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December 11, 2016
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Arriving, I am greeted by a big sweet dog that walks up to the house with me. Granddad Stuart is chipper in grey sweats and leather loafers. It’s always great to see him, and I don’t do it enough. We stand in the kitchen and I munch on a bagel, as he tells me stories of life in New York City growing up.

Once he bought a car before he knew how to drive and then got a license from the dealer for five dollars.

“How did you drive the car home?” I ask him.

“I figured it out,” he says matter-of-factly, adding with a smile, “and it was a standard.”

We talk about the World’s Fair and his garden apartment someplace in the 20s, of his days on the road selling kitchen gadgets and of listening to Italian radio shows with his mother.

A few hours later the guests start showing up. Granddad Stuart and Elaine are throwing a barbeque for my mom’s birthday. Soon there is a great mix of smart, colorful characters with good senses of humor spread out on the deck overlooking the greenery. I enjoy watching.

My Aunt Sarah and Cousins Amelia and Marina surprise my mom by showing up as well. We eat as many chicken wings and ribs as our stomachs can manage and laugh as we watch Rio and Rain (two dogs) argue over various sticks and bones and attention.

For her birthday I got my mom an iPad case for her new iPad. The case is basically a hollowed out notebook and looks unassuming (except for the glow of the iPad on the reader’s face). I enjoy the irony of keeping technology in things that seem handmade.

The theme of much of the conversation is technology, with the younger generations showing the older ones how to use various gadgets.

“You should download Skype.”

“See if it’s an iMessage; it sends over wifi.”

This is technology at its best.

Me having to walk home to reserve a car online rather than the clerk doing it for me, that’s the human race actively trying to replace itself.

Happy Birthday, Mom!