A Way’s Away but Feels Almost like Tomorrow and Certainly Yesterday

Yes, we are at 10 years old in this rendering of a picture.  Camp Wingate, Yarmouth, MA.  Summer of 1974.  You can tell the picture is partially a fake because I was wearing shorts and NOT a skirt.

It was just yesterday.  But by the time we are married, it will have been 38 years since we were best friends that summer.  In truth, we didn’t know each other from 18-32; and yet, we have always known each other and been inextricably tied one to the other.

Soon, it will be our wedding day.  Two little girls holding hands as adults who have been through so much, apart and then together.  And we will celebrate all that is us.  The good, the not-so-good, the sad, the joyous, and the things still evolving.

We have all we need (enough flatware to serve 24, for example).  So, when the invitation asks that in lieu of presents you make a charitable donation and we list a few that are important to us, please abide by our wishes.   We have enough and we are healthy and happy and truly there are no greater gifts.  Besides, if I have to store your gift in the limited space of a Manhattan apartment, I am going to regret having invited you.

Share our joy; spare our apartment.


Our wedding dresses arrived!!!!   They came on Thursday.  So on Friday, I bought one of those horrible, upper-body-toning bars from Hell. (We have sleeveless dresses.)

Being buff and beautiful on your wedding day is serious business.  Because after you say yes to the dress, you need to go through basic training. Navy SEAL-like training.  No wonder people choose to elope.  And white or off-white is sooooooo unforgiving.

And, even with all of this training, let’s face it, at our age, POB (partner of blogger) and I will nevertheless have to rely on modern-day corsets.  There should be a reality TV show contest where the winning bride contorts herself into the sausage casing called Spanx in the least amount of time. A whole new generation of “Beat The Clock”.

I remember my paternal grandmother’s corsets.   She had five live births and she was zoftig (full-figured) to begin with.  So, there needed to be a ghastly amount of squeezing in the middle to create any kind of hour glass shape.  I do remember that her corset made her enormous breasts form a large, nearly flat surface just below her clavicle.  I wonder how she didn’t suffocate.  But I was a convenient tray for balancing dishes while eating at a buffet affair.  Pluses and minuses — isn’t that always the balance?

My goal is to have a sausage casing that doesn’t have to re-distribute my body fat toooo much.  I can imagine — everything looks great, except I have conspicuously enlarged earlobes.

BUT THE DRESSES ARRIVED.  There is no going back.


How I learned to Relax and Enjoy the Newtron Bombney

For many months, I have been tied up in knots over the contenders for GOP nomination. I am terrified that on the third Tuesday in January, 2013, someone will utter any of the following:  “President Romney”, “President Gingrich”, “President Paul” or “President Santorum”.

I watch the GOP debates, with all of the venal, xenophobic, hypocritical, self-serving garbage that the candidates spew.

Any of these people would destroy our nation.  Setting aside Ron Paul and Rick Santorum (who are not winning the primaries), Gingrich is just evil, mercurial and evil (it bears repeating) and Romney is clueless and changes position faster than some in our nation change underwear.

President Obama who was elected to fix everything in less time than it took to break it all.  And, he wasn’t supposed to break a sweat or a promise or make a mistake.  We were exuberant, irrational and naive about the true state of our nation.  No one — no Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Tea Party-ist, whatever — would face any easier re-election bid.

Let’s just accept that.  If McCain had won, he would be called the GOP’s version of Jimmy Carter.

And let’s be clear — Obama’s campaign fed on the hopes and aspirations that we were electing a messianic politician.  He rode high and won on outlandish expectations that his campaign encouraged.  Once elected, he had to tamp down the expectations.  Because he found out just what he inherited and it wasn’t pretty.

But the GOP nominee can be the next president of the United States.  We cannot ignore that scary possibility.  (To wit:  GWB won 5-4 in the Supreme Court.)  Too many people are comfortable that Obama can beat either Romney or Gingrich, but the economy is fragile and people are deeply divided over President Obama (some for political reasons; others, for reasons that are, let’s say, less than Christian).  So, nothing is a sure thing.

