Our Fantastic Game

Our fantastic game how awesome. We have been playing a weekly card game for over 15 years. It has also moved into some car race watching Saturday Nights, BBQ’s baseball and basketball game sevens. We also have some great food for game breaks, sometimes made by one of us and sometimes one of the wives sends a break snack, often a meal. Great food I’ll tell you. From Chicken and hot dogs or Lasagna Pie, Empanadas, Turkey chili Homemade Lemon cake and deserts, just awesome treats.

Some of us grew up on the same street and a few started coming around at whatever age you can start going to another street. 11+? And of course, in Los Angeles suburbs still knowing people from same street you grew up is unheard of. Childhood friends, yes Same neighborhood rarely. We have had 4 regulars and at least twelve from that street come by for an activity. Just an incredible feeling when one of them show up.

For me it started fifteen years ago when at my friend’s house He says to me “I gotta go to Freds Shop we have a game every week.” Since Fred was my best friend growing up but had not talked to him in a few months. I looked at him turned my head to that 45 angle and said “you didn’t think to tell me.” Well 15 years later we are both still going weekly.

Our Game players. Me (Left) My Great
 Friend and co-starter Dave
Me (Left) My Great
Friend and co-starter Dave

The Starters

The heart and soul and starters were my two Lifelong friends Fred and Dave. Fred is from our street and Dave started coming around at maybe 11-12. Now the unique and special part of this gathering is MUSIC. Fred owns 8000 Vinyl albums and more then 10,000 CD’s. Believe me the mix of music is incredible. Rock Country 50’s, Soul, 80’s New Wave and more. You never knew and it was great.

The Soul Of The Game

Dave was the soul of the game a natural salesman, but not a used car salesman. A great story of my friend Dave. He calls a radio show, then he talked is way on air with a trivia question for the morning show hosts. Now the question was about a TV show the hosts didn’t like but he talked his way on air. After he asked to talk to purchasing and sold an account of shipping and office supplies, he had till he unfortunately passed away 7 years ago.

Dave was in a tragic car accident when we were 19 our mutual friend Trent did not survive. This tragedy kept Dave in a hospital for months and he lost 1/2 of his left leg. This gave him a lot of problems in his body for the rest of his life but that’s what 100 mph will do to a human body. Great person he was he always said. “At least I got to Keep the knee” and had two boys and two grandchildren so it could have been worse. That’s taking the curveball to right (my version of making Lemonade)! But his Wife Barbara and him had two sons and two grandchild and a home in Palmdale California, he did all right. Miss him every day though and especially on our fantastic game nights we all miss him every week.

The Music Man

Fred ran a business building racks and display cases for supermarkets and a vociferous reader and at 6’3″ 300 pounds good athlete, long beard and ponytail, the man writes poetry. Our girlfriends or wives loved that, believe me. But with his selection the music was just incredible and gave the place a unique feel. You never get this mix of music anywhere else. For the group almost every week he would make new “mix” CDs too play every week at our fantastic game.

The Other Characters

Mark started coming around at 10 years old and has been a great friend for over 55 years. An avid Ocean Fisherman, around the LA waters, mostly Ventura. Now mark was that kid who knew all the obnoxious things young kids know, like the old hook up a purse put fake money hanging out. Then when someone tries to pick it up you pull it away.

Crazy young humor, and Mark also just has a real fun-loving soul. Now as a an outstanding adult. Farah his strong thoughtful and independent mother taught him to be Thoughtful and Responsible. Good Job Farah. Mark is retired from a government job and is with his wife Mei, a business owner and make-up professional. Come to think of it between, Leora, Diane, Diane, Barbara, Betty or Laura there is not a non strong among them and there must be a connection between good mom’s and good adults.

My Friend Mike and MY God dog Russel
Mike is a local at our fantastic game

The Veterans

Now comes my best friend now “Boston” Mike. This picture is of Mike and my God Dog Russell. What a character, Mike too. Mike still has family living in Massachusetts, and he and his wife Debra are planning to retire and move there. I’m Going to Miss That Dog. And my best friends Mike and Debra. Mike is an Army veteran as is his incredible wife Debra, from Michigan. 4-5 Army Veterans and my brother the former Marine have played here. Mike is my neighbor now for over 10 years. When I play soul music he just might get up to sing and dance, childish fun at 65+, gotta love it. And our fantastic game does love it.

Sargeant Major

Mitch a friend I cannot remember not knowing. I lived with the man’s brother for 3 years in our 20’s and was great friends with their youngest brother. Mitch being 3 years older than me which means he had some influence on me, probably not enough! He joined the Army and became a MP and a Seargent Major with over 20 years in the active Army reserve. He joined when I was 14 and he was 17 and 40 years later we started our friendship again.

Mitch was the head of security for a government facility and he and his wife Terri have two children. The son is a Army Major and the daughter a civil engineer I believe or a professional in a similar position. Their son and his wife just had Mitch and Terri’s first grandchild. Beach Boys, The Grass Roots, 70 -72 rock &0’s classic rock and 90’s country, is what music I break out for him.

My Brother The Former Marine

My sister-in-Law Carol. Never played at our game
My sister-in-Law Carol

The last veteran is my brother Tom the “former” marine. Because as my Navy Veteran Dad told me, I was in the navy for three years but you’re a Marine for life”. Thats my brother, I wouldn’t say Hippie but is at least a 60’s rock attitude. But he is Marine. Yes, my 5’8′ brother is a former Marine. The great story here is I brought my brother to the game without Fred knowing. They had not seen each in 30 or more years. Fred was almost speechless it was awesome.

Tom has been playing over 10 years and even lost his wife in that time. My special sister-in- law Carol, who treated me like a brother and was the best sister-in-law I could have asked for. Her and Tom had a 20-year Halloween house. It was that house that parents brought their kids to because they had gone there when they were young. Miss her every day.

The Others

This is equipment Dan contracts
This is equipment Dan contracts

My friend Dan and his wife Leslie, went to their wedding in 1984 I believe. Leslie opens their house every week for us and prepares great break time snacks sometimes. Turkey Chili, Lasagna Pie just 2 I think of. Dan who if he wasn’t coaching 14 year olds in baseball I might never had coached for 18 years. I even went back 10 years ago and helped him coach his son Anthony. Dan is a third generation building and Contruction demolition professional. A show that bought a abandoned storage spot brought Dan out to check some demolition equipment. Don’t remember the money but he told them Ill give you a little money to paint the ball and make it a sign. Nobody uses them anymore. The picture to te right is what he hires.

Over the years we have played at 4 different locations and had many people come and go, still here. Greg a Vietnam Special Forces and an older brother of my high school friend. Moved up to his land in northern California. Jay a Set coordinator in the entertainment industry who had three successful multi-year TV shows and now has an office job for a studio. His sister who moved to Australia for 20+ years and has a stepson who played when he comes to visit. And of course, the youngsters Kay 40’s and Jude 50’s who both have fit in like family. Both are golf caddies and Jude was an original.

Great Group

Our fantastic game is a great group of friends and that makes this a fun gathering we also had a race Saturday that allowed to watch the first 50-year-old winner of race. Game sevens with rooters on both sides. BBQ s food nights and many other people’s son’s young adult children have played at different times. An irreplaceable part of our lives at 50 and 60. Incredible Times for many years Went longer than I expected because talking about our fantastic game is so fun. I will end it here.

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