Time does march rather swiftly, flailing poised hands and cocked arms. So it seems with my three nieces who, now young women, like all were once infants! At 16, 18, and 20, they assert their independence and maturity. I, for one, readily resist such revelation, with both amusing and dear nostalgia:
1. Sara, age 3, blurts out in puzzlement: “Uncle George?” (her name for the anti-Christ), when she sees Franklin’s image on a $5 bill, noting similarity of a baldness issues.
2. Sophie, age 2, darts down a Fort Lauderdale beach “nekkid” … with me in custodial pursuit, as I was baby-sitting. She laughed uproariously as she just knew how reserved and mortified I was.
3. Sara, age 6, orders a Caesar salad and a wedge of brie, startling the waiter (especially knowing that Sara’s parents and I ordered burgers!)
4. Sophie, age 10, takes the hand of an angry, dying man (in the midst of a tirade) and offers: “let’s go take a walk in the garden”. He immediately calms as all the adults present are still fumbling and terrified.
5. Sophie, age 10, points out sarcastically while the two of us are (ten minutes in) at a Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan movie: “this is so predictable. They always end up together in their movies!”
6. Aubrey, age 6, squeals in delight, when served a sorbet between meal courses at a rather formal and serious feast: “I just love an intermezzo!” Hushed and dropped jaws were in tandem.
7. Sara, age 10, at that same dinner, in response then replies: “intermezzo, i-n-t-e-r-m-e-z-z-o, intermezzo!” Further jaws dropped.
8. Aubrey & Sophie, ages 7 and 9, start a school-wide trend (at their Jewish day School, B’nai Shalom) of wearing shorts and boots in the winter, citing Uncle Mark as their precedent. Said uncle received direct admonishment from school administration.
9. Aubrey, age 7, while spending the day with her uncle at work, inquires of one of his clients: “will that be a charge, ma’am?” I was otherwise engaged wrapping a crystal lamp.
10. Aubrey, age 8, after watching an episode of HBO’s “The Sopranos” (it was disallowed, but available for Aubrey’s viewing in her room) telephones, yes, the very same uncle, inquiring about oral sex, the theme of that particular episode. She apologized but made it clear that it was Mommy’s idea that she call. (Note: I did finally weasel out of that scrape, but only narrowly.)
But alas! These are only snippets of remembrances that continue to diminish and grow further distant. Sara, Sophie, and Aubrey continue to provide joy and amusement … through their kindness, generosity of spirit, and quick wit. All three are now in their twenties and have neither use nor time for us mid-century types.
Tales are for telling and they will soon enough have theirs! Perhaps, they will chronicle their uncle’s dotage.
(Image: “Short Order Cook” by Rudy Fig, 2010.)