Why am I scared? We have never been more divided as a nation.  And President Obama has incited the angry passions in the left wing of the Democrats and all of the Republicans — Democratic left, because he wasn’t nearly as “progressive” as they had expected and the Republicans, because he wasn’t nearly the effete liberal, scared-y cat they were hoping to skewer.

Now that the GOP is divided and frantically scrambling to blow back against a Gingrich nomination or presidency, I smile and relax.

If I set aside what the mud-slinging says about us and our society, I can talk about the debates in the same conversation as others talk about the Real Housewives of Los Angeles.  And no one knows I am talking about the political debates and our (G-d forbid) future president of our country.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Report from the Front

SOB (sister of blogger) and HOSOB (husband of SOB) had a day with Dad today.  Lunch and a museum.

I get an email from SOB later in the day:

“Here’s some news. Had lunch with Dad. He bought a pint of  Half & Half in the store. No, didn’t need to take it from the restaurant. Thought you would want to know.”

Dad didn’t take the creamers from the diner (along with extra jam packets)?  I was shocked.  I think maybe they spent the day with the wrong old man.

I email back:

“Are you sure it was Dad?”

SOB quickly replies:

“Pretty sure. He was 30 minutes early and [HOSOB] said that at the exhibit, he was close to touching the paintings that he didn’t like.”

Ok, so here is what we have:  our Dad doesn’t buy his own cream for his morning coffee.  30 minutes early is late for Dad.  But he does get dangerously close to masterpieces he doesn’t like, not because he wants to harm the work, but because he can’t see so well anymore and he wants to point to the particulars that bother him.  (Picasso’s “Blue Period” art is especially at risk.)

On balance, it was more probably Dad.  We will see him tomorrow.  SOS (our son, source of sanity) invited Dad, SOB and HOSOB to join him at the natural history museum so he could show them the Hall of Ancient Peoples.  POB (partner of blogger) and I were not invited.  “Mommy and E-Mom, you can have some free play.”

But I will see Dad when I drop off SOS at SOB’s house.  More than just to say hi and kiss him — I need to make sure that Dad is, well, Dad.

Love, Family and the Wedding

Today, SOB (sister of blogger), Dad and I planned to have brunch and then go visit our cousins who sell antiques and are in New York City for a show on the antiques circuit.

SIDEBAR:  This is NOT Antiques Road Show, where a sculpture of a hand holding a bird is estimated to be more valuable than two birds in the bush.  How do I know my cousins are a notch above?  First, they travel the world over to buy the “stuff”; second, they charge a lot for the “stuff”; and third, they had to buy a whole other house to keep the “stuff”.  (One still maintains a day job.)

We told Dad to meet us at noon at a coffee shop not too far from his house (he likes to walk a little to get the blood flowing, which is essential at 91.5 years old).  Knowing that Dad arrives at least 30 minutes early, SOB and I decide to get there even earlier so we can have a pre-Dad schmooze.  We arrive at the coffee shop at 11:10am.  As we enter, we see Dad walking up.  (I am glad we said noon; if we had said 10am, Dad would have arrived at 11pm the night before.)

We had our usual conversations, punctuated by what was happening in the GOP primaries.   SOB and I are attuned to Dad’s rhythms.  We can tell from his body language that he is about to make a loud and slightly aggressive request for more coffee.  We also know that he did not hear the server say that a new pot was brewing and he would freshen up the coffee as soon as the pot was ready.  So as his hand is going up, SOB gently guided it back down to the table as I repeated (louder this time) that the coffee is coming.

