Wingate 52

Wingate is like Brigadoon. A magical place that exists in the hearts of so many and is accessible once a year in September.  And, during that weekend in September, a cohort  — ages late 30s to early 60s — enters a timeless place, where we bask in memories and incorporate the reality of our lives as adults.

There are rules:

  • We start the weekend at the “Winter House,” where Pearl reigns.
  • We only dance to 70s music.
  • We move in packs, never letting go of a hand, a hug or a smile.
  • Meals are for re-fueling and picture-taking.
  • The bunks are only for the tough; those of us over a certain age must seek refuge elsewhere.

As to the last bullet point, let’s get a few facts on record.

  1. Cape Cod, with a few exceptions, has only motor lodges and similar lodgings.
  2. The Four Seasons, Balazs and the Ritz-Carlton (never mind Klimpton or other international brands) have not come to Yarmouth, Massachusetts.
  3. And we didn’t get an invitation to the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis.
  4. We were staying at the Camp until it was time to sleep, so the accommodations needed only to be clean and passable.
  5. I only had to exceed the low expectations of staying in a bunk, with beds that had prison mattresses and communal toilets, etc., that are really only ok if you are under 16.

So I picked the Days Inn.  Not the Travelodge (more of a story) or the Econolodge.  The Days Inn.  Why, I thought, pay a lot for sleeping in a bed?  Our Brigadoon awaited us a Camp Wingate not at any hotel, motel or bed and bugfest.

Of course, because many decided that the bunk was too harsh and wanted a reservation at the Days Inn, I overbooked.  And, in my anxiety to book as many rooms as we all needed, I accidentally also booked the Travelodge (who can really tell the difference on-line????)  AT LEAST I ESCHEWED ANYTHING WITH “ECONO” IN THE NAME.

I have the dubious honor of being a rewards customer at the Days Inn.  If you book a zillion non-refundable rooms reservations by accident, you not only get special passes, but a visit from the CEO.  It is like having a platinum Sears card.

Still, the masses were not happy. They read reviews on-line about the “hotel”.  I had just spent visiting day at a “fine lodging” and it was gross.  So, I knew that the Days Inn was no better or worse than anything else.

After much hemming and hawing, and Pearl’s having laughed at my choice, my dear friend concluded, after some equivocation, that it could be worse — we could be in South Sudan.

South Sudan?  Whoa, I feel sooooo much better.  At least there is a worse place on Earth than where I had booked so many rooms that there is an indoor pool named after me in the very place we stayed.

We all laughed, knowing, tomorrow, we would drive back to Brigadoon.

Next installment — Janet2’s ebbs and flows and how Goldie literally ran afoul of them.


Hello! Yes, it’s been a while Part 2

SOS (my son, source of sanity) was away this summer —  7 weeks at camp.

He came home with some virus, etc., that eventually infected everyone in his wake.  But more on that later.

Shortly after he came back (with clothes so gross that they needed to be burned), he started sneezing and blowing his nose.

“DUDE, get a tissue!!!”

“E-Mom, it was just a powder, not a mucous heaver!”

Ok, not only does my son have huge, smelly feet, and that slouchy style of sitting but he was distinguishing sneezes for me.

“Dude.  Dude. Dude.  Dude.  Every sneeze needs a tissue and I never want to see a mucous heaver.  That requires an exit — post-haste — into the bathroom, ok?”

The “mucous heaver” was a scab waiting to be scratched.  I resisted and inquired after the more dainty powder.

“I get what a mucous heaver might be — and all of the joy of living has left me just visualizing it — but what is a powder?”

“A thin, gentle spray.”

Ugh.  A thin, gentle spray of typhoid.  I renew my demand that all sneezes need a tissue.

A few mornings later, I have a stuffy nose and other symptoms of my son’s “sharing is caring” largesse.

As I am clearing my sinuses in my bathroom, I hear SOS shout from the hallway, “E-Mom, awesome HORNBLOWER!!!”

For a small, embarrassing and base moment, I have fit squarely into my 12 year-old’s world.

Just call me Horatio.  Horatio Hornblower.  My son is elated.

Hello! Yes, it has been a while. Part 1

I hope everyone had a good summer.

Time for Fall.  Time for the Jewish High Holy Days.  Time to sit in sack cloth and ashes and mourn the long sunny days and the sultry nights of summer.  And that my summer was not anything like the summers I remember when I was younger.

I have learned many things this summer, some profound and some not so.  All important.

Dad continues a slow downward trajectory but never loses the essential elements (and annoyances) of the man he is.  Dad called me one morning.

SIDEBAR:  how DOES he call on my cell phone and office phone simultaneously???

He was quite fussed about the bank calling him about credit and debit cards, etc.  He couldn’t understand what the caller was saying.

Dad, I will call Chase and find out.  Did you give the caller any information?

No.  Nothing, but the caller seemed to know all my card numbers.

That’s a good sign, Dad.  There is no odd activity on your accounts [I have them linked to mine and pulled them up while we were talking].  I will call and find out and call you back.”

Thank you, darling.  I feel so much better.  You will call me right back?

I have a colleague in my office and a deadline, but this is my dad.  “As soon as I get some answers.  Don’t worry I am ON it.

I call.  Chase is being cautious with recent security breaches, and is sending my father all new cards.  I asked about any odd activity because what I see on the computer looks to be in real time but there may have been odd charges rejected.

I am sorry, M’am.  I will need your father on the line to answer these questions.

I have power of attorney.  His accounts are linked to mine.  Why do we have to involve my Dad?

This has to do with his profile.

I have no idea what this means.  The most important aspect was that for all of the planning, for all of the day-to-day handling of my father’s affairs, there are some places I cannot go without his express permission on tape.

I LEARNED THAT WE NEED TO MAKE BANKS ISSUE “FORMS OF POWER OVER EVERYTHING, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, WHATEVER” so that we can sign these and be finished with the chaos.  Because there is the law and there is banking law.

I call Dad back on a three-way conference.

Dad, I have you on the phone with Chase, so that I can talk to customer service about our inquiry.

Don’t you already have that authority?

SIDEBAR:  I love that Dad can still identify stupidity, even in dementia.  Which really makes a person wonder about banking in general.  (Sorry, Mighty.)

The woman talked, doing her level best to ascertain that my father was who he was, etc., but he was too stressed and needed a familiar voice to prompt him.

Dad, Stacy needs your name. Dad, would you tell her your name?


SIDEBAR:  I love that Dad thinks that being dad is who he is.

Daddy, that is great.  Can you give your full name now??

So, he pretty much got the information right.

Dad, that last question was do you give me, [Blogger], permission to talk to Stacy about your affairs.

Of course; I thought we did that already.”

Ok, Dad, you can hang up now and I will call you back shortly.”

Ok, darling.  I love you.

I love you, Daddy.  Thanks.  I will call you back soon.

All was ok.  I resolved the matter and recapped with Dad.

I am a lucky man, to have the kids I have.

We are lucky.  These things are complicated and we can do this for you.  And we want to do this for you.

With nothing to worry about, I might live past 120!!

Don’t worry, Dad, we have that covered, too, but your children will be on social security, so we will have to pool resources. . . .

Another day, another problem resolved.


  • Little kids, little problems.
  • Big kids, big problems.
  • Aging parent, a combination of both and . . .

And I can only hope that, from day-to-day, there are mostly little problems until the day that it is THE BIG PROBLEM.