Sunday, November 13, 2005

Before I left for California, I had time to spend a day making a gallon zip bag full of these beauties. I like to call them the Peppermint Snowflakes. Yes, a lot of originality there. The top portion is a thick layer of peppermint-flavored white chocolate. Beneath the snowy cover is a dark chocolate layer with a peppermint filling. It's like a sophisticated Peppermint Patty. I wrap them individually in blue or green foil so that the rest of the box of chocolate doesn't wind up mint-flavored. If you're dainty, it will take you about 4 bites to savor this sweet. If you're not, 2 to 3 bites will do it. Makes me wish I could eat them.

This is my Uncle Hy. He turned 100 years old in October, but he's very spry. He walks about a mile each day, eats very carefully, and boasts about his time as a strict vegetarian. Hy attributes his longevity 50% to heredity and 50% to clean living, exercise and strict diet. He still calls me Debelah and Dalink in his Russian accent. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Uncle Hy on my recent trip to southern California for work. The afternoon visit was by far, one of the memories I will cherish the rest of my life. Some of the photos below tell a little bit more, but I do want to keep some of it to myself, selfish as that may be.

There are several copies of this classic black and white photo hung around Uncle Hy's home. Although their expressions are stoic, I have many memories of Aunt Anna and Uncle Hy sharing laughs and kind words. They were married and deeply in love for more years than most people have the chance to live. Uncle Hy was probably in his 70s in this photo. He hasn't changed much, has he?

OK. This classic poster of Karl Marx has been hanging across from the hall bathroom in Uncle Hy's house for as long as I can remember. My tiny Uncle was born in Russia, speaks multiple languages and considers himself a Marxist. Although he actually is a capitalist, he hasn't raised the rents on the people who rent his apartments in Long Beach in many years. They must love him. Unbelievably low cost living in a nice area.

The far end of Uncle Hy's backyard is much more of garden these days than just a yard. In the center of the photo is a twisted lemon tree. It could use some of Chuck's magic, but it still produces fruit. Surrounding the lemon tree is a circle of clivia (or Clive - ia, depending on your home country).

I have such fond memories of days playing in Uncle Hy's backyard. Many citrus trees -- right in the center is an ancient grapefruit tree. Not seen here are several lemon trees and a very healthy avocado tree. Unfortunately, I was not visiting during avocado season. Otherwise, I would have filled the blog with photos of my famous guacamole. Sigh. Past the grapefruit tree is a covered two-seater swing in the patio outside the kitchen. The kitchen window is partially covered by grapefruit tree branches. Beyond the swing is the picture window inside the living room. The carpet is the same avocado green shag I remember from my childhood (about 30 years ago).

The last time I stood on the lush green lawn of Uncle Hy's house was the summer of 1990. Other than the new houses across the street and the suburban sprawl taking over Long Beach, the only difference is that the garden has more blooming plants and is cared for with a great deal of attention to detail. Linda, who is Hy's caretaker (and who also cared for Anna during her last years), is also the tender gardener behind the varied blooms. Hy told me that he is leaving Linda the house. He is very fond of her and she truly cares for him in a daughterly way. It made me happy to hear that she would get the house--it's clear she already loves it and the garden. It's comforting to know that it will be well cared for and its previous owners honored appropriately.