Friday, January 22, 2010

for grandma clara on her 80th birthday (2002)

It's now my turn to say a word
From one who's lived through just one third
As many years as your long span:
I toast the new octogenarian!

I've know the love that is a part o' ya
Since I first landed at LaGuardia.
You took me to ballgames, movies, and shows;
To the swim club snack bar, where the candy bars froze;
To Coney Island and Jones Beach,
And Little and Great Neck, many times each;
To the Queens Museum's New York Panorama:
So I'd like to toast you for being my Grandma.

You've provided every known amenity
At 28-30 Corporal Kennedy.
Whenever I would come to town,
You'd take the scary poster down.
I'd scour your bookshelves in the afternoons,
And in the mornings watch cartoons.
So because of the generous host you are,
I'd like to toast you with a Mallomar.

I remember the cup with the broken straw,
Christmas mornings, Chad Gadya,
Shuffleboard, casino, and "chocolate" makeup,
And eating the Victory layer cake up.
In Manhattan, New Haven, Bath, and Boston,
You kept up with me (which I bet was exhaustin'!)
Some say "Cheers!", some say "Prost!", "Tsu gezunt!", or "L'chaim!"
But I'd like to toast you with a Golden Graham.

Although your age is now four score,
You'll be living - - I'll be loving you - - many years more;
You've been around since President Harding,
But I hope that the fun in some ways is just starting.
So I'll know, if I call you at HA-8,
And the machine picks up, even though it's late,
That you're having a blast in the Empire State.
You're the mayor of Bayside,
A rare double A-side,
You're not just a grand ma ... you're great!