My older daughter Sarah is leaving today, driving back to Boston with her boyfriend in about an hour. So Uncle Slappy and I went on a Pilgrimage to Mecca--to Katz's Deli--to get some sandwiches and accoutrements for a farewell lunch.
While my wife waited in the Simca, Uncle Slappy and I worked our deli-magic. Between us we have 130 years of deli-shopping experience and so we know more than just about anyone when it comes to navigating the crush of people (and tourists) that can challenge even the deftest deli-deliberator.
We entered the place at 12:05, about five minutes after opening and we made a bee-line for the shortest line. There was just a tongue sandwich ahead of us, and by 12:07 we were laying our order on the Popeye-forearmed pastrami slicer.
Uncle Slappy decorously, with as much flair as a matador, waved a crisp ten in front of the slicer and into the plastic drum collecting his tips. The $10 did the trick and in moments plates of corned beef, pastrami and brisket were placed in front of us for samples.
The $10 also made sure that our slicer got us the hotdogs we wanted along with extra pickles, both sour and half, without us having to wait in additional lines.
In short order, our ticket was marked up with Katz's ancient and indecipherable form of Cuneiform and Uncle Slappy and I were headed to the cash register and out of the joint before the place got too crowded for the rye bread to even have caraway seeds. We made it back to the car and I slugged it into gear and we sped up 1st Avenue and made it home in practically no time.
Once home, the criticisms started.
"You bought too much," one daughter said.
"It'll go to waste," said the other.
"We'll be 400 pounds," the older one said. "And we'll get an infarction."
Older and wiser, Uncle Slappy ignored both my magpies.
"To waste, it won't go," was all he said. "You'll take some home with you. And so will your sister."
"We'll be 400 pounds," was one refrain.
"We already have Thanksgiving leftovers," came another.
About an hour later, the sandwiches were eaten, picked at, wrapped up, and apportioned like small European principalities after World War One.
We packed up sandwiches and more for each kid. I think having been in the refrigerator since Thursday night, the leftovers might have multiplied.
"Hungry, you won't be," said Aunt Sylvie.
"Don't forget the pickles," said Uncle Slappy.
"Call us when you get home," my wife implored.
"And don't forget to eat," said Aunt Sylvie.
My older daughter and her boyfriend drove off.
I'm 99.99% sure they won't forget to eat.