Sunday, October 2, 2016

A road trip with Uncle Slappy.

My wife of 32 years and six months is as far from a termagant, harridan or virago as you can get. Nevertheless, when Uncle Slappy and I left the house this morning, we were under strict orders: Come back with three pounds of fresh figs or don’t come back at all.

We are having Rosh ha-Shanah dinner at our house, and my wife’s latest recipe called for figs, figs and more figs.

Fortunately, she gave me a list of stores that claimed they had fresh figs. I first went to the one furthest away from our apartment—a little specialty store about 25-miles from home that promised they had the out-of-season fruit.

Though they had assured my wife on the phone that they had fresh figs, by the time we arrived at the place, they were no more.

“You must be cooking that recipe from the Times,” the clerk said to me. “There’s been a run on figs.”

He recommended a place one town over.

Uncle Slappy and I piled into the car and made it there post-haste.

“No,” the salesman said, “we have them at our sister store. It’s about ten miles from here.”

We called the sister store.

“Do you have fresh figs,” I asked.

“We certainly do,” said the kid on the phone. “I’ll put some aside for you.”

Uncle Slappy and I once again jumped into my 1966 Simca 1500, buckled up and drove down the highway. We arrived in just minutes.

“I’m here for the fresh figs,” I said to the clerk.

“You said dried figs,” he claimed.

My voice went up about 40 decibels.

“I spoke to LaMar on the phone,” I said, a bit too loudly. “He said he had fresh figs.

“Sir,” the kid said to me, “you are causing an incident.”

Uncle Slappy escorted me out of the store, lest the local constabulary appear.

We called two more places in two more towns and got two more assurances that they had fresh figs. When we had arrived at those places, they had nothing.

Finally, dejected, and more than a little bit scared, I called that paragon of animals, my wife.

“I have come up empty,” I said. “We went to six stores from one end of Westchester County to the other. I could no more find fresh figs than Donald Trump can find votes from the black community.”

“Oh, no problem,” she answered, cheerfully. “I found them at Grace’s,” she said mentioning a food market about a mile from our apartment. “But thanks for trying.”

Uncle Slappy and I rode silently back to the city.

But first we stopped at Carvel for an ice-cream.

It somehow made the whole trip worthwhile.

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