Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thanks For Lunch

The unusually large expanse of porcelain inherent in the design of an indoor swimming pool obscures ordinary sounds, but when a fist fight breaks out the scuffling rings with Wagnerian intensity, so I was not the first to run over to assert civility. Just as I grabbed one guy from behind though his assailant went for a roundhouse and landed it square on my jaw. Turning back I realized the errant swinger was my brother whom I hadn’t seen for upward of ten years. That we both found our way to a semi-private club’s Olympic swimming pool in the outskirts of the Hamptons is an entirely different matter.

Whilst the punch’s bruise darkened he and I decided to have lunch and catch up, as we had many mutual friends in days gone by. We were both reminded of long forgotten triumphs and tales, and of course the delights of this place’s roast beef sandwiches with their vigorous horseradish sauce.

The story of another lunch involving a Vodka family reunion of sorts came to mind, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share that with you.

My brother Roderick was attending Julliard at the time, and had already become quite bored with the sampling of notes and bars he had come across. My mother, who by then was living in Purchase, had decided to lunch with my brother in an attempt no doubt to cheer him up. As usual my brother astounded all involved, this time by suggesting that they meet at the then newly renovated Plaza Hotel.

They spoke and ate, and by the time my brother leaned back in his chair to digest neither truffle nor trite had been spared, and several bottles of botyrized wine lay in carnage. Smiling, my brother received the check and continued the conversation which I understand never ran toward the subject of expense.

After an appropriate amount of time had lapsed Roderick excused himself to see to a matter at the front desk. There, a studious young lady in an impeccably pressed uniform inquired as to how she could help, whereupon he asked for a sheet of hotel stationary. While discretely writing the three words on such he requested that it be placed in the box of a Mr. Southington. Noting my brothers own well-heeled appearance the clerk assumed Roderick had meant Mr. Wellington and said so, placing the note in the box meant for room 617. My brother, of course, took the opportunity to note the number.

Returning to the table he thanked my mother for her indulgence, forged Mr. Wellington’s signature and room number on the check, and draped my mother’s stoal over her shoulders. On the way out my mother, who apparently had just sacrificed her annual pilgrimage to Bermuda in order to cover tuition, made it known that she had glanced at the twelve-hundred dollar check and her look betrayed something less than glee.

It seems that my brother chose to wait until the pair was five or six steps outside the hotel before disclosing his subterfuge, and it was then that they took to fleeing through the streets of Manhattan like turn of the century pickle thieves starving in a market.

Laughing at both incidents a sharp pain hit where the blow had landed as Roderick picked up the tab. And while he winked at my faux protestation I remembered that he had become a high-profile contractor to the DOD, and let’s just say the founder of “Wellington Aerospace”.

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