SIDEBAR:  I attribute our gentle ballet to the skills we learned playing Capture the Egg on Sundays at camp.  For those of you unfamiliar with the “sport”, it is Capture the Flag but with eggs.  The winning team has the most number of intact eggs at the end of the game.  Some of the eggs are hard boiled, some are soft boiled and some are raw.  When your teammate runs into “enemy territory” and gets trapped, she then has to throw the egg to you as you stand on your side of the field.  You need to assume it is raw but hope it is hard boiled.  The trick in catching a raw egg is that you don’t catch it like a baseball; you catch it like a football — a cradle-like reception, as you gently reduce its spiral and speed.  And then, when the raw egg nevertheless splatters all over you, you call, “first in line for the shower!!!” Ok, I digress.

Dad is really steady at his age, but snow and ice is a challenge.  Of course, he wanted to take the bus.  I wanted to take a cab.  And I didn’t have enough on my Metrocard for a ride.

SIDEBAR:  It is true that my Metrocard was low; but it was convenient on a cold day on the icy streets of New York when I want my father to be in one piece for my wedding.

SOB said to Dad, “If we take a cab, we will save [Blogger] money on her Metrocard.”  We throw in test of logical thinking every now and again to assess Dad’s mental acuity.  He rolled his eyes, so we know he is ok.  SOB is non-confrontational, yet effective.  Strong work.

We arrive at the Antiques Show at the 26th Street Armory (in case anyone is wondering, I paid for a cab or two on this adventure).  Our cousins were there, as was another cousin.  The other cousin talked about his son’s engagement to an Iranian Muslim.  I noted that the successful marriages in our family were mostly mixed or same-sex marriages.  We all looked at each other.  Yep, we were all happy and either our partners were not Jewish or, if Jewish, the same sex.  So, I suggested to my cousin that we should all be relieved that his son was not marrying a Jew, for the sake of his future happiness.

One cousin asked about my upcoming nuptials.  Most of the details that are not quite settled relate to religious law.  Clearly, this makes no sense since a lesbian wedding is not sanctioned by tradition.   So why do we worry so much about complying with all of the rituals?  I tried to explain to this to our cousin, a non-Jew who married into the family, that Jews fearlessly go into absurd detail where others — except maybe the Vatican — don’t dare tread.  The mental gymnastics required to marry two women free and clear of prior entanglements are epic, as in Homer-like epic.  Too bad the Bard is not around to sing the tale of mighty warrior(ette)s slaying the various beasts, and overcoming the various challenges placed in their path by the gods on their way, so that they may seal their love and singular devotion (and have a little party).  All for a 20 minute ritual.  The things we do for tribal continuity.

Maybe PBS will do a mini-series.  The J-Word: Life Behind the Lesbian Chuppah.

Friday, the day that the Rabbi ate at Metro Diner

POB (partner of blogger) and I are going through the Jewish version of pre-cana.  Never mind that we have progeny and more than a decade together in our rear-view mirror.

The first time we met with the rabbi, she came to our house.  She couldn’t drink the Kosher wine because she was still nursing and she didn’t touch anything else, even though everything was Kosher and on glass plates (glass doesn’t absorb food particles so glass plates in a non-Kosher home are still ok).  I couldn’t concentrate on anything she said because I was thinking, “what Kosher rule did I forget that renders even Kosher things in my house treyf (un-kosher)?”  The whole session was a blur.  Then, the rabbi ate a grape.  My house was saved from shame.  But, I couldn’t tell you a thing about the discussion.

Today was our second meeting with the rabbi.  We met and ate at Metro Diner, a regular Upper West Side diner.  Really, rabbi?  So, I had to mention that I lived in shame for months after she came to our house last and ate only one grape.  “Oh, I had just eaten and I really wasn’t hungry!”  So, it turns out that there was no curse on my house, but just a rabbi — a JEW — who wouldn’t eat something right under her nose.  (She’s Jewish, right?)

So, I tried to concentrate on this session.  We planned the ceremony and talked about a bunch of things.  Very productive.  This marriage thing seems do-able.

