“ It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Sitting in a Chicago Starbucks, just yesterday, I wondered if I’d ever again see Cleveland. (Let alone Carrie or my brother or alas, my Wilson Larry Sherry baseball glove)…

I flew in Friday, sole agenda being quality time with Lucy, Stace/Jace and the captive Adam. Then weather hit, and stuck.

United cancelled flights and wouldn’t pick up its phone. Then Amtrack, not to be outdone, scrubbed train schedules. Finally, Jason, ever voicing reason, convinced me driving was folly. (Ed. Note: Aunt Helen concurred. “If the trains won’t run and the buses won’t run,” she opined, “Who are you to say it’s ok to drive?”).

       “It was the season of Light….”

Lucy’s an angel. Like a fresh bowl of cereal, she’s all snap, crackle and “Pappy”. Monday, what with her parents at work, the kid was all mine. There we were: me on a chair and she on a couch; me studying email, and she….Curious George.

“More, Pappy.” (The episode ended). “More, Pappy!” We did three hours. What is it about grandkids? They say your name and you smile! Lucy, she makes me melt.

       “…It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”

“Can you take smaller bites?”
“I haven’t eaten in six hours,” I am thinking. “This isn’t High Tea.”
“Must you read while you eat?”
“Carrie lets me”.
“Do I have to show you how to change a diaper?”
“NO,” I assure, “I changed yours”. (Ed. Note 2: Third base to first).

       “…It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”

I love Stacy. Adore her, in fact. But she doesn’t understand—after all these years—that when it comes to food I’m not a good sharer. When it comes to food I say “Order your own. Get whatever you want. Like if we’d be at a movie and both wanted buttered popcorn. She’d be wanting to share a Jumbo and I’d be opting to each get Large). It’s my thing; let me have it! I like to know how much I’ve left at any given moment.

It was Monday dinner and we ordered on line— Jason, then Stacy, then me…perusing the website, pushing the prompts…unfettered by outside pressures…

“Can I have half your potato?” I heard sitting, dining.
“Why didn’t you order one?”
“Yours looks so good.”
(Ed. Note 3: Mine always looks good. I’ve been doing this 60+ years! And she wonders why when I went to Walgreen’s I brought back two bags of Skinny Pop!)

       “…It was the spring of hope …”

“What’s your plan?” Jason’s asked me each morning. Fair question, after all. Planes stopped flying and trains stopped trying days ago.

       “…It was the winter of despair…”

Like when I wanted to eat but couldn’t figure out how to open the baby-proofed drawer. “Oh well,” I mused, “I’d used my hands before.”

Or when I breakfasted with Rooney. The walk wasn’t short, from the lot to the restaurant, and with wind it was also not easy. But we’d made it, and were seated, at once.

“Do you have Wifi?” she asked, hearing “Yes.”
“Do you have newspapers?” I asked, hearing “No.”
(Ed. Note: The weather was no hiking back to the car. Still, I had to read something).

Or when, preoccupied with Lucy and Curious George, I’d delayed taking oatmeal from the microwave. Finding it frozen hours later, this stopped me not. From the frig came the yogurt, to soften the oatmeal I’d heated that morning. Notta! Then, utensil-less, remember, I pulled apart the brickened oatmeal from under the yogurt I’d used to soften the oatmeal I’d heated that morning. Nothing! So…I brewed some Keurig to pour on the yogurt I’d used to soften the oatmeal I’d heated that morning.

Had Gadya. Had Gadya. I’d give more than two zuzim for Carrie’s cooking.

        …And yet we had everything before us….” 

—-That beautiful toddler, enjoying her morning;
—-Her tandem of parents, thriving in mid-day;
—-And the warmth of their love.

Yes, I missed Cleveland, from Carrie to H to the mitt. And sure, I couldn’t wait to get home. Still…still….as rough weeks go, this was a near-perfect moment.

And some memories, with all they encompass, will not be erased.  (Not even by a plane, train, or automobile).

Charles Dickens (adapted)


  1. Mark Schwartz says:

    Have you forgotten what tomorrow January 9th is? Aren’t you going to write about the birthday of one of your favorite persons? Bob Denver.

Leave a Reply