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  • The banter I picked up while reading the day’s NYTimes was cliché ridden enough between the young woman behind the bread counter and a visitor from Miami in town for Fashion Week. Three decades separated the two. It was to the affect that money isn’t everything “as long as you have your health” sort of thing.

    Then the young woman heartily–to my eavesdropping surprise–agreed, “We were poor, then we had money, then we were poor again.” Continuing, “We’d go to fancy restaurants when we had money, when we didn’t, we’d go to Subway (sandwich shop).
    But my happiest days were when we lived in a small apartment in Queens. My mom would cook all the meals then. We were closer. That was before the three bedroom, three bath, house with a swimming pool on Long Island.”

    I turned from my reading, “If you don’t mind, how was it you had money and then didn’t,” I asked.
    “My dad, he made money in gambling,” she went on. I’m thinking horses, cards, while wracking my cinema-addled brain. And where? “Atlantic City,” she continued. “All sorts, but he’s really good with the slots.

    It was after 9-11, his business starting going bad. We're Sikhs, they thought he was an Arab. And the economy wasn’t too good. That’s when we got ‘poor’. He always gambled, but it became more obvious.” She went on to explain that he was really into all kinds of gambling. Cards, games. “We used to take trips to Daytona–car racing. Horse racing. He bets on boxing."

    And his business? “He goes to the office everyday but…” shaking her head, she indicated it was a façade. “And he travels a lot, but we don’t know what he does. My mom says she's been married for 25 years but really doesn't know my dad."

    Shades of an underworld. This story could really go on.
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