Then, the rabbi reminded us we each had to write a letter to her about why we want to marry each other.  Don’t a child, a home, a mortgage in common qualify?  And I didn’t mention a joint retirement strategy.  That should just seal the deal.  Res ipsa loquitur, baby.

“Excuse me, these aren’t substitutes for the letter?  I’m sorry but I did not know that this was a term paper class.  I thought the final project was the actual wedding.”  Pause.  “Ok, when is it due?”  Pause.  “BEFORE the wedding?”  Harumph.

Not only do I have to finish all of my Continuing Legal Education credits AND lose 5 pounds before the wedding, I must write this letter.

Why is it such an issue?  I don’t know how to begin or where to end.

POB is my best friend and my favorite person in the world.  Her mere presence calms and comforts me.  I trust her implicitly.  I know she loves me like no else could.  I love her the same way.  I am safe with POB and she with me.  I adore POB, just adore her.  I have no logical explanation — I can’t help it.  She and I laugh together.  We think we are the luckiest people in the world.  We are strong because we helped each other grieve our mothers, nurtured each other during professional disappointments, supported each other during our son’s difficult early years and caught each other when we felt like we were falling.  We have gone through moments when we thought we wouldn’t make it together and then realized that we couldn’t make it EXCEPT together.   Now, we finish each other sentences and sometimes I think we are the same person (except she’s cuter). I will never cook, but I will do the dishes.  I have piles of clothes but POB has piles of magazines.  I let POB make the rules at home because she is a benevolent dictator.  I am responsible for customer service and technology issues.  POB never lets us run out of shampoo, moisturizer, food, and other necessities.  I will never be awake early enough to take our son to school, but I will stay up to help with math and science homework.  We are a team.

I am more in love with POB today than at any time before.  But check in with me tomorrow, and I will love POB even more.


When I am old, I will eat smoked whitefish chubs

Foods, smells and places are triggers for memories.  On Sunday, POB (partner of blogger) bought whitefish salad for my father to have on crackers as a nosh before dinner.  I finished it up last night.    

When I was a kid, Grandma and Grandpa always brought lox (not Nova Scotia salmon), smoked whitefish chubs wrapped in wax paper, herring in cream sauce mit [with] onion and bagels.  All de vay from deVilliamsburgh section of Broooklyn, dahlink. 

Mom used to freak out that one of us would choke on the bones and my grandfather would say, “It didn’t kill you! Vhy should it kill the kinder [children]?” 

I always remember that the oily smell of the smoked white fish lingered in the kitchen, on my grandfather’s clothes (“vhy waste a napkin? I’m not going to no party!”) and on my hands.  For DAYS it lingered.  We were the light of our grandparents’ lives and even our not-so-cuddly grandpa openly adored us.  These were the days before we got too cool or too moody.  These were the days when we looked forward to seeing them and ran up to hug them as they walked in the house. 

When Grandma and Grandpa stopped being able to come to our house, we brought the same stuff to them (all de vay from the upper east side of Manhattan, dahlink).  Grandpa would say, “Don’t buy vhere you live!  A dolleh (dollar) doesn’t buy much!!”

At home, my parent started buying whitefish salad and herring salad (no cream sauce).  And smoked salmon from places my grandparents couldn’t pronounce.  No fuss, no bother.  We smelled better and it was healthier.  Little random acts of assimilation.

When we go over to Dad’s house today, he still serves whitefish and herring salads (along with some tofu-I-don’t-know-what and eggplant salad) for hors- d’oeuvres before dinner.  Not upper class or Episcopalian by any stretch, but well north of Delancey Street.

When I am in my father’s house, I hear, I taste, I smell those childhood memories.   Some day (I hope a long time from now), I won’t go to my father’s house anymore, just like that one day I stopped going to my grandfather’s house. 

What will become of those memories?

So, last night, I resolved that when I am old, I will eat smoked whitefish chubs, herring in cream sauce (ok, maybe not the cream sauce) and salty lox belly. 

And I will remember.


