THREE BOYS IN THE FOUNTAIN (Of Youth)

We dined at Corky’s Thursday. Bob, Stuart and Bruce. I mention Snyder first for no reason other than it makes him happy. Anything for a friend.

Stu and I arrived at 7, and sat in the center booth facing the door. We delighted watching our irrepressible friend stroll in late, adjust his collar ala Dangerfield, survey the field, and then feign a smile, forced to eat with his back to traffic. You have to know your friends, and we know Bob. He wouldn’t have said a word, but trust me, his dinner would be more enjoyable once he could watch the action. Let the man rejoice! (We switched seats voluntarily).

The good thing about lifelong friends is that with all the BS there is no bullshit. No pretense. After all this time we even mock with tenderness. Hey, our shared blood, sweat and tears go back to the 50’s. From Rowland to Greenview to Brush to OSU. From REN to AZA. We’ve married women and buried fathers. Loved. Laughed. Cried. Together.

This week, in a mere ninety minutes, we retraced our lives from adolescent inter-club battles through the perennial question: Where is Jackie Levine? From Bruce Schwartz breaking up our sixth grade club to Marvin telling Arthur we should never contact him again. From who slept with whom to who could have slept with whom. And we found humor in matters that others might well find humorless. It’s great being perfect.

Bob’s wife wondered if I was dating anyone. Stuart suggested I call a name from my first life: “You should take her out,” urged the latter.

My inquiry seemed fair: “It’s been a while…What does she look like?”
Fenton’s counter was weak: “She won’t embarrass you.”
“There you go, B,” Bob roared: “She won’t embarrass you!”
(Not exactly the ringing endorsement I’d have hoped for).

We left just before 9. Heading out, noting that TJMaxx was open I mentioned the need for new underwear. Bob asked to join me, so Stuart followed suit. And there we were, the Three Amigos roaming the store like it was Severence Center in the ‘60’s.

“Weren’t you guys just at the restaurant?

The question came from a petite brunette as we entered the store. We nodded affirmatively, but didn’t break stride. Once out of earshot, Bob couldn’t resist:

“You should get her number, B. She won’t embarrass you.”

On to the underwear.

“What are you buying, B?” asked Bob. Scanning my proposed purchase, he called out to Stuart. “Fenton, look what B is buying! No wonder he can’t get a woman!”

“No, Bruce, nothing white. You need to buy color.” (All of a sudden Stuart was a player).

Still, I’d seen this movie before. An immediate judgment call dictated that I just get whatever they suggested. What the hell difference could it possibly make? Just shut the clowns up. As such, the two sixty-year-old wannabe wingmen picked out some underpants for their younger friend, and as they continued laughing, we marched toward the cash registers.

But it wasn’t over. En route to the store’s front they spotted another female shopper. She was reasonably attractive, (which was all Bob needed):

“My friend wanted to buy tighty whiteys!” he revealed. “What do you think?”

“Not a good idea,” she assured.

The boys cracked up. Not that any of this was really funny. Immaturity in small doses, I suppose, can be refreshing. It’s nice, even for a few moments, to own the world.

We spoke of reconvening Saturday to watch “Curb.” It didn’t happen. Stuart was available—- he never leaves the house. But Bob ran errands and I was busy….Life, you know…Which is why the simplest of dinners—just getting together — remains special.

I had my choice of venue Thursday. It was my “birthday dinner.”
No cake or candles, but a friendship that shone regardless. With good friends you need neither an event nor trimmings to celebrate. The only requirement is time. (And, as I’ve learned late into my 50’s, colored underwear).

4 Responses to “THREE BOYS IN THE FOUNTAIN (Of Youth)”

  1. Aunt Helen says:

    Bruce:
    Why would you wear black underwear?
    I don’t know for sure, I’m reasonably sure neither Pa nor Albert did.

  2. Stuart says:

    Pretty incredible when you meet someone at 5 and get to celebrate a 60th birthday! When the Three Amigos get together…..Priceless!

    Happy Birthday, B.

  3. bob says:

    It’s always special getting together with you and Stuart. Birthdays are a great excuse to do what we always do,remember. The Original Boomer Boys find fun in anything they do together. Even in buying underwear. You did forget to mention that Stu wondered if you even wore underwear. When we are together we are all really Peter Pan and I’m happy to say that. For those that read this if you were ever in REN you were in our thoughts that night.

  4. Margie says:

    Does your Aunt Helen know that your brother wears color underwear and has for years? Now we know what to get you for your birthday :)
    Have a happy day.

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