Just three days ago – Wednesday – was a fabulous day. I wanted to get earrings for my mother, so I asked Bo to go to Atlantic City, which he did enthusiastically, “as long as you drive.”
On the way, he asked me perhaps 6 or 7 times why I was going, what I was going for, and I explained that the jewelry store there had the kind of earring that my arthritic mother could put onto her ears. When we arrived in Atlantic City, I drove toward the Tropicana which isn’t the casino where he usually goes, and he was completely unsure about where the Trop was located and where we would park.
“There’s under-roof parking there, like all the casinos,” I said.
“Oh,” was his unsure reply. “I didn’t know that.”
But once we were in the Trop, (entry is through a really great shopping area) his energy rose and he was hurrying toward the casino. We agreed that I would meet him at a table, so he left and I went to the jewelry store. When I had the earrings, I went to the casino, and found him at a craps table – the only player with 4 dealers. My blood pressure rose and I became nervous. Had I made a mistake? Would he forget what he was doing?
I sat at an empty table behind him, more and more short of breath. At one point, Bo was throwing the dice and I stopped a waitress for a big gingerale which I gulped down in a second. I walked over to the table. He had piles of chips on 14 numbers and boxes! Adding chips, taking away, throwing a chip to the dealer, throwing the dice, rolling his other chips in his hands. I was a wreck. Would this be a disaster? What was I thinking?
But it wasn’t. The chips started to accumulate in the tray in front of him, he continued to press his bets, other players came to watch or get in on the game. Then he walked away from the table, a winner.
He was so energized and happy. I was amazed by the skill and concentration he had shown. And he was himself again.
We ended the evening by going back to the jewelry store to buy me a great unexpected Christmas present. Driving home, he was talkative and sharp. And all I could think of was the vast difference between a long, boring day and a mental challenge that demanded concentration and fell back on his many years of experience — getting his adrenaline flowing.