Sunday, October 01, 2006

How Melinama spent her Friday and Saturday nights.

Friday I picked Menticia up from school and took her on an errand.

Several years ago I planted two bushes I'd bought, with high hopes, after doing a lot of research. The particular viburnum cultivar, "Blue Muffin," was supposed to grow LOW and have FLOWERS and BLUE BERRIES which birds would like.

MY two bushes, however, turned out to be coarse, vigorous arrowwood viburnums with thick stems shooting straight up in the air to more than six feet virtually as I watched. I kept cutting them back, hoping they'd somehow revert to the pleasing little "mounded shrubs" in the picture, but that was never their intention. I've grown to loathe them.

So I took Menticia to my favorite nursery, run by Jim Rives, out in the country. He ambled with us through his rows of plants, talking about his favorites, and we chose a couple and brought them home.

Menticia wanted a snack. Last week she was in the mood for almonds, so we went to the grocery store and bought them, and then she ate almost the entire pound while we were working on her math homework and I wasn't paying attention, so later - in the middle of the night (she gleefully reported) - she threw them up all over the bathroom! Gee, her mother must have loved me at that moment! This week's snack was a modest peanut-butter sandwich and a glass of milk.

Then we took our shovels out front and attacked those arrowwoods. I think I sounded a little like the soundtrack to a Ninja Turtle movie as I tried to chop and pry my bush out of the ground. Menticia, of course, was silent and calm, because that's always her preference. I got mine out, I finished getting hers out, we dragged the corpses out into the woods, and we got more dirt and planted the new bushes. It's satisfying to begin and complete a project in one afternoon. Then we read, ate some more, and I took her home.

Saturday night I played for a 95th birthday party. Last year I wrote about the same event:
I trucked over to Raleigh to play, with my bandmate Jim, for our customer's mother's 94th birthday. His mother, and his wife's mother, were each about 4' 9" tall and were native Yiddish speakers. He had told me: "Mother can't walk much any more but she can still dance" and it proved to be true. I haven't been singing much, lately, so belting out 3+ hours of Yiddish songs one after another was quite the workout. We also played Israeli dances and klezmer tunes and people sang along, danced, clapped, played drums (and a home-made digeridoo), and treated us like royalty.
It was a similar event this year, though the mom was strikingly less lively. I took Glenn Mehrbach to play piano this year, because I didn't want to have to turn my back on the guests. The birthday girl, too, was treated like royalty by everyone present, and in fact was wearing a tiara and carrying a sceptre. I tried out a bunch of new songs and everybody was wowed by Glenn. One of the grandsons played his trumpet and one of the sons got a bunch of movies of his mom singing along with "Oyfn Pripetshok" and "Mayn Yidishe Mome" and some other excellent chestnuts.

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