29 June 2015

Oh frabjous joy, Calloo Callay!

I had forgotten.
     For a number of years on the last day of school my dear friend and colleague in the English Department would celebrate the completion of another year. I would head out on my Trek bicycle to Long Island from my domicile in New York City, and he would travel identically from the opposite direction. Both of us commuted via a somewhat busy Northern Boulevard. We would arrange to meet at bout 7:00am in a lovely shady park not far from school where we would sit at a picnic table and share a bottle of champagne and a moderate quantity of marijuana. Finishing the bottle and the joints, we would bicycle to school, arriving on time at approximately 8:00am, clean out our desks, have our sign-out forms appropriately signed by the designated administrator, and then by no later than noon, we would pick up our final checks, exit the school, climb up on our bicycles, and head back on Northern Boulevard to his home On Long Island for a somewhat debauched (but domestic and domesticated) weekend of merriment.  On Sunday morning I would awaken, have a great breakfast, and then peddle my bicycle back to the City where I would arrive after about three or four hours cycling. This annual event marked the beginning of summer!
     Eventually, I moved to a new school and then to a new state, and the summer inaugural ritual ceased to happen.
     This past weekend, however, I was visiting my mother who lives in an assisted living facility, and after many years of absence, Larry and I were able to coordinate an afternoon visit. I took the Long Island Railroad out to his home; he picked me up at the train station, and we drove to a lovely restaurant where we sat on the terrace and enjoyed a superb meal and wonderful conversation. I was drinking my second glass of Pinot Grigiot when Larry calmly said, “You know, today is the last day of school!” Oh my goodness! Here we had been separated physically and even sometimes even emotionally by many years and countless events; we lived half a continent apart;and at the moment enjoyed completely different existences, but here we were on the last day of schools celebrating again and still our lives and our friendship.
     No lesson here. Only the experience of transcendent joy.


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