All posts for the month November, 2010


Published November 24, 2010 by jean cohen

Well, here’s hoping my life will now return to normal; Thanksgiving, Weybridge-style, has been and gone.

It was an intense week leading up to the dinner- shopping with Anne for decorations and supplies, shopping with Booboo for ingredients, shopping with Brenda for last minute must-haves, and shopping with Carol for … well, no particular reason, just that I deserved it.

Plus it was a crazy busy JDavid work week. He was due to pick me up at 10:00 on Wednesday morning to go to a meeting.  At 9:30 my doorbell rang.  “Wow” I thought, “He’s having a compulsive moment.”  Of course, it wasn’t David.  It was his mom, dropping off some raffle prizes for the Dinner.   I invited her in for a coffee, recommending that she be careful negotiating the bags of stuff all around the kitchen. 

“Your boychick will be here shortly” I told her.   “Oh!” she said,”How is he?”

Sure enough, a few minutes later the phone rang.  “My mother is there?”  David inquired from the car.

“Ten-four” I told him.  “She says since you don’t call and you don’t write, she has to hang at mine to catch a glimpse of you.  You’d better come in.”

I was very happy to have facilitated that Hallmark Moment.

Due to so much else going on, I got myself into another Haderech jam- three articles overdue.  Cousin Bernie is mean if your copy is late.  “I’m kinda distracted” I apologized via email.  “I’m doing Thanksgiving Dinner for 100 people on Friday.”

Bernie was hardly sympathetic. “I hope you’re not deep frying the turkeys” he snarked.

Although Sunday night in Weybridge is Proper American Football Night, Boo and the Boy came over to hang out.  Boo had wisely inquired “Are you getting the Eagles game tonight?  Will you be yelling and swearing and throwing things?”

“Nah” I told her sadly, “The Birds are the Monday night game.  I have to watch fucking Farve and the Vikings. Again.” 

My bestest ever friend insinuated that I’m not a true fan because I wasn’t planning on staying up until 2:00 in the morning to watch the game.  I couldn’t; I had too much going on on Tuesday, including two more radio interviews on local stations. 

But to brag for just a moment, the Birds beat the revolting ‘Skins and Donovan McNabb 59 – 28!  The Dog Murderer threw for 4 TDs and ran for 2 more.  Several records were broken, including total yards (592), points in a half (45), and the biggest lead after one quarter by a road team (28) since 1950.

And if that wasn’t wonderful enough, those amazing guys from Futsal Colli a Volturno beat the pesky Poggio Sannita guys 11 -1!  I’m not sure how you score ‘1’, or’ 11’ for that matter, since a TD is 6, a PAT is 1, a 2 point conversion is 2, and a FG is 3.  Well, they’re in Italy, of course; maybe they can’t add.  As a loyal supporter, I get invited to the game every week.  I think.  Their Facebook page is in Italian.  The players are certainly hotter than American ones, especially that Domenico Incollingo guy, who is very likely one of my cousins.

What can I say about the Thanksgiving Do?  It was amazing; it gets better every year.  We fed 86 guests and 8 volunteers and raised ₤1800.00 for the hospice.  And we actually had 20 Americans this year!

JDavid thought we needed some pizzazz this year and dragged me to Chertsey to the costume rental shop.  I was willing to be a Pilgrim, but they didn’t do Pilgrims.  I was not keen on being an Indian.  David is less picky; he ended up going as Uncle Sam.  (Pictures will definitely be provided.)

No band this year.  I did a playlist of American stuff, including all the songs with places in the titles- yes, including Sweet Home Alabama.  I started the event off with the Star Spangled Banner, ‘cause I was in charge and I felt like it.  And I made them all stand.

When one of the American families came in, I just had to hug their kid.  He was wearing a Phillies jersey.  Turns out they’re from Newtown Square!  See?  I keep saying Weybridge is a small town. 

In closing, I’m grateful.  For so much.  Happy Thanksgiving.


Published November 10, 2010 by jean cohen

I know; tardy with a blog again.

My schedule was as frenetic as usual this week, coupled with the fact that this week is always, unquestionably, the worst time of year for me:  Jerry’s and Matt’s yartzeits on almost the same date.  They could have arranged that better.  Although, as a friend pointed out, it is a relief in a way to deal with it once and try not to obsess the rest of the year.

The occasion always makes me introspective and nostalgic, and more than a little grumpy.

