Sunday, July 10, 2005
When I was a little kid and it would be summer and Sunday and my dad had summer hockey practice so we'd be out at Long Beach and mom or dad would lay out money and the four kids would scatter to get breakfast - one to the delicatessen to get lox and cream cheese, one to the bakery for bagels and huge thick warm from the oven crumb buns, one to the grocery for anything else we might need, eggs, bacon? The milk and orange juice and cheese all came from the milk man I realize. I was sent two blocks down to Arizona Street to get the Sunday papers. We needed four or even five of them. My grandmother got The News and The Mirror, the tabloids that my father disdained and my mother mocked. My parents wanted The Times and The Tribune, the big broadsheets filled with the news of the world. If my grandmother and sister asked then there was also The Journal, which had both great comics that weren't in The News and the TV guide for the week. I'd walk there with the money jingling in my shorts pocket, usually barefoot, either wearing a shirt or not, it was a place where shirts and shoes were rare things, passing the Frosty Top custard stand where Max would be unrolling the awnings in anticipation of opening in an hour or two, and I'd go down the main street, already starting to fill with the cars of daytrippers. The little store at Arizona was crammed with papers and magazines, candy and cigarettes, the trinkets of summer tourism and the lotions to make people brown or keep them white in the sun. I'd collect the papers from the rack, they seem, in memory, to have weighed in total almost half what I did. If dad had left the money there'd be a little extra, baseball cards and the "punks," those incense like pre-cigarettes that we'd smoke, finding their way into my pockets, and I'd struggle home, stopping to rest on this fence or that wall.
It was the only day of the week we ever ate breakfast together. The bagels were thick and the lox deliciously salty. The crumb buns so sweetly wonderful they are remembered in absolute perfection all these years later. Sometimes my dad might even look up from his newspaper and tell us a story...