I love the rhythm of the holidays. For example, Michael phoned Wednesday, mid-afternoon. Often weekdays he’s busy and I get that. His calls come, typically, Saturday mornings from the car. With Max in tow, the men catch up.

New Years’ tempo is different.

The game has changed of course. What in the 50’s were two days of children’s services for the Brothers Bogart sandwiched ‘tween meals at our grandmothers’ became (in the 80’s) one day of children’s services for progeny bracketed by dining with our mom and her husband de jour. Then, as Clinton flew west and my marriage went south, for two decades it all fell on Margie. My kids were pretty much gone at that point, so in Cleveland (as the old Lobo song went), it was Helen B and her dog named Boo.

The times, they are a changin’…

Gone are the days of a grandma’s brisket and the other’s chopped liver. And the days of our mother’s jello mold— or even The Thief’s sweet potato/marshmallow pie. (How goyish—really). These are different times with, unless someone can travel, different players.

Silent but swift came The Changing Of The Guard.  Seemingly overnight, guaranteed instances of bygone years have been replaced by different redundancies.

—Like me picking up Aunt Helen en route to Carrie’s and Fenwick-to-Lyndway being compelled to recite the roster of her new-found tablemates. (The entire ride, I swear, she’s got me either naming names or attesting under oath that Harold will be there).

—Like mid-way through dinner, hearing an F-bomb or two flow from Tommy, (followed immediately by the gentle hush-hush of Mrs. Tommy).

— Like eyeing my brother entrenched comfortably in the gut of the table…and for that matter, seeing Margie beside him, sitting.

I miss my kids. I wish they were here but they’re not. Ah, but if Eli and Lucy and Max were but older…but they’re not. And I miss Harriet too.

If only New Year were on a weekend! Let’s see!  How ’bout next year?

Rosh Hashana 2014 starts on Wednesday. Again. 2015’s a Sunday night and ’16—another Sunday. Then a Wednesday, then a Sunday, then another Sunday…which would bring us to 2020. No, that doesn’t work, nor does ’21 or ’22.

—So it is clear that the next time the New Year falls on a weekend is 2013—precisely the annum we’re  heading east come November for Max’s Bar Mitzvah!

Memo to Stacy Celia: Add three to your table.

Ah, but more good news!

It appears, GET THIS, that the next year, 2024, Holiday starts Thursday night! We can do that! (Well, maybe not. I’ve read through this twice and although YES, Yom Tov starts on that Thursday the third….alas, but unless I’m mistaken, that’s my weekend to take Aunt Helen shopping).

Oh well, it’s in God’s hands, I suppose (and I can live with that).

In the meantime I’ve got Carrie and H and M right here, coupled with the warmth of the new cast of characters.  For that matter,  Wednesday Mrs. Baskin made a nice jello mold and Carrie: we know she can cook. Then Thursday we shifted: luncheon on Aldersgate— Margie’s cooking with “The Boys”, (eyes on the Ten Days), splitting Helen.

I am happy, profoundly, even as I miss the “kinder”. They are where they’re supposed to be—all of them— raising their families, making their memories, and living their lives.

I will lay my head down tonite healthy and happy and grateful for the New Year.  (But I won’t sleep in).

Tomorrow is Saturday, you see, and Michael is calling.


  1. alan wieder says:

    This is wonderful — so look forward to seeing you & Carrie and even your bro in less than a month

  2. Aunt Helen says:

    “Even your bro”? What does that mean? How could he write that? Just because your brother’s event at Mac’s Backs preceded Alan’s is no reason to put him down. Why do some intellectuals have to be so competitive. Raymond is not like that.

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