As an apprentice under Oscar Hammerstein, Consummate wordsmith brought words to the point of a rhyme. His work spanned theatrical lifetimes, his sense of rhythm, was simply sublime. His content dictated the form as a sentence, Turned a paragraph into a story through rhyme. Sinatra sent in the clowns,and Bernadette Peters took a walk through the park with george. Ambition only superceded by talent. Like when “good things get bettter/bad things get worse/Wait—I think I meant that in reverse.” He took us “Into the woods” and in good “Company ”were we. Every theater lyric a short story, every line the weight of a paragraph you see. “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum,” with a “Little Night Music” And a “Gypsy” or three. With “Passion” he composed the story, From the “West Side” of the street was the call. Dear Mr. Sondheim, in our memory, you will always stand tall. You threw a lot of spaghetti and All of it stuck to the wall.
Nora Johnson who wrote one of my all time favorite movies died this past week at 84. The movie, The World of Henry Orient is a story loosely based on her very New York City schooled at Brearley, luncheoned at Romanoff’s life. With financial indulgences galore by luck and emotional limitations in abundance as a by product of a divorced home she managed to balance a well integrated life. She had three marriages, several children and grandchildren and attained a great deal of success through her well received books. Her third, late in life relationship turned marriage came when she was 71 with a man who was 84. The net/net on their years together was best summed up by her. And I quote- ” He had said I was his last, loveliest adventure and he brought joy and magic to my life. He died when he was 91 and I was 78. Only then did I start to get old.”
Can we have a play date? Can you tie my sneakers? I love cornichons- please just two more. Can we do an art project while we watch Sponge Bob? Can we put on make-up and wear your high heels? I think I will have pizza the kind that is square. Can we go to the craft store and get chocolate croissants next door? May I have some pretzels, the kind that is dark? How much more time can I stay? Please call mom and ask if for more time here-can I stay longer. Please some more hummus to dip my carrots in. It’s my sisters B-day, can We make her a card? When we plant the terrace, can I plant watermelon seeds?😎 Next time get the yogurt with cookie crumbs on top. I think I will have french toast for dinner, I love it so much. Can you make the water in the shower warmer? Please. Ok, guys get ready it’s time to go home. Just five more minutes, it feels like we just got here. I made this in school for Grandpa and you. Look I got braces, they are purple and red. Can you come to hockey and watch me play? I have ballet on Wednesday will you come to watch? Can we build a lego, and we’ll leave it by you?—- 16 years and counting with 8 kids so close-to heart-Let’s do it “70”- I have a head start. We wish this on everyone. Bh
Hold on to the days of carnival gifts and joy rides. Reposting a blog of a holiday of prayer, possibilities and sprinkling in promises. We woke up heavy hearted as we learned crappy news about a friend.
Apples, Honey and the test of time. לעולם בזמן הנכון- loosely translated “there is no good time to hear bad news.” The Rabbi’s sermon last eve struck a particular cord as we struggle to make any sense of the collection of tragedies we have suffered as a nation this past year.
L’shana tova tikatevu. The book of life was sealed on September 30,2017 and the very next day Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers. 58 people were slaughtered, he was found dead in his Mandalay Bay hotel room from a self inflicted gunshot wound. Motive unknown. How often do we hear, surrounding a tragedy “motive unknown?” There are cries for help from severely disturbed individuals through social media that we tune into after the fact. What behavoirs are we missing on a daily basis from our immediate population that we overlook, minimize and chalk up to “oh they are having a bad day.” As we begin a New Year become your own community. Be a better signal listener. Put down your electronics while passing the bread basket around your table and live in someone else’s moment. Easier said. And yes dear Rabbi,”it’s never a good time to hear bad news.” Perhaps for today and tomorrow make hopscotch leaps toward really hearing cries for help when your friend tells they are hurting. Dip the apple in the honey from the same jar that has been in your closet for years and sweeten up your friendships by really hearing what they aren’t saying. One day at a time! Bh
Table for Four Plus More! The feeling of being excluded stinks! We recently learned of a reach out program called #operationshabbotshalom. It was started by a lovely guy we know who heads a modern orthodox day school in Westchester. We met him 18 plus years ago through one of the modern orthodox Temples in New York where some of our grandkids attend school. He is renowned and in fact the son of the Rabbi Emeritus at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. Shout out to Josh Lookstein. Fast forward, a safer time and we are out and more about. One pervasive and lingering side effect for so many resulted from the feeling of being isolated. The common denominator was negotiating our safety from our own ships during the many phases of the universal storm. #operationshabbotshalom was set up as an “effort to bring people together after a year and a half plus, of distancing.” Friday afternoons are designated to reach out to people who could use a call. Come one, call all. You in turn get the calls too. Social lives have an ebb and flow. There are times when we are inundated with invites to join the party. There are periods where empty calendars feel iitalicized in yellow marker fashion. Differentiating between alone and lonely is a tough call. In an attempt to make up for lost time we schedule our days and nites in bulk. Some days we almost look forward to cancelled plans. We can then get into our sweats, no make-up and hair pulled back mode. It gives us a moment to get off the treadmill of activity, tap into an evening of take-out Chinese food, netfiix and a Vodka we nurse through binging a Series. We are tired. Tired of the reboot. Lots of time and sometimes tortured energy to create a syllabus that is new but contains components of what was. Unplug and hope what we lost, was either no longer serving us any good, or in fact stored in the elusive cloud. So just for today, when you find the time, perhaps reach out to someone who may be going through a narrow calendar of events. Leave the door open the Elijah way and let them know, in a more than merrier way, that they will never walk alone, as long as you are around. Monday Monday let’s do it!
