It was always an easier road for me. When I was a child, nobody ever told me there was happiness to be found. Those books seemed to be a fantasy about what was out "there." Then I left home and... WOW! I guess that's what made me such a spoiled little boy...except I was a bit bigger by then, and having such a good time...all the time. Until THAT stopped. As life goes by, and I find so many people were led down the Primrose Path, initially, by their own parents, I look back at times and actually thank mine!

My cousins, BTW, all left home ASAP as well, even though they had, for the most part, much nicer families. To France, to Italy, to Washington DC, to everywhere one place at a time before settling down to die in Massachusetts. They all, like me, settled down to die someplace other than NYC, away from home and family. I never figured that one out. I think they were, all of them, happy enough in the end. That they all realized their expectations as they changed. Or not, as they were met, instead.

And we all went back to the land. That...that was the beautiful part.

Once, when Chris Dickey was visiting in Columbia, he and Dickey were dining at the Perkins resturant on Two Notch, caty-corner from the WalMart. Another grad student and I used to take Dickey there once or twice a month to butter him up. He liked it there because he was sweet on one of the waitresses. I was there, coincidentally, also trying to butter up that same waitress. And not for Dickey. But I saw the two of them, walked over. Dickey introduced me and asked me to sit down for a spell. I was happy to and as the conversation proceeded, I managed to have the effrontery to ask Christopher if he would like to meet my cousin, Peggy, who was then living in Paris with her French husband and two children. At first he didn’t know what to say. Naturally. But then, being Chris, he said “Sure, why not?” And he did just that. A few weeks later at the Newsweek office, before taking them out to a sweet lunch down the street. Just Americanos in Paris, that kind of thing.

I'd better shut up, now.

Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of many things straightforward and strange. Some of them appear here. “Women zai shuo ba” as the Mandarin say. Born 2016.

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