Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day with Uncle Slappy.

At least in part thanks to Uncle Slappy, I grew up in a different era than most of my age peers. While they were listening to the Who (which of course Uncle Slappy called "the Whom) Yes, the Grateful Dead and the Moody Blues, I grew up hearing the music of the great Harry Ruby.

Ruby wrote most of the music for the Marx Brothers including "I'm Against It," and "Everyone Says I Love You." He also wrote "I Wanna be Loved by You," which was sung by Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like it Hot" and his biggest hit, "Three Little Words."

Yesterday when I called Uncle Slappy for Father's Day, he immediately delivered some Harry Ruby to me. I've probably called Uncle Slappy for Father's Day 45 times. Each time he's serenaded me with these words:

"Today, Father, is Father's Day
And we're giving you a tie
It's not much we know
It is just our way of showing you
We think you're a regular guy
You say that it was nice of us to bother
But it really was a pleasure to fuss
For according to our mother
You're our father
And that's good enough for us

Yes, that's good enough for us"

"You got the Father's Day gift I sent," I asked in the Yiddish imperative.

I had sent the old man a dozen H&H bagels, a pound of hand-sliced Nova Scotia salmon (which he calls 'lox') and his favorite thing on Earth, a pound of hand-sliced and vacuum-packed sturgeon.

"Yes," Slappy said. "Two months it should last me."

I immediately had the fear all Jewish children have about their aging parents. That they would reduce their daily rations down close to concentration camp portions.  It's not unusual for older Jewish women to take the crackers and bread placed on restaurant tables and keep it in their handbags "for later." Sometimes these "for later" victuals outlive the women carrying them.

"Two months, Uncle Slappy. I sent plenty. But not enough for two months."

"Don't worry about me, boychick. For six weeks I do nothing but smell. Then when the smell is completely in my corpuscles, only then do I eat."

"I see. You have a system."

"And my nieces," he said changing the subject, "they called me today as well. They are nice kinderlach."

"Yes, they are," I agreed. 

"More you couldn't ask for. You're a good man, boychick" Uncle Slappy said hanging up the horn.

More I couldn't ask for.

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