Most of us, if we are lucky, have long-time friends who have touched our lives in various ways. And many of us, if we have lived a full life, have done a certain amount of traveling.
We met Syd and Gloria in 1970 and became instant friends. I don’t think they knew what they were in for, but then, neither did my new husband, Burt.
I was not about to become Harriet Housewife in an apron — Burt’s fantasy, I think. Soon, we were into river rafting, bicycle touring, racquetball, tennis and all sorts of adventures. Our lifestyle was apparently infectious, as friends, new and former, soon joined us, including Syd and Gloria.
The first time I heard Syd’s mantra of “Are we having fun yet?” was during a wild water bucket battle on the American River. All four rafts were full of our friends, and Burt was wicked with a water bucket — so wicked that four rivers later, a doctor treated Burt for “water bucket elbow.”
I’m not sure whose idea it was to go to Russia in 1975 — probably mine. There were nine of us on that trip, flying on what we dubbed “AeroFlop Airlines.” I have this keen memory of sitting cross-legged next to Syd on the floor of the Kiev airport. A serious snowstorm had stranded all passengers. We were singing old college songs and sipping smuggled vodka while awaiting word that we could hike in the snow to a nearby Russian hotel for the night. Syd, an attorney, poked me to make sure I had noticed a couple of KGB guys glaring at us suspiciously. Syd leaned over to me and whispered, “Are we having fun yet?” We were all just young and crazy enough to have a good time no matter the circumstances.
It was Syd’s idea a few years later that the four of us do a bus tour of Eastern Europe, which, at the time, did not compare with regular Europe — where I had dragged Burt twice to prove it really could be done on $5 a day. The food and hotel rooms in Eastern Europe were very strange, but so were a few people on our bus. My philosophy, which my husband also adopted, was and still is, “When in Rome....”
One hotel was practically primitive. Here, to quote Burt, is a description of our bathroom: “It was so small you could sit on the toilet, brush your teeth and shower at the same time.”
Burt’s description of the room: “I could stand between the two twin beds and touch the walls.”
When we had Syd and Gloria check out our bathroom, which was exactly like theirs, true to form, Syd asked: “Are we having fun yet?”
Thank heaven for memories — and for the phone. I speak with Syd and Gloria as often as possible. They no longer travel, and I haven’t left home in four years, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. They are still in their lovely Los Angeles home with daughters who live nearby and make sure their parents have what they need. We all have health challenges, but who doesn’t if you live long enough?
This Day Brightener just arrived from an old friend who shares my sense of humor:
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Ten Fun Facts
1. You can’t see your ears without a mirror.
2. You can’t count your hair.
3. You can’t breathe through your nose with your tongue out.
4. You just tried No. 3.
6. When you did No. 3 you realized that it is possible, only you end up looking like a dog.
7. You are smiling right now because you were fooled.
8. You skipped No. 5.
9. You just checked to see if there is a No. 5.
10. Share this with your friends who can use a smile.
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Today’s column will go to Syd and Gloria who have followed my writing for many years. I have a question: “Hey Syd, are we having fun yet?”
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]