Songs in the Key of Life

This was a particularly hard weekend.  In the Jewish calendar, Friday was the 9th anniversary (a Yahrzeit) of my mother’s death.  We went to synagogue together:  Dad, SOB (sister of blogger), HOSOB (husband of SOB) and I.  We endured the endless rituals that preceded the recitation of the names of those with Yahrzeits and saying the mourner’s prayer.  Each year, SOB and I ask each other “why is Mom on the list with all the dead people?”  Both of us pull out worn pictures of Mom and run our fingers over them.  I also have an emergency Mom slideshow on my iPhone in case we still do not feel her presence.  “Blogger family does death” is not for the faint of heart.  We pick every scab, open every wound, dredge up every Hallmark moment.

Dad loves the Oneg (the after-service nosh and schmooze) especially when there are Bar and Bat Mitzvahs the next day because there are really good hors d’oeuvres.  The rest of us wanted to get out of synagogue because HOSOB and SOB were particularly afraid that my constant transgressions might cause a biblical conflagration that would consume the congregation and they didn’t want blood on their hands. Wow, they think I have power.  I surveyed the attendees at the service and I assure you that there are others whose trespasses run afoul of Big Ten (the Ten Commandments) constantly and consistently.  So, my snarkiness and anger at G-d (we are not close, G-d and I) pale in comparison.  Mom might send a flicker to remind me to mind my manners, but there were way bigger fish should G-d want to fry.

Dad poured himself a wine in a water glass (good thing he is still steady at 91) and dug into the not-so-very-kosher looking edibles (it is a Reform synagogue, but STILL).  The Onegs also attract homeless people who don’t abide by ritual cleansing before entering a house of worship.  They should eat and be full, without curling my nose hair.  But I digress.

SOB and I were heartened when people came over to say Shabbat Shalom and tell us that they still remember Mom and miss her.  Each said that how shocking it was to hear Mom’s name on the Yahrzeit list.  Once we counted 10 people who remembered Mom, we were ready to have dinner.   We made sure she lived on in others, even nine years later.  Mom was indeed remarkable and her memory is a blessing.

We peeled Dad away from the cheese tray and went off for some indigestion-inducing Indian food.  We had a lively conversation because, around Mom’s Yahrzeit, Dad is really clear-headed and “present” in the way he was when Mom was alive.  As sad as it is to hear her name on the list with the dead people, the people who remember her and our presence at synagogue invigorate Dad.  He said he feels as if Mom is right next to him.

The conversation went along crazy tangents about Dad and others his age finding new companions and his comments about the capabilities of men his age made us need to stop the conversation and move to another direction.  His comment about what an 85 year-old man can really do with a 45 year-old made us laugh, cry and turn purple.  He is still married to Mom, he says.  Somehow, it makes us want him even more to find a companion to fill his days in his final years.

It was a cramped place and Dad is hard of hearing so we had to talk very loud.  Dad says there is nothing wrong with his hearing.  I tell him he can’t hear when the ear doctor recommends a hearing aid.  At various points in the conversation, I needed to repeat things right into his ear so he could catch the conversation.  I always started by saying, “I love you Dad and you need a hearing aid. . . .”  He laughed and repeated that his hearing was excellent.  But then why was I screaming into his ear?  “Everyone mumbles.”  Look, everyone needs a good dose of rationalization every single day.

POB (partner of blogger) left a Yahrzeit candle out for me to light in Mom’s memory.  The acts of striking the match and lighting the wick really personalize the moment in the way a recitation of a prayer in a congregation cannot.  In the darkness of my kitchen when my family was asleep, I lit a candle to remember my mother and bring light into the darkness she left behind.  Imagine Carly Simon’s song about losing her mother.  Weep.

