“It’s the best book I’ve ever read!” Hal announced to anyone willing to listen. Then, underscoring his fervor, he bought copies…several, and mailed them out. Not only to me, but to Fenton, to some guy at work, and get this—to my favorite ex-wife. And so it was that I devoured Bob Greene’s “When We Get To Surf City,” a narrative of travels in the back-up troupe for Jan & Dean. Indeed, it’s the wondrous journal of friends breaking bread and breaking into melody, the title taken from their signature song.

Surf City, the book says:

`“…the happy, cloudless place we all want to believe is out there… all the dreams that do come true, and all the dreams that don’t…”

There’s a lot going on around me these days. Not all of it is good.
Life issues. Real stuff. Very real stuff. Still, for one hour each week I get to Surf City. For one hour each week I ride that wave. For sixty minutes—peace.

Wednesday mornings, (absent reluctant commitment elsewhere), 8:30 means Corky’s. Each week, (barring Vegas, surgeries or Bob’s tax season), Les, Walt, Art, and Brother Himmel saunter in…and en masse, secure in our reserved back booth, we solve the problems of the world. Every Wednesday…like clockwork.
Used to be that Siegal came—but it’s been a while. Jerry’s busy running Kramerica, or whatever else it is he does when he doesn’t do anything (which is daily). Oh, and Snyder comes by from time to time, generally the week of his birthday. By and large, though, it’s We Five.

This week, as always, I didn’t want it to end. “What’s the number?” I asked Les, the clock compelling my exit, “Have to justify my existence. Gotta go.” (This week the math came out even—no need for a lottery).

T’is nothing special ‘bout our meal, little unique in our discussion. Truth be known, we have in fact had only one conversation in all these years. It’s just so good we keep repeating it.

Against the central theme of Arthur’s health, family and payroll, Les offers critique of the Indians, Browns and, (in all but Michigan Week), Jim Tressel). Interruption comes only through rare phone rings or my occasional inquiry about someone I’ve met. None of the married guys knows anyone though…although Lester often offers to ask Nancy. I pass, of course—knowing full well the folly of letting worlds collide—
And Arthur goes on.
Sometime before 9 Roz will bring the wrong order. By then Walt has announced that he is either leaving for Vegas or that he’s just returned. We discuss tournament poker, of course, and, as we did this week, explain the concept of “All In” to Snyder…again.
(Like I said…there is little unique about this confab).
Breakfast always include updates of names from the past, from high school to college. We’re still at the point where those cited are alive. One, (Fromin of course), was actually dead when the breakfasts began and resurrected only last year.
One such Wednesday I announced the upcoming road trip. H and I were meeting Steve in Jersey.
“You’re such as ass!” Arthur cried. “He’s dead!” Ten minutes later, after recounting the sad funeral, the Kraut relented. “Maybe I wasn’t there.”
I remember years ago in Columbus when my Dad would leave for his gin game. The horn would honk, he’d dash out the door…like it was the Second Coming or something…like it was something special…something other than his weekly game with his weekly guys.
But was just that. And THAT is what made it special.
I sense the same gait Wednesdays as I scamper through the deli.
Gliding past tables to the back, to the same booth, the same guys. Yes,
that’s what makes it special. That’s why once a week I can sing:
Surf City here we come!

2 Responses to “SURF CITY”

  1. Marc says:

    It’s gotten much better since you have started coming-I always look forward to seeing you

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