Kimberly’s comment on Facebook remembering Matt brought me to tears.  It was so sweet.  She was due to have her first child any day now, a mitzvah that caused me happiness and sadness in equal measure.  I was frightened that she might actually deliver on the date, which would have been awful.  Analise Danisi McCann arrived on Monday, November 1.  Mazel tov to Kimberley and Pete.

I lit the yartzeit candles on Friday night and said Kaddish, the ritual mourning prayer.  Then I went out to dinner with a friend.  Jerry wouldn’t want me to sit home moping, would he?

When I arrived at shul on Saturday morning, it was packed.  Wow.  Did all those people come just to hear me read the Haftorah? 

Of course not.  There was a baby naming ceremony after services and they had lots of relatives.  Interestingly, the mother is from Georgia, and I enjoyed talking with her parents, who have pronounced southern drawls.

I had two aliyahs, really an unusual honor.  I did the Study Passage, which I got to choose.  I read Kahlil Gibran, from ‘The Prophet’, (no surprise there, I know) the poem ‘On Death’.  It’s a beautiful piece, reaffirming the concept that death is just one step in our journey.

I love the part “…For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?”


It goes on to say :

“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”

I got a bit teary as I read it.
To the two people I loved most in the world: I hope you’re dancing.

The Haftorah went okay.  I aced the prayers – in Hebrew; I’d practiced diligently, even though I chickened out on the bimah and said them rather than chanted.  Avril, the syn’s Hebrew teacher, gave me an ‘A’, even for my chai’s, the Hebrew letter I have a lot of trouble pronouncing. 

The passage I read was another matter.  It was about King Solomon and David and Bathsheba.  It was kinda sexy in parts.  But…  But a lot of people popped in and out of the story, including

Abishag, Abiathar, Adonijah, Benaiah, Haggith, Jehoiada and Zeruiah.  No kidding.  I had to pronounce all those bloody names.

After services I got tons of compliments, both for my Haftorah and, especially, the poem.  So many people asked for a copy, I was quite full of myself.

I was invited to friends’ for lunch after services, and had friends over on Saturday evening, so I survived another yartzeit without excessive melancholy or melodrama.

I managed to go to the movies again, too.  We saw ‘The Social Network’ and I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg didn’t intend Facebook to be crammed  with fatuous public posts that are cringe-inducing.  Here’s one that’s especially obsequious and insulting to cancer patients and their families:

‘Every person has 1000 wishes. A cancer patient only has one: to get better. In honour of those who have died because of cancer and those who are still fighting it…xx xx Nine months tomorrow. Miss you all the time xxx’


I won’t comment on the ‘miss you all the time’ pap; it’s more than a little unctuous.

What I do find offensive is the effrontery to presume to speak for cancer patients.  Did she take a survey and ask all of them if that’s what their wish is?


Cancer patients have many wishes and a roller coaster of emotions at various times. Their focus shifts from regrets and do-overs to taking care of personal business to concern about their loved ones’ futures without them.  If you haven’t dealt with it up front and personal, don’t pretend you know anything about what they’re wishing.

It was a busy JDavid work week, plus a dinner hosted by Elmbridge Council for the Senior Centre Social Committees in Cobham.  But I managed to squeeze in the time, twice, to train up to London for luncheon engagements.  One was with Bea Green, the kindertransport lady, and Carmen, the Chair of the HolocaustMemorial Committee. 

We had lunch in a Persian restaurant, which was a bit strange, but also a rare First for me, as I’d definitely never eaten Persian food before.  Afterwards, we went back to Bea’s for dessert.  On the advice of her American daughter-in-law, she’d bought a New York cheesecake.  We were having such a good time chatting that we stayed way too long and didn’t get home to Weybridge until after 7:00.

The Thanksgiving Feast is rapidly approaching and that’s taking all of my ‘spare’ time.  Ticket sales are very brisk and we’ve some novel entertainment and an auction planned.  I did another appearance on BBC Surrey Radio to promote the dinner.  I’m sure you all listened.  Or at least you’d better.

There will be a quiz.

Congratulations to JoPa on #400, to the Dog Murderer and the guys for beating Eli and Colts, and a special ‘Well done!’ to Wade Phillips for the ‘Boys sixth straight loss.  Who would even dare to dream something so wonderful could happen?  Too bad ole Wade got fired on Monday.  I hope this doesn’t mean the Boys are going to start winning.