Monday, December 30, 2013

Baby Cole and Fast Food Stories

Just got back from Savannah for a visit with the perfect grandchild. Yes ... that's right ... Cole Benjamin Cohen, son of Steven and Nikki. The boy is in the 105th percentile in height and weight and head circumference. Two more pounds and he will be just 10 pounds lighter than me.

Cute? You be the judge ... check out the picture at left, Cole bundled in his stroller fast asleep.

It was a quick trip ... drove up on Friday and home on Sunday. We had a blast with the little prince. Can't wait until he walks and talks (probably next week at his growth rate).

Last time we were here, Nikki was still in the hospital and we were in charge of breakfast pick up. Atlanta Bread Company was next to our hotel and happened to be her favorite. I mentioned this in a prior post. I ordered an egg and cheese sandwich on a sesame seed bagel.

The server asked: "Did you want the black seeds or the white seeds?"

"I didn't know there was a choice in sesame seeds."

The manager corrected her and showed her what poppy seeds looked like. Seriously.

On this trip, we again visited Atlanta Bread and were surprised to find out that they had no clue what iced coffee was even though it was on the menu.

"Um ... we can give you coffee and put some ice in it."

"Never mind, we will get it at Starbucks next door."

We also visited a diner late on Saturday night. Our waitress was Beautii. That is not a typo. She had a hand made name tag with rainbows, stars and BEAUTII drawn on it. Debbie asked what flavor ice creams they had. She said vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. Deb ordered vanilla and chocolate. She was served strawberry and vanilla.

Deb asked: "Are you out of chocolate?"

"No." said Beautii. "I can get you some if you want."

Up to this point, these were the only two experiences with fast food places in Georgia. But we were about to get the experience of a lifetime at Dunkin' Donuts in Brunswick, Georgia on the way home. I posted a picture so that you could be sure to MISS this DD if you happen to pull off of I-95 for gas.

As we entered the front door (Deb had to use the restroom so no drive thru), we should have realized there was a problem. The line was outrageously long. The server looked confused but we couldn't hear what she was doing until it was our turn.

"Can I help you?"

"Yes ... I'd like an egg white veggie flatbread and ..."

"What would you like that in ... a wrap?"

"Huh?" I asked. "No, a flatbread."

"Okay ... so that's an eggwhite veggie wrap."

"No. flatbread."

"Um ... I don't see that here." She was looking at her keypad.

We pointed to the picture for her. She still punched in a wrap ... then erased it and called her manager. He did it for her.

"What would you like to drink?"

"Coffee coolatta with skim milk."

She pressed hot chocolate.

"I think you pushed the wrong one ... hot chocolate?"

"Oh ... he must have done that." She blamed the manager.

Debbie's order was completely screwed up because she ordered a cappuccino blast. An hour later ... we were on the road. I KID YOU NOT.

Oh well ... you live and learn.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Morning After

'Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring ... except for my spouse.

I heard the alarm go off with a scream.
I opened one eye interrupting my dream.

"Wake up ... you big lug" I heard Debbie say,
"It's already six ... now get on your way."

Daughter Alissa was out of her bed
But visions of sugar plums were still in my head.

I stumbled around and felt for my clothes.
It was dark and was cold as I looked for my toes.

I opened the door to the bedroom with care
And there was Alissa with suitcases there.

We loaded the trunk and started the car
I finally woke up when we hadn't gone far.

I spotted the airport and followed the sign
I stopped at the gate and got there on time.

Just about then, I heard Lissa say,
"I don't want to go back ... Dad can I stay?"

With a lump in my throat I managed to smile.
I hugged her and told her to "Stay for a while."

We both knew the answer ... we said our goodbyes.

She was my baby again in my eyes.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Grumpy ... um ... Grampy

Today, daughter Alissa and I went to see Sammy at Menorah Manor.

As we headed toward the elevator, Sammy wheeled around the corner clutching his box of kleenex.

"Who's that?"

"It's me, Grampy ... Alissa."

"Oh ... you're the granddaughter who doesn't have a child."

He laughed and gave her his trademark wet kiss. "I'm so glad you are here. Come over and sit with me for a while. Do you want a Klondike bar?"

"No thanks ... do you want one?"

"Only if you do."

One of the residents came up to Sammy and told him hello. He introduced us. "Sally, this is my son and this is my granddaughter ... the one who doesn't have a child."

"Dad ... I don't think you should say ..."

Sammy interrupted, "Alissa, you do a lot of typing at work?"

Alissa answered, "Well I do use the computer a lot ...."

"I know how to type. I took typing in California a...s...d...f..."

"Um ... so Dad ... what have you done lately?"

"I played poker this morning."

"Did you win?"

"How the hell should I know? I can't count or see or hear any more. Neither can the rest of the guys. They just sit there."

We talked for a while about food and illness and interesting people Sammy knows. When we were about to leave Alissa said she would write him.

"Good, good honey. You know I get all your letters."

"Why don't you write me back Grampy."

"I'm never gonna write you back."


"But I'll call you. Do you have the same telephone?"

That Sammy ... can't live with him and ... can't live with him.

Happy Holidays

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

So This Is Christmas

I'm a big Christmas fan.

I wanted to put that out there before I write the rest of this entry because you might think me very Scrooge like when you read the rest. I'm really not. You see ... there are a just few things that have always kinda bugged me about Christmas traditions and I just have a few suggestions.

1. Presents

I love presents. I love getting them and giving them. When the kids were growing up, I took hours of video of their excitement when they opened their gifts under the tree. Lots of gifts! So here's my first suggestion: Why not celebrate Christmas once a month instead of cramming hundreds of gifts into one morning? Each child can get one gift a month ... kinda like Hanukkah but on steroids. You can stop at the store and pick up a gift at your leisure. Okay, I know what you're gonna say ... what about the rest of the family ... uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces ... Heck with them. They have birthdays and other people in their lives.

Come to think of it ... once a month might be overkill. I seem to remember how few presents were used every year by my kids (disappointing ... considering I almost had to take a second job to pay for them). I think that the kids should buy the parents gifts once a month ... yeah ... that's better.

2. Parties

Who came up with this dumb idea? I don't know about you but we have about 100 parties at Christmastime and feel guilty if we can't at least make an appearance at most of them. Suggestion number 2: Collect the invitations from last year, write to all the hosts and tell them to give you the money they plan to spend this year on their parties. You pool the money and hire Bocelli or that Frank Sinatra karaoke guy and rent the Forum and have one big party for everybody.

3. Santa Claus

Okay ... there are gifts for the baby Jesus and parties to the celebrate the birth. Where the heck did the fat guy in a red suit riding reindeer and visiting millions in one night come from? Had to be one of my people ... Suggestion number 3:  Don't leave it to the retailers to come up with clever ideas.

4. Decorations

There used to be just blinking lights and Christmas trees. Now there are giant inflatable Santas, spotlights, giant reindeer, mechanical manger scenes, live manger scenes. Suggestion number 4: Don't start decorating right after Halloween and pick items that will not cause seizures.

5. Family

Christmas is the only day that extended family time is mandatory. It's the day for love, sharing, guilt, embarrassment, shouting, drinking and overeating. Suggestion number 5: Keep this one just as it is. It is the most important tradition and the one you will always cherish (unless you kill each other).

On a serious note: Merry Christmas to all my faithful readers, friends and family. Enjoy the holidays. Thank you again for your messages and your prayers this year. It truly helped make a difficult time so much easier ... much love, Joel

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Esther's Dinner Skills

The other night, we were at a party and my Mother's name entered into the conversation.

The guests were all talking about home cooked meals and memories of dishes that their mothers made. When I was asked I said my memories were limited to sandwiches. That's all I remembered eating at home ... mainly because my mom was not a cook. In fact, the oven was only used to keep the bread fresh.

Esther hated to cook. When we sold the house in New Orleans after Katrina, the oven was in mint condition ... never used ... and it had to be more than 30 years old.

I was okay with this ... in fact I thought everybody ate sandwiches for dinner. We did "splurge" on  Sundays: We would eat dinner out ... Chris's Steak House (before Ruth bought it),  random Chinese restaurants and ...

of course ...

Po-boy sandwich shops (yum).

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Who Do YOU Look Like?

Debbie loves that game, "What Celebrity does that guy or girl remind you of?" She always pegs it. I never can.

Yesterday, a woman came up to me and said that I looked exactly like Huey Lewis.

Well ... I had to immediately go home and tell Debbie about it.

Yessir ... I was feeling "pretty, pretty , pretty good". The last couple of years I have been told I looked like Mandy Patinkin ... remember him?

And just when I was feeling like Mr. Good Looking Celebrity ... I pulled into the gas station when a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said "Did anyone ever tell you you looked like Walter Matthau?"

What? She obviously didn't have a clue. I wanted say," Excuse me? maybe Huey or Mandy ... HAH!"

How could she think there was any family resemblance? 

Friday, December 6, 2013


Just sayin'

Woke up last week and my eyes were both in focus ... first couple of days it lasted for a few hours and now it's all day long. HALLELUYAH!

Early Christmas present.

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