Michael won a stuffed dog playing Wack-A-Mole. I named it La Wanda after the black hooker he picked up in Pebble Beach last August. I have pictures of her smiling on his lap in the back seat of the Duesenberg. We were certainly the talk of the Concours that day.
Easter brunch with the Clan turned out well. Betty wanted to get all of us together for the first time since John's passing. We scattered to the winds at Christmas- Ken was in Paris with his Mom and daughter, Lee and Jordan went to Rome, Betty was in Montecito, everyone was everywhere but here so as not to have to face the empty house. But Easter, bringing with it the promise of spring and rebirth, seemed perfect to reassemble. We all knew each other because of John, but today was not for him. It was for us.
We arrived at the restaurant on Ocean Avenue in two immaculately polished Rolls-Royces and a strategically synchronized Minivan. Heads turned. Our little party of twelve, equally balanced between ladies and gentlemen and ranging in age from fifteen to eighty-four streamed inside and were directed to a lovely table on the patio with an ocean view. The brunch was enormous. There were tables and tables of food. The seafood was in hiding, but Lee and I managed to find it (and everything else). We made two trips for mussels. They served bottomless glasses of Champagne. We lingered over brunch and talked about a hundred different topics. Anita and I waited in the dessert line behind three paper thin supermodels attempting to resolve their food angst and "just have a little bite" of the Creme Brulee and pecan tarts. We asked for one of everything.
In the near distance we could see Pacific Park, which is an amusement park on the Santa Monica pier. Anita commented that she had never been there, and we soon realized that none of us had set foot on the pier in simply ages. So we decided to take a walk.
Our resident mother hen, Bruce, asked Lee (our senior most member) if she wanted to relax on a park bench with him. "Nothing doing", she replied. "I'm gonna ride the Ferris Wheel". And she did ride the Ferris Wheel, dressed to the nines, accompanied by seven of us in two gondolas. We took goofy pictures of each other while aloft. Ken bought a giant handful of ride tokens, so in recombinant pairs we rode the Roller Coaster and the Monster, and played midway games. We were conspicuously overdressed and laughed like teenagers. It was a great spontaneous time. John would never had allowed it. Perhaps that was part of the fun.