Despite dozens of Facebook warnings the night before my flight, like this one: "Why are you travelling in this mush? Be safe. I would cancel and wait for spring if possible!" plus agitated calls from both mother and mother-in-law begging me not to make such a "dangerous" trip into a New York paved with lethal Black Ice, on February 5 I did indeed take flight. Here are Excerpts and Embroideries from my emails home.
Central Park in FebruarySunday
Not a bad flight on Jet Blue, but I only had a couple of hours sleep and am an anxious flyer, so it's always an ordeal. Plane left an hour and a half late because they lost a lightbulb. Then there was heavy mist at JFK and we had to circle for another hour because of "congestion," which wracked nerves further. But the car I ordered was waiting for me, and I was at my cousin Ezra's house on the Upper West Side by 10 PM. Felt tired and muddled (accidentally left reading glasses on plane, automatically adding $300 to the $250 airfare), but went out to a neighborhood Indian restaurant and had delicious curried goat, which restored equanimity. Whatever it took to get there, I was in New York!
Joanna, cat person
A very warm and happy evening, and then I took the subway back uptown, to the apartment on Riverside Drive that is the scene of so many childhood memories. Then it was the home of my dear great-uncle Louis, who lived there since time out of mind (probably the 1930s), and we always went to seders there. It's been modernized, but the original seder chairs are still there.
Another lovely day, still warm, in the 40s, sun and clouds. Bad dreams from the horror thriller I was reading for work, and got up too early (a rarity in my life, that), but repaired self with Starbucks. Crosstown bus to 96th and Third, then caught the bus to Riverdale, in the Bronx, where my mother is in the Hebrew Home for the Aged. I'd thought it would be snowier, because reports are that there's more snow and ice outside Manhattan, and the Hebrew Home's grounds on the Hudson are country-like; but it was dry, and I was fine without the boots. My mother was very glad to see me, and we had a very pleasant time, talking over news and memories of various members of our once large, now smaller, clan.
Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.
I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.
They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!
I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!
Damned sinister. Another one of these things that would probably have the poet arrested as a pedophile today. But, good heavens, how I do love the Internet. I just looked up that Bishop of Bingen story. Do you know he was a greedy man in the 1300s who hoarded food during a famine, until everyone died and the mice ate him up in his Mouse-Tower? Nice story, I don't think!
Fashion statement for New York:
Salvation Army down jacket, $10, and hiking boots, $15