HOSOB had lunch with Dad on Saturday and took him to a museum.  Dad called each of us Saturday night, a little bored and somewhat despondent.  Imagine Jim Croce’s “Photographs and Memories.”  It is a hard time for all of us.  We are glad he reached out but we cannot fill the void.  We can just be on the other end of the phone line.  I wonder how much that helps him but I hope it eases the loneliness.

Dad is man with a past much fuller than his future.  I love him because he kind, generous and able to be vulnerable in front of his children, and acknowledge our love and trust our decisions.  Enter a medley of “Sunrise, Sunset” with a smattering of “Circle Game” and “Life is Eternal”.

But then there is Sunday night dinner.  The weekly ritual during which my father pushes my emotional buttons the way Cole Porter could make a piano sing.

Since I was kid, Dad and I fell into this rhythm that a 8pm on a Sunday night, we would get into an argument about something.  Many times, neither of us had any basis for our opinion.  Other times, one was indeed an expert (me, for example, when it comes to life as a lawyer in law firm) and the other (Dad) was not.  Most times, it was about politics; sometimes it got personal.  Mom and SOB used to set their watches by the argument because it was more regular and constant than any clock in the house — 8pm.  Mom and SOB also tempered the “conversation” and brought us back to civility.

Over the years, we have dinner earlier because of SOB (son of blogger, our source of sanity), so the argument starts promptly at 7:15 and lasts to 7:45pm.  Usually, Cousin Gentle, CB (cousin Birder), HOSOB and SOB come over, too.  So there are plenty of people to help Dad and me back from the brink.  Tonight, everyone was busy. Dad came over at 4pm because he was lonely.

Tonight’s argument was triggered by my young cousin’s desire to go to law school and my visceral “NOOOOOO!!!!” response.  I thought he should do something with a better business model and that could not be outsourced, like plumbing.  My point was that law school is not the default choice of this generation if the student was paying for his or her own education.  For me, it was easy.  Mom and Dad were paying.  But life in a law firm is hardly the easy life or the cash cow it was a generation ago.  Dad wouldn’t listen to me and continued to discuss how important and rewarding was the practice of law.  He did admit that it was snobbery that precluded him from considering non-professional avenues.  I applaud his self awareness.

Of course, I went to law school because I was not fit for medical school and I didn’t want to be a pariah in my family.  I guess I wanted some acknowledgement, at long last, that my parents’ dreams were not mine and didn’t turn out the way everyone imagined.  I wanted Dad only to say, “we did the best we knew how.”  That would have been enough.

These arguments are about mental exercise and the eternal struggle between parents and children for acknowledgement, acceptance, honor and respect.  We have settled the struggle, more or less, but there are occasional border skirmishes.  But we always leave the table hugging and kissing and saying “I love you”.  And then, if SOB is not present, I call her immediately after I come back from putting Dad into a cab.  I must download the events — for guilt, for the collective memory, for the continuity of family.  What guilt you ask?  The guilt of putting the welfare of sick people in the hospital over the mental health of her sister.  SOB should be indebted to me for decades to come.  [There must be some song from old Yiddish theatre that captures all of this.  If I find it I will update my blog.]

Of course, notwithstanding the sometimes harsh words, Dad is coming with us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art tomorrow, because  . . . he needs us and we need him.

Happy New Year

Hello.  Yes, it has been a while.  I hope you had wonderful holidays and are looking forward to good things in 2012.

I took a true blogcation.  Time to reflect.  Time to re-calibrate.  Time to chill.  Time to ponder the fragility and resilience of human beings.

Yes, that last sentence was a lead-in to talk about Dad.  Before I discuss some moments in the last two weeks in the lives of two dutiful daughters, I would just like to prepare you for the cosmic fate that will befall me for being snarky about my father (Mom, aren’t you looking out for me?):

Not Lightening, BUT (click)

Dad spends four half-days each week at his sculpture studio, doing as he says, “chopping stone”.  He is really quite good.  And that he can chisel stone into art at any age, let alone, at 91 years old, is well, remarkable.  He is remarkable.

But, let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?

