It was a great week with the Band and Friends of the Band. This marked the third biennial (i.e. every two years – I had to look it up) reunion of the Band that raised a bit of hell back in the mid to late sixties.
This year our “Headquarters” was in the Garden State, where the guitar player and I still reside. The venue was graciously provided by the unflappable Rich and Irene, longtime Friends of the Band. Their home served as party central, the meeting place for breakfasts and several other “feeds”. Most importantly, they allowed us to fill a major portion of their recreation room with drums, amps, keyboards, microphones, speakers and miles of wire.
Predictably, out first session contained a number of musical train wrecks, each of which was followed by pointing fingers and howls of laughter. During later sessions, things began to gel, and in several instances, we even sounded pretty OK. I alternated between playing guitar and drums, which was fun.
On our last night playing, our host and hostess were visited by their son, daughter-in-law and their little ten-month old daughter. Wanting to please our newest “audience” member, we played the theme from “Sesame Street,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, “Do Re Mi” and a few others, including Frosty the Snowman (You can see that we’re not exactly flush with kid’s tunes – Besides, we’ll have snow in a month or so). The little girl, propped herself up at a coffee table, stared at us wide-eyed all the time, smiled constantly, jumped up and down and squealed with delight. Made us feel like the Beatles, she did.
In short, we played everything from corny tunes to some good things requiring all of us to wear our harmony hats. It was wonderful.
It wasn’t all music all the time. We spend lots of time doing other things, each of which turned out to be a veritable pisser.
New York City
One day we headed into New York City to see Jersey Boys. I had seen it once before, but I even liked it better the second time. There was something particularly fitting about five Jersey guys who played in a Jersey band in the sixties going to see Jersey Boys together. After the show, we went to Carmine’s in the Theater District, where the food is served “family style”, and we were served enough excellent Italian food to feed a Roman Legion.
Yeah, fishing. Go figure.
We spent one morning at a beautiful pond to see who could catch the biggest/most fish. This turned out to be quite a riot. It started when I realized that we had to stop to buy worms (ewwwwww), and I noticed that the worm store was right next to a Dunkin’ Donuts store.
“Yo, gimme three jelly donuts, three glazed, three crème-filleds and two dozen night crawlers”.
We were told that there were some serious bass lurking around in that pond, and I have no doubt that this guy or this guy would have hooked them, but our group collectively caught four teeny-weeny sunnies, proving beyond doubt that none of us can fish worth a damn. We did, however, have lots and lots of laughs.
Yeah, bowling. Go figure.
Why bowling, you ask? Patty, the keyboard player’s spouse (a native Hawaiian) used to like to bowl on Maui, but the last bowling alley in Maui closed due to lack of interest. So, we chose up teams, from the gang of twelve of us (none of has bowled in multiple decades) and descended upon a local bowling alley.
After we all got our rental shoes from the rather confused looking bowling alley guy and each picked out a reasonably suitable alley ball, we were all set to start the fierce competition. Problem was that none of us knew how to work the computerized scoring system (Last time I bowled, we kept score with pencils and paper).
Once the bowling alley guy explained to us how to work the widget that automatically keeps score (I think he might have considered us a group of lunatics or morons), the competition began. It’s a good thing that the bowling alley was not crowded, because we were quite raucously competitive (and the daily drinking had not yet started).
Everyone pretty much stunk, but that didn’t lessen the fierceness of the competition, for we were playing for “prizes” and the Perpetual Purple Pig (a purple piggy bank), a trophy that would be held by the winning team until 2008, when the teams would again compete – sort of like the Stanley Cup, only purple – and a pig.
I was on the winning team, and Patty, our Team Captain, was presented the trophy for safekeeping until 2008.
Yeah, poker. Go figure.
One day, we staged a Texas Hold ‘Em Poker tournament, using play money. It didn’t matter that we used play money, because this too would be played for “prizes” (e.g. boxes of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and chocolate-covered Kona coffee beans) and, of course, bragging rights. After the first couple was dusted, a demand was made that they be given money by each of the other players so they could continue to play. I remarked. Farookin’ Marxist Poker!! Hilarity ensued.
Turns out that, even despite the mandatory money re-distribution, Mrs. Parkway kicked everyone’s ass. I may set her up with a gig in Atlantic City.
The Ending and Plans for 2008.
Like all good things, the Reunion had finally come to an end, and it was again time for sentimental and lump-in-the-throat good byes. It’s wonderful to re-unite, but the parting is always hard. The good news is that this year’s reunion provided us with yet more things to laugh about when we get together again in 2008.
Oh yes, the 2008 Reunion will be held in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. YES!!!!!