Monday, June 18, 2007

I don't know what Uncle Moe got for Father's day

as I wasn't present at their celebration. My own father got, on two separate occasions, handkerchiefs from Woolworth's and a deck of the finest playing cards the drugstore could offer. These gifts had the merit of at least being useful. My father did blow his nose and play cards.

Uncle Moe got ties for his birthday, which was celebrated on Thanksgiving. Why Thanksgiving? Well, your birthday was celebrated on the Jewish holiday closest to the actual date. I think this might have been derived from the Russian custom of celebrating your birthday on your saint's day. We didn't have saints, so we improvised. My cousin Esther's was Yom Kippur. I'm not sure how that worked out in terms of gifts. Did she get them before the fast began, or after it ended? Mine was Purim.

My mother and my uncle Moe had been born some time in November, when there was no convenient Jewish holiday to hook it onto. So we celebrated them both on Thanksgiving. I bought my mother the feminine equivalent of whatever I had bought my father--in her case, the hankies had flowers embroidered on them, but the playing cards were unisex.

Mother was always grateful for these gifts, especially after seeing what Uncle Moe had gotten. Uncle Moe had three children, and his gifts escalated in awfulness. They were presented with all the brio of a magician producing a rabbit out of a hat. A solid gold toothpick was produced on one occasion, I remember. The tableau always included one tie--I wish I had a picture of it, but they don't make them like that any more. Here is a feeble substitute:

Uncle Moe's ties were much, much worse. For one thing, the flamingo was hand-painted, in luminous colors. It glowed in the dark. It even glowed in broad daylight.

My Uncle Moe was a quiet, subdued sort of man, the sort you would want for your family doctor, which was what he was. I never actually saw him wear one of these objects. But he must have had a drawer full of them.

1 comment:

That Broad said...

I'm sitting on my husband's father's day present. It is a brand new comfy computer chair. I hope he likes it, he hasn't seen it yet.