The Jewish holiday of Passover begins this evening at sundown and kicks off with a feast called the Seder. During this meal Jews all over the world recount the travails and the exodus of Jewish slaves from Egypt. We tell about our forerunner's escape across the Moses-parted Red Sea and their arrival at what we call "the Promised Land."
Uncle Slappy, who for 54 years was Rabbi at a small Upper East Side congregation Beth Youiz Miwo Mannow, is up at our apartment for the holiday with, of course, his wife Aunt Sylvie. They arrived last night after spending nearly 24-hours on the "Palmetto Special," the train up from Boca and an equally harrowing cab from Penn Station.
In short, Slappy and Sylvie arrived at my apartment, god bless them, more than a little worse for wear. I resolved once again to for now on to either pay for their airfare from Boca or meet them down at the train. They are both in their mid-80s, Slappy and Sylvie are. And while both are in excellent health and sprightly (at least for people their age) I've seen Olympic decathletes who appear folded, spindled and mutilated after emerging from America's public transportation system.
Uncle Slappy brushed right by me when he arrived and headed straight for the table in our eat-in-kitchen. He kissed my wife hello and then asked for a little snack. My wife obliged with some smoked salmon salad spread on a piece of matzoh and a mug of black coffee, strong, the way Slappy likes it.
"Black and strong," Slappy said, taking a sip. "That's how I like my women and my coffee." I've heard this quip from him virtually every time I've ever seen Slappy drink coffee.
Feeling revitalized, he began.
"They call matzoh 'the bread of affliction,'" he said. "Let me tell you something. Yesterday I had a glass of orange juice of affliction and a scrambled egg of affliction for breakfast. A turkey sandwich of affliction with cole slaw of affliction for lunch and a Caesar salad of affliction for dinner.
"These days, what isn't affliction? You've got troglodytes running against mediocrity for president. That's affliction. You've got Knicks players with more ink on them than the Library of Congress. That's affliction. You have Sarah Palin on the "Today Show" talking, you should excuse the expression, out of her Republican tuchas. That's affliction."
Uncle Slappy is a lot like a golden retriever puppy. He exerts maximum effort right up to the moment he collapses into a deep slumber.
Slappy finished his snack of affliction and went into our guest room.
He is, now at 7:30 the next morning still in his deep and afflicted nap.