• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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The Truth Is I Never Left You

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Six weeks away: rehab? India? face lift? depression? I’m so sorry I didn’t say goodbye, I had no idea I would be gone.  How the fuck have you all been? My life is roadkill and raven all at once. Yes,  you can pick yourself to death. Yes, you can fly into the windshield of a car flying by the highway. Yes, your black wings might span the length of a bridge and someone, years later, may find the nest. Rehab, India, face lift depression.

Where have you been, old friends?

22 Responses

  1. The truth is I hadn’t realized I’d missed you so much until you returned. Welcome back.
    I’ve been playing too much Words With Friends (too many WWF?) and reading a lot of poetry and writing a lot less poetry than I had before I started reading a lot of poetry. And I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the things I am not doing, while playing Words With Friends.

  2. In the wilderness

  3. Truth is, I don’t know where I’ve been. You get mired in time, lost in platitudes. I’m here, I’m her, but not. Then who am I? Where am I going? The everyday is garbled in nonsense. We’re on a ship of fools, my mom used to say.

  4. I have spent much of the past 6 weeks in a hell of my own making. At the moment, though, I am visiting a cousin who lives within the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her home is in a very rural and low-keyed town, that is quite proud of their lack of ATT cell phone service. I half-expect to meet Opie later this afternoon.

    • Karen! So you’re on the road to the hall of fame already — say Hi to all those high school students who are honoring you and whom you will inspire to dream large. “The soul needs a wide sweep” and you, chere, have swooped far and wide.

      And thank you, once again, for showing me and Top Cat the best of your stomping grounds in New Orleans during French Quarter Fest. I should have known that there isn’t a dive bar in the Bywater or the Faubourg Marigny that you haven’t been there, done that.

      I wish I had your sense of place and presence in the Crescent City, or at least (most) your Rex ball gowns. See you next year at Mardi Gras, our once and always Queen Bee.

      • You know my goal is to lure y’all into a permanent home, here. Life is always better when you two are in town.

  5. My house is full of family waiting to close on a new house. Three weeks to go. Extra furniture, healthy food, (I like crap), people sharing, people using up, storing stuff and staying up. I love them all but want my solitude back and will curse the quiet when they are gone. I have not been able to write other than stuff like this. Missed you B.

  6. Glad you are back…wishing you well.

  7. Staring at Uncle Fester in the mirror. Laughing at the ridiculousness. Mourning. Poison seeping, scary, killing, healing. A steel blade, a rotting fruit, a body limp in bed trying not to puke. No one to close my eyes. A spectator of the descent.

  8. I’ve been in rehab in India, where they force you to fight your demons by handling tech support calls for Charter Spectrum. God, I’m depressed as hell, but I can’t express the dark hole I’m in because my face is frozen into a plasticized evil grin from my recent facelift.

    Other than that, I’ve mostly been sitting by my laptop, waiting for you to return.

    We really missed you. Hope you’re well. Don’t be gone so long next time. Promise?

  9. That side of me I seek to look away from, and glance at anyway, that part of me I deny and yet invite in, the thoughts I delete and then cut and paste back in, that’s you Betsy. You are medicine, cool water on a hot day, Tabasco in the eye of suffering fools.
    Stay well, we need each other.

  10. I’d be catatonic if I had a blog or any other cyber commitment to deal with. Glad you had a break, but glad you’re back.

    Been doing the same old, same old, and waiting for winter to end. The fire escape has ice this morning. Enough, please.

  11. Good to see you again, Betsy. I saw you once in passing, on the Book of Faces, so I figured you were probably all right and keeping busy.

    Seven years ago, while on the Amtrak, riding between Albuquerque and Chicago, I had the pleasure of reading one of Temple Grandin’s books. It was “Animals Make Us Human,” the one she co-wrote with Catherine Johnson.

    Also, on that trip, I read Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’s “The Hidden Life of Deer.” Susan and I were living in Albuquerque then, where we had met, and were traveling to Chicago, where she was born and raised, to get married. She still has family in the area, and she was bringing home a trophy — “Look, everybody, what I bagged in the wilds of New Mexico!”

