On May 9, Steve, Mary Anne, Sam, Bridget and I all went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Park Slope. We left right after I got back from 8:00 a.m. Mass at St. Mary of the Isle. Mary Anne and I are originally from Queens so I was quite happy to be right next door in its neighboring borough. As a general rule, I don’t pay very much attention to plants but I’ve always been so smitten with them. They’re significantly more interesting than animals. Unfortunately I don’t know much about plants so I was forced to pay such a lot of attention to anything I wanted to find out about. We spent a few hours walking around the grounds enjoying all the sights . My only problem was that I wore a heavy long sleeved dress shirt on what turned out to be a warm day. Besides that I took a hooded sweater with me. While there we sat down and ate for a while. During the time we were eating we got into a conversation with a guy who came up with an answer to a question one of the kids had asked. From the looks of his age, and the clothes he was wearing, I assume he was a Viet Nam era veteran. It was such a nice quiet day. I was having a relaxing enjoyable time. Unfortunately, my memory card in my camera ran out of storage space so I couldn’t take any more than one video. There was no problem with taking pictures though. To my chagrin, my story isn’t very involved, complicated or interesting. It was just an especially fine spring day in a most pleasurable environment.
Unfortunately I didn’t respond to the prompt that asked what day 211 would be like. My parents both died last autumn so I’ve been subjected to quite a few very significant changes this year. It’s turned out to be quite a nice uneventful year for me though in most respects. I’ve been having quite a nice time getting used to life in Long Beach. Nothing has gone especially wrong for me. I’ve always had a hard time adjusting to change anyway. I’ve been meeting new people here and figuring out how to find my way around. The people at St. Mary of the Isle and the nearby Coffee Nut Cafe have been getting used to having me around by now. It gets me quite crazy but I’ve been able to handle it. Sometimes I go to the beach or at least walk toward its general direction. I make sure I go to Mass most days during the week. I can’t stand cold weather here but I can’t stand cold weather in general anyway. Now that it’s warm and sunny out I’ve truly been having the time of my life. My feet hurt quite a lot though so I have one very minor complaint that seems not to have any kind of a solution.
This year Groundhog Day fell on a Sunday. It’s also the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple so I went to 8:00 a.m. Mass at St. Mary of the Isle on Park Avenue. That specific day also happened to have marked two other very distinctive occasions for us. It was also Super Bowl Sunday. This year was Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. That’s also the day each year during which the local members of the Polar Bear Club have their annual fund raiser in Long Beach, to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation. After Mass I came back to Mary Anne’s and Steve’s house to find cousin Mark here. He and Steve were hanging around getting ready for the big day over at the boardwalk. Each of us put his bathing suit on and after a few shots of Jameson’s Irish whiskey , that seems to have become quite a staple for us by now on special occasions, we went, with Mary Anne’s friend Lynn, to the beach at the boardwalk. On the way we met another friend of theirs, Liz, who comes from Brooklyn each year to join them. Because of bitter cold weather and precipitation over the course of the past few days, and a very foggy morning, it was quite a surprisingly nice day, although horribly cold. Everyone had a nice time and the Polar Bears made quite a lot of money for the Make A Wish Foundation. As always, though I was seriously aggravated by all the endless walking.
Mary Anne’s and Steve’s friends, Gary and Jo Anne, threw a really nice party on New Year’s Eve. We were all supposed to go but Mary Anne got too sick so only Steve and I went. They only live a few houses away so we walked. Usually I’m quite happy to enjoy a really nice quiet New Year’s Eve at home without bothering to do any celebrating to mark the occasion. Occasionally I’ve been known to attend a party thrown by either cousins or neighbors. As everyone knows I’ve always been quite notoriously bad with meeting new people and in crowds. I tend to feel uncomfortable in the company of anyone I don’t know and I’m also a bit claustrophobic. That’s not even counting the fact that I’ve never been fond of staying up late at night. All worked out quite especially well though. The people at the party were quite polite and friendly. They were mostly married couples with their kids. It’s a good thing I managed to get along so well because it appears I shall have to be spending a reasonably significant amount of time socializing with them from now on. A top contender for the most interesting character at the party was a really big guy named Kirk. Kirk has been a less than significantly famous actor ever since the 1960’s. He spent the night telling us stories about his adventures with Woody Allen, Tennessee Williams and Richie Havens. When the conversation turned to movies, something came up about John Huston’s movies. I reminded him that Huston had made the movie version of Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood” in the late 1970’s . Each of us was quite taken aback that someone else could possibly be so familiar with O’Connor’s works. On New Year’s Day I made sure I got up in time to go to 9:00 a.m. Mass at St. Mary of the Isle on Park Avenue, because it’s the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Thus began my new year. I ‘ve been forced to accept one change right after the other.