La Traviata makes me think of lox and bagels. Sundays were opera mornings in a house normally permeated by Dixieland and Glenn Miller’s band. If it was a clear crisp fall morning, the kind when leaves crunch crunch crunch under your feet, my dad and brother and I would walk along the empty, 2 lane road, past our neighbors duck pond, to the town center. We were greeted by Larry the grocer and Dom’ from the Flying Horse station as we made our way to the delicatessen. The windows were always steamy, the gold lettering half hidden by hot matzohball soup fog and the door had a little bell on it, but you almost couldn’t hear it ring because of the shouts of customers calling out their orders. I wish I could remember the deli man’s name, but I will never forget the “loxie pops” he had waiting for my brother and me. Wrapped in white parchment, a fish fin with a bit of pink deliciousness kept us happy as we waited for our order of lox, whitefish, bagels and cream cheese. My dad would pack it in his very old rucksack leaving room to tuck in the thick Sunday New York Times we would pick up at the newsstand on our way out of town. The two lane road is now an at least four-way highway, and the town is a trendy suburb with designer shops and not a newsstand in site.
Wind forward the clock. The ducks have long ago flown to a quieter pond and our house has gone through many incarnations-Google maps last listed it as a public relations something or other, but when I put on Verdi and close my eyes, my mouth still waters– bittersweetly–thinking of Sunday morning brunch.