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Thursday, March 03, 2011

On trying to be everywhere and see everyone

Three days (especially where one of them is Shabbat) is not sufficient for seeing everyone one wants to see, and going everywhere one wants to go.

I knew that before I ever stepped on the plane last week.  But the trip held the prospect of surprising a lot of people in a very short period of time... and not incidentally, seeing as the father of the bride had emailed me a plane ticket, I decided to go.

In addition to not wanting to tip off the people I was fairly sure I'd get to see... I didn't want to have the ones I wouldn't get to visit emailing me to ask, 'what am I... chopped liver?'.

That was the reason for the whole 'Idlewild' thing a couple of days ago.  It was meant to throw some people off the scent.  Most people read for context, and if they don't recognize a word or place, they generally skip over it. 

I figured most people wouldn't connect 'Idlewild' to JFK and would therefore assume I was traveling somewhere else (i.e. not within visiting distance of them).

Friday was spent collecting some of the stuff Zahava had ordered online for the kids, as well as doing some shopping in Manhattan:

Exciting purchases (for the inquiring minds) included:

  • A copy of Seventeen for Ariella
  • Some #11 Exacto blades for Zahava
  • Some Old Navy and TJ Max clothes shopping for me
  • A liquor store run for some decent bourbon
  • A side-trip to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up some Soda Stream Diet Root Beer concentrate (I guess that falls under 'Beyond')
  • A drop off and pick up at the dry cleaner so I'd have a pressed tux for the wedding.

Friday night I stayed at my little sister's place on the Upper West Side and davened around the corner from her place at Ohav Shalom.  After an excellent dinner of Fried Chicken, the most mind-blowing toffee covered apple cake I've ever eaten, and some quality time with two of my nieces, I lapsed into a coma.

Saturday morning at 1:00AM my Israeli body clock decided it was time to go to shul.  So I read for a couple of hours before lapsing back into a coma.

After a few more hours of sleep, I got up to have some coffee and some more of the mind-blowing apple cake, and was delighted to find all seven metric tons of the weekend New York Times waiting for me to explore.

I tore myself away from the Times to go to back to Ohav Shalom for morning services, but snuck out of davening early so I could be back to see my older sister, my sister-in-law and another niece who had stopped by for the afternoon. 

Lunch and a good chunk of my extended family... heaven!

Later afternoon was spent wading through the Times and snacking on that damned cake... until Shabbat was over.

Saturday night I stole my sister's car and drove out to Teaneck.  I showed up at my friend Shmiel and V.V.'s house hoping to surprise them, but they were both out ferrying kids around.  Their younger daughter was home, though, and let me in.  Together we plotted to get her parents back to the house... and in a short time I'd managed to surprise them both.

After a short visit, I headed over to Teaneck's main drag to a kosher BBQ joint called Smokey Joe's where a bunch of friends were playing old-timey New Orleans and Chicago jazz (SJ's hosts live music most Saturday nights). 

In addition to surprising my old friends Jordan Hirsch (vocals/cornet), Heshy Max (bass), Pete Sokolow (vocals/stride piano) and Bob Mastro (violin)... and meeting the talented Dave Licht (drums), I managed to sneak up behind Jordan's wife, Marjorie(who was there), and got her to scream loud enough to make diners in the back stand up and crane their necks!

I can report that unlike most rib joints north of the Mason Dixon, Smokey Joe's actually seems to understand that 'BBQ' is a noun and not a verb.... as in, "Those ribs were great, can you bring me another plate of that BBQ and some more corn on the cob?" (something I said to the attentive waiter more than once that night).

Woke up Sunday morning and had to look a couple of extra times at my watch to determine if I could put milk in my coffee.  After a nice breakfast and a crisp walk around the upper west side with a niece, my sister dropped me at the Sheraton Meadowlands for the wedding.

Aside from the pleasure of surprising scores of old friends (too many to name), and playing with my old horn section, I got to celebrate a truly special day with the bride's family (I babysat for her when she was a baby, and her brother (whose diapers I also changed) is living with us while he is serving in the Israeli army).

After the wedding I stayed overnight at the Sheraton, and in the morning the father of the bride gave me and his son (the soldier) a ride to the airport to catch the red-eye home.

Before drifting off to sleep on the plane, all I could think about was all the places I hadn't managed to visit, and all the people I hadn't managed to see.

Oh well... there's always next trip.

Posted by David Bogner on March 3, 2011 | Permalink

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That's funny - I saw your reference to "Idlewild", but I read it as Idyllwild - as in Idyllwild, California, the (former?) home of Camp Moshava in California. After reading your second post, I realized that didn't make much sense, Googled Idlewild+airport and saw you were talking about JFK. Couldn't figure for the life of me why you'd call it that...

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Mar 3, 2011 2:18:55 PM

1. It's pretty funny that you picked up an Israeli company's product in an American BB&B.
2. So all this time that I have been stopping at Dougie's ... it turns out that there is a better kosher BBQ place in Teaneck?

Drew

Posted by: Drew | Mar 3, 2011 9:05:17 PM

Wow, what a great trip. I'm guessing it is around 10 hours flying? That would get us to W. Australia! I'm a teeny bit envious that you can get to see your friends in "only" ten hours. Roughly 42 from where we are:-)

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Mar 3, 2011 10:00:17 PM

You didn't fool me with that "Idlewild" business. I'm old enough to remember when JFK was still called Idlewild Airport. I figured it was poetic license, kind of like when I refer to Houston as "Sweat City."

Posted by: Elisson | Mar 3, 2011 10:03:55 PM

I remember references to Idlewild Airport from the theme song from "Car 54, Where Are You?" (which I actually never saw) and at least one episode of the original "Twilight Zone."

Posted by: Rahel | Mar 3, 2011 10:42:02 PM

All I can say is it's a good thing I have a strong heart!! It was so good to see you!!

M

Posted by: Marjorie | Mar 3, 2011 11:29:34 PM

Hmmm, Smokey Joe's... now I'm hungry!!!! (went there when there was a gathering of Jewish motorcyclists in Teaneck).

Posted by: JDMDad | Mar 4, 2011 12:07:10 AM

so that's a pareve toffee covered apple cake (i.e., served with fried chicken). any chance someone will post the recipe?

Posted by: Lynne | Mar 4, 2011 2:18:47 AM

The joys of living out of town are varied and many.

Posted by: Jack | Mar 4, 2011 10:38:27 PM

First of all, thanks for the Belgian. Second, per an earlier post, I'm OLD. I KNOW what Idlewild is. I was wondering why YOU were using it, 45 years later.

Posted by: MoC | Mar 6, 2011 1:49:57 PM

ok since i love everything you write it seems sort of strange that the first time i am commenting, it is to ask if you can get the recipe for the toffee covered apple cake from your little sister...so forgive me. but i am asking.

Posted by: lisa | Mar 10, 2011 11:27:43 PM

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