Stacy called me a “sucker” yesterday then apologized. I wasn’t mad and told her so, but she apologized again. The underlying issue wasn’t important and, running late for temple, surrounded by my favorite ex-wife, it was neither time nor place to converse. The anger, if any, was at myself.

Driving down Cedar toward Park my past refocused.

A nutcracker once told me I had “trust issues.” (He also termed them “abandonment” issues, but that word hurts too much). Through limited talks we cited multiple episodes where people, (always women, he noted), pulled the rug out from under me.

Like our parents’ divorce: In a time when marriages weren’t ending, our mother dumped our father. Tom pointed his finger. Right or wrong, he asserted, in an era of two-parent homes, she expelled my hero.

(To be sure, our Dad resurrected and by college all was well. Fact is, in my adolescent years he was not unlike our ancestors wandering post-Egypt’s wilderness. Ohio State became the Promised Land when we were together again. Tom, though, said there was residue).

Then there was the case of the forgetful fiancé, The Jersey Girl: Somehow, right after school, as I trekked to Army duty, she forgot to write down our engagement, to calendar our wedding date. (In retrospect, perhaps a note tucked under her diamond would have helped? Remember, those were the days before Post-Its). Tom said although she ultimately dismissed Duane, or whomever the stoner was, and though we did marry, that I never quite got over it; I buried the hurt.

Buried it deep, the doc said, and not without consequence. HT FIB, he called it: a High Tolerance For Inappropriate Behavior. His corollary:
So much wanting to BELIEVE in people, I trust too many, too often and for far too long. His pronouncement: I unintentionally bend over backwards, ignoring the obvious, searching for perfect answers in an imperfect world. Welling up as he told me….he was hitting too close to home…I shared a bit more…

About three years ago: a friend owed me money, but promised first class airfare to Vegas and three high-end rooms for my family of five. With pockets on empty the man had credit (or so he said).

“It’s gonna be great, guys, I told the kids.” “Just get to Vegas in October.” Jamie and Eric opted out but the others were down.
“Dad, before we book our flights, are you sure you’ve got free rooms?’
“Please, Michael.” (Was his doubt in me or my pal? Was he recalling the guaranteed publication of my book? Or the part I’d been promised in the Pacino movie)?

Due diligence was in order. Each time the guy resolutely affirmed that the deal was done. “No problem,” he said. “Tell your children to relax. I’m just trying to get the best package.”
“OK, When’s a good time to get back to you?”

Spring came and went. On my word, Michael and Meredith bought tickets; Stace and Jace followed suit. Meanwhile, my friend was looking for the best deal. And looking.

Late summer Michael exclaimed “Dad, every day ticket prices go up. Why can’t you just admit the guy lied to you?”

A few weeks later (a few more calls from Michael), and I folded. Ponying up coach fare was the easy part; three retail rooms for three nights at The Wynn (as nice as it was), was a financial enema. Still, we had a ball!

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

I turned into the circle outside the shul and entered. The minyan, buzzing Hebrew at the speed of light, sounded like a swarm of bees. It was enough to snap me from my past and (perhaps) back to the future.

People, places and things HAVE let me down. Still, there’s something comforting about this place, Miller Chapel. Something consistent, something warm, something fuzzy.

The small room, the blue-on-blue décor, the 50’s woodwork. The visuals of days gone by, of simpler times…when the good guys always won.

Nothing bad ever happens in God’s house. It’s good to sit here, in peace…in prayer….

It’s the place where, to this day, every sucker gets an even break.

One Response to “REASON TO BELIEVE”

  1. Stacy Bohrer says:

    I love you.

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