined only by Kraut: a totally different feel. Last year was romaine lettuce; this year…more that soft, leafy bib stuff.

Succot on The Strip: a reunion with five friends (heading north from Cedar, circa 1959): Walt, Arthur, Alan, Fred and Harold. It was a different mix and a weekend replete with observations.

Hadn’t seen Fischer since ’96- Paradise Island. Strikes me again that I wish we’d been closer. He’s kept the infectious, semi-demonic laugh although fact is, the hair’s gone. It’s been a long time since “Red” caught for the White Sox. Curiously, (I might add), his memory’s going too. Did he really forget his Ellison house had a flagpole?

“Was there a flag too?” he asked at breakfast.
“Of course not,” we all remembered.

And then there was Fred. He doesn’t say much, but Arthur swears Fred knows everything about everyone at all times. Good analysis. The man sits silently and takes it all in. Avoids the gunfire. Looking younger than us, he is also more elegant. Always liked Fred although within our group we’ve traveled concentric circles. I see him more in Nevada than Ohio. Go figure.

Core friends present were Arthur, Alan and Marc. An eminent author, Wido has interesting habits. He not only sleeps with the TV off, but prefers no lights as well. I’m easy though, and adapt readily. Rooming with him was a joy. There has never been a time (in all these years), we haven’t “gotten” each other. Thoughtful too, he voluntarily watched Telemundo with me.

I see Kraut and Walt in Cleveland. Each anchors Wednesday’s Breakfast Of Champions. Vegas is the only venue I’ve seen Art relax in. Ever. People think he’s naturally bald; those who know him best have watched him pull each and every hair from his head. He is, by the way, another one of those seemingly intelligent people that actually enjoys playing slots. (I just can’t understand the fascination with that mindless activity).

Marc captained our ship. The genesis of the trip was ten years ago—Beachwood grads. (Remember: Tooth crossed Green Road for fifth grade and evaporated ‘til OSU. Wied and Walt were Sammys; I caught up with him in Math 117, second quarter freshman year).

So there we were in friendship and trust. On that cornerstone, Wednesday…early…my weekend pivoted.

The guys met, each day, for breakfast and dinner. I joined them on Tuesday’s arrival, but wasn’t inclined to do it daily. It wasn’t about them at all. It was, frankly, all about the Benjamins.

What to do? Dwelling on it was unproductive. If I couldn’t be straight with these guys…with whom? Outside the poker room, pulling Walt aside, it spat out: I needed to eat, not dine. ‘Nuff said.

How often in the past, (Shame on me), would I have silently overspent the weekend. (Editor’s Note: See the Susan Springer painting purchased in San Francisco. Jacobson said “Buy it Bogie!—When the artist dies you’ll cash in.” That was 1982; I still read the death notices, Ms. Springer still lives, and yes, the work still hangs in the home of my ex. Thank you, Michael).

Why did it take me a half-life to learn honesty truly is the best policy? Then again…Why do I still forget my seatbelt?

We sat ‘round the pool Thursday. We spoke candidly, not so much of past but of past lessons learned. No masks here: half in the water, half out— we were, as far as friends go, all in. From relationships won to relationships lost, from psychotherapy to sexual healing, we shared. The common denominators were laughter, friendship and nary a judgment.

It came time to get up, and we did. The time came for goodbyes, and we said them. Harold left Thursday, as did Al. I’m leaving today. Timeless friends never really say goodbye, though. It’s more like “’Til next time.”

I’m flying home now. Touch down at six, then on to my meeting…then a drive-by at Hal’s Rowland reunion…then sleep…then Sunday’s double-tech rehearsal… then a week of nightly run-throughs in Willoughby…then we open….and then, one week from Monday, I rest.

As said at the top, my Cleveland rhythm is good. I like it. I love it. Clearly, though, the grind is more fluid knowing I’m blessed with family, friends, and, (like this past week), five easy pieces.

3 Responses to “FIVE EASY PIECES”

  1. annuaire says:

    This write up is nice. I’ll post in my blog and translate it in French.

  2. Marc says:

    I’m so glad you came and we were able to spend time together. I hope you’ll join us each year. You truely enhanced my trip as you always enhance Wed. mornings.

  3. alan wieder says:

    Very sweet post — love the lettuce metaphor

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