How can such a small number of flowers mean so much? After all, a bouquet's visually more impressive, so why do I have such fond memories of the few corsages I received over the years? Because it's a reminder of when things were more "old-fashioned" (but in a good way) and reflected a mixture of class and even elegance. Or, maybe it was because it came from a place of love and affection.
So, what made me even think about this? Well, it's prom season (although due to the pandemic, my daughter's prom was canceled), and recently on "Live with Kelly and Ryan," Kelly Ripa was talking about her son, Joaquin, going to prom. When I saw photos of him and his date, I couldn't help but notice her corsage (and his matching boutonniere), and it brought back memories as, years later, corsages still signify something sweet, enduring, and wonderful.
But corsages aren't only for proms. For me, corsages celebrated rites of passage, like my "formal" graduation ceremony from Schwarting Elementary School (I graduated in the early 1970s, so don't know if they still do that, but had to laugh when I saw how large the trees in front of the school had grown) and my Bat Mitzvah ceremony a few years later. And although I received a corsage from my date (who flew in from Switzerland for the occasion) when I attended my one and only prom, the only corsages that ever really mattered were the ones from one person,
I remember many things, but I honestly couldn't tell you what flowers were in the corsages my dad gave me. Still, I'll never forget they were always wrist corsages, which I loved for the ease and simplicity of being able to wear them as I wasn't the most coordinated girl in the world. Not that it mattered, for those corsages came with complete and unconditional love, and told me not only how much he loved me but that he was proud of me for whatever milestone event I was "dressed up" for. My dad could have made a corsage out of dandelions from the backyard, and even with my pollen allergies, it would have been the most beautiful corsage in the world.
Of course, I'm the more sentimental one, but I was curious whether Black had any memories of corsages, from our dad or any of her many prom dates (yes, you read that right),
I can barely remember my prom dates, let alone the corsages. However, I do remember each dress because I designed and made them myself. For me, proms were all about the fashion, and I am certain that I would have requested wrist corsages as not to put pinholes in my dress. But there is one corsage that does stand out in my mind, and that is the one First Lady Jill Biden wore to the inauguration.
So, I guess you are never too young or too old to wear wrist corsages … and create lifelong memories.
|I know that Yom Kippur isn't exactly known as one of the "fun" Jewish holidays, but every year I can't help but laugh at what's easily my number one Yom Kippur memory.|
|That is what makes memories … memorable. And, finding something to laugh at on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is probably the most important and solemn Jewish holiday, would be memorable.|
|I can't believe you're not even curious what it is!?|
|You know I love to "connect the dots", and all you had to say was Yom Kippur, fun, and memory. Obviously, it was when Rabbi Scott asked us to speak before his congregation on Yom Kippur.|
|Well, I still find it surreal that we were asked to speak about money on one of the High Holy Days. And that we titled our presentation, "Oy Vey, You Want To Talk About Money?"|
|The day is about reflection, making fundamental changes – or at least adjustments – and trying to become a better person. And, just because it is a spiritual journey, there is no reason you cannot make learning fun.|
|True. I remember the time Rabbi Scott put a piece of aluminum foil in the children's Yom Kippur service program to help them understand that Yom Kippur's a day for reflection. But even you must admit that making a congregation laugh about money on a religious holiday is a bit much.|
|But, memorable. A few years later, I met someone that attended that service, and he said he's never forgotten it.|
|For the content or all the food analogies?! I can remember we started by saying how we just wanted to give everyone some food-for-thought and then saying, "Oops, since Yom Kippur's a day of fasting, maybe bringing up the subject of food wasn't such a good idea."|
|Of course, it did not stop us from doing it, again and again.|
|How else could we explain our unexpected journey into personal finance without mentioning it started at our first speaking engagement … which was at a Jewish Federation breakfast?|
|Or, how our detour into criminal justice started with me meeting with the chaplain at a men's prison? But I knew it was meant to be when she told me they had the only kosher kitchen in the Texas prison system.|
|And each time we looked at each other and then the audience, and we all laughed! With each mention of food, it just got funnier and funnier. But there was no way to avoid it.|
|I know. How could you tell the story about realizing all the money you were mindlessly spending at Jamba Juice without mentioning your almost-daily smoothies? Or, how you went grocery shopping at Whole Foods because it was convenient but not cost-effective. Anyway, until that day, I never realized how so many of our stories have to do with food.|
|I think the highlight was toward the end when I was explaining how I felt overwhelmed trying to tackle personal finance. That at times, things seemed insurmountable, and then you told me … it's like eating an elephant, you can do it, just one bite at a time. And everyone started laughing again.|
|On any other day, I doubt that analogy would make you think of food. But, on Yom Kippur, and especially since we were presenting after at least 15 hours of fasting, everything makes you hungry|
|I guess it's like being so tired that you get slap happy. But I never thought a day of atonement and reflection could end up becoming a day of laughter.|
|On Yom Kippur, we wish people an "easy fast" or a "meaningful fast" … and if a bit of laughter, even if not intended, helps, what is wrong with that?|
|Good point. For that matter, you don't need to be Jewish to take a day, or even just an hour, to stop, to think, and to improve.|
|No fasting required.|
|I'm still smiling at you letting Sawyer drive your Mercedes G-wagen. Although I know that her dream car's a Ford F-150, I think yours is her "fantasy car".|
|I knew the "long way" to drive back to your house, but after asking her if she knew the best way, it seemed easier to have her drive.|
|Well, you might have thought of it as efficient, but she thought it was exciting. And she told me that she was honored you trusted her to drive.|
|Did she mention that once we got back to your neighborhood, we saw a huge turtle on the road? Moving very slowly, of course, so I was not concerned it would become an unexpected road obstacle.|
|Of all the things she might encounter in our neighborhood – cyclists, Amazon delivery trucks, dog walkers – to find a turtle in the street was probably the last thing she was expecting.|
|Or, me. I know we laugh about me needing Benadryl to visit you in the suburbs, but it is due to all the pets and children – not wildlife.|
|That turtle made me think of Daddy. I'm not sure you were still living at home at the time, but do you remember when he "saved" the turtle on the road?|
|I have no idea what you are talking about.|
|Daddy was driving on Wantagh Avenue, near Kwong Ming (our favorite Chinese restaurant growing up in Massapequa), when, all of a sudden, he pulled off the road and hopped out of the car.|
|If I remember correctly, that road did not get much traffic.|
|True, but there were still cars on the road, and it was still a very unusual thing for him to do. I was probably around ten or so and sitting in the back seat, so was a little surprised when the car stopped, and he quickly got out. But when he said, "I'll be right back," I could tell by his voice that everything was ok.|
|Considering that Daddy was very mild-mannered and not the sort of person to panic or to overreact, I am not sure the tone of his voice would have been a good indicator.|
|Regardless, I wasn't the most observant of kids, so unless the car were on fire, I probably wouldn't have thought much of any of it. So, while he walked across the road, I didn't think twice about getting out of the car to watch what he was doing. Not because I was worried, but out of curiosity.|
|It is hard to imagine that same scenario today, for an assortment of reasons. Unless, of course, it was staged for YouTube or Instagram.|
|I know, but it was a different time. Decades ago.|
|I can picture Daddy waving the cars to slow down while scooping up the turtle and depositing it well away from the side of the road.|
|Close. He disappeared on the other side of the road for a few minutes, and when he returned to the car, he told me that there was a stream, so he had carried the turtle down the bank and placed it by the water. It was a hot summer day, and he figured that the poor turtle had somehow wandered far from home and was now trying to find water. Not to mention grass and shade.|
|That sounds like Daddy. Well, the conditions were similar when Sawyer and I saw the turtle in your neighborhood, but I have no idea where the local stream is located.|
|I wish I had been around, as I'd have paid homage to Daddy by scooping up the turtle and at least try to find it a safe place. And based on what Sawyer told me, if she sees him (or her) again, that's exactly what she plans to do.|
|Like father, like daughter … like granddaughter.|
I'll never forget the day. It was an "almost" ordinary day out on the golf course with my mom and dad during the heat of a Long Island summer. Now, if "Long Island" conjures up images of stately manors on the North Shore (think "Great Gatsby") or beachfront mansions in the Hamptons (think Robin Leach and his popular show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"), you can put those out of your head. I'm not talking about some fancy country club golf course, just a regular public course.
I loved the game ever since I learned to play as a teenager, and although I never got to play while at college (Wake Forest, which was renowned for its golf program, with its most famous alumni being Arnold Palmer), I'd try to get out as often as possible when I was home. I wasn't a phenomenal player but had a decent game and natural talent. And most of the time, I hit it pretty straight, so one of the things I enjoyed was walking down the middle of the fairway, pulling my clubs along (no fancy golf carts on this course), appreciating the day and the sport.
On one (very rare) occasion, my sister came back to New York to visit, as she moved out of state as soon as she graduated from business school. She also played golf, but unlike me, who relied on natural ability and played for fun, she worked extremely hard at her game, was overly competitive, and played "business golf". The result was that she was a far better player than me, although I was holding my own on that day.
As Black often says, the scorecard contains only numbers, no editorial. And it would ultimately show that she'd beat me, but as we were each walking up one of the last holes toward our respective balls, in the heat of a late summer afternoon, with the sun at our backs, I was secretly hoping that she'd be proud of me. So, after I hit my fairway shot onto the green, I heard her call out to me, and my hopes were high,
Hey, Red! I was watching you hit that shot, and well, I have been watching you all afternoon, and I have to say … you have the whitest legs I have ever seen, or are you wearing white pantyhose?
I wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry, or be angry. Or to just roll my eyes as it really was something only my sister would say. And to this day, I'm not even sure if she had even noticed how close I came to beating her and how well I played – "upping" my game driven by her much better game.
But I also know that I can never look down at my very pale legs without laughing just a little at how a lifetime ago (or so it seems), she was so right. Recently, when she treated me to my first pair of Birkenstocks, I stood in the store trying them on, and before she had a chance to say it I told her … Yes, I do look like I have on white hose.
P. S. – I feel it only fair (pun intended) to have a P.S. for a P.S.A. – Long ago, the harm of the summer sun wasn't as well known, but in the years since, we've learned how important sunblock is. Year-round. So, whether you're a redhead who never tans (I used to cycle between being extremely pale and burning red and back again) or someone who does tan, take care of your skin!