300-shmuel my uncle“So,” says Uncle Shmuel, who having appeared out of nowhere is now sitting at the table enjoying a nice piece cake. Miraculously  he speaks excellent vernacular American English — albeit with a heavy Yiddish accent,

“Nice place you got here. I see you keep your animals in your house. That one there sounds like a pig but looks like a dog.”

“They are our pets, Uncle Shmuel. The oinker is Nan. She just makes that sound. She’s kind of old. I think that’s the dog equivalent of ‘oy’.”

“Pets, shmets. Animals. In the house. What’s next? Toilets? Never mind, your life, your choice. Oy.”

“Can I give you something to eat? Tea? Coffee? Cake? If we don’t have it, I can go out and buy some.”

“Are you Kosher?”

“Uh, no. Not Kosher,” and I shiver, remembering the many pork chops that have passed across our dishes. “Oh, wait, here’s my husband. Uncle Shmuel, I’d like you to meet my husband Garry.”

Shmuel looks shrewdly at Garry, then at me. “He doesn’t look Jewish.”

Garry’s eyes twinkle. “But really I am,” he says and deftly pulls a yarmulke out of his pocket. It say “Joel’s Bar Mitzvah” across the back in big white letters. Fortunately, Shmuel doesn’t notice.

“So,” Shmuel continues after a pregnant pause, “You have problems with the Cossacks?”

“No Cossacks, but lots of politicians,” I reply.

“Cossacks, politicians, there’s a difference?”

“Not so much,” I admit.

“And for a living you do what?”

“We’re retired. But before that, I was a writer. Garry was a reporter. On television.”

“What’s a television?”

I look at Shmuel, realize we are about to embark on an extended conversation, so all I say is: “Oy vay is mir!” Which seems to sum it up.

Oy. Can someone set the table?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

23 thoughts on “HE’S HERE! OY.”

  1. “I think that’s the dog equivalent of ‘oy’.” This whole piece is hilarious, Marilyn. What a good prompt this was to pull out the silly in us all. We needed this! I’m reblogging this one, but will wait until later in the day so it isn’t right back to back with yours in the Reader. I know you don’t use the Reader, but many do. xo


  2. I love this man. Uncle Shmuel. His eyes remind me very strongly of Waylon Jenning’s eyes, as he got older, and sadder. Seen a lot, understood a lot, the kind of look that you can’t forget. And yes, funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I seem to remember Uncle Schmuel from a distant kosher effort you made. The idea was that he would meet my grandfather, they would have got on like a house on fire I am sure. There are certain thigs I miss from my younger days in the East End of London where we had a synagogue on almost every street corner and the neighbours mother would pay kids to light her fire on Friday evening,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is round four or five for this prompt, but only round three for this post, so I figure I’m doing FINE, thank you. Shmuel is becoming one of my favorite fake relatives. Everyone needs at least one fake relative they can count on! And it reminds me of actually having a friend visit from Israel and realizing she wouldn’t eat ANYTHING in my house. Nothing. Lucky we lived in Boston and could take her to the Jewish area in Brookline where they had restaurants sufficiently Kosher for her. Talk about OY. It was a LONG two weeks.


      1. Oh, I have seen this happen with friends and family with homes. I live in a one bedroom apt so joke with kids that I did all the weeding out of “stuff” for them and they should thank me now! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When we were all younger and everyone traveled more, having a ready guest room made sense … but now? We are a little old for that kind of spontaneity. Just remembering which medications to take for an overnight takes longer than it used to take to pack everything for everyone 🙂


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