Decades it had been since we’d seen each other. Still, as the pal from my adolescence rose to greet me he lied through his teeth:

“You look the same as always!”
“You’re full of shit,” I shot back, (as we hugged).

I hadn’t planned to be at Corky’s that evening. Arthur’s matter-of-fact proclamation at breakfast had changed things.

“Julius and I are having dinner here at 6,” he announced. “…If you want to come by.”

Of course I did. And could. Indeed, this year (as much as ever), I must.

“I’ve got a meeting at 7,” I told him. “I’ll stop in and have coffee.”

The day flew by. Work and Aunt Helen kept my motion perpetual. Never stopping, I was full speed ahead pulling into Village Square, rushing into the deli — and it never occurred to me NOT to look for a 35-year old face!

—So at first I didn’t see him…but soon I saw Bobby (in a booth toward the back, facing the door—go figure).

There they were:  Snyder flanked by The Kraut  with yet another that had hit for the cycle (Rowland, Greenview, Brush and OSU):  The Pride Of Stonehaven, Julie Stockfish.

He looked older than the last time. Didn’t we all? He was wearing glasses. Weren’t we all? He looked peaceful, at ease. Didn’t we all?

We sat there re-bonding, not that we had to. Had not that nexus between us transcended time.  Indeed, blending topics of now with remembrance of then we shared…

Of business: Some kind of grip for tennis rackets. Snyder was following; Art and I didn’t quite get it.

Of the Boys Of Summer: From Auerbach and Cohn through the alphabet to Wieder, and the Girls Gone Wild: From Bookatz to Phillips to Rosen through Shafran.

And of our lives.

Old friends touching all bases: From “What’s up with Randy?” to “”Where’s Phyllis Rosenberg?” to “What about Codgie?” We spoke to Shaker girls of yore, Heights girls of a not-so-distant past, and the ones MIA.

“Did you ever…”
“I would have thought you did.”
“B, Wouldn’t you have figured he did?”
“Of course, and I still do.”

With reverence to what was we told tales that live on….

—Of the guy who fleeing and eluding cops to win favor at work.
—Of the one guy who “fell asleep” at Club Med.
—Of the guy that urged us to “Take me out of your Rolodex”.

And with smiles on our faces and warmth in our hearts we kept talking….

— Of Masseria and Siegler and YES, that “special poll” taken at Burntwood Tavern the night pre-reunion. You know…the one where Ermine (among others) refused to take part.

“I kept all the ballots,” one of us beamed.
“I golfed with the runner-up”, another noted.

(At times though our memories conflicted).

“I broke up with her in eighth grade,” one said.
“Can’t be,” I reminded. “She moved out west that February 1st.”
(Did they forget? I had no life back then. No shock, really, that I recalled minutiae of others?)

It wasn’t all fluff, of course. We spoke, ‘ere we parted of Randy’s daughter and Kenny’s son … and Susie K. Susie and Gail, to be exact. (To this day they are missed).

And we spoke too of Israel. How could we not? Julie made Aliyah when (I think he said) he was 40. The world speaks vicariously of what our friend lives in real time.

… And then … within moments…it was 8 PM…
… And then … within moments…we bid farewells…

We hugged again, by the booth —-

“It was so good to see you,” he told me.
“Be safe,” I said.
“I’m in the safest place in the world,” he told me.

… And the four of us— hand in hand without touching — walked out as a unit.

2 Responses to “TIES THAT BIND”

  1. H says:

    One of your best posts.

  2. bob snyder says:

    Something about the bonds of Rowland School

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