My father, a retired professor of literature, has, these last several years, kept a blog. He writes about things literary, things political, things sporty and also topics autobiographical.
I myself enjoy the posts about his life, especially his life as a boy in Brooklyn, more than his reflections on English poetry — or the series he has about 19th century horse-drawn vehicles. (Turns out there are, as for the cars of today, a lot of names for them: brougham, buckboard, buggy, cabriolet, caleche.)
A little esoteric for me.
But he wrote recently about his father, my grandfather, whose parents immigrated from the Ukraine. He writes:
In 1895, my wise and courageous grandparents left the abysmal, backward Ukraine and struck out for the new world. Nine years later, my father was born in a cold-water flat in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The date of his birth: December 22, 1904, exactly at the winter solstice.
Thank you, forefathers!
In another post, and by way of contrast to the -and--filled-life his grandchildren live, he describes what my grandfather, who lived his whole life in Brooklyn, rarely leaving, liked to eat:
Sardines, by the tinful. Herrings, canned, either in wine sauce or in tomato sauce. Whitefish. Lima beans which came into the house dried but which were soaked to plump up, then boiled and mashed (not for me, if I could possibly avoid them).
Potatoes in any form, but usually mashed and buttered. No chicken or lamb chops, but lots of tongue. (When I left home, I vowed never to eat tongue again, and I've kept the faith.) Chopped chicken liver. Steak, when we could afford it. Roast pork with applesauce. Delicatessen meats —salami, boloney, corned beef, frankfurters. Baked beans, courtesy of Heinz. Apples, right down to the stem.
Chocolate in any form, but especially white chocolate. Halvah, a particular favorite. Dates and figs, dried. Black radishes and onions, covered with gribbinis. Tschav, borsht with huge helpings of sour cream. Corn on the cob.
No alcohol, nary a drop. On hot days, no beer, but instead iced tea or iced coffee. Cheese, Velveeta or swiss. Good bread — pumpernickel or rye. Crumb cake direct from Ebinger's Bakery. Bacon and two eggs, sunnyside up or soft-boiled. Cream o' Wheat. Swee-Touch-Nee tea. On Sunday morning, bagels and rolls, warm from the oven, eaten while reading the Times (25 cents) and the Eagle (10 cents).
Ice cream, the more exotic the flavor the better.
Happy Father's Day to my father, to his father's father, and to all the fathers everywhere. Thanks for all the choices and plans they made that gave us things to be grateful for.