Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Past Is Present

Monday, July 24, 2017
We went to a pleasant brass quintet recital at Tanglewood on Saturday afternoon aimed at families with young children and/or old grandparents.  Afterwards, we headed to The Scoop, 51 Church Street, Lenox for an intermezzo.  This time cookie dough and salted caramel ice cream flavors seemed to predominate in our crowd.  However, I ate to a different drummer and had scoops of piña colada and Almond Joy, variations on a theme.  So, naturally, the question arises, "SoCo Creamery, Great Barrington or The Scoop, Lenox?" 

To aid in resolving this issue, we returned to SoCo Creamery Sunday night, after having dinner with Burt and Gerri at Tangiers Cafe, 286 Main Street, Great Barrington, which featured authentically spiced tagines at very modest prices.  For my after dinner treat, I had scoops of espresso cookie and black raspberry ice cream.  I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but the memory of The Scoop's piña colada lingers on.
. . .

The week out of town has left me a lot to catch up with.  Allow me to go back to the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle of July 16th.  The clue for 34 across is Polish rolls.  Well, bialys are Polish rolls only if you believe that Bernie Sanders is "the son of a Polish immigrant."

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Besides a lot of mail and old newspapers to be examined upon our return from the Berkshires last night was a telephone message from Shlomo, the widowed husband of my ex-wife, Ellen.  He and I had a long and friendly conversation in 2013 when I learned of her death from lung cancer.  I did not hesitate to return his call and he told me a strange story.  

He had received a telephone call a couple of days earlier from a stranger asking permission to rent the time share in Las Vegas that Ellen and I purchased in 1976.  What's wrong is that Ellen and I never purchased a time share in Las Vegas or anywhere else, and I certainly did not pursue such folly on my own at any time, at any place.  Adding to the mystery was how the caller reached Shlomo at an address and telephone number that Ellen did not share until about 18 years after the alleged 1976 transaction, and when she had also independently changed her last name in 1980, long before she remarried.  Further, Shlomo told me that the caller had my correct New York home telephone number, but had not yet called me.  I told Shlomo that he had my permission to rent the property and we would split the proceeds.  I await further developments.

Wednesday, July 26, 2
The following recipe not only features chocolate with chocolate, but requires no cooking, only some time in a refrigerator.
In case you are worried about how good it turned out, invite me over. 
. . .

The news of the opening of the uptown branch of Jing Fong, the Hong Kong-style dim sum palace, reached us in Great Barrington last week.  So, I made a date with Stony Brook Steve to have lunch there today, wondering if I had had too big a bowl of cereal for breakfast to allow room for maximum consumption.  No worry.  The sign on the door at the corner of West 78th Street and Amsterdam Avenue said "Soft opening, Dinner 5 PM - 10 PM."  A lot of good that did us at one o'clock in the afternoon.  We retreated to a nearby bagel shop, determined to dim our sum in the near future.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017
This afternoon, I was reminded of the classic recording by Oscar Brown, Jr., of "But I Was Cool," lyrics by Albert Collins.  It begins, 
"I've always lived by this golden rule,
Whatever happens 'don't blow your cool.'"

It happened as I entered an elevator at NYU Medical Center and walked into the seventh floor waiting room of the internal medicine practice, in lockstep with Steven Van Zandt a/k/a Little Stevie of the "E" Street Band and Silvio Dante, consigliere to Tony Soprano.  There was no mistaking him; he was in full Little Stevie mode, tight jeans, boots, floral shirt buttoned just above his navel and, most noticeably, a schmatte around his head, not unlike what a very orthodox Jewish woman would wear in the absence of a wig.

Ask him to stand still for a photograph?  Worse, a selfie with me?  But I was cool.

Friday, July 28, 2017
Today, I did what I have promised to do for years, search for the graves of my mother's parents, Joseph and Mollie Goldenberg, the name Goldenberg replacing Cherkowsky once they arrived at Ellis Island.  I was inspired by the expert genealogical research of Ittai Hershman and Stony Brook Steve, who prefers to operate behind a nom de blog.  In fact, I was very fortunate to be accompanied by Stony Brook Steve and my cousin Barbara Goldenberg Belovin Siegel on the trip to Mokom Sholom Cemetery, edging on the Brooklyn-Queens border in Ozone Park.  

It's an old cemetery with a somewhat random layout.  While Joan in the off-site office was able to confirm that my grandparents were buried there, Joseph in 1945 and Mollie in 1978, she had no information as to where to find them on the rambling grounds.  So, the three of us headed in different directions, guided only by my memory of a visit to my grandfather's grave in the 1960s (with my grandmother) in a very densely populated (?) section of the cemetery.  I expected to traipse the grounds for a couple of hours, setting a reasonable time limit on this warm, bright day.

However, about 15 minutes after we fanned out, Stony Brook Steve miraculously found the plot.  

Since my Hebrew language skills are about 60 years out of practice, I immediately sent photos to Ittai, who is as talented in languages as he is in research.  Jewish gravestones traditionally provide basic family lineage, something that we Goldenberg descendants lacked.  Here is what Ittai read:

Here Lies
A Woman of Valour
["Eyshet Chayil" Proverbs 31:10]
Our Dear Mother
Esther Malka
Daughter of Reb Yehuda Tzvi

Here Lies
Our Dear Father
A Humble and Honest Man ["Ish Tam Ve’Yashar" 
Genesis 25:27]
[Who] Feared God All His Days
Yoseph Son of Reb Aryeh Leib

(Reb is the equivalent of Mr., applied to a pious man.)   Now, I've taken one step further into the past, with the invaluable assistance of my friends.  Is there a better way to start the Sabbath, at least without ice cream?


  1. Danny Macaroons now available at new Whole Foods, 125th and Lenox! Reporting this after 28 great days in Buenos Aires (with 6 more to go) and before tonight's Daniel Barenboim concert at Teatro Colon!

  2. The big BA synagogue is across the boulevard from the beautiful Teatro Colon. Enjoy.