    Now we live in Chicago. It was on this very day, seven years ago, that she and I stood before the judge in the basement courtroom at City Hall and Hizzoner pronounced us man and wife. It was a cold and rainy day. We were staying at the Palmer House — a nice place, y’all, we were getting married — and the next day was sunny and we went to the lake and walked along the beach.

    Thirty years before that, I had been living in Western Colorado with my parents. I had a ’65 Barracuda I’d just bought from a mechanic I worked with, and after work I would drive around the back roads as fast as that car could go, which was fast — if it could top 120, I don’t know, because that was as high as the speedometer would go — and on one of those back roads a bird, I don’t recall what kind, misjudged our comparative vectors and speeds and ended up quite dead on the ‘Cuda’s front grille.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    • Happy Anniversary Tetman and Susan! Cheers!

    • Yowza Tet, I too had a 65 ‘cuda. I was a blond bombshell street racer in St Louis ,MO. NO ONE could beat me. Finally took my bright red baby to the quarter mile drag races and won trophies. Can’t remember my time. Good thing I went to Africa for a year because when I came back my ‘cuda was never the same. If it was I would have died in that car.

      • Carolynn, I’m glad you survived your ‘Cuda, as I am glad I survived mine. Towards the end of our time together, I could no longer afford to keep my ‘Cuda well-shod. I was running it on 4-ply bias plies and could never afford more than two new tires at a time, which of course went on the front. My momma raised a fool, not a complete idiot — still, foolish enough that a few months before I sold that car, one late December night — or strictly speaking, very early one December morning — after having got myself drunk, I was speeding in my ‘Cuda along I-10 westbound in El Paso, in the wide open flat stretch between the mixmaster interchange and downtown, pushing 120 and feeling immortal. A few days later I had to take the ‘Cuda in for maintenance. The mechanic put it on the lift and a few minutes later called me over to show me that one of my rear 4-plies had a spot where three plies were worn through. “You could have a blow out any time,” he said. I right away thought of how fast I had been going just a few nights before. The ‘Cuda had seat belts and I always buckled my seat belts, but it didn’t have shoulder harnesses. And it wasn’t armor-plated and it didn’t have roll bars, and this was way before cars had air bags. I knew if I’d had a blow out at 120, even on a rear tire, I would have lost control and become a short sad story in the morning news.

        I had returned to school and a couple months later my mom drove down from Colorado to give me her ’74 Mercury Comet, so I could ditch the Barracuda, which needed a lot more than new tires, and not have to pay for repairs. The Mercury Comet was essentially a Ford Maverick on steroids. It had a V-8 engine even bigger than the ‘Cuda’s, but it had an automatic transmission that had a transmission governor. It wouldn’t go any faster that 90 (I tried) unless you drove it over a cliff (I didn’t try).

  12. Wherever you’ve been, glad you’re back.
    We went to Montreal for a few days during my daughter’s school break. Stayed in a hotel with a glass bottom pool, wavy blurs walking by in the lobby below. Rode a BIG Ferris wheel near the river, old Montreal. Viewed a Leonard Cohen exhibit; Montreal is proud of their native son and he loved the city. Ate well and walked a lot. Saw an old friend who lives there. He’s been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and we got him out and about and I have some photos of him with a smile on his face. That was cool.
    It’s been awhile since our last visit to our neighbor to the north and the Canadian currency we had from the last trip was old, paper versus the new ultrathin plastic bills. Some people were overjoyed to see the old bills, some looked at them curiously, like it was Monopoly money, but almost always it initiated a conversation and opinions about change.

  13. All is well in the world. And a new book for icing to lick. Ordered mine. Now the waiting. Now the wonder: If you were shot into space, on grand raven wings, perhaps, would the anxiety of waiting for a new book have an affect on your aging? When you came back to earth, because you do in this puzzlement, would you still be younger than those you left behind, or would your anxious waiting create the same gravity and aging as those you left on earth? Do we participate in the creation of gravity? Thanks Temple! Thanks Betsy!

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