Today I was driving through a beautiful neighborhood on a sunny, 70-degree day in Lexington. The trees were autumnally spectacular. I was on my way to a spacious outdoor courtyard to meet a half dozen geezer theatre friends for a socially distanced brunch. I have worked and played and laughed with this group for over 250 years combined. We used to meet with some regularity until covid drove us into our burrows. This was to be our first assemblage in eight months.
I could not be happier…I thought.
Then the phone rang.
It was the wife of one of the geezers, herself a friend of more decades than it would be polite to specify.
“Rodge! Tell my husband to turn on his phone!”
“Julieanne, is something wrong?”
“Just tell him to turn on his damn phone! Biden won! He won! They just called Pennsylvania!!”
I hung up and drove on. The phone dinged with a text. It was from my wife, Janie; an emoji of a champagne bottle launching its cork.
I arrived at the brunch, ridiculed my occasionally Luddite friend for walking around with a useless phone in his pocket, and announced the electoral headline in spontaneous duet with our hostess as she emerged from the house having just learned the same news. Champagne flowed and flowery toasts were deployed. Old friends were reunited. Old stories were told again. Our laughter rocked the world.
I could not be happier…………I thought.
But there was something missing.
At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Then I thought back to election night, 2016.
I went to bed that election night stunned and morose. The momentum and the arithmetic was undeniable: Donald Trump was gonna win.
Janie had already gone to bed. I didn’t wake her with the news.
The next morning, as she learned the result, I watched the subsequent waves of incredulity, indignation, sadness, fear, and finally anger.
“What do we do to fix this?”
We were together for the bad news.
We should be together for the good news.
I excused myself from my jolly brunch brotherhood and headed home.
Janie met me at the door. There was a hug and a kiss. Champagne flowed and the toast, though not flowery, was precise and jubilant; “Now we can begin.”
I could not be happier…………………………this time I know.