“…Just one last look, before you go
       So I’ll have memories wherever I go
       One last look before you’re gone
       So in my heart you’ll live on and on…”

The Temptations

’13 winds down and I wink back fondly. It was a time of gain, loss, smiles, laughter—intangible moments of friendship and love enveloped in music.

Second row for “Jersey Boys”, March in Vegas. I had seen it before, but the tears still rolled.

It was a year of aging: Jacobson 70, Arthur 65, and me now with dentures.

It was a year, too, of one big Hello—to Eli Matthew, (first name for my Mom).

And two tough Goodbyes: Uncle Bob and Cousin Norm. Each had been there, always; each touching my life, sustaining me, and in his own pure way, pushing me forward. I loved them…I love …them … both.

The Cellmates, playing our class reunion.  I danced ’til the call came…and heard the message.  Water had broken out east!  Eli was coming!  

It was a year still, of remembrance: Fifty years after JFK’s assassination….a hundred post Aunt Helen’s conception.

It was the year that Lindsay got married and Saree got married — that Hal/Margie and Bruce/Rita hit 40.
A year Helen and Harriet didn’t speak, but Bob and Marvin did.

It was a time too for standing one’s ground. Julius vs. Alan on Facebook…and me, in my own way. (Like that Wednesday night at Champps. No sooner we touched down in the booth than my line of sight caught some putz arrogantly wearing a bright maize and blue sweater. No way could I watch that clown eat! Up I stood, immediately, even politely, and switching seats with Carrie. I’m a liberal, not a radical; I wouldn’t leave—just turn away.).

And high fashion: My Dad’s ‘70’s black/yellow plaid jacket did two more shows, Harold gave Maynard a shirt from my 2006 diet give-away collection, and alas, my beloved black and white spats/like sneakers lived on. (Ed. Note: How ugly do some consider those shoes? In April a less-than-PC child queried “What homeless person did you steal those from?”).

It was a year of firsts! A hundred years after Morris Bogartsky traversed Ellis Island—indeed a hundred days after Eli Bogart burst upon us—the Bogart family welcomed its first fishing rod. Really, Brother Klein? Really?

And food: from my best meal—the eggplant wrap at Lange’s in Westchester County, New York, to the worst— at the Chinese restaurant by Richmond Mall, (Ed. Note: On a Saturday afternoon last summer I saw a bug —and I mean a BUG—crawling up the wall, ten inches above our booth. I called the guy over and nodding quietly, he removed it. No comment, no apology, no apparent surprise. Carrie laughed, as did Leesa, but trust me, the balance of the lunch I spent standing).

Often, of course, the menu mattered not—like Wednesdays, in the back booth at Corky’s— where the boys met at 8:30, rain or shine. Oh, Himmel missed for tax season, Walt missed for Vegas, and Bobby missed when it was someone’s birthday. And of Kanter we never know. Still, some guy named Gruber came by and Fred D got regular, and…. Speaking often of nonsense, we dodged not small issues. Les’s suggestion (that guns be banned but that citizens be issued bows and arrows) remains unadopted. Still our wisdom flows every midweek, over breakfast.

We were happy together again at Cain Park this summer. Gary Puckett was there, and he asked me to stand. From a distance I saw fellow veteran Stuart also rise. Gary Lewis, though, stole my heart. From “This Diamond Ring” to “Sure Gonna Miss Her” he captured the last years of innocence—mine, at least.

2013, when all tolled, featured days well-spent and days pissed away; moreover, it honored friendships sustained and friendships renewed. It began and now ends though—more than anything, with family.
—Max barging in our room, Lucy hiding in her tent, Eli’s smile illuminating!
—Pictures (just now posting), of Lucy sitting on a potty, of Max standing at a urinal.
—Near weekly trips with Helen, a link to the past
—Near daily talks with my brother, a bond that is timeless.
—And the heartbeat of Carrie, 500 days on….

As she has each December since the 80’s, Darlene Love sang “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Letterman. The blend of time and voice and hope and music made me look back and look forward and melt.

My year ends yet again with loving friends and cherished family. It’s been another good run—from Harriet’s Matt in “Fiddler” last winter to Ermine’s kiss on the cheek last summer to M & M and Stace & Jace in the midwest….to the brunch just Sunday (with Biff, CJ, Caroline, Denise, Hal,Harriet, Helenia, Leesa, and Margie).

It’s all good.

3 Responses to “MUSIC TO MY YEAR”

  1. Marc says:

    I wish you and all of yours a very happy and healthy 2014.

  2. Stuart says:

    Happy and healthy 2014 to all. For those up North…stay warm. Mark, I’m assuming you’ll be welcoming the New Year with Marvin.

  3. alan wieder says:

    You had such a sweet year — as some South Carolina friends say – blessed

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