Uncle Slappy called last night, as he does so often. The fact of the matter is, Uncle Slappy is more of a father to me than my own father ever was. And though he is as hale and hardy as you can be at the age of 86, both of us know that neither he nor I are getting any younger. Every conversations and every visit we have, therefore, is something we hold dear, something not to be taken for granted.
“Aunt Sylvie,” he said “and I went to the theatre last night.”
“That’s odd,” I answered. “The last time you went to the theatre, you saw the Boca Raton Player’s interpretation of “My Fair Lady,” with the 71-year-old Minnie Abramovitz as Eliza and the 92-year-old Milt Goldfarb as Professor Henry Higgins.”
“Interpretation was putting it mildly,” Uncle Slappy corrected. “If I remember, and at my age, who knows if I do, the Players retitled the play “My Fair Shiksa,” and Higgins was teaching Eliza how to make kreplach.”
“That sounds about right,” I answered. “What did you see last evening?” I was immediately sorry I asked.
“Well, Aunt Sylvie bought a prescription to the Boca Players. So now we'll go every few weeks. Last night we went to “The Book of Norman.”
“You mean Mormon.”
“No,” he said, “Norman. The story of Norman Rabinowitz, a struggling schlemiel as he tries to sell his Bildungsroman in New York publishing circles.”
“Oy,” I said, issuing my standard response.
“Oy is right,” the old man echoed. “There wasn’t a single song you left the theatre humming.”
“That’s too bad. I know how you like a good musical number.”
“Rogers and Hammerstein it wasn’t. But next week, maybe, next week might be better.”
He let a long pause intervene to build tension leading up to his punch line.
“We are seeing “Cats,” he said. “As in K-A-T-Z.”
And with that, he hung up the Ameche.