The sculpture studio was closed for the holidays so he was on involuntary vacation for two weeks.  Dad lives without Mom because of two things: his art and his family.  He needs both (and, well, so does his family).

Dad is a lovely man and so it isn’t hard to want to spend time with him.  Because we lost Mom, we know how precious is the time we spend with him.  And he needed us more than usual.

SOB (sister of blogger) tried to find a movie that Dad would like.  It needs to be historical and, if it is about an atrocity or two, so much the better.  (For example, he never tires of seeing movies about the Holocaust or the Great Recession.  So, no light-hearted holiday fare for Dad.  Dad needs to leave a movie with a healthy dose of righteous indignation (why DOES SOB constantly say that I am Dad’s clone?).

Iron Lady, about Margaret Thacher, seemed like a winner: a mean, Conservative, Cold War warrior and leader of the UK who broke gender barriers (never mind Indira Ghandi and others), all with a hairdo that withstood whipping winds and never-ending London drizzle.  Better than New Year’s Day or Kung Fu Panda II.

SOB is always upbeat if unrealistic.  She emailed me: “I’m going to meet Dad – lunch and movie – Thatcher.  I expect that he won’t hear any of the dialogue. Bet you $1 million that he says all actors mumble.”  (Dad has yet to realize that he has a hearing impairment.)

From the movie, she texts:  “The movie Iron Lady is great – Meryl Streep is of course fabulous.  [Blogger] — I will give you $1 million if you can guess what Dad said after each and every preview – and another $1 million if you can guess what he said at the end of the movie, as tears were going down my face. I await your response.”

[Sidebar:  The truth is that SOB and I go for broke like this all the time, we bet a couple of million every day.  We never actually hand over our 401ks and deeds to our homes, etc. because we figure we will true up in front of the gates of Hell (SOB promised to come down with me instead of going up to Heaven because she would miss me).  After the first gasps, POB (partner of blogger) and HOSOB (husband of SOB) are don’t bat an eyelash as SOB and I casually wager more than the value of our worldly possessions.   Who can keep track anyway?]

Thinking that SOB gave the answer away in the first email, I confidently texted back: “At the end of the movie: all the actors are mumbling.  After every preview, what kind of nonsense is this? Is this what we are teaching our children?”

I lost according to SOB: “End of the movie – beautiful, touching scene of Meryl Streep, and tears are streaming down my [SOB’s] face, Dad says: ‘What a strange movie, I won’t be recommending it.’  After each preview – Dad says in a stage whisper [with an incredulous and disgusted tone]: ‘G-d Amighty…'”

Also, Dad “stage whispers” at the top of his lungs.  AND, if you knew my dad and his intonations and what thoughts and phrases follow which, you would know that the judges might be split on whether I got the response to the previews right.  Just sayin’.  But like I said, we have the rest of our lives and purgatory to figure out who — SOB or I — really won.

We saw Dad the next day and he thought the movie was short on the historical, political backdrop and too heavy on the emotions.  “But what are people learning from this movie?”  “Dad,” I said, “people who go to the movie know about Margaret Thacher.  It is all about the commonality of the human experience, whether you were Prime Minister of England or an apple vendor.  And, the acting brilliance of Meryl Streep.”

[Sidebar:  Of course, I didn’t see the movie before I weighed in emphatically, but it is a free-for-all in our house and no one is required to be encumbered or constrained by fact or physics.  And I only started liking Meryl Streep when I realized she was growing old gracefully and not getting face-lifts.]

Dad rolled his eyes and looked displeased.

He was still complaining about the movie a week later. So, it was a successful outing.

STILL, if only the director had thrown in some World War I or II footage — anywhere, in the credits or in the middle of a poignant emotional scene — it would have saved the movie for Dad.  It would have also relegated the movie to the ranks of “Springtime for Hitler” and that cult fave, “The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”.  But, SOB and I would have been grateful.

Maybe, there is an uncut version somewhere . . . .