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Brandy, she's a fine girl; just ask Roger and Pete

An unintended consequence of home confinement: to perhaps use the quiet in deeper contemplation about our lives and values.

For those of us who enjoy occasional moments gathered in thought, perhaps the following question has rolled around through the old noggin:

What do we really miss most about our old lives here in this new abnormal?

My answer came Tuesday afternoon during a time and place most great answers usually come from: out of nowhere. And it was beautiful.

It was during my daily constitutional that Pandora randomly picked the song "Brandy" by Looking Glass. (She's a fine girl. What a good wife she would be.)

And then I realized what I miss most: Thursdays.

Let me explain. Every Thursday, I go to happy hour in Mystic with my friends Roger Bidwell and Pete Barry. Their names are familiar to the sports section. Bidwell coached Avery Point baseball to more than 1,000 wins. Barry won more than 400 basketball games at Coast Guard and authored what I believe is the Academy's finest sports accomplishment: The Elite Eight of the NCAA Div. III Tournament in 2008.

We divide our time between Anthony J's and Bravo Bravo, engaging in the wonder of Guy Talk. The best part: Our laughter often disturbs the other patrons.

Here is where we circle back to "Brandy." In February, our trio was having dinner at the new house of our good friend Gene Spaziani, who knows more about wine than anybody else in the history of the world, including Gallo, Mondavi, Kendall or Jackson. Gene is a hoot.

He was telling us about his winemaking and also about his foray into harder hitting hues — specifically about brandy. Somehow, the conversation veered into a different topic, prompting Pete to say, "Gene, could you tell us about brandy again?"

I interrupted.

"You know," I said to Pete, "she's a fine girl."

And then our happy bunch of dopes broke into song. As many of the lyrics of "Brandy" as we knew. It got funnier and funnier, louder and louder. Not a dry eye in the house from abject laughter. It has turned into our best inside joke.

Hearing "Brandy" the other day not only made me wistful, but mindful of what I truly miss: the nuances of people. Sure, I miss sports and games, but only in the context of how they bring us together for those insignificant moments that only mean everything.

Example: It's not baseball I miss as much as the idle chatter between pitches.

I treasure my Thursdays because friendship, laughter and Something To Look Forward To are important. They make the more important issues of the world more manageable. We need moments that give us comfort and enjoyment. Life can't — and shouldn't — be serious and solemn all the time. We need things that bring joy to our day.

Thursdays have become akin to our favorite TV and movie lines. You know they're coming and you laugh anyway. Bidwell walks in and inevitably says, "I'm a legend in these parts. Except that nobody knows my name."

People look inquisitively at him. Pete and I just wait for it and giggle. Then we always have the same toast: "Here's to the winners of the world."

Maybe when this is over, we will all appreciate our "Thursdays" more. Whatever "Thursday" means to you. For me, it's being around people and appreciating all their little idiosyncratic ways.

It's kind of like the timeless scene in "When Harry Met Sally" when Billy Crystal tells Meg Ryan, "I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich."

Same here. I love anticipating that one day every week when I'm going to hurt my sides laughing at things that are mostly sophomoric, but I swear more important than a lung.

I hope we all get back to our "Thursdays" soon. Meanwhile ... The sailors say, "Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl); "What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl); "Yeah, your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea."

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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