Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This past evening I had a unique and most enjoyable experience. I spoke on the phone to my long-time good friends, Gregg and Marla Sanderson, in Clearwater Beach, Florida, where they were partaking of a meal at Bob Heilman's Beachcomber restaurant. The reason for the call was that I was paying for the meal, as a result of this month's election results. Yes, I bet that the Democrats would retain the House, and I think this is the first election bet I have lost.

As I use almost everything that happens to me and around me as material for future books, my two blogs, and my audio club programs, I tend to look at new experiences with laser vision and as much self-awareness as I can muster. And I realized, somewhat surprisingly, that I did not feel upset at the election results or at losing the bet to Gregg. I know it has become popular of late to be very pessimistic about the direction this country is taking, and it seems to me that many of the people whose candidates won are still predicting doom and gloom in the immediate future. And there is nothing more boring than an unhappy winner.

I am exceedingly optimistic that we will find a way out of our difficulties, as we always have. And to personalize it to the extreme, the Republican victory has allowed me to have the very real pleasure of taking Gregg and Marla out to dinner. This was a special treat for me as well as the two of them. The last time I had the satisfaction of buying a couple of friends dinner was before I started my 12 years of incarceration back in 1996.

And this was unusual in that it was done at a great distance--me in California, the two of them in Florida. So, I was not present, I did not get to enjoy my own meal at the Beachcomber, but I am planning to vicariously savor every bite as Gregg promises to give me a full report with photos. All I know at this point is that he started with Oysters Florentine while Marla had Vichyssoise (I have gotten some weird reactions in restaurants when asking if they could heat this cold thick soup--it just doesn't seem like soup to me unless it's hot.).

After we talked, I went online and read some reviews of the restaurant. And I already have a complaint about Gregg's choice of an appetizer (we have a long and fun history of sticking our noses in each other's business). Several of the reviews mentioned that a specialty of the house was Clams Casino, one of my own favorites, so my vicarious thrill would have been even more so if that had been their first course.

The truth is that I plan to get more out of this long distance taking of friends to dinner than if I did it in person. This is about intention. And reflection. Gregg and Marla and I have had many meals together, as Gregg and I also did with his beautiful and amazing first wife, Linda, who passed on much too soon. They were divorced for some years when that sad event occurred, but had remained really close and supportive friends.

So this meal tonight reminded me of many others we shared. At the Red Diamond, an Italian place in Miami where we would go after one of my early workshops at the Cornucopia growth center. At the Court of the Two Sisters in New Orleans, where Gregg almost took his pants off--but that's a story for another time. At some great places in San Diego and Nevada City where Gregg and Marla lived for a time. At a great lobster place Gregg introduced me to in Rosarito Beach in Baja, Mexico.

We've broken bread at many meals in many places, and always with a zest for the epicurean delights being offered and a warm conviviality nurtured in the warmth of each other's company. So I felt much of that good feeling as Gregg and Marla enjoyed dinner on me, and consider it a prelude to many more meals enjoyed together once I am off my parole period and able to freely travel.

And of course, I look forward to a rematch in 2012, when I'll be the recipient of Gregg's generosity and hospitality, assuming I get better at reading the electorate in these weird and wonderful political times.


.............. .............. ....,......... ....,......... Gregg Sanderson said...

Great post, Jerry. It brought back many happy memories.

We decided to pick up part of the tab ourselves since it greatly exceeded your estimate, but now I realize it would be unfair to deprive you of all that extra pleasure.

Pictures will be on Facebook shortly. Thanks again for a sumptuous meal. May your powers of political prognostication ever remain as perfectly perceptive as previous pronouncements.

ned senderoff said...

I would have taken that bet also.that beach is not far for me here in Saint petersburg so if you feel like taking a chance I will be you the next time..I bet that restarant has the red lobster beat?