• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa

Took a new client out to lunch today to celebrate the sale of her first novel. The Riesling was dry, the beets glazed with extra (extra!) virgin olive oil, and the waiter equal parts flirtatious and pretentious. This is the best part, being the straw, the slide, the spoon. Corner man. Fairy god. Icing. Cake. Saying one right thing. You’re hot shit. Watching a story turn into a snow storm. Spotting a nest in a high branch.  Getting up at dawn. Weaving hay into gold.  Sentences unfurled like mardi gras beads of gold. Tiny yellow patent leather shoes. A girl’s hot head dreaming on her pillow. The waiter brushing crumbs from the table.



38 Responses

  1. Sometimes I think the only reason for submitting a ms would be the chance to go out for lunch with you. Is that pathetic? Maybe, but ultimately it’s all about the relationships, isn’t it?

  2. Sigh. Things are different here. everything is small and Dutch. I’d love to be wined and dined like I was in LA back in the day.

  3. You can stay here if you have to be in Chicago. Lots of cars and beds but no beets.

  4. Betsy, I think I just had lunch with you. Thank you.

  5. Damn, your good.

  6. I’m hoping I will have that kind of lunch tomorrow! I’ve been invited to join 23 well-knowns at an iconic restaurant for one of NOLA’s classic meals. The chance to nosh with these Somebodies has me day-dreaming of clever conversation, snippets of gossip, glances around the room and other possibilities I dare not pronounce – yet. Wish me luck!

  7. Sounds like swooning

  8. I praise you, for the lovely writing (though I woulda gone with the traditional straw-into-gold having tried just tonight to tell the Rumpelstiltskin story to 3-year-old Jonah and fucking it up completely and confusing him — who was the girl? who was the little man? What? — never mind, said I, we’ll get the picture book version) — so I praise you for the strong writing, as said, and, even more, for having the balls to ask no question. Let us fend for ourselves. You could have said, “Did you have lunch?”, but you didn’t. You might even have said, “How the fuck did it happen that we all like beets now?” But you didn’t. I’m happy. Congrats to John on his book. Will seek.

  9. That was some lunch. Congratulations to you and the author.

  10. You have a very fortunate client. Congratulations to you both.

  11. Ah, someday.

    (I can’t tell if I’m reasonably optimistic or if my (publishing) dreams of a day yet to come are merely a coping mechanism.)

  12. That waiter is the kind of person I’d be taking notes on. You can never make up something that good.

  13. Oh, Betsy – how you tease us! You offer us poor pining things the ‘one day if you’re very, very lucky’ with such witty, wonderful writing, we can forgive you for not inviting us to the party.
    Love this post.

  14. They sell mac-beets at the drive-up?

  15. These lunches still go on??
    Yes! Yes! Yes!
    I don’t care that I’m not there. Just the fact that they still exist is hopeful. Lie to me Betsy.
    And congratulations to your client, the needle in the haystack. Did you find her in the slush?

  16. I drink red wines. Maybe a cocktail, a mojito instead. Quesadillas, some melon, and leave off the beets.

  17. I love a good fairy tale! When I was a child I had hair as long as Rapunzel’s, with a long thin braid weaving down the side. Oh yes, with colorful embroidery thread. And faded overalls, too.

    Yummy lunch. Lucky client. Cheers to you both!

    • When I was a child, I used to sit in the back seat of my dad’s Dodge Dart and watch the fence posts go by, imagining I was a cowgirl on a palomino. I had the whole scenario mapped out: Campfire under the stars, saddle slung over a convenient tree branch, chili in a tin cup for dinner and s’mores for dessert, the seranade of the cicadas. . . . At no time did it occur to me that there might be work involved in cowgirling. My fairy tale was all about the marshmallows.

  18. Betsy, your report calls for a song and dance. Please permit me to offer the following (which I would’ve offered last night but I embarrassed myself and left):

    • Okay, I have no idea what they are saying but the spoons are dancing with the knives.
      Before I get forked I must clear the pile in the sink.
      Dried egg on a plate. Dog hair on floor. Paper towel on floor, chewed, dog thought it was food. Chair covered with coats. Warm out, to lazy to hang. Envelopes with windows. Dog hair. Jolly time pop corn bag. Milk Bones. Stack of magazines. Dog hair machine asleep at my feet. Bagel and egg on my plate. Music ends…life is good.

    • Loved this Tetman! I adore Manu Dibango. I met him in an elevator in Addis, oh yess!

      • Today’s trivia question is, “Why is Manu Dibango’s ‘Lily’ an appropriate record for this topic?”

      • Well, the A side of this single was practically ripped off word for word and note for note by Michael Jackson in his song, “Wanna Be Starting Something,” which contains the mysterious lyric “mama se mama sa mama kosa,” which is also the title of today’s blog post. Not sure if it’s related topic-wise, but if so, I’m eager to know how.

      • Duh. You asked about the song “Lily.” Never mind all that.

      • No, you got it, or close enough for the win. “Lily” was the flip side–remember “flip sides”?–to “Soul Makossa,” which as you pointed out is the source for the lyric titling–entitling? I never can get that straight–today’s blog post, which in my hurry here at the office I called “this topic” but I had a deadline to meet and had to bail.

      • Well, I did mention the “A side” (remember A sides?). Soul Mokassa is completely rockin’ tune. Fun-KEH.

  19. I want to devote a poetry post to you, Betsy:

    “See what she did here? See how the words are placed? See how they work? The shoes, the dreams, the beats of the beets?”

  20. You can run, but you can never hide from that poet in your soul.

  21. Nothing like a waiter pulling out a crumb scraper to make you feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

  22. Nice. Who says the good old days are but then?

  23. This was an eloquent post. I enjoy your posts. There was a noticeable absence of a question, though.

    No matter. It was good as is.

    Hey! I wrote a book! People who enjoy literature read your blog. If they wanted to support a writer getting his first book published, they could

    Thank You.

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