The time: September 1970. The place: Malaga, Spain, at the best hotel – I don’t remember the name. But what the hell, it was a vacation paid for by my expense account, as a reward for three weeks of intensive work in London, Paris, Rome, Brussels and Copenhagen.
You call that work? Well, it was intense.
Richard - considerably younger than me - French Canadian, kinda cute - and I were frolicking in the pool when he asked
“Do you ski?”
“Of course” I replied.
“Then you must come to my ski house next spring. I will give a big party for you.”
“That would be fun.”
I never expected to hear from him again, but the call came shortly after the first of the year.
Never one to refuse a romantic adventure, I accepted his invitation though I didn’t even know how to put on ski boots. Not to worry, I bought a copy of the Village Voice, a local NY paper which advertised such things as ski sojourns: nine hours of instruction included, over President’s Day weekend. Perfect.
NEXT I MAXED OUT MY CREDIT CARD AT PRINCETON SKI SHOP, FOR A PLUM JUMPSUIT, A RASPBERRY TURTLENECK AND ALL THE TRIMMINGS.
It turned out to be a singles event, loaded with much younger people who started partying on the bus Friday night. At White Plains we stopped to board a grown-up man!!!
Well it rained non-stop all weekend. Saturday morning I bravely donned my new duds and headed for breakfast.
THERE HE WAS, JUST STARTING A LARGE EMPTY ROUND TABLE, WEARING A BLUE SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN SWEATER THAT MATCHED HIS EYES.
I GRABBED A CUP OF COFFEE; WALKED OVER AND SAID “MAY I JOIN YOU?”
The next weekend we went to Killington, Vermont, where he hired an instructor for me. I lost my ski-bunny status. The next week we went to the Metropolitan Opera.
For a lot of years we vacationed over Christmas/New Year’s at the fashionable ski resort, Aspen, Co.
He moved to Manhattan, five blocks away from my apartment, to save the driving back and forth from White Plains.
TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS LATER HE GOT SICK; FOR YEARS PREVIOUSLY, HE HAD REPEATEDLY ANNOUNCED THAT HE WOULD NOT LIVE TO SEE THE MILLENIUM.
HE PASSED DECEMBER 31, 1999
BE VERY CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, IT’S OFTEN A VERY GOOD IDEA TO TRAVEL ALONE AND TALK TO STRANGERS!