What a Time it Was!

On October 3, 2019 my cousin Dave Moreau passed away.  https://www.williamsbergeykoffel.com/obituary/david-moreau

Dave, Joe Szpila, another cousin, and I spent uncountable hours together playing music on our way to rock stardom.  Those moments growing up undoubtedly changed us all. We never became rock stars, but we forged a lifetime of memories.

David was a masterful writer with a gift for words and an infectious sense of humor. During those many days spent together, Joe and Dave would torture me over various preferences, particularly mayonnaise vs. mustard. 

This is a piece I wrote several years ago about those times. Despite the torture I endured at their hands, they were magical moments I have cherished all these years.

Travel well, my friend. The echoes of Bookends lives on.

Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you.

Tormented by Choice

All of us face choices in our lifetime. Some of these can affect a moment, a day, or a lifetime. Often, we face ridicule and torment from those who follow a different path.

Does the toilet paper roll go over or under?

Peanut butter first, then Jelly or vice versa?

Yankees or Red Sox? (This one’s is easy for me. I like pinstripes and World Series Flags.)

Does anyone really know what time it is?

However, there is one choice I have consistently made which subjected me to a lifetime of torment and terror. One that every time I make the choice I have instant flashbacks to the taunts and the torments.

Tortures visited upon me by two people I looked up to, admired, tried to emulate.

After all these years, I am ready to face my darkest fears. Ready to confront the demons of the past.

You see, from the moment I was able to choose, I always picked mayonnaise over mustard.

There was no other way to go.

Yet I faced the ridicule, nay bullying, of my two cousins who shall remain nameless (Dave Moreau and Joe Szpila.)

They made sport of my choice. Sniffing the mayonnaise coated knife as if covered with the excrement of demons. Insinuating I was insane to so choose. Madness, they implied, it must be madness.

Oh how they tortured me. Their haughty superiority as mustard men hung over me like the Sword of Damocles.

To this day, I cannot enjoy a sandwich with my beloved mayonnaise without the demons of the past laughing in my mind. Even now, as I try to enjoy my sandwich, the torments continue.

A lifetime of torment for a simple choice. As Shakespeare said in As You Like It, “How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!”

2 thoughts on “What a Time it Was!

  1. Dear Joe,

    Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

    I write to apologize for the grievous indignities you suffered under my callous behavior at the kitchen table decades ago, and just as importantly to report that I have long since “seen the light,” so to speak.

    For I have grown not only to appreciate, but to savor the miracle whip known as mayonnaise.

    I believe I can speak for David here, as well, for in later years we both came to enjoy generously slathering our deli sandwiches with equal proportions of mustard AND mayo (Hellmann’s being our brand of choice).

    Perhaps we could characterize this condiment conversion as a sort of “Ebony and Ivory” epiphany, with both spreads living in perfect harmony.

    So the long and short of it is, Joseph: You were half right. We were half wrong.

    With apologies long overdue, we can now, perhaps, let it be.

    Your old pals,

    Joe and—I’m sure he would want me to sign—Dave

    1. Mr. Szpila,

      No apologies necessary as, truth be told, I have come to embrace mustard on many a sandwich myself.
      You are right in that we all learned to expand our horizons.
      We shall now let it be and just hold fast to the memories of those enlightening experiences.

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