Monday, February 25, 2008

My Weekend With Manny

I spent Super Bowl weekend (Thursday thru Sunday) with my Dad in Florida. I went alone. I like going with the whole family, but it's hard to work it all out, and it gets expensive, and what the heck, I wanted to try it this way. After all, as Joan (his companion for the last 25 years) optimistically pointed out...."How much longer has he got?" I hated to admit it, she had a point. The fact is, for 82 he's doing pretty well. His mind is fine, he still drives (though not so much at night....a Florida thing), and we still have fun together. The thought of some day saying "I shoulda" was abhorrent, so I did it.

I arrived in Fort Lauderdale airport on time, got my rented car, and drove up to Century Village in Boca Raton. Manny always seems amazed that I'm able to "work these things out", but we don't dwell on it. I've heard Century Village called "Cemetary Village", but I like to think of it as "college dorm life for old people."

When I arrived Joan made me some bagels and cream cheese. She also offered some creamy herring with onions, which I declined.....though Manny enjoyed it. I proudly showed him my Super Bowl grids and boxes, with the extra copies I had made for him, and he assured me that he "would never understand it".

We then reviewed our itinerary, which we had discussed on the phone the week before. The plan was "to play nine holes of golf on Friday morning, and then see how things go". Manny and I have a common golf background, we both started late in life and we are pretty bad at it. Considering he never played until he was 60, he's actually not bad. It's a tribute to his natural athletic ability. I started in my 30's and have no excuse. I don't keep score, and I am fine with just being out there and taking a zen approach (as an aside, here's an Amazon link to a cool golf book Golf in the Kingdom

We did not golf in the Kingdom, we opted for a nine hole executive course in Margate, Nine holes on an executive (which means smaller and faster playing) course is just right. We had perfect weather, 72 and sunny, and played a relaxing round with two ladies who did not know each other. For any non-golfers, you usually play in groups of four. When you go as two, they hook you up with another two, or with two singles. It's one of the best things about golf. 99% of the time you play with nice people, and this ran true to form. It was a perfect start to the trip, and now we were in "seeing how things go" time.

Next stop was lunch at a restaurant called "Lesters". Manny likes it because "it's like a real diner, which is unusual in Florida".

As soon as we finished our excellent diner burgers, Manny said "I have an idea, let's go to the simulcasting at Pompano, and you can check out their poker room." I suspect this was his plan all along, but he wanted to keep it "between us" until he left the house. I thought this was a great plan, so we drove 10 minutes to Pompano Race Track. The present gambling thing in Florida are casinos that have slots and poker, but no table games. They also have simulcasting of horse racing from all over America. Works for me!!!

This is the place we went to.... VERY nice.

As soon as we got inside, Manny said "Oh, I goofed, we should have eaten here at the lunch buffet. Great food, great prices." I told him not to worry, we had a great lunch. Let's bet some horses and play poker. So we played there for about two hours, and returned to base at dinner time.

We then went out for dinner with Joan, her daughter Debbie (lives in Florida now) and Debbie's daughter Elisa (visiting from Jersey). We drove to a restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, and all things considered, it was enjoyable. Joan did ask, "Why didn't you guys go to the buffet at Pompano.....Manny, why didn't you take him to the buffet?" Oy. Fortunately this didn't go on too long, because she wanted to tell us all about the the outrageous breakfast place they had been to that morning, a place in Lake Worth called "John G's". They talked about it until the name was emblazoned in my cerebral cortex. But nothing a few martinis wouldn't fix.

All in all, a great day.

Tomorrow, more Weekend With Manny.

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