Monday, May 6, 2013

A morning with Slappy.

Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie flew up this weekend for a week or ten days in New York. Truth be told, they're not fans of South Florida. While their condo community is a nice one and they've found a coterie of friends and a host of companions, they regret ever leaving the city.

The city was where they had spent their entire lives. They were each born on the Lower East Side back when that area was a poor Jewish enclave and as they made their way in the world, moved around Manhattan and the Bronx to nicer and better apartments.

Their last apartment was paid for by the Temple, Beth Youiz Mywom Mannow, and accordingly was directly across the street from the Shul, in one of Manhattan's most rarefied areas. It was only a junior four, but it suited the two of them perfectly. Unfortunately, with Uncle Slappy's forced retirement from the Temple, came his resettlement to Boca.

As a consequence, Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie spend as much time in New York as practicable, crashing with me in my three-bedroom on the Upper East Side. About two years ago we redid the place--with Slappy and Sylvie in mind. Accordingly the guest room, though small and facing the street is about as comfortable a room as you'll find anywhere.

Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie arrived about 11. There was a knock on our front door and there they were.

"You schlepped your bags up yourself," I said. "You should have rung up, I would have helped you."

"When I need a stripling to carry my bags," Slappy began, "called the Associated Press." Slappy left his roller bag in our foyer and headed straight for our eat-in kitchen. By Uncle Slappy's reckoning, my wife makes the world's best coffee and the old man poured himself a cup.

"This is worth the trip from Boca," he began. "Of course a sting in the cornea from a hornet is worth the trip from Boca, feh."

Aunt Sylvie and my wife rolled the luggage into the guest room and Slappy and I sat at the kitchen table.

"A stickle, you have?"

I took a cherry danish I had bought from Fairway out of a waxed paper bag and cut it in quarters. I put two quarters on a plate and placed it in from of Uncle Slappy.

"Fairway's," he said. The word itself spreading a smile over his lips.

Aunt Sylvie padded in, wearing a pair of scuffed turquoise leather bedroom slippers. She sat cater-corner from Slappy and across from me.

"Whitefish," she said.

I got up once again and went to the fridge and removed a small piece of smoked whitefish. I sliced open a sesame bagel and poured her a cup and brought the assemblage over to her place.

She took a small bite like a bird and let the whitefish sit on her palate. She closed her eyes in an expression of pure ecstasy.

"So good, so good, so good." She repeated. The whitefish, apparently, was so good she could say nothing but so good.

"You have plans for today?" I asked them when each of them had completed one swallow. "Do you want to sit by the pool (there's a small one in the basement) go to a museum or watch the Knicks. Do you have any plans?"

"With food like this, boychick," Slappy said "my plans are to have a second bite."

It took them a good 45 minutes but around noon they finished their nosh.

Uncle Slappy folded neatly his paper napkin and placed it in the center of his plate. He stood up and placed the plate into the sink, napkin and all.

When he was done he stood up to his full 5'9" and asked more than a bit plaintively, "Lunch?"


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