Friday, April 17, 2009

Passover has passed over (though we hastened its passing with a great Tunisian meal once I got off the plane at the airport in Kenner), and I'm left saying that our first time back in New York after a year away was just a ride.

For example, there's nothing more emblematic of what a different world I was in once I was in my grandparents' house than when one of my family members brought up last week's tea parties and the first thing that came to my grandma's mind was the time we went to the tea room at the Helmsley Palace and stuffed ourselves full of loads of watercress sandwiches in their elegant vaulted baroque-ified dining area. I darn near sloshed out of there from all the huge cups of Fortnum & Mason loose leaf peppermint tea they served and I happily drank as the chamber trio played their strings on a balcony above us heathens. I don't think anybody could possibly sponsor anything as fun as that, and it sounds like my assessment won out. Tough watercress, tea partygoers.

No, on one level, my grandparents were tsk-ing over the orthodox Jews in their area turning up their noses at a particular brand of matzah (and the whole story reeks of using the laws of kashruth to have one authority assert its power over another) and then jumping from there to how orthodox younger generations are becoming - to the point where parents who don't want to jeopardize their relationships with their more observant children will adhere to the observance as well, no matter how absurd it might be. And then, in a case of coincidental convergence, my mother gets an email from my granddaddy in Tennessee reminiscing about a capitalist from the distant past and the early AM program he'd sponsor in the '60's that may well have been the first infomercial. Compare this public service message with Frankie & Johnny's or with Mac from Gallery Furniture or even Crazy Eddie and enjoy:

I think things started to get that "you can't go to a former hangout again" tinge when we found that one of our favorite coffee places in Brooklyn had shut its doors (and sold out to a business called Atomic Wings) after we indulged our son's obsession with all things on wheels with a visit to the New York City Transit Museum. Thoughts began to turn towards home when I flipped on the radio to my favorite NYC station and found that they were going to broadcast an interview and performance of Theresa Andersson's later that night. And not even the (correct) assessment of our governor by our friends up north could dissuade us from our return (hell, we already know Bobby J ain't the sharpest tool in the shed - his speech after Obama's simply confirmed it for all the world to see) .

Heck, tonight, my parents will be in town for the weekend.

So here's to our visit to the northeast. I hope the cruddy weather we took in up there abates and my grandparents enjoy something approximating spring.

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