“What day is it? And in what month
       This clock never seemed so alive….”

Dear Max,

It was Saturday night, moments after the ritual Pidyan Haben. Holding you on the couch, lost in thought, it occurred to me that while time had frozen, the weekend kept flying by.

Arrived Friday. Grandpa Stuart scooped me up at JFK and we shot straight to Spruce Street. No passing Go; no $200. Right to you. By the way, when he picked me up—you know what his first words were? “Wait ‘till you see Max!’ he exclaimed. “You’re not going to recognize him!” (I did). Let the record reflect that on the tenth day of December, 2010, about 3:30 PM we entered the home to find your mother, Cousin Brittany, and…(tympany…) a replica of little Michael Bogart, circa 1977. I’d know that face anywhere.

“Change your shirt so you can hold Max.” urged your Mom. I reminded her of my clothes in the downtown laundry. “Let’s get them,” she said, kindly offering to drive. It was only after clean apparel and AGAIN scrubbing my hands, that I held you.

—-So there I was…there we were, sitting on the couch Saturday night. Moments earlier, in bilingual ceremony the family sought for you the blessings of Manasseh and Efraim, and health. Now, clad in your long-sleeved, collared white shirt and black pants, your blue eyes stared at mine as around us the room filled with women. A sea of women. The men, of course, had already evaporated. They were eating. Me? I had better things to do: holding you. Wasn’t really a rough call, you know: Let’s see: Eat or hold Max? Food or the baby? (As your father would have said, circa ‘87: “Duh…”

So we sat—the two of us—in this makeshift Hadassah meeting, surrounded by mothers, grandmothers, aunts, female cousins, and Roberta (the Kohen) who was nice but kept talking. And talking. (I stopped listening after maybe twenty minutes–did you)? My mind, alas, had wandered. I was thinking about the afternoon, and how you’d fallen asleep in my arms as I read you “Casey At The Bat.” I was chuckling, too, at your father’s frustration that evening trying to change our flights home. You should have seen his face when the guy from Delta didn’t know Cleveland was in Ohio!).

You were drooling on me…just a little. I loved it

“Bruce, are you going to eat?” came a voice. (I didn’t look up).
“No,” I responded.

More time passed. We still had the couch-the two of us—but the natives were getting restless. Others wanted to hold you and tried to sucker punch me. Rather than just ask directly, they camouflaged it:

“Bruce, are you sure you don’t want to eat?”
“No,” I said, all the while thinking: “Well, maybe when Roberta goes to commercial break.”

And then…as I knew it would be….it was time to go. Every one had gone, I suppose. All the cousins, all the Matts…everyone…

Your mother had you now, cradling your white dress shirt, black pants and smile.
It really was time to go.

I turned to the door, had to look back again, and did. Then I left.

It’s Tuesday now. Cleveland: cold, snowy Cleveland. I’m sitting inside, thinking again: of the past days and the good will engendered by a bouncing baby…and of you. And I’m smiling two smiles. Mine, (which I wear), and yours, (which I’ve memorized).

I love you,


              “It’s you and me and all of the people
               And I don’t know why I can’t take my eyes off of you…”

                                                      Wade & Cole

2 Responses to “YOU AND ME”

  1. m says:

    You really are a softie. This is a sweet entry.

  2. Mark Ermine says:

    I have been saying for years now, If you could bypass having children and gone right to having grandchildren what a better world we all would live in. Grandchildren bring out the best and the tenderness in all of us.

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