Monday, January 30, 2006

Fifth Avenue Rich

Fifth Avenue at the base of Central Park--within arm's reach of the gargoyles of the Plaza Hotel--is the place to be rich. I always think of this. Possibility and a brilliant future loom large when you walk past the row of Hansom cabs, tuck into a warm bowl of minestrone soup in the elegant, low-ceilinged confines of "Cipriani's," admire the silks and cashmeres in the window of "Bergdorf Goodman." I walk these beautiful blocks alone in the summer and wintertime thinking about the gold watches I want to buy, the roof-top terraces I will own, the vacations I must take and then describe in letters back home. When the July heat beats down, I step into a store perfumed with retail extravagance, cooled down to the temperature of my local Cineplex back home. In the bitter February snow, I warm up by the fires of street vendors roasting chestnuts or on the dark, velvet banquet of the St. Regis. I've always been able to go anywhere and do anything because I'm young and just pretty enough. But, now all that is changing.

Ever-present in my mind: Granddaddy, Jamie, babies. It's not just me anymore. I know that Pappy is now somewhere watching, praying that I don't miscalculate my future. Jamie is cooking and struggling and hoping that I don't expect too much. The babies, well, just thinking about a little one makes my heart swell and my throat close up.

There is something beyond money and Fifth Avenue and my original New York City dream. This hits me hard.

Granddaddy and I used to tango on the back porch. It was nothing like the dance I learned in Buenos Aires (or like they practice at "Belle Epoque" on Broadway) but, it made the cousins laugh and Grandmother smile that gorgeous smile of hers. Cheek-to-cheek, arms extended, we stared down the long, sun-filled room out to the lake and then the lake beyond. This is what he liked to do when the sun tucked behind his tall, strong pines--right before the deer came up to feed. "If I go down like this, with a beautiful blonde in my arms, I'll die a happy man." my Pappy told me more than once. His life was rich. Our life together was rich. We were leagues away from Fifth Avenue and the Plaza Hotel...

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