It’s a little before 6 as I make my way to the Park, welcomed by a young raccoon.
He’s ambling towards his tree, in no hurry, like Huckleberry Finn.
If he had a fishing pole and a banjo, it wouldn’t surprise me.
As I stretch my calves not 15 feet from him, he seems totally unconcerned by my presence, eyeing the trunk of his tree as if to say, fuck, these stairs are gonna kill me one day.
I watch him scooch up, inch my inch, when suddenly he stops when a head appears out of the tree window.
His mother, a girl friend? I think, if I see boxer shorts and a coupla cans come flyin’ on down, then I’ll know who’s waiting up for Rocky.
I watch him brave the consequences, before going on my way.
Towards the middle of my run, I see a rather robust girl in bright pink tights, like a huge chrysanthemum in flight. I lose her for a while, till I barrel around west, where there she is, by the cut-off, dancing her little heart out.
So inspired, I start to dance too, thinking what the hell, bumping like it’s 1975, against a tree.
When she sees me, she stops and yells, “Hey, what do you think you’re doin’?”
I yell back, “What does it look like I’m doin’? I’m dancin’, like you.”
She put her hands on her hips that reminds me of a cookie jar, my Auntie Ida once had, and says, “I’ve never seen any dancin’ like that.”
“And I say, ‘Till now,” before zooming away.
Hey, there’s plenty of room on that dance floor, there cupcake…bump…bump…bump.
Eleanor Roosevelt was a hair under six feet tall, and the first, First Lady (1933-1945) to ever ride in an airplane.
Wonder if she bumped her head.
In 1921, President Warren Harding’s Airedale Terrier, Laddie Boy, was the first White House pet to receive regular news coverage.
Jackie Kennedy’s favorite dessert was Dunkin Hines Chocolate Cake, her longtime cook, Marta Sgubin, made for her daily, didn’t matter who was coming to dinner.
Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy during
World War I, banished alcohol from the fleet, replacing it with coffee, hence, the expression...cup’a Joe, who after that, wasn’t too popular.
In 1995, Country and Western singer, Dolly Parton, created The Imagination Library, where needy kids could receive free books in the mail each month, from birth until age 5, starting with…
The Little Engine That Could.
The Emmett Till Antilynching Act which passed unanimously by the 116th Congress, on January 3, 2019, was introduced by our newly elected-Vice President, Kamala Harris, as the Junior United States Senator, of California.
Who was Emmet Till?
A 14 year-old boy of color, who was hanged in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.
Took 64 years for the law to pass, to make it a hate crime.
When Abraham Lincoln occupied the White House, he rode a horse called ‘Old Bob.’
Abe, was also the first President to bring a cat to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Tabby was her name, a gift from Abe’s Secretary of State, William H. Seward.
When Yankee Stadium opened on April 18th, 1923, Babe Ruth hit its very first home run, and 365 more during his 15 years as a Yankee, coining it, The House That Ruth Built.
Elizabeth Taylor, though no longer together, kept a framed photograph of Richard Burton on her nightstand till the day she died.
French actor, Charles Boyer, devastated over the loss of his wife of 44 years, two days before his 79th birthday, took a fatal overdose of sleeping pills.
All of France mourned.
So long Charlie.
Myth has it, the term, So long, Charlie, was coined by jockey, George The ‘Iceman’ Woolf, leading the legendary Seabiscuit on November, 1st, 1938, to victory against the unbeatable, War Admiral, during what was called The Race of TheCentury, uttering the now-iconic line to War Admiral’s jockey, Charlie Kurtsinger, as he passed him by.
The Actor, Johnny Depp, honoring his dear friend’s last request, shot writer, Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon, at the mere cost of 5 million dollars.
Now that’s what I call a a pal.
Actor and Director, Emilio Estvez, made the film Bobby (2006),about the final moments of Robert F. Kennedy, at Los Angeles, California’s Ambassador Hotel, where the assassination on June 6, 1968, took place.
It was torn down shortly after.
In 1990, a young model longing to be an actress, made her film debut in a movie directed by the actor, Bill Murray, called Quick Change, preparing herself for stardom.
My present Thanksgiving is very different from the one I celebrated as a child.
My mother made so much food, even Shrek would have been popping Tumms.
What comes to mind besides, we could have used a vomitorium is, we never, ever said grace.
