April 21, 2024
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April 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Husband #1 and I went to see a concert the oth­er night. No, it was not Bil­ly Joel or any other popular artist from the last 25 years; in fact, the name of this musical celebration was “90 and Going Strong.” We saw Fyvush Finkel, age 92; Clari­netist Sol Yaged, age 92; and Irving Fields, age 99. I kid you not. Fyvush had us laughing; Sol, who stood for the entire 40 minutes he per­formed, played the clarinet with skill and grace; and Irving dazzled us with his talents on the pi­ano and stories of “days gone by.” (And there were many stories. Husband #1 almost missed ma’ariv because the 90-minute performance turned into a 150-minute performance, but don’t worry, with the help of God and Waze, we made it home with two minutes to spare… He even slowed down in front of our house so I could get out of the car.)

Now, Irving also had to pull his pants up in the middle of the performance, but that is en­tirely a different story. On our way out of the theater, he handed out his “secrets to longevi­ty”—18 tips to a longer life. Most of them had something to do with smiling a lot and not let­ting other people get the best of you; none of them had anything to do with the fact that if God wants you to live a long life, it has noth­ing to do with how often you smile, but who am I to judge?

I creak when I get out of bed every morn­ing… (Though, number 13 on the list is “Eat four hours before bedtime, you will digest bet­ter.” Hmmm, wonder what time he goes to bed.) The whole evening was a celebration of feeling young, or maybe that was just the two of us still celebrating that we didn’t need to take advantage of the intermission to use the bathroom like every other person in the audi­ence…

Wouldn’t it be nice if time stood still? If you could pick the best time in your life and have it always be like that? If those moments when you and your siblings all got along never ended, when your kids all played nice­ly and quietly together except for the oc­casional contagious giggle? If when you looked at your spouse, you still felt the same love and emotional connection you did on the day you got married? (Have I reached too far with that one?)

Yes, all these things would be wonder­ful. If we could stay young and healthy, never have to color our hair (or lose our hair, depending on who you are), nev­er have to rely on Advil to get us through the day or feel the need to use Botox or get things “freshened up.” These things would be remarkable and miraculous. But, just when you have given up hope and you feel that you are falling apart and that Ben-gay smells just as good as Polo cologne (ahh, memories…and Drakkar Noir….and late nights at the Concord Hotel…sorry, lost my train of thought there for a moment) you enter the twilight zone and time has actu­ally stood still.

This twilight zone would be the game of Coke and Pepsi. For those of you who have never been to a bar mitzvah, this game con­sists of you finding a partner, lining up on each side of the room, and following the commands of the leader of the band (or whoever has the daunting task of keeping all of the kids in line). There is a great deal of running back and forth, freezing mid-running back and forth, and a tremendous amount of laughing (especially when two men in their 40s decide to play the game, eventually win the game, and then al­most need a defibrillator… well, that part isn’t so funny, but I was laughing with him not at him…).

Coke and Pepsi has been around since the dawn of time, or at least since the inven­tion of, well, Coke and Pepsi. The game nev­er gets old. Kids still stop sticking their hands in the chocolate fountain and run out to the center of the dance floor to play this game. Re­markable! Such a simple concept with no tex­ting involved and even the adults want to play. The grand prize is usually something that cost less than $5 from Oriental Trading Company, and probably glows in the dark for the first 24 hours…but no one cares.

It brings us old folks back to a happy place where our biggest worry was how late our parents would let us stay up at night—and those kids who are running around don’t even realize how easy they have it right now. And that is the way it should be.

Editor’s note:

For those who never played Coke and Pepsi, here’s where you can learn the rules:

http://www.music-express.com/index. php?coke-pepsi

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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