Rochester, NY

I’m finally coming back to normalcy. After Vegas and all the talk of being tired, it probably wasn’t a good idea to stay up until 4 AM playing poker. But, I did it anyway.

I had dinner with my parents and their friends. It was nice to be a part of their group for the night. They are tight knit and I know how much my parents think of all of them. I wrote earlier about how many people have you kept in touch with from 20 years ago? A lot of us are in our 20’s and 30’s. I guess the question would be how many of you have seen the same group of 10 people once a month for the last 5 years? Or even the last year? I am guessing not many can say it. A close group of friends that you can trust can take you a long way. It can help in life.

As all of us do, my parents are aging. The share group recently lost a member. I think it helps each of them, especially her husband, to have the friendships and long term bonds. When you lose someone it is always great to talk to people who knew them well. You may not talk about it, but you know they have felt what you feel.

I sat with the group and they prayed for a husband of one of the members. He was also my confirmation sponsor so I have a strong tie to him as well. His heart is giving him problems and they are exploring options. They had a priest who works in Brazil over for dinner and he led us in prayer. As I held the hands next to me I could feel how strong they were in their faith. I felt like I should not be part of the prayer. I was afraid I would mess it up somehow. I don’t think it really works that way, but that is what I felt. But, I focused and saw his face and prayed that he would get better and the choices they make work out well. With all of the focus and faith in that room, I bet our words were heard.

It felt good for me to be a part of the share group. I felt like a part of them, albeit an inferior part, and it brought peace to me. But, then I was off to drink and play cards. So I left.

I dropped by my sisters and gave her her birthday gifts. Her birthday is in August, but she is leaving tomorrow for a cruise. I had some Kino’s from Key West, a bracelet, a shot glass from the Turks, and a sweater. She got it all. Happy Day, a month and a half early.

I then drove the three blocks to the card game. I was excited to see these guys. There is always a story to be had with them. Tow of the guys just bought a house. Josh rents a one bedroom separate from the house and I had set up coming over through him. He and I go back to our days in 1st grade and our times playing soccer, golf and softball. I arrived, opened a Blue Light and got my cards. We were playing hold ‘em, like ESPN, but with much lower stakes. I mentioned in Little Rock how I don’t like the game, but I was there to see the guys.

Josh was on my right. To my left was Jeremy, who I haven’t seen in I don’t know how many years. He and I played soccer together when we were 11 and 12. He was on the team with me with the coach who took it a bit too serious. I was even blamed for a goal when I was not in the game. I guess he didn’t like me. Jeremy and I rehashed the team and who was on it. We were pretty good. Next to him was Joe, who I saw in Charleston, SC last year for a wedding. Prior to that, it had been a while. He got my nostalgia going by bringing out a picture of our 4th grad basketball team. There I was sporting my Dutch boy haircut with our red team shirt. I also had on grey sweat pants with red shorts over them. I looked cool as I held up the trophy in one hand and an extended index finger into the sky. Jamone, Robin, Carpie, Joe, O’ T, and all of the guys popped back into my head. Joe and I laughed about the team. We did until the guy next to him, Mike, chimed in.

He was in the same league. But, he was on the team that one the title every year. They were the Yankees. We were the Red Sox. Those Brookside Bastard’s still piss me off. We beat them once in 3 years. Mike let us know about it. Mike and I go back because of sports but also because we were in the same classes for 4 -6 grade. We were in the ‘smart’ class and were ridiculed by the other kids because of it. Delphi Dummies was the most common name, although it didn’t make too much sense because we were accelerated. Our retort of Regular Retards wasn’t much better. We didn’t say it to them too often, because they out numbered and out sized us. Mike also ended up kicking our butts in high school basketball too. He then went on to kick my butt in cards.

Next to him was another Mike. I met him during high school partying together. He talked about some of the parties I had. I had some good parties. I think I could have a career as an event planner. But not events like fund raisers and stuff. Events like keggers and college bashes. I guess there is not a lot of money in that and I’m past my prime in that area.

JK sat next to him. He and I recently met up in Charleston at that wedding. We kicked it with my cousin and his friend until way late. We’ve also been talking about a job he’s been looking at. He always makes me laugh.

And that is that. We played. I had a few beers. I got some good hands. I of course lost a big one on the last card. I came in 2nd and 3rd. They don’t pay for second and third. But it was fun to see those guys. I left at about 3:30 or so. I’m not 100% mentally today. I had a big list of things to do. I did some, but the list remains.

It’s now time for dinner with the parents. I’m thinking of having a mellow night.

Enjoy the weekend!