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Places and times. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Places and times.
December 7 was also a Sunday in 1986. You could look it up.

I'd been dating Eleanor for most of the year, and while I'd been a semi-regular with her fam in Rochester all that time, this weekend was her turn to meet the Long Island contingent of mine. We flew in and saw my mom, staying with Sandy, Jean-Pierre and my nieces. The Saturday night was for Fun, Significant Things in the city; Sandy had gotten us theatre tickets to a show- a musical we knew about from the movie version, in turn a re-imagining of an earlier B-movie camp classic. Eternal pack rat that I am, I still have the Playbill:

Seymour

The cast? Nobody who went on to big fame from it, and longtime Fiddler alum Fyvush Finkel was/is the only name I recognize from it all these years later.  (The book and music, though? Ashman-Menken, who would go on to write the soundtrack of the first ten years of our daughter's life.)

I had my mind made up about proposing; the only question was where.  New York offered all kinds of romantic opportunities, including Windows on the World, but we passed them all up (and in hindsight, I'm glad we did). Instead, it was Sandy who made the perfect suggestion:

Take her out to Jones Beach.

This was a place that meant a lot to our family growing up, and was quiet and perfect in its off-season Decembery look.  We took the drive, and I popped the question within yards of the Atlantic.  That "yes" led to 28 years since with far better than worse, moments of both richer and poorer, and a million memories and smiles along the way.

I will always be grateful to Sandy for giving us the inspiration for that starting point. A December later, we were already married; one December after that, Sandy had been taken from this world- but never from our thoughts, our recollections, ourselves.

----

This December brings no momentous family news that we know of, but I did realize something in the past few days that is itself significant: when the balls drop in three weeks, for the first time ever I will have gone an entire calendar year without setting foot in the town of my birth and the first 17 years of my life.

August came close, when a friend and I made it onto Long the Physical Island, but except perhaps for a few inches of Nassau real estate on the northbound Cross Island Parkway, no stop in East Meadow, or at the grave sites further out, or at any of the homes or other places I can still connect with almost 40 years after leaving and still know that Everybody Knows My Name.

One of my oldest friends from back there is there no longer; we just got their first Christmas card from Florida.  The church is still there, but each time there are fewer who know how much it meant to us for so long. In two months, Emily and I will again get close, but I can't even say for sure that 2015 will bring those memories tangibly back.

This is home, now- but those connections will always be there, with or without me on that sand.
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