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Saturday, May 26, 2012

100 words for Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rain pours upon me full force as I traipse to the deli to buy a pound of pastrami and a loaf of rye. My socks are wet inside my sneakers; should I have worn boots—in May?

Four blocks later I slosh into the subway, ride to Penn Station, sit and wait for the train to Dover. Asking for our tickets, a policeman explains, “Only ticketed passengers are permitted a seat.” One man presents a valid ticket purchased in April for Trenton. Loudly, the officer makes him leave, embarrassing him, telling him to pick up trash. This feels like harassment.

Policemen have the knack of intimidating people. Although I feel sorry for the man and I resent the tone of voice, too loud, and the way he addressed the man, I cannot speak up in his defense. I feel today as those who get stopped and frisked feel when they've done no wrong. It is how they look that sets them apart for disrespectful treatment from those who would protect us from harm. Who is 'us,' who is 'them'? Did the officer ask all of us in the row of seats for our tickets because he was suspicious of this man? I will never know.

Fond memories accompany me as I ride the NJ Transit train alone for the first time in many years on my way to visit Ronnie and Eliot.  The familiar towns all chug by: Newark where my sisters and I were born, my two older children Steven and Linda too; East Orange where my grandparents opened their nursing home, Millburn where my parents moved us when I was a teenager, Short Hills where my sister Sharyn lived with her young family, Summit where Sharyn and Burt live today, Chatham where the restaurant is located where my Sweet Sixteen luncheon was held, Madison, Morristown and Denville where Bob and I shopped or ate dinner.

As a teen, we used to snag our stockings on the then straw seats on the train we called the Delay, Linger and Wait. I forget what the D, L and W stood for originally, but I ‘wikied’ it as I write this now. The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad- I don’t think I ever knew it. Then and now it takes me where I need to go.

It is good to keep in touch with Bob’s best friend for more than fifty years; they have been my friends for the past 22 years as well. Too much loss too quickly is too hard for me to process, just as Bob’s illness is impossible for Eliot to manage. We all want Bob to be who he once was; we miss his knowledge, his concern, and his generosity for his friends and coworkers. Most of all we miss his companionship.

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