Play ball, would have been more the norm after, is the bar open yet?
We then slept it off, just to wake up and start feasting all over again.
The first thing I did when opening my eyes this morning, was to thank God for my many blessings, from heat and hot water, to the few friends I have, along with what’s left of my brain capacity.
Even Patrick, the cat, who was scratching at the door, made the list.
When I let him in, he ran around the apartment like he got into his dad’s pillbox again.
Once he ate a Valium and slept for 3 days.
But I decided it was his way of saying, thanks, for all the tuna and sardines, snuggles and pets, and our ongoing friendship.
I just happened to have had salmon for two, a gift from an admirer in the fridge (I know…whatever happened to flowers and candy), so though it was a mere 4 a.m., me and Pat gave thanks, and actually played ball, before having our Thanksgiving breakfast.
Today I was chased by a Corgi named Goldie who I’m madly in love with. She’s a little more than a puppy with fur that feels like silk, nuzzling you, like a low to the ground lover.
Her owner, however, in her 20s, doesn’t say hello nor comes within 30 feet of me.
She calls the dog incessantly, who having more sense, ignores her.
Wonder of Goldie gets sprayed with disinfectant once they get home.
I’m the new enemy, with or without a mask, even miles away.
I went to Kinkos to laminate some pictures and was firmly told, I can no longer do it myself. They will, and furthermore, they’re very busy, and I’ll just have to wait.
Then, at Starbucks, was halted at the door by a kid with a thermometer making sure I wasn’t totin’ a fever. I thought it only fair if I could take hers.
Madewell, a store I like because they’ll monogram all the leather they sell, no longer provides the service.
“But it’s why I shop here,” I tell the manager. “Why would you stop?”
She gives me her best Valley Girl head shake before saying with snarky sass, “Why do you think?”
“Cause you’re slipping?”
I knew the answer, but was angry at the stupidity of it all. Covid 19 somehow will affect one’s initials…
What am I missing, besides what’s left of my mind?
Unmasked groups yes, an SB here and there, no.
I let it go, but my Connecticut was rightfully wronged, already on life support after learning that Brooks Brothers had closed their Madison Avenue Flagship store.
It was where Hemingway and Teddy shopped.
It’s where my mother took me to get my first navy blazer, practically a rite of passage.
And as far as the government goes, it’s as though everyone is performing in a one-man show.
I’m waiting for Nancy to open at the Shubert, and McConnell, the Public, known for its groundbreaking productions since, after publicly announcing, he’ll make sure Mr. Biden, who hadn’t even officially won yet, won’t get his cabinet passed, well…I think he’ll be a sell-out since, we’ve never seen nor heard anything quite like Mitch before.
Toss in our sitting President, playing golf while we all quietly die, and not only Democrats by the way, since the plague belongs to no party.
I’d now like everyone, you too Mr. President, to take out a dollar bill and read…”E PLURIBUS UNUM,” that graces the front.
I’ve always wondered what it’s like to have really big boobs, the kind Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield had.
A sweater girl, as they were called in the 40s and 50s. One who filled hers out like nobody’s business.
I’m built more like an ironing board, however, do have other assets so, it’s not as if I’m asking Santa for knockers, which nowadays he could produce fairly easily, well at least the name of a good plastic surgeon, hopefully with a groupon.
You can always tell who bought theirs since they’re featured like trophies fastened to your chest.
The girl who’s had them all along, keeps them under wraps, vavavooming only for special occasions.
I will say, they never have to worry about getting a Saturday night date, or one Sunday through Friday either. And to quote my quip of a mother, men walk backwards to get a better look.
Now that I think about it more, would you excuse me?
When a woman walked into my friend’s grocery store, without a mask, refusing to wear one when he politely asked her to, I didn’t say…hey bitch, who do you think you are?
After my friend made the decision not to press it, rather than blurting, what makes her different from the rest of us, zipped my masked lip.
A man left his Miniature Poodle outside of Starbucks while he sat inside drinking his coffee. Rather than ripping him a new one for neglect, since canine theft skulks the neighborhood, I stayed with the dog till the careless asshole came out. When he cooed, “I see Maisie has a new friend,” I bit my lip before turning on my high heel.
I’d been to a wake at Campbells to pay my respects to a man I had worked for. Overhearing a woman saying, “Look how pale he is, and yellow around the eyes,” I held back a…pale? Yellow? He’s dead, you idiot, without smacking her.
The Funeral Director who I’ve known forever, popped over smiling like it was more a wedding than a wake, wanting so much to say, Charlie, I’ll call him, remember where the fuck you are.
Is that a body bag in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
A woman, drenched in Gucci, beside herself delayed behind a can man whose shopping cart filled with empties was a bit too slow, didn’t hear me snap, just be glad cupcake, that’s not you.
The very, rich, entitled man whose…
let’s combine three apartments renovation during an epidemic while people are already about to stick their heads in the oven…said, “Miss Bianchi. So nice to see you. Hope my men aren’t being too much of a nuisance.”
Well, all I can say, I didn’t say, or better yet, do, was knee him so hard in the balls, to quote a film I like…it gave him a nose bleed.
A 10 year-old boy in my building, walks with a slight limp, something that occurred at birth. It’s barely noticeable, providing you’re not James that is, who alas, has to live with it.
When I heard that they were making fun of him at school, and he wasn’t being chosen for sports, my heart put on its soft, trusty armor, asking his mother if I could take him out for an afternoon snack.
We went to a Le Pain Quotidian a block away, sitting outside in a safe, quiet corner.
Though very well-mannered, he seemed distracted and quite frankly, a little bored, until I told him the tale of my sudden hearing loss.
How I lost friends, many who laughed at me behind my back thinking I couldn’t hear at all. How scared and lonely I felt, and sometimes still feel.
As we ate another round of coconut macaroons, delighted we both preferred over their Belgian Chocolate Brownies, he asked, how I handled being made fun of.
He told me how some classmate named him Chester, who limped in the old show Gunsmoke. The little imp’s father was the one who came up with the name, inappropriately, passing it to his son.
Cruelty never sits well with me, especially directed at a kid, but I just listened, a honed skill, as he told me after promising I wouldn’t tell, that he often goes into the boy’s room and cries in a stall.
I told him I cry all the time…that it’s a good thing.
Clears the air.
“Imagine your head’s like your closet getting a good sweep. It makes room for nicer things, like macaroons and hot cocoa in the afternoon.”
He seemed better after that, me hoping I had helped in some small way, knowing that kids half pay attention while rightfully daydream.
When we got back to our building, the doorman said something to me I couldn’t quite hear, so James said to Michael, like a little knight back in the saddle…
“Try standing on her right. It’s her better ear.”
I guess he was listening after all, a honed skill. 🙂
Yesterday as I was leaving my building, a woman from an upper floor was weeping on the arm of the doorman who was helping her to the elevator. Despite being 3 in the afternoon, she was in her bathrobe. I waited to ask if she was okay.
Hal said, she had hit her arm against the door.
“Was she hurt?”
“No, just drunk.”
Made me take pause since, this virus has compromised many people that I know.
Mary, I’ll call her, a girl from AA, hasn’t been out since March. She’s let her hair grow gray halfway down her back while gaining 30 pounds. She’s so ashamed at the way she looks that she doesn’t turn the video on during our Zoom meeting.
She can’t deal with her fear, or even neutralize it enough to get her hair done, or go for a much needed walk.
She’s the sweetest woman, so it’s heartbreaking to sit by and watch.
Another man I know won’t even come get his mail convinced he’ll get Covid from the mailman who had to start taking it back to the post office.
The Amazon and Fresh Direct deliveries fill the foyer all day like the lobby is suddenly a warehouse.
I am much bewildered by all of this after maintaining healthy habits from the beginning that have seen me through. That’s not to say, I too don’t have moments of fear, I do. But I wrestle them to the ground when they appear determined to not be its victim.
I’ve run every day, early when few people are out. I then go to the store, again when it’s not busy.
Despite wanting to act out at times, I still manage to eat well, no sugar to speak of unless it’s fruit, knowing how it will ignite anxiety that lurks like a thief stalking your sanity.
Writing and reading have kept me sane, the first to express, the latter, to refill the well.
I feel for that woman upstairs, hysterical from gin more than real pain, since we can all choose alcohol, a handy option, but I’m here to tell you, Hemingway, strong coffee, blueberries and a call to a friend will serve you better.