When we were students at Yale back in the 1970s, my friend VJ and I liked to climb around on the rooftops and find our way through windows into interesting places.
We weren’t larcenous. We just wanted to see what we could see. VJ might have purloined the pipe of a college dean, I can’t remember rightly. But that was it.
And one of the most interesting places we found was right next to our college courtyard, where you could climb up a couple of rooftops to an open window where there was a beautiful old pool table and nobody around. So we started playing pool there.
Then one day VJ ventured downstairs and came back with a pitcher of beer! Turns out there was a bar down there and noboby around there either. Naturally we wound up playing pool there quite a bit.
Then one time we went through the window and there was a guy there in GI trousers firing pool balls into the pockets like a Russian sniper. Instead of calling the cops, he introduced himself and invited us to join the club that owned the building, St. Anthony’s Hall, and we did.
It had been, traditionally, an exclusive secret society like Skull and Bones, where you have to wait to get ‘tapped’, but while we were there, anyone who wanted to could join. This was a time when revolution was in the air and many students, myself included, were inclined to run through the streets yelling “Silence is consent.” At the time, it needed yelling.
Anyway the guy who invited me and VJ to join St. A’s was a guy named Geoffrey Walker, whom I just had the great pleasure of visiting at his stately home in Houston, Texas.
It was Geoffrey who introduced me to M. Armand Dupre, who worked at St. A’s for many years and was a great friend to all of us. He once told me, “You think too much,” and boy was he right.
He taught us the fine points of cribbage and casino and gin rummy and shared the insights of a full and interesting life that began in an orphanage in Quebec. Once in a while, he expressed his regret at not having children.
I don’t know if this is a poem. It’s just something Armand said and I wrote down:
Time is endless.
Time is precious.
It makes things better
And it makes things worse.
But most of all,
It gives the little boys
A chance to play with the little girls.