My niece Julie and I take advantage of any opportunity to be together.
Last night her daughter had plans with a friend so Julie and I met for dinner. I took the bus over to her part of town since we had to pick up the kid after her play date.
Where to eat? Where to eat? We walked up Amsterdam Avenue trying to decide. Julie suggested Sarabeth’s. “Nah” I said. “Too snooty”. I could go on and on but I’ll just say we finally settled on a restaurant, kinda like a burger/ sushi place. (Note to self: If they can’t decide whether their burgers or their raw fish are their signature dishes, they are lacking in culinary direction and should be passed on)
The good part about this place was that drinks were $5. I had the artichoke and the salmon, Julie had a salad and a burger. She also had a puss on all during the meal. the salad was little and the burger that was supposed to be the restaurant’s piece de resistance was lacking in size and flavor. When I saw her long face I asked what I could do to make it better. “I’m still hungry”. Now she’s a skinny drink of water so I didn’t take this lightly. I ordered her some fried shrimp.
She did eat them but that smile that I live for never returned to her pretty face. She didn’t get any happier when we passed people eating at the outside tables of Sarabeth’s and I mentioned that the food looked way better than the crap that we ate.
This morning when I spoke to my sister, Marcia, Julie’s mother, the first thing she said was “I hear you and Julie had a bad meal last night”.
It is at this point I will move from the secular to the sacred. If you learn this you will know everything you need to know about religion,
Jews remember and resent every bad meal they’ve ever eaten.
I can only give you examples from my own family.
First, the “Day of the Jelly Sandwiches”, named after the time they boiled a man all night in the book “Shogun” and called it the “Night of the Screams”. It was when my sister Iris took me out on her boat when I was about 11 and the lunch she packed was jelly sandwiches on packaged rye bread, not peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and jelly, but just JELLY. I know it was a Tuesday because I remember crying out to her in dismay “You know I always take a hot lunch on Tuesday!”.
I have to pull myself together, I’m getting all upset again. I hate reliving that because I love my sister Iris and I want to remember the good things about her rather than dwelling on that dark day.
Then there’s the time dave and I took my niece Stephanie out for a Japanese meal that she considered below par and as we dropped her off at Grand Central Station, she turned to dave and said “Thanks for the slim pickin’s ”
The land of Japan has cause my family no end of bitterness. Another time dave, who was always very generous to my family, took Julie out to a really fancy Japanese restaurant that cost a bundle. She was a teenager and not that adventurous an eater so she was forced to tell her uncle that she couldn’t see her way clear in giving him credit for a dinner out because it stunk.
Even this morning my sister, when reminding me of Julie’s disappointment last night was forced to tell me for the 400th time about the time she didn’t fill up on the soup served at a friends house because she considered it an introduction to the main dish but almost cried when she was offered dessert and coffee as her next course.
“Oh the humanity!!!”
Am I getting too intellectual? I know you don’t expect to learn stuff when you read my writings but I can’t keep my brain quiet.
If I can leave you with one thought let it be:
If you should invite me to dinner serve pie in some form and you won’t have to be talked about the next day.