Uncle Slappy called early this morning as I knew he would. It's Mother's Day and Uncle Slappy isn't one to miss an occasion to call--even if it's a fairly spurious one like a Hallmark holiday.
"Happy Mother's Day back to Aunt Sylvie," I say, somewhat weakly.
"Oy, Aunt Sylvie," intoned Slappy. "58 years we've been married. 56 mothers' days we've been through together. She still doesn't know how to make a piece of toast."
Toast--the decline thereof--is one of Uncle Slappy's favorite subjects. He traces the decline of America as a world power to the loss of our ability, as a nation, to make a decent piece of toast.
"I took your Aunt to the Embassy Suites this morning," began Slappy "for an all you can eat Mother's Day Brunch. $14.95. And lox they had twirled up in little curls. A big Waring toast making machine, too, a conveyor belt for toast.
"You know how I like my toast, boychick. Dark. Not just warmed or singed. Toasted. They had the speed of the toaster conveyor so high you could get dizzy watching the bagels go by. They were barely even hotted after one time through.
"I turned the speed down and got myself a nice bagel dark. With the lox, delicious. But a ruckus this caused because there was a backup at the toaster like the Mosholu Parkway during rush hour. The Puerto Rican maitre d' came over and readjusted. All of a sudden no more line, but no more toast."
"It sounds like it was mayhem at the Embassy Suites, Uncle Slappy."
"And Aunt Sylvie was beside herself. Even on Mother's Day, she said to me, you have to a ruckus cause.
"What Sylvie and most women don't understand is that toast is inviolate. In fact, if you made a ladies perfume that smelled like a toasted bialy you'd have to beat the men off with a stick."
"Put Aunt Sylvie on," I asked Uncle Slappy. "I want to wish her Happy Mother's Day."
"Too late," replied Slappy, "she's in the kitchen scraping the burn off a bagel."