En route to two weeks in Hawaii, we stopped off in LA for two days, to see friends and family and to meet up with Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie who would be traveling with us to the sunny isles.
As much as part of me would rather a sojourn to the tropics without the old ones, I realize that at 87, neither Aunt Sylvie nor Uncle Slappy are getting any younger. What’s more they were like parents to me when I was growing up, it’s only fitting I am like a son to them now.
We saw them last night as we drove to Palos Verdes Estates south of LA to see cousins Brian and Kelly—the doctors--and their three lovely and breath-takingly well-adjusted teenagers.
We did, of course, what you do in LA, we went out for Mexican food, a new restaurant built on the site of an old Sizzler steak house. LA is a metro-area of some 15 million people, and fully 40% of it is built on the site of an old Sizzler. There are, in fact, even new Sizzlers built on the site of old Sizzlers. It makes no sense, it’s just what they do, like Maori painting their faces or Apache hunting buffalo.
We finished dinner and Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie climbed into one of the teenage-driven cars to go back to Brian and Kelly's for some coffee and dessert. The radio was on, of course, and it was jet-decibles too loud.
Uncle Slappy let loose with one-liner 10744.92. “You’d prefer listening to this rather than music?” he asked his young and distant cousin, Noah—who’s waiting to hear from Yale.
“Uncle Slappy,” replied the teenager, “it’s Pink Floyd,” as if that explained everything.
“Listen,” Uncle Slappy said. “Pink Floyd Schmink Floyd. I’m personal friends with Pink Phil.”
With the timing of a master he let that one settle in and roll around the mini-van.
“Pink Phil lives two units down. He was an actuary in Massapequa Park. He and his wife Tilda moved down when the complex opened. The whitest skin he has that you’ve ever seen. Five minutes in the sun and poof, Phil Abrahmski is Pink Phil.”
It was all Noah could do to stop from driving off the road he was working so hard to restrain his laughter.
Fortunately, we arrived at Brian and Kelly’s house for dessert and everyone piled out. I put my arm around Uncle Slappy as we entered the stucco agglomeration roofed with faux Mediterranean tile.
“Pink Phil?” I asked him.
“You’ve got to keep the young ones on their toes,” he said. And he laughed quietly, almost to himself.