Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie could stand the bland stultification of their condo community in Boca no longer. Though they lived just two units down from the center of the action--the pool--and had a passel of friends in the complex, they longed for the furor and excitement of the city in which they had lived the first 82 years of their lives.
They arrived--they had called an Uber themselves from LaGuardia--at my apartment around 8 last night, having taken the 4:20 from Ft. Lauderdale. My wife, a saint, had made about a gallon of her famous viscous coffee, and practically before their coats were off, they were on their second cup.
Uncle Slappy started as he so often does.
"You have, maybe, some stuffed cabbage you can warm for me?'
My wife was pushed back by this. She has in the Sub Zero more food than some small Balkan countries, but she had failed to lay in any stuffed cabbage. She made a go of looking for it anyway.
"I have some chicken paprikash," she began. "Some nice mushroom-barley soup. Some frozen blintzes."
"No no and no," said Uncle Slappy. Uncle Slappy, truth be told can be like a cabbage-seeking missile. Once he locks in on the target, nothing, nothing can get him off it.
My wife kept searching, like an eager prospector in the Yukon.
"Orzo and chickpeas. Chicken shwarma. Mushroom caps. Pigs in blankets."
"No, no, no, and no. What does an 88 year old man have to do to get some stuffed cabbage? Wait for my shiva?"
It was then my wife remembered a place over on 2nd Avenue, the last Hungarian restaurant in a neighborhood that, after the Hungarian insurgency against the Soviets in 1956 was teeming with them.
"You have stuffed cabbage?" She implored.
"We have stuffed cabbage," they answered.
"You deliver?" she begged.
"We deliver," they delivered.
In about 20 minutes a short Mexican was at our door holding a tray of hot stuffed cabbage, In two minutes more they were on the Wedgewood and in front of Uncle Slappy, the steam fogging his glasses.
"Delicious," he said.
And then the killer.
"You shouldn't have."
We shouldn't have.
But we did.
Welcome home, Aunt Sylvie. Welcome home, Uncle Slappy.