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.

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