About Me

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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Anoter "Sid" Story and Some Haiku

Sid Bolotin is a regular contributor to Cascade Lakes News & Views and is happy to find this blog will publish his pieces which News & Views, for one reason or another, has rejected. Here along with some of my haiku is another piece by Sid, originally turned down by News & Views.

Haiku, as I have pointed out in the past, is a form of Japanese poetry, usually inspired by nature, and not necessarily rhyming, which maintains a five syllable, seven syllable, five syllable pattern in its three lines. There are other versions but this is the most simple. Here is a Haiku called “August Branches” which I hope you enjoy. (You are invited to submit your Haiku, as well as other original contributions to this blog.)

August Branches

Twigs cold in winter
Awake when warmed by sunshine
Calling forth new buds.

The sweet smell of rain
Mixes with the aroma
Of green things growing.

Leaves and flowers weigh
Heavy on August branches
Refusing to snap.

A bird sees all this
And circles down from the sky
Looking for its lunch.

With your brush and ink
Commit this scene to canvas
Or leave it as words.


* * * * * *



Celia leaned against the wall and watched her spittle dribbling from her mouth in a long string toward the ground. The concrete rasped into her forehead, and she dry-heaved once more as tears leaked from her eyes. She had just raced out of Benny’s Ice House, a local watering hole filled to capacity for the nightly happy hour.

“Oh, God,” she whimpered, “why did I let Jake kiss me in front of all the guys at the bar? He’ll kill me when he finds out about me.” She turned her head and saw Jake approaching, beer in hand.

“Hey, hon. what’s the matter? I thought you wanted me to kiss you. I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry, c’mon back inside.”

Celia squinted at Jake’s bulk through her tear-filled eyes, and her heart filled with gratitude as she saw the concern in his eyes. Looking past his shoulder she caught sight of his beloved Harley parked outside the bar’s door. When she first arrived in Florida from Texas, Jake and his band of local Harley riders who hung out at Benny’s had befriended her. Melinda, her cousin who tended bar there, had told her how great the group was…especially Jake. What had started out innocently enough had blossomed into a deep caring for this gray-haired, slightly paunchy, grandfather who was the leader of the pack of bikers…the alpha male.

“Oh, Jake,” she blubbered into his shoulder as he hugged her, “I’m sorry that I freaked out when you kissed me. I never expected it. I care for you, but I didn’t expect that from you. You don’t know anything about me. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Celia, darlin’ I know all I need to. We all have pasts. It don’t matter none. All my kids are grown, and my grandkids are scattered. All I got now is my Harley and my pack of riders. I just want you to be my riding buddy, my woman, and my friend. I know from your cousin, Melinda, that you’re not much younger than me with no family of your own. You’re a handsome woman with a great body, green eyes, and reddish hair. So why not let me be your man? These past weeks we’ve gotten to know each other and to like each other’s company. You can’t deny that, Celia.”

“Jake, in my heart what you say rings true, and I’d love to be your woman; but things need to be said about my life before I came to Florida. This last month has been a dream come true for me. We’ve boozed, schmoozed, and ridden together, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to go all the way with you. The truth is that I’m scared.”

Jake removed the bandana from around his head and wiped Celia’s eyes and mouth gently in an action that was unexpected from a burly, pony-tailed, grizzly-looking, aged biker. “Sweet thing,” he cooed as he coaxed her back toward the entrance to Benny’s, “ I know all about you. After Melinda told me your whole story, I was blown away, and a bit angry; but then I realized how much I cared about you, how much I wanted to be with you. You can start a new life with my pack and me. They all love you too, and moreover they admire your guts. Now come back in, and let’s tell ‘em all that you and I are a twosome.”

Celia let Jake’s arm support her as he guided her to the door and whispered, “Thank you, God, for letting this be the happy ending to my year-long transformation from Saul to Celia.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Story From Sid

Here's a nice one from the pen of Sid Bolotin. In 2004, it was "rejected" by Cascade Lakes News & Views, but here there are no such constraints. Incidentally, this blog is being worked on by a "pro" and for a while, may appear a little different. Bear with us and meanwhile, enjoy Sid's story. Jack


Sid Bolotin

Lois played out the last bridge hand of the afternoon with her usual skill and announced, “ Small slam, bid and made. Thanks, girls. Now I have to scoot home to make Jack his favorite supper. He’s coming over tonight for a romantic evening.”

The other card players in the clubhouse of Cascade Lakes were also departing to return to their homes after the usual Tuesday afternoon bridge games, and Lois felt delicious to be part of this retirement scene in Florida. She and her new boyfriend, Jack, had recently moved from up North into this gated, retirement community. She as a single woman from New England, he as a widower from New York whose wife had suddenly died shortly after they had bought their retirement home.

“You know, Adele,” Lois said as she walked to her car arm-in-arm with her new best friend, “I’m so glad that I joined the Singles Club. That’s where I met Jack and fell in love with him. I’ve never been so happy. At 55 I’m one of the younger people here, but this is a wonderfully accepting community in which I can make a new life.”

“I’m delighted for you, Lois. Everyone comments on what a lovely couple you two are. Your pale skin, bright, green eyes, and long, reddish hair compliment his olive, tanned complexion. He’s only slightly balding and a very trim 65. You both play tennis and are physically fit. He was so, so sad before he met you. Now, you two can rebuild your lives together. I know that you told me that you’re all alone because your family died off so unexpectedly.”

After dropping Adele off at her house, Lois drove into her driveway, parked her car, and sat staring through the windshield. “God,” she mused quietly to herself, “I’m so lucky. My whole life has turned around. I feel like I belong, that I’m finally in the right place. It’s taken me so many years. The decision that I made five years ago was the right one, after all. No one knows me here, and I’ve made a brand new start. Jack loves me, and I certainly love him. He doesn’t probe with lots of questions, so my earlier life can remain a closed book. Like me, he’s just happy that we’ve found each other.”

Five years earlier in the therapist’s office the loud wailing bounced off the soundproofed walls: “I can’t live like this any more, Dr.Myers. My mental anguish gives me no peace. I’m in turmoil all the time. I can’t take it anymore. I’m ready to commit suicide rather than continue this way. Talk-therapy and spiritual counseling have done nothing. I’m stuck with who I am.”

“Well,” Dr. Meyers said, “maybe it is time for you to take the final step. That probably would be best for you. With my continued support you should be able to cope. And, hopefully you’ll flourish. We’ve talked about this for a long time. You’ve certainly exhausted all other possible avenues. It’s worth a shot in my opinion. But the final choice has to be yours.”

“ I know that, Dr. Meyers. You’ve been great this past year, and I believe that I’m physically and mentally ready. I know that my surgeon, Dr. Zarren has spoken to you, and he’s in agreement.”

“What name will you settle on for the new you, Larry?”

“Lois, I’ll be Lois. That was my mother’s name; so I’ll be Lois after my sex-change operation.”