Live theater this. An impromptu lunch of six childhood friends—love, laughter and insults. And all I had to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Will Hendricks was in town. Word spread; the troops showed.

Arriving first, Randy grabbed a middle booth.
“Don’t sit there,” I cautioned, reminding him he’d taken Bob’s seat. (Snyder needs the angle on all incoming traffic).

Soon came Stuart…and Will from Florida….then Wohlfeiler on a cane, looking as he’d just descended Mt. Sinai. Bob entered, having parked his GTO and immediately directed traffic. Upgrading our table, he assumed the power position at the head…facing out.

As Wieder mused by phone, “Quite the motley crew!”

And so the games began. Five minutes of Arthur’s health; one minute on Will’s mom…then a half-hour monologue by RaisinBrain recounting:

The day he pulled his tooth out at Greenview.
Life with Pam.
His somewhat recent police chase through Solon.

Randy kept talking but at some point focus shifted. (This group only goes so long without reverting to form). The communal target, alas, was Hendricks. Bob teased and Stuart taunted as Kraut and I watched the longest running off-Broadway show of our time.

And Will kept backpedaling. Each declaration he made brought a collective “BULLSHIT.” Back-handed fists were raised, pinky and index fingers projected…”Don’t bullshit, Will,” came the chorus. (The more things change….).

The tale of Will’s dad wrestling alligators. The night he pitched at the stadium. Talk inevitably got to the ‘71 Rose Bowl. Will’s car had died in New Mexico and the boys left him there. When the poor guy recalled a hurricane, well…fists flew again! “C’mon Will!”

We roared as Stuart googled via cell phone, but the laugh was on us. “Goddam Will!” This time he was telling the truth.

His victory, though, was short-lived. These guys….they never let up. Moments later Willie mentioned he was retiring soon. Noting he’d be entering a DROP program, returning to work WITH PENSION, the name-calling began.

“Goddam it Will, “cried Stuart, “You’re double dipping!”
Snyder chimed in: “You’re cheating the system Will…admit it!”
“No I’m not.” (His defensive comments….just like the good old days).
….and in the background, Randy, (who’d been talking to himself for ten minutes), approached the end of a soliloquy:
“If I’d have known she’d get pregnant I’d have done it anyway!”

A conversation that began in the mid-60’s —a discourse that repeats itself at every opportunity…every line, every insult was being hurled as if it had never been uttered before. Amazing! And predictable.

Time flew. In a moment nearly two hours had passed. Fenton had a car to return; Randy had to run. I hurried, but to G/d knows what. Check split, so did we. Each of us to the real world until the next time we glance through the rearview mirror for more love, laughter and insults. And as we said our good byes it was clear to all that Bob was not the only one with a good seat.

I love my friends.

          ” Old days – days of love and feeling fancy free
           Old days – days of magic still so close to me”


One Response to “OLD DAYS”

  1. Mark E says:

    Sorry I missed that

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