Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Eli tickles the ivories, May 2010.

Anyone with even the slightest musical bent knows that eighty-eight is the number of keys on a piano.

I grew up with the sound of piano music in the house, thanks to my Dad.  He had a library of sheet music that covered almost every genre, and it was a rare day that he did not sit down and play a few of the old standards.  He was no Jerry Lee Lewis, pounding out “Great Balls of Fire,” no.  But if you wanted to hear “Tangerine” or “My Funny Valentine,” he would happily oblige.

Today is Eli’s eighty-eighth birthday - a year for every key on the piano.

Alas, he is no longer able to play.  If I want to hear his music, though, all I have to do is close my eyes, and it all comes back clear as a bell, even unto the squeak of his foot on the reverb pedal.

When people ask me how he is doing, I have generally offered a noncommittal “He’s hanging in there.”  But now that the weather is warming up and the days are lengthening, that’s not really an adequate descriptor.  He’s actually doing pretty well, all things considered, and his positive attitude and sense of humor are helping to see him through what can best be described as Non-Ideal Circumstances.

Today there will be cake, and family, and love.  And in a few days, when She Who Must Be Obeyed and I arrive, there will be more.  You don’t get to celebrate that many eighty-eighth birthdays, after all - strictly one to a customer, and not all customers get one.

Happy birthday, Daddy!

(There are a few photos below the fold, if you care to take a peek.)

The Baby Eli, circa 1926
The young Eli with parents Shirley and Jacob, circa 1926.

Eli, 1950
The real Mister Debonair... Eli in 1950.

Eli, 1990
This one’s from 1990.  Not bad for a 65-year-old, eh?

On the Boardwalk, 2010
Here’s Toni, The Other Elisson, and Eli taking a walk on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach, July 2010.  Splendid times!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post Steve. I remember his piano playing well. Let me know the next time you are in NY.
Would love to go see him with you. shelley

Kevin Kim said...

Happy Birthday, Eli—a great father to a great son.

og said...

Happy Birthday! Hope it's a grand one filled with love for all involved.