I was supposed to have dinner with Nick on Saturday night, but he was unavoidably detained… Kim and I went anyway, as a tribute and because he would have wanted me to enjoy his largess one more time. When we arrived, Kim got flustered, because the hostess said, “He’s expecting you. There’s something at the table for you ladies.” She started to tell the hostess not to send a bottle of champagne, as if that would be how two recovering alkies (who had formed a bond over not drinking) would celebrate meeting for the first time. It was odd, and disorienting to be the guest of someone who had died the week before…
We were at the restaurant at the Casa Monica hotel in St Augustine, and we took pictures like tourists, and on the way home I said, “Let’s ride the carousel.” The carousel is an institution in our area; built in 1927 and manned by a stoic dude who takes your dollar admission with the detached air of a Steven King character, or an undertaker… It seemed fitting somehow; the painted horses circling round and round and round, going nowhere fast to a tinny Victrola. And the song that played was one my father used to sing, In the Good Old Summertime, so I sang as I jockeyed a horse with four feet off the ground.
And it was a good night. A very good night to be alive and sober.
In the good old summer time,
In the good old summertime,
Strolling thro’ the shady lanes
With your baby mine;
You hold her hand and she holds yours,
And that’s a very good sign
That’s she’s your tootsie wootsie
In the good old summertime.
Today I’m not drinking because I am riding the merry-go-round!