Saturday, November 4, 2017

Birthday Party in Jersey

 Tyler wouldn't let me post any photos, so I wrote this poem instead and posted it on Facebook.


The man known as Grandfather drove our family
across the bridge into the tiny town of Mantua
to visit Tyler, Kamelia, and their three-year-old
son, David. They'd just bought a new house. Could
40 people plus The Reb fit inside?

The food was divine. Kam, dressed in a floor length
ensemble, did much of the cooking, as she did when
she lived in Hatboro, before FEMA demolished the
condos for their dreadful habit of flooding.

We gathered in the kitchen and hovered over the food.
potato salad in a foil container, mushroom and asparagus
dish, chili in a Hamilton Beach crockpot turned to low,
breads that mama Kam made, tasting of garlic and olive

I ate until my belly was full. Turned my back and injected when no on was looking.

Roberto, I said, what do you think of your grandson
becoming a Orthodox Jew?

A handsome man from Ecuador with a thick head of hair and
wearing a white shirt like a matador, he said, "I am pleased.
He's doing better than we ever expected."

Mom sat on a small couch the entire time, from mid-afternoon
until darkness fell over the neighborhood. The Reb would be coming soon.
Wish I could have stayed to meet his bearded self.

Tyler's beard is thick with a tinge of red. We hugged goodbye.
I told him what a lovely house he has, and saw David's room
with a painting of Grandfather's and a shelf of books.

Grandfather drove us home across the bridge. Up front sat his
much-loved step-daughter June, who dispensed directions
and told him when it was okay to change lanes.

I tried not to look.

They will watch movies tonight. It's her turn to choose. What
will I do? Curl up like a cat in bed and read.


What a winding road it was getting to Mantua, N J.

And back.

Will go on my bike now for - oh! - half an hour. If nothing good is on, I'll read.

On the way home in the car, Grandfather, aka Jack Blair, discussed music. He has Sirius radio and listens to a station that plays Frank Sinatra. He and much-loved June - that was also Henry Miller's wife - discussed the artists who were playing - but I had trouble distinguishing them.

Jack said the best concert he ever saw was Tony Bennett. The concert was sposed to be over at 11, but he got so many standing ovations, they didn't leave until 2 am.

Ready to hear one of his famous songs? Click here.

Tony Bennett Portrait.jpg

Grandfather had never heard The Juliette Letters by Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet so I emailed him the YouTube recording.

Elvis Costello The Juliet Letters

Jack's favorite female vocalist is Diana Krall, Costello's wife.  

Here she is singing Night and Day.

And Ethan Iverson, jazz pianist, with his band The Bad Plus. They are disbanding at the end of the year as Ethan wants to "go his own way," as Fleetwood Mack sang.

I watched a Fleetwood Mac video on YouTube.

Here's .....Ethan Iverson

So long, everyone. See you soon!

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