Wiesenberg (s024 pan): Sophie plans a party

Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Card Player. This entry in the "Aunt Sophie" series covers pan (or panguingue), which is a multi-player form of rummy, often played for money.

Michael Wiesenberg index.

Black and white photo of Michael Wiesenberg

Michael Wiesenberg

Aunt Sophie plans a party

“Dollink,” said the familiar voice on the phone, “it’s this Saturday night, and you’re invited.”

“Saturday night,” I replied, “is the pai gow poker tournament. I thought I’d give it a shot.”

Tsatskeleh,” she returned, “yourself you told me there’s not much skill to that game. Save your money for a tournament in which you have a good chance, like the lowball or draw. Besides, there are some people I want you to meet.”

“Uh huh,” I assented, “that’s another reason I don’t want to come. Whenever there’s someone at your place for me to meet, there’s trouble. First it was that marriage-happy Vassar grad, and then, for heaven’s sakes, that interior designer trying to pick me up. I think I’d rather play cards.”

“Dollink,” she resumed, “how often do I have a party? And without my favorite nephew a joyous occasion it can’t be. Ever since your Uncle Max passed on, you’re the only one that gives any meaning to my life. You know, I saw the lawyer a few days ago, and it all goes to you.”

“Aunt Sophie,” I remonstrated, “spare me the dramatics. You’ll probably outlive me.”

Pan friends

“Here nor there,” she responded, “that’s neither. But I have a Tu B’Shevat party once a year, if that often, and I want you to come. I promise you, Amy Sheitel will not be there. She met a young man through Jewish Singles and is going to their Tu B’Shevat party. And Mr. Herbert Soiree is too busy doing a movie star’s mansion in Truesdale Heights to even think about my apartment. I’m just having some of my pan friends and a few people from shul.”

“‘Pan friends?’ I probed. “Does that include Sammy Cohen and Nate Shapiro?”

Bubeleh,” she retorted, “I haven’t been back in the Pasatiempo since that disastrous loss, and, as you predicted, I haven’t seen them anywhere I play.”

“Well,” I hesitated, “I don’t know. I don’t mind talking pan with you, but with a whole crowd…”

“Dollink,” she forged on, “brisket I’m having, that I made, corned beef from Canter’s, falafel and latkes from T’Omim, roast duckling, a whole case of Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry I got just for you, and Orangina, some Dr. Thanisch in case you feel like something stronger, some of my own sweet and sour red cabbage, kasha, knishes also from Canter’s, and for the desserts, oy yoy yoy, you wouldn’t believe, chocolate decadence, a plum tart that my friend Lettie brought down from the Prolific Oven in Palo Alto just today because she wanted to do me a favor and I have in my freezer right now, even some blueberry cheesecake that I also made myself.”

“But Aunt Sophie,” I continued to protest, “a formal dinner for that many people. You know how I hate to dress up.”

“Of course,” she answered, “that’s why in your honor I’m having a buffet. Now, will you be there, or not?”

“