The Nussbaums came over this weekend, Ettie and Freddy.
They're friends of Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie from their condo complex, and their grandson, Teddy, was graduating from Columbia Medical School, and with all the graduations this season, they couldn't get a hotel room in Manhattan for less than $800, so Uncle Slappy asked could they stay, and I said 'yes, of course, they could stay with us.'
Ettie and Freddy called when they landed at LaGuardia to let us know they arrived safely.
"We just picked up our baggage at carousel three," Freddy said, "and now we're headed to the taxi line."
"Good," I soothed. "Then we'll see you in about half an hour."
"Carousel three is a dump," Freddy continued. "It creaks like an old man's knees and is dirty, to boot. The taxi-line is covered in nicotine and monoxide."
"This is New York, Freddy. Not everything is as spic-and-span as we'd like. Just don't take a Gypsy cab. Not only will they rip you off, they're dangerous, too."
"Forty dollars this will cost me. Is there no other way to get to Manhattan."
Freddie was a Certified Public Accountant in Rosyln Heights. He's been retired for 20 years and living in Boca--two down from the pool. He has plenty of money but acts as if his will run out any minute.
"I'm turning off the cellular now," he barked. "We're in a taxi, 2B19, should we get abducted and I don't want any roaming charges."
I tried to explain--as I've tried to explain to Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie--that the phone company doesn't charge you any longer when you just leave your phone on. And turning it off defeats the purpose of having a cell in the first place. I tried to explain, but the line had already gone dead.
The Nussbaums arrived as I expected in about half an hour. They quickly dropped their Tumi luggage, which Howard, my second cousin got for them half price (he's in the business and knows people) and sat at the dining room table where my wife served them some fresh-brewed coffee and a slice each of cinnamon babka she had removed from the freezer and toasted.
"You toasted," Freddy said.
"It was in the freezer," my wife owned up.
"Ach toasted. It's from Glaser's? I'll have another slice-ala."
"So," I said sitting down with the Nussbaum's, "A doctor in the family."
"It's about time," Ettie said. "It hurts when I go like this." She said, touching her left shoulder blade with her right hand.
On cue, Freddy said, "So don't go like that."
He got up to leave the table, brushing a pound's worth of babka crumbs on the floor, "for the hundt. Then he padded into our well-worn guest room.
"A nap I'm taking," he yelled from behind the closed pocket door.
"Forty winks will do you good," I answered.
"Thirty-nine," he said. "I don't want you to think I'm a lazy bones."