A -my name is Alice and my husband’s name is Al, we come from Alabama and we sell Apples. As I open the cupboard on memories, bouncing a Spaulding as we sang the A my name is Alice rhyme, lifting our leg over the ball with each bounce, was an all time great walk around the corner and under a tree. A veritable, primordial work out and creative singing lesson all in one. My sister Bettie Ann and I grew up together and hung with the “girls on the block.” We stopped playing and walked home for our tuna sandwich or the treat of salami on rye, only made better with the delicious taste of deli mustard. After lunch we would stroll to the all purpose grocery store. I can vividly see the barrel of pickles prominently sitting next to the left of the front door. We would use part of our allowance to buy candy. Our first go to was a striped pixy stick, a straw filled with lik-m-aid. For those in the know it’s a tasty sugary retrospective in time. The original version of Fun Dip. We would then mosey over to the red licorice and marshmallow peeps. At Halloween the chicks turned into orange faced pumpkins. Fast forward 58 years. It’s 6:00 A.M. time to put up the coffee, my turn to “make the donuts.” I woke up salivating for a piece of my past, inside that grocery store. My sister Bettie Ann and I would bring our bag of goodies up to the counter. The familiar face of the man, (whose name we never knew,) would take the pencil he harbored behind his ear and tally up our treats.
With our visual bounty in hand we would skip our way home and unveil the contents, perhaps trade a piece or two.
Our afternoons were often consumed through adventures with Dick and Jane, The Bobbsey Twins or figuring out if Nancy Drew was ever going to hook up with one of the Hardy Boys. As we felt the heat of the oven cooking sweet potatoes we knew they would soon be sitting next to the very well done baby lamb chops and canned peas Sophie was making for dinner. A welcomed pre-dinner activity was watching Patty Duke and her identical cousin navigate their way through high school. We often tried to distinguish between the subtleties in their looks. Hmmm! I long for those days of innocence when the doctor appointments took place as we sat upon the kitchen table. Ah! the local store that sold glass bottles of milk and farmer cheese made no room on the shelf for ammunition. Dwight D. Eisenhower was President.
Everybody in Grovers Corners looked into the grocery store and the drugstore once a day in “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder. It is with older eyes and wiser hearts that we live our lives. So, just for today reach for the red licorice after a very sour pickle and make it a good Day!
My mother loved FOOD- shopping, unpacking, organizing the refrigerator,preparing, cooking, eating, wrapping leftovers, eating, cleaning out the refrigerator eating some more. She studied food and became a dietItian. Studied some more and with her masters degree was titled nutritionist. Then got an M.S.W. In social work at the age of 50. I think she wanted to figure out through research why food was always top of mind.
I relied on radishes cleaned and in Tupperware with French dressing as an after school snack. Sometimes I opted for Buitoni Raviolis, yum as I think about it now.
I waited around and did homework until dinner. I came to expect something breaded, something fried with Le Seur Peas and a baked sweet potato. I looked forward to broiled baby lamp chops- I still do. The melody lingers on. Snowballs, hostess cupcakes, twinkies, drakes ring dings, yodels -yum and yum. Euphoric gastronomic recall. She saved the Lindt Chocolate for her card games.
As the culinary seed was planted I waited for it to sprout into my type of cuisine. I too love food. However everything else around it feels equally as appealing. I have an extensive salt and pepper shaker collection. Varied, and meaningful. Collected from places I’ve been, antiquing and from gifts. Some are antiques, several glass, some ceramic. Betty Boop and Harley Davidson sets hang out in my cabinet together. Dishes, silverware and amber glass represent my treasured items. Flowers and table settings add to the allure of my meal. My collection of soupcons (fancy serving ladles) makes me smile.
Shopping for the ingredients and researching who has the best mozzarella and filet mignon a past time. Aligning the seats for comfort and space adds to the canvas. I make sure the creases in the napkins are well pressed and the water glass is properly situated. I light candles and get dressed. I then set up the ice on the bar and cut lemon slices. All the time this is going on I have the oven on, the flames on low and I check my ” something breaded, something fried.” I learned from The Best.