Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Holiday grocery shopping with Uncle Slappy.

Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie arrived on the 6:50AM flight from Boca, landing at LaGuardia airport at just before 10AM. I was there to pick them up and it didn't take long for Uncle Slappy to begin.

"Boychick, I've got spilkas like you can only get from sitting in 'economy class.' Let's drop Aunt Sylvie off at home and let's you and I go for a walk."

After all these years, I've learned to take Uncle Slappy's moods in stride. "That's exactly what I was thinking. As a matter of fact, assuming it's ok with Aunt Sylvie, I have a shopping list here in my pocket. We can head up to Fairway and do a little grocery."

Aunt Sylvie agreed. She was more than happy to have him out of her grey but luxuriant hair for a while.

I pulled up to the front of my co-op, put on the flashers and took Aunt Sylvie and their luggage up to the apartment. Rosh Ha Shanah starts on Saturday and Yom Kippur finishes up ten days later. In all, Aunt Sylvie and Uncle Slappy were planning on staying with us for nearly two weeks. It made sense to go up to Fairway and buy some provisions.

"The chocolate covered graham crackers," Uncle Slappy began, "with the raspberry jam filling. These they still make."

I was navigating the Bruckner Expressway, never an easy task and made tougher by having to keep up with Uncle Slappy.

"The last I checked, they had them."

"Because there's a law, you know. They have to stop making everything old people enjoy. And close every restaurant we used to like."

"I understand," I temporized. "It seems that nothing lasts anymore."

"You know what lasts? Tsurrus (ed. note: troubles) lasts. A restaurant with lines out the door, they close down. Just when my frequent diner card is about fully full. But tsurrus, it lasts forever."

I steered the Simca through the various mergers of various highways and made my way to the pock-marked asphalt service roads off of exit 10. I steered around the abyss and into the Fairway parking lot in Pelham Bay, just a glottal spit's distance away from the border of the Bronx.

We stopped first at Fairway's liquor store to pick up some wine for the holiday meal. A young African American came over to help us.

"You have Kosher wines," I asked.

"In the back," he answered, politely.

"Sure," Uncle Slappy said, "stick the Jews in the back."

The young black man laughed nervously. He wasn't sure if Uncle Slappy was channeling his inner Allan Dershowitz, or if he was joking. Fortunately, the salesclerk soon found other customers to help and he made a quick escape from the Kosher section.

"You think god cares that the wine is Kosher," Uncle Slappy began. "Why would it matter that the grape was ritually killed according to the ancient tradition. Bag the Kosher," the old man tugged at my shirt, "Let's get some Italianische. They know how to make wine."

I picked up three bottles and we began walking toward the giant food store.

"Listen," Uncle Slappy said, "In the car with the air condition I'll wait. Tired."

I brought Uncle Slappy over to the car and turned on the a/c.

Before I did any real shopping I brought him out a cup of coffee, black, and three cinnamon rugelach.

He took a bite and closed his eyes, savoring the treats.

"So the chocolate graham cracker they didn't have?"

I went back to the store to finish my shopping.

The first thing I bought were the chocolate grahams.

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