A Visit from New York Relatives
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A Visit from New York Relatives

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

The first half hour of the visit:

Chana: Sukie! Mike! It’s been years! You look great! How was the flight?
Sukie: Not fabulous. First of all, the snacks were full of salt, and Mike’s salt-free. It’s a good thing I brought a banana.
Chana: Good planning.
Sukie: Nowadays we never go anywhere without a banana.
Chana: You’re always so resourceful!
Sukie: Also, I had the aisle seat and Mike was next to me. The woman by the window pulled the shade down, so we couldn’t see anything. It ruined the whole trip.
Chana: Did you ask her to pull the shade up?
Sukie: Of course not. I could tell she was selfish. Why ask and get myself more aggravated?
Mike: You know Sukie. Boy, can she read people!
Chana: Well, you’re here safe and sound.
Sukie: Our kids didn’t want us to come.
Chana: Why not?
Sukie: They know how hard it is for us to travel now that Mike’s salt-free.
Chana: I promise to make every meal without salt. You have my word.
Mike: People can always add their own salt.
Sukie: But they’d rather just let you know that the food you made needs more salt.
Chana (Cheerily): Here’s the car. Let’s load your things and go.
Sukie (Looking around): Where’s your husband? You drove by yourself?
Chana: Zvi’s waiting for us at home. He had some business to take care of.
Sukie: What’s so important that he couldn’t take a few minutes off?
Chana (Taking several deep breaths): So, Mike, how’s your mother doing?
Mike: Same as ever. We want her to get some daytime help, but she refuses.
Sukie: She’s no spring chicken.
Chana: Why would she refuse?
Mike: Don’t ask me. She’s just stubborn.
Sukie: I’ll tell you exactly what she said: “The help comes in. There’s nothing to do. I have to talk to her and make her lunch.”
Mike: That’s my mother for you!
Chana (Changing the subject): Can you believe this traffic? And all the new construction? Atlanta’s a boom town!
Sukie: Another reason our kids didn’t want us to come.
Chana: Because Atlanta’s growing? What’s wrong with that?
Mike: You know Sukie, always telling the truth. The kids just want to make sure that you drive us everywhere we go.
Chana: Is it the subway that worries them? It’s perfectly safe, but we won’t go any place by train.
Mike: They think we’ll get mugged because we’re obviously visitors here.
Sukie: You know; it’s our clothes.
Chana: Are your clothes different from the clothes we wear here?
Sukie: I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you have to admit that New York is way ahead in fashion.
Chana (Magnanimously deciding to let her get away with that): So why would you bring such high fashion clothes here if it’ll make you a target?
Sukie: You expect us to dress down just because we’re in the South?
Mike: Anyway, we came here for a restful visit.
Sukie: We need to relax. There’s so much going on in New York, a person can’t stop running.
Chana (Diplomatic to a fault): I know how much you enjoy living in such a cultural mecca.
Sukie: Not that we get to go anywhere. Do you know how expensive everything is? A Broadway show is a month’s rent, and forget eating in a decent restaurant … a fortune! Besides, Mike’s salt-free.
Mike: Don’t forget the tips. If you don’t give a good tip, they spill something on you on the way out.
Sukie: It happened to me!
Chana: You’re kidding!
Mike: Like I said, if Sukie says it, it’s true.
Sukie: The waiters make more money than the owners a lot of times.
Chana (Attempting a bit of levity): At our house, all meals are free of charge, and there’s no tipping or spilling allowed.
Sukie: So, while we’re here, we’ll eat at your house?
Chana: Even when we go out, it’s our treat. I insist.
Mike: Well, you’re the boss!
Chana: Here we are. There’s Zvi waiting for us!
Zvi: Sukie! Mike! You look great! How was the flight?
Chana, Sukie, Mike: Don’t ask! ■

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