Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom:

“The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.” — Jay Leno

And Jay forgot to add that in any case, you can only have so many asses in a crèche scene. Whoops, I should remember the “goodwill towards men” portion of my seasonal celebration. Maybe I first need a slug of coffee to get the brain functioning.

Preparing for the Party – Last weekend’s company party downtown was fabulous. It was really good to chat with folk I traveled and worked with for many a year. Actually Marcia and I had left the house early so that we could wander around the city center before the festivities started. But, even before that we planned it so that we could grab lunch at Izzy’s Deli. Izzy’s is the last of the city’s old Jewish delicatessen restaurants—a Reuben or a Pastrami on Rye at least 4” high, a potato pancake, all the dill pickles and kraut you want; all designed to sit in your stomach for days on end. It’s not the stuff the doctor would prescribe, but for a once-a-year destination it cannot be beat.

I remember when old Izzy Kadetz himself ran the place. His meat slicer was parked in front of the window so that Izzy could see traffic and we could see Izzy. Also, he could turn around and work the register. Wait too long and Izzy would run out the front door to collar you. If things got a bit quiet Izzy would start bickering with Rose, his wife.

The good natured bickering would continue until the noise of the place drowned them out. There was always noise, as the place itself would be packed with a lunchtime crowd of friends and strangers sitting next to one another at long tables. It would not be too unusual to see a panhandler sitting at the same table as Stanley Schrotel the Chief of Police. Orders would be taken and then yelled to Izzy up front. Nothing was ever written down. By the way, in 1962, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley tried to lure Chief Schrotel to Chicago—Schrotel refused the offer—they didn’t have an Izzy’s.

Go to check out and you’d tell Izzy what you had to eat. Izzy would look you up and down and establish a price for the meal. Shirt and tie and you’d be sure to pay a bit more than the poor stiff with a hole in his shoe. Didn’t have soup that day? A boisterous Izzy would loudly start reprimanding; “Oiy vey, how can you liff that vay” he’d shout, “soup is life!”

The old Izzy’s is gone as is Izzy. The new deli is still located on Elm Street and almost directly across from where the original had been. The grease on the walls and ceiling is gone, as is the noise. Proper tables are there and a smiling waitress now greets you—but, still nothing is written down. Our sandwich (which we split) was a rock solid 4” high. And, Marcia and I had soup because I remembered that “soup is life.”

The beating heart of the city – Should you live in or around a good sized city this is the time of year you must spend some time in it. The city center and the activities will send your mood soaring. The ‘Nati transforms it’s Fountain Square to accommodate a skating rink, complete with Christmas tree and all the adornments. It was cold and windy last weekend when Marcia and I strolled around. Suddenly Marcia poked me and started pointing. A bride in a strapless wedding gown and the groom came up from the underground garage and headed over to a nearby hotel. I thought that maybe they were heading for their Cinderella style coach, but no such luck.

Turning a corner and we ran smack into a group of twenty or thirty Santas. If you had a Santa preference this group had it, roly-poly, skinny, long bearded, full bearded, traditional Mrs. Claus, mini skirted Ms. Claus, a ‘blue’ Santa, and even a ‘Q-tipped’ Mrs. Claus. Later on we discovered that there were various groups, totaling over 200 Santas roaming the city. You do see it all and you do get caught up in it.

Dates – I am trying to get out a bit and spend time with the grandkids. Earlier this week Vaioleti and I went to the Children’s Museum—one of her favorite places. I was served a roasted turkey and a drink in the pretend restaurant. She loaded a bucket full of rocks in the construction zone. She climbed into the turret of the pretend castle and proclaimed; “I Princess.” But, best of all was the better part of an hour spent putting two plastic Beavers on a little boat in the water play area. At the far end was a barrier and when Vai would count a “One, Two, Three” I’d raise the barrier. The resultant wave would spin and float the Beavers down river where I’d have to retrieve them to Vai’s delight. One wave and retrieval every two minutes, my quick math tells me we performed that enchanting little ritual eighteen times.

Tonight is date night with Marin. At a nearby Masonic Temple it’s a neighborhood film festival – bring your own snacks and drinks to share. Three, count them – three, Laurel and Hardy movies plus one Little Rascals and a few cartoon fillers. How good does it get I ask you. I really hope that Marin will feel the same way! In any case, Marcia made me promise solemnly that if Marin tired of Laurel and Hardy I wouldn’t force him to stay. Personally, I’d forgo a night’s sleep to watch these guys.

Closing – Make it a great week! We’re off to celebrate Christmas in Michigan. These Ramblings might be a bit delayed next weekend—but, then I’ll be with 80% to 98% of my readers so it should make little difference.



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