Taken at Brooklyn Botanic Garden,late afternoon
Taken at Brooklyn Botanic Garden,late afternoon
Alright, I’ll admit it. I love watching the reality show, The Millionaire Matchmaker. For those of you who haven’t seen it, a woman named Patty Stanger, who comes from a long line of Jewish matchmakers is a professional matchmaker who caters to Millionaires who can’t or won’t find someone to marry.
First her 2 staffers-who recently fell in love and got married–do video interviews of the millionaires, then show them to Patty, who decides whether or not they would be worth bothering with. She then ruthlessly details what personality traits she can see that might be the reasons the candidates can’t find a mate, and often decides they can’t be helped. Once she makes her choices she goes to meet them in person to see if what she saw in the video was correct. If she decides to help them, she sets up a ‘mixer” where they can meet a group of women (or men as the case may be) would be good mates for her millionares, with the understanding that her clients can only choose one person at the mixer. However the millionares must follow her rules: no sex before monogamy, only 2 drinks at the mixer, and no taking phone numbers at the mixer. She does warn each client which type of person they should be avoiding in their search for love, and secretly makes sure to include just that type of person in the mixer to see if they millionaire was taking her advice seriously.
It’s amazing that all these people were able to amass money with acquiring any social skills, and can’t figure out that the stubbornness that helped build their fortune could prove a negative factor in romance. Patty warns them, but they usually just don’t get it–she has a couple of people who’ve insisted on her helping them several times, and they think it’s Patty’s fault for not getting the right people for them.
One of the male candidates at a mixer for a female millionare said he has his own strict criteria of five traits–the 5 S’s: his dates must be: Single, Solvent,Sexy, Sane, and Sober. Funny, if Patty’s millionaires would just follow this guy’s standards they might find love!
“…and I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud, or a robin on the wing. But I feel so gay in a melancholy way that it might as well be Spring” — (from the song “Spring is Here”)
Even though it was grey, cloudy, windy and nothing like the two glorious days of 80 degree weather we had here in NYC this week, I couldn’t help grinning as I walked through the village running errands. I’m sure people thought I was crazy. But the simple truth is that I was enjoying the signs of Spring that I could see all around me–even in the lousy weather.
Union Square had Magnolia and Dogwood trees in full bloom, and many of the planters on the street had tall thin leaves reaching upwards, getting ready for the closed buds of their flowers–daffodils and tulips-to bloom on the next sunny day. In corners you could see purple crocus hiding behind the new grass. Many of the trees with the outrageously allergic small white flowers on them were also in full flower, making you choke if you tried to speak while outdoors. But you could hear birds everywhere (except the pigeons, of course) singing their hearts out as they raced from tree to tree or chased each other through the air.
Street performers were out in far greater numbers–and singing with much more enthusiasm–now that it was warmer, and pedestrians were sitting anywhere they could, shivering a little but grateful to be able to be outside for more than a few minutes. The farmer’s market was crowded, and shoppers were buying branches of cherry blossom trees that they could take home and watch bloom. Taking the crosstown bus on 86th, you could see bright yellow forsythia bushes everywhere and draping over the walls in Central Park.
For me, I’m on Cherry Blossom watch on http://www.bbg.org , where you can see online just what plants are in bloom on any given day, from the comfort of your home, and figure out the best day to get over there. They have some of the very few existing Yellow Magnolia trees in New York (most are white or pink), and all the arbors are planted with hanging purple wisteria. I’ll know it’s finally true Spring when their outdoor cafe is open again, and I can enjoy their chili dogs….
In two weeks, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens will be crowded with people enjoying the Sakura Matsuri, their Cherry Blossom festival, which draws in people even from Japan. It has live music, drummers, martial arts demonstrations, and presentations.
Maybe I’ll buy a new Kimono for this year.
Last week I lost my friend Jerry Scott–a wonderful pianist, arranger, producer, coach and performer. In the midst of adjusting to that loss, I remember what happened when his partner, Gavin, died a little over six years ago (OMG has it really been that long?).
At the memorial service for Gavin, we were given a silver, helium balloon and asked to release them after we left the church. I live a considerable distance from there, so I tied the balloon to my hat(and yes, I had it on at the funeral dinner at Danny’s Grand Seafood Palace). When I finally left to go home, I rode the subway to 207th Street, and noticed as i went up the steps to street level, that it was raining. I put down my knapsack to get out my umbrella, and as I did, a huge gust of wind from the street started pulling hard on the balloon, so I had to stop what I was doing to keep from losing it. A long-time upper east side resident once told me that the dust devils (minature tornados) that you see here are actually spirits, so I quit fighting the wind, said aloud, “Ok Gavin, go ahead and take it”, and let go of the balloon. The wind immediately wisked the baloon away,
I finished getting out my umbrella, walked up the four steps to street level, and looked around for the balloon. Both the wind and the rain had stopped in the minute this took, and I started home, wondering where the balloon was; I assumed it was in one of the trees farther down the street. As I reached the Rite Aid, without seeing the balloon, I stopped and looked around. it was across the street, hovering three feet above the sidewalk–there was still no wind. As I looked at it the balloon slowly rose straight up until it reached the top of the apartment building behind it. Once there, sipped out of sight. I said, “Goodbye, Gavin”, and finished the walk home.
I wrote all this down, and the next time I saw Jerry Scott, I gave him a copy to read. He asked me the exactly where I was when the wind took the balloon, and he told me that Gavin had loved to shop in the Jewelry store just above the subway entrance at 207th, so he wasn’t surprised.
The evening after Jerry Scott passed away, i included him in my bedtime prayers, telling him that we will miss him, and that I hoped he was happy and reunited with all the friends he’d lost in recent years. As i knelt there with my eyes closed in the dark room, I suddenly saw bright white light behind my eyelids, rather than the usual black or purple, and when I opened my eyes, the lights were still off.
I guess Jerry heard me. I know the usual philosophy is that ghosts are always malevolent, but now I think we should allow room for the idea that they sometimes comfort you. I know that I felt better after the contacts, and these two weren’t the only times I’ve had it happen.
I leaned that my friend Jerry Scott passed away early this morning.
One Saturday night when I first moved to NYC, I wandered into Danny’s Grand Seafood Palace, drawn by the great piano playing I heard inside. Jerry Scott was playing in the piano bar (it was very smoky then-before the ban)his whole body weaving slightly as he lost himself in the music. Even through the (loud) voices talking over him I was amazed by the beauty of his playing.
He eventually invited me to sing, and encouraged my efforts to learn what cabaret singing entails. Even though I already had a degree in singing, I learned as much over the course of many weeks, of watching, singing, and listening to what Jerry and the other performers did to draw in the audiences at Dannys at I had in my years in college. He encouraged me to branch out and try different styles of music, and would laugh with me when I managed to surprise him and the audience…
You know I think that’s one of the things I loved most about Jerry. Even though he was playing his heart out while people sang, you could always feel–and hear–his enjoyment of what you were doing. Making him laugh out loud was pure gold.
That’s how I want to remember him. Playing the piano he loved, and laughing his head off.
I’ll miss you Jerry! I’d say rest in peace, but knowing you, you’re probably already on the piano in the next world, with all your lost friends around you, having a great time.