Goodbyes said to Ermine, Kraut and I pivoted, stepped to the plane, and sat down. Ten minutes passed—maybe less—before I slept. Thoughts rummaged the weekend: Bobby, Stuart, Skippy, the stories…. and not once would it occur to me I might never return.


The sight of so much respite over the years, the only place I’ve vacationed with Albert, Harriet, H, Margie, Michael, Meredith, Stace, Jace, and yes, even The Jersey Girl, (not to mention the guys from grade school…and law school… and lodge and such).

Memories stay animate, vivid. Indeed, like the umpteenth viewing of a Seinfeld episode, looks back yield renewed affection, and yes, renewed laughter.

Like the first time…with my father. How he’d scheduled it all and couldn’t wait to get west— to show his son that mecca.

He would fly from Columbus that June—it was ’77—and I from Cleveland. We’d connect in Chicago, then travel together.

He left early, of course, grabbing the first flight out.

“When you land I’ll already be at the departing gate,” he’d counseled. “Meet me there.” (I planned to). Touching down though, nature called. I still picture sitting in the john stall just ten minutes on ground and hearing the loud speaker page: “Arriving passenger Bruce Bogart—Please pick up the white courtesy phone.”

‘Twas a memorable trip: four days, three nights. He played the World Gin Rummy Tournament, (cashing at 13), and me? I had quality time with the old man.

“You don’t know how wonderful it is that you would want to spend time with your old man, as a grownup,” he told me. (I didn’t grasp it then; years later I do).

We saw Rickles that week: not once or twice, mind you, but three times. After catching his show that first night my Dad insisted we return night two. Fine with me. Morning of our last day, it went like this:

“Let’s do something different tonight,” said the man with his twinkle.
“After Rickles, let’s go to the Aladdin and see Redd Foxx. It’s a midnight show.”


Untraveled as I am, still, fondly I point to that desert town as home to so many unimportant IMPORTANT events. It’s the place where Block introduced me to pineapple hold-em and Jacobson introduced me to Lawrence Welk. (We were in a front line booth at the opening of Donna Summer when our pal leaned over and brashly said “Larry, I want you to meet my friend Bruce.” The celebrity’s posse gave Michael a collective glare as my then-wife and I looked away and YES, I thought they were going to beat us up).


Where the morning of Super Bowl XXI, two weeks to the day post The Drive, Linick stuck his head in my face uttering his immortal words: “May God judge the quality of your life by the way you play these cards.”

Where the afternoon I’d arrived with Walt, as we waited for rooms to be cleaned, we headed to lunch. “Wait a minute,” Marc urged, pausing at a black jack table. Two steps behind, I watched him place a ten dollar bill on green felt, smile as the dealer busted, and pick up his bounty—all in what seemed like seconds.

“Why pay for lunch?’ he remarked…as we ambled on. He never broke stride.

And Vegas.

Do Ermine and Snyder know how funny they were debating all weekend where our group should lodge. Give it up, guys! We checked in yesterday! Or how amazing it was (to all of us) that Fenton stayed at a different hotel just to save a buck.

For that matter:

Do Michael and Jason have any idea how warm and fuzzy it was to sit, the three of us at the same table, in a “sit ‘n go” tourney that day? (Probably not, of course—but they will at my age).

I question things as I sit in Cleveland. I think…and I wonder.

The boys are heading west in a few weeks. Is it really funds that hold me back? Perhaps.

Perhaps not. Time, I’ve found, is more precious than cash. And Vegas, I’ve learned, is only Vegas.

There’s a boy in New York, and he’s walking.  And a girl in Chicago, straining to crawl.  Others?  


Six decades in, I’ve found the best game in town.

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