Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tony Bennett, meet Gram

My grandmother has two firm requirements for a potential gentleman caller:

1. He must stand tall. (If there is one thing Gram hates more than a mug of luke warm coffee, it's dainty old men who hunch over).

2. He must drive at night. (Gram is a night owl and enjoys dining out, playing a little black jack, and swinging by Dairy Bar in Margate for late night ice cream cones). Exclusive daytime drivers need not apply.

Added bonuses for Gram's potential suitor: hair, health, good teeth, gin drinker and player. Italian with a hint of mob ties is intriguing to Gram as well.

Now that you know the kind of gentleman who would pass the first round of the Dating Game with Gram, I should tell you flat out that she is NOT looking.  She is very content without a man. She is smart, independent, adventurous, and resilient.  After 50 plus years of marriage to my late grandfather, she has carried on with great strength since his death in 2005.

So, this idea, much like the suggestion that Gram sign up for JDate, is purely my concoction.  I know if the right man came along, Gram might be game.

Enter Tony Bennett.

1. He stands tall. 5'7 is not bad for a man in his 80s. No hunch here.

2. He drives at night. (If he doesn't drive himself, I'm sure he has a driver).

Bonuses: Tony has hair (or a great toupee), health, good teeth. He drinks a glass of wine at night. He is Italian with a hint of mob ties.

The truth is that Gram loves Italian men, and they love her, possibly because she resembles their national treasure, Sophia Loren. When Gram was asked to recall her Hebrew name in preparation for my cousin's Bar Mitvzah, she pondered, "Gina? I think it's Gina."

"GINA, come up to the bimah? Really?!" I asked.
"It's been years, doll, it's hard to remember, but I think it is Gina."
"Gina is your Italian name, but not your Hebrew name,"  I broke it gently.

Even so, Gram clearly has some Italian spirit in her.  And Tony could let it out.

He has sold more than 50 million albums, featuring pop music, standards, show tunes and jazz. With Gram as his muse, I believe he could sell 50 million more.

Tony is an accomplished painter.  Gram is artistic too.  She has sculpted some beautiful pieces from marble and knitted dozens of sweaters, some of which suffer from short arms, for four generations.

Tony travels a lot.  Gram is a world traveler too.

Tony fought in WWII. Gram loves a war hero, as my grandfather was.

Tony leads a life of glamour, glitz, and galas. Gram. Gram. Gram.

Tony loves family and great cooking.  Can you imagine Gram making matzoh ball soup for Tony Bennett? I totally can. She would have him at his first bite of her sweet and sour meatballs.

They could spend falls in Positano, winters in Miami, springs in Philly, and summers at the Jersey Shore. I can just picture Tony and Gram grabbing the early bird special at Downbeach Deli, racing to the Borgata to perform standards on stage, hitting the blackjack tables and Dairy Bar after, and watching the sun rise over the beach the next morning.

What a duo they would be!

Tony Benett, you've had an extraordinary life and career.  Only one thing left to do, Sir.

Tony, meet Gram.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Bum Paw

I fell down a flight of basement steps at a kids' cookie decorating party. It was 11 a.m., a few days before Christmas.

That's how I acquired this bum paw.

Everyone wants to know if I was drunk.

I was.


Everyone wants to know if I really punched my husband.

I did.


"Did you land on it?"

No, I grabbed onto the railing with all of my might to avoid face-planting on the basement floor with twenty three year olds on a sugar high swirling by.

"So what the hell happened?"

My pinky went far east, trying to secede from the rest of my hand. Sickening pain enveloped my body.

I shed a few tears, grabbed some ice. A six year old ran and found a makeshift Frosty the Snowman splint.

It's not broken, the other moms diagnosed. "You can move your pinky!"

"Just tell your husband you can't cook dinner tonight," one offered up. Now that made me smile despite the pain.

"What should I tell him about the past five years?"

I decorated some more cookies with my left hand.

"Are you right handed?"

Complicated question. I write and eat with my left hand but I do everything else with my right hand.

Cutting with scissors? Right.

Throwing a ball? Right.

Batting? Right.

You get the idea? Right.

So I think my bum paw is actually my dominant paw.

"How will you get through Christmas?" the nurse wrapping my hand asked in sheer horror.

"I'm Jewish."

That response may have sufficed years ago when I was eating honey walnut shrimp on Christmas Eve in Miami Beach. But that was then...

Christmas is now a legitimate forced to be reckoned with in my home, along with Hanukkah.

There were gifts to wrap, decorations to hang, cookies to bake, diapers to change, eye drops to administer, baths to give, toys to build, small ninjas to toss off of me, and a million other things to do which require all hand ligaments to work in unison like an orchestra.

"You're blowing my hair out," I told my husband.

"Ok, I will," he laughed.

So did he?

He did.