It's Father's Day weekend. Always a tough day for me, like most days these days.
I grew up in a fatherless home. And even when my father was home he was essentially absent. Fortunately, I have Uncle Slappy in my world. Slappy is both willing and able to fill the role as my lost father's surrogate.
I called Uncle Slappy this morning, not able to wait till tomorrow, Father's Day, to call him. I will call him tomorrow as well, but when you have Uncle Slappy in your life, you really can't speak to him too often. What's more, he's pushing 85, and though he's hale and hearty and his mind is as fast as an Intel Dual Core, you just never know how much longer he'll be around. The last thing I want is for him to die and for me to feel regret that I hadn't had enough time with him.
Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie never had kids. I don't know if that was there choice or if they had some other issue. In any event, my brother, sister and I were in a sense adopted by them. Over the years, my brother has drifted away and my sister died young and tragically. In the meantime, I have grown closer and closer to the old man. Though I some times complain when he's up from Boca (my three bedrooms seem awfully claustrophobic when he is around) he is a big part of my life, lending me wisdom and stability and experience when I need it.
He started this morning's call with a joke.
Two old Jewish men, alta kockers, are sitting in the sun on those benches in the middle of Broadway on the Upper West Side.
Abe says to Benny, "How's your new marriage?"
Benny says, "Oy. My marriage is terrible. My wife is only twenty years old. She's absolutely gorgeous. Giant breasts. And all she wants to do is have sex with me, day in and day out."
Abe asks, "That sounds great! What's horrible about that?"
And Benny replies, "I forgot where I live."
That's the other thing about Uncle Slappy.
He almost always hands me a laugh.