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5/16/2018

Down by the Dock of the Bay

We were down at the pier as usual.  Sitting on the park bench.  Talking about the usual nothing.  Sometimes we'd throw the cast net pull up some mullet.  And we'd fish, mostly catfish, stingrays and red fish on occasion.  Since I was taking time off from work, it seemed like the natural thing to do, hang out at the pier with the local yocals.  Each person was a character.

My buddy worked at a car dealer, we think.  Not sure exactly, said he played professional soccer in Europe.  Chain smoker, pack after pack.

Another guy, he was a vet, lived at his parents home a few miles away.  Except he rarely went home.  He lived outdoors.

Another guy was the best fisherman out there, could cast the best nets, repaired them, and smoked the mullet.

There were more people of course, but those were the main characters.  People would just show up.  All hours of the day, and night.

One night, we were talking about how fast people could run.  We eventually decided to race.  In the dark.  In the parking lot.  I thought I had some good speed, so why not.  We were neck and neck about midway, I glanced to the side and saw the guy miss a step, in slow motion, saw him fly through the air, and slide across the pavement.  He had scrapes, but didn't feel it yet, the adrenaline.

Another night, we were sitting on the bench, as usual, a group of us.  Police officers would sit in their cars on occasion, do paperwork, they had a phone near the rest rooms to talk official business.  Our group knew them pretty good.  So we're sitting there chatting, and the officer came over to chat, they introduced me.  

He said where are you from?  I'm from New York originally.  Me too.  What part?  Poughkeepsie, but my family is from Brooklyn.  What part.  Bensonhurst.   Me too.  Do you know my cousins, Andrew and Brian, I joked.  Yes, and Erica too.  Holy crow, that's the third cousin's name.  The entire group got quiet.  How did he know that?

We couldn't believe it.  So he whips out his cell phone, dials the phone.  It's my Aunt on the other end.  He's got my Aunt's number on speed dial.  He told her what just happened, do you know Jon Bloom, yes that's my nephew.  Then I spoke to my Aunt.  None of us could believe it.  Turns out, he and my cousin were in kindergarden together, my cousins first boyfriend, they were all friends throughout high school.

What an amazing coincidence.  After he drove away, we sat and talked about it for hours.  Never in a million years could that happen again.

I can honestly say, the time spent down at the pier was a key highlight in my life.  Nothing to do, and all day to do it.  Could just be myself, everyone on first name basis, history didn't matter, just hanging out, with no responsibility.   When I wasn't at the pier, I was teaching tennis and playing a couple times a day, competitive matches.  I could have done that for quite a while.  And that's when I met my wife.  Wouldn't you know it, I had to go back to work in IT to earn a real living.  Sometimes I head down to the pier, nobody from the old days, has a different feel to it.  Either way you slice it, that synchronicity was mind blowing and a memory I'll never forget.

And so it goes~!