Food, and food for thought

When I wake up, I’m never a bundle of either fire or joy. I don’t like mornings, never have, and I’ll leave greeting them up to anyone who wants that onerous task. That said, last Sunday morn was a real dupa-dragger, even by my standards.

The previous day I’d had a magic gig at the Garden Spot of the Northeast — Madrid. Not only had I never been there, but I’d never been to that kind of venue either. It was a fantasy faire, which from what I was told by the organizers, was a gathering where everyone could go as whatever kind of character they wanted.

It sounded pretty far-out. But it was also a fundraiser for a food pantry and a shelter for domestic abuse victims, and I figured the least I could do was offer help such a good cause. Beyond that, since I’ve spent my whole life lost in one fantasy or other, I figured a new one might be right up my alley.

And best of all, I’d have company in the form of my assistants, Mysteria the Sprite of Deelite (AKA Jen Jeffery) and Shtikka, the World’s Ripest Second Banana (AKA Bruce Young). Since I had some big props for the gig and Bruce has a truck, in addition to being the act’s official prop maker and graphic designer, he became its official chauffeur and roadie as well.

If you don’t remember last Saturday, let me remind you: It rained like a SOB. It rained as we loaded the props; it rained on the way there; it rained when we arrived; and it kept raining the whole time. As a result, my planned act of Fabulous Geriatric Legerdemain became instead a Dogged Display of Sodden Sorcery.

Nonetheless, we all had a great time. But, still, it was a long exhausting day that took its toll, so when I woke up Sunday, I was wiped out. Luckily, I knew exactly what would restore me to my usual ebullient and joyful self — a huge breakfast at CAVU.

If you don’t know CAVU, it’s our airport’s diner and arguably purveyor of the best breakfast anywhere in the Blue Line (or for that matter, anywhere out of it as well).

They’re open Wednesday to Sunday, serve b’fast and lunch, and close at 2 p.m. They quit serving b’fast at 11 a.m., except for Sunday, when the serve only b’fast and do it till 2 p.m. This is right up my alley, since my fave meal is breakfast and my fave time to eat it is any time … except morning.

As I shlepped into the airport building lobby with the vision of a Signature omelet with all the fixin’s dancing in my head, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a whole bunch of like-minded peeps milling about, waiting for their names to be called for a table. This did not bode well for either my grumbling stomach or my grousing psyche. I mean, How dare they?

What to do?

I was on the horns of a dilemma. On the one horn, the wait was at least 45 minutes — an eternity to my decaffeinated and famished bod. On the other horn, I could go home and make my own coffee and omelet. But if I did, it’d be a pain in the prat, it wouldn’t be as tasty, and I’d be stuck washing the dishes.

While I stood there, glumly contemplating my lousy options, I was visited by an angel with a message from On High.

OK, not a real angel, and not a real message from On High, but close enough. It was Clair Bove, who with her hubby Josh, run the joint. And what gave her such semi-divine status? Just this: She said the couple by the window said I could join them if I wanted.

The couple, as it turned out, was not some random pair. Instead, they were two of my old pals — Jerry and Paul Cheney.

When I say old pals, I mean it literally. I’ve known Paula all my life. She lived one street over from my first home on McClelland Street, we were in the speed skating club as kids, and we went to school together. And in the 60 years hence, we’ve had our fair share of interactions — all delightful. She may have had down times and moments of grumpiness, but if so, I’ve never seen one.

Jerry’s a bunch older than me, so while I knew who he was when I was a kid, we never interacted. Ability to separate anything and everything from Shineola. Plus, he has a great sense of humor (which means I can make him laugh).

So getting seated with them not only boded well for my poor beleaguered stomach, but for my quest for good company and convo as well.

Once I’d chugged my first cup o’ joe and was conscious enough to communicate, I had a great time … as I’d expected.

What did we talk about?

That’s the thing: I can’t remember almost any of our conversation. Of course we chatted about The Good Ole Days (and thus, by association, the world pretty much going to hell ever since); their kids and grandkids, the upcoming 1960s Petrova reunion, and other stuff. But I recall none of it in any detail. Nor, ultimately, do I care.

Here’s the essence of spending time with my old friends: What we talk about doesn’t matter at all. The only thing that matters is we were lucky enough to have that time together.

After Paula and Jerry left, I thought of a Mark Twain quote, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” Then I thought of something else they’re not making anymore — time. And, unlike land, we can’t buy it, rent it, or even see it. Also unlike land, time, and those times — like us — won’t be around forever. So while real estate may be valuable in one sense or another, as far as I’m concerned it can’t compare to good times with good friends.

After I finished my meal and went up to pay, I found out “someone” had already picked up my check.

Did I ever expect that?

Not at all.

Was I surprised by their generosity?

Also, not at all.


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