A thin stream of fractured daylight split through the amber sheer and woke me. I cracked one eye and searched for something familiar. I asked myself two pressing questions:  Where am I and which way to the bathroom?


A heavy baroque bureau decorated with family pictures came into focus. Chicago. My thoughts rewound and I hazily recalled landing at O’Hare six hours ago. A close family friend had passed away just months after celebrating his hundredth birthday and we flew in for the memorial celebration. (That’s right, not a wake or funeral service but a full-blown, pizza-making, bean-bag-tossing party.)


I climbed out of the sleigh bed and Quasimodo-shuffled into the kitchen. Indian Summer had challenged fall to one last bout and lost. The house was freezing. (Little known fact that “Quasi” lived briefly in the West Loop before moving to Transylvania, his dad being a pharmaceutical rep. and all, and the hump on his shoulder wasn’t really a birth defect. It came from the Chicago Standard wind deflection maneuver: crouch and huddle.)


p>Shivering, I  hunched over, got dressed, slipped on my Converse dancing shoes and prepared to party.


The celebration was just as I expected. An upbeat mob eating, drinking, and dancing reminiscing in way that would have made our hundred-year-old friend proud.


In the middle of the festivities, Louie’s son paid homage to his father.


He said, “Recipe for a happy life according to Louie: Do what brings you joy, be fair, hold up your end and make sure people hold up their’s.”


Words to live by.


After all, he should know. The room was packed with people he’d  known for a hundred years.


*Note to self:  Do what brings you joy.


*Advice from the old wise guy and the talented, however complicated, “Gaga”:  “Just dance, gonna be okay, da da doo-doo-mmm, just dance.”



E.L. Chappel author of Risk

Learning life lessons from the seniors

aka The Glamorous Wife

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