Ask what we did in New York last weekend and I might say “Nothing”. Truth is we did everything. It’s not what you do but whom you do it with.

Friday, 7:10 pm Dashboard voices interrupted the dreidle from LaGuardia to Chappaqua. “Who’s in the car with daddy?” asked Meredith. “Deedee (MaxSpeak for grandpa) Bruce and Carrie,” urged The Prince.

A second call came, featuring the requisite “Do you want to stop for food or bring it back debate. It was at once refreshing yet predictable.

“What do you want to do?”
“I don’t care. What do you want to do?”
“What do Bruce and Carrie want?”
“What do you guys want?”
“I don’t care. What do you want?”
“I don’t care. What do you want?”
“We don’t care.”

“We’re going to stop at a bodega,” he announced.
“What’s a bodega?” I wondered. “We don’t have them in Ohio.”
“Wanna bet? How much do you want to bet?”
“No bet. Just don’t know what they are.”
“Remember the Seinfeld?” he asked. (Michael, who forever chastises me for what he perceives as my constant analogies to episodic TV— Michael, halcyon of realism that he is, then cited the instance Jerry’s dishonored check was posted on the cash register at a bodega).

We hit the compound, hugged hellos, and were told that indeed Max P was sleeping.

“Do you want to see him?” Mer asked. “Of course. “May I touch him? I asked. “Of course.”

Saturday, 7 am He walked in tepidly, a twinkle in his eye— a smile as wide as his paternal grandfather.

“DeeDee Bruce…Carrie” he uttered excitedly. “Max!” we urged, “C’mon in!” “You can go back to bed,” she told Meredith. “We’ve got him.” And most surely we did. For an hour, give or take, she sprawled on the floor, he announced geometric shapes, and me?  I kvelled.

“Hexagon”! the kid exclaimed, placing a six-sided block through a slot. “Octagon”. “Trapezoid”—identifying shapes he could barely pronounce….

A family in stride:  catching up, hanging out, eating…. Just marveling in the ordinary—

Between playing with Max, we (of course), exercised not only our right to free speech, but the obligatory art of conversation.  Indeed, it is this logical yet serious discourse on the most trivial of subjects that has sustained us lo these many years.

“Tell me again, Dad…why is it you eat pepperoni pizza but won’t try a pork chop?” “It’s a South Euclid thing.” “And what about ham?” “We’ve HAD this conversation.” “Yeah, but haven’t you ever had wonton soup?”

There’s a warmth to the verbal jousting—a tenderness brewed through time. We each know the script and yes,  each of us could well recite the other’s lines. Michael, Meredith, myself…we’re fiddlers on the roof singing “Tradition”. Readily, too, Carrie’s joining the chorus….And we sing well, until Max wakes.

Make no mistake about it, though:  my boy Max is the show. The rest of us—we’re lounge acts. Two years old and the kid’s dialing up YouTube, singing “Hava Nagila”. As Ben Selzer would say: “Everything’s all right in America!”


How sweet is life’s nector when mundane moments are glued together by the dynamic of special relationships!

Lunch at Lange’s Deli— Not a bordega, mind you, but the eggplant wrap would make Letterman’s Top Ten and the owner, well when he greeted me with “You’ve got a great grandson”…

Dinner at Lexington Square Café— also not a bordega. More like Poppy’s, Still, Caryn’s rendezvous with the governor of her home state added spice to the evening. Quietly, moments pre-exit, my machatainista glided over to Cuomo’s table, introduced herself and thanked him for a job well done. Luxenberg, after all, DOES follow Kennedy in the alphabet.

And what better after-dinner treat than the exuberance of Max Parker, hand-in-hand with six adults, doing the Hora ‘round a coffee table. “One more time,” he worked us. “One more.”

Sunday, 9 am  Sunday the grandpa slept late. It was a lazy dawn replete with Johnny Knoxville, Ali G, and Max. We were winding down.

There’d be lunch in Mt. Kisko. “The Diner”, as Mer’dith dubbed it. I think not. Pleasant, perhaps, but ladies and gentlemen, trust me on this. The week of Max’s bris, when I stumbled on the Great Neck Diner, I hit the motherload. I know diners. This, my friends, was no Great Neck Diner.

And there’d be dinner at Aliada’s. Caryn and Stuart came, but Andy stayed home.

And the airport, and goodbyes…

We stood at Security with time to spare. The next time I’d see Max, I was thinking… perhaps, it would be June: Lindsey’s wedding. He changes geometrically, I knew…each stretch…each time….each growth….

Heart filled with treasure, I walked to the gate.  Grateful.

       “Here comes the saddest part
       The seasons are passing one by one
       So gather moments while you may
       Collect the dreams you dream today…”

And yes, I remember the times of my life.

(italicized:  Paul Anka)

2 Responses to “TIMES OF YOUR LIFE”

  1. alan wieder says:

    Lovely — no doubt that Carrie enters right into the conversation. Must say though that you and Michael’s patter does need to be repeated with Carrie in the Arena. It all adds to the warmth

  2. Granpa Maisay says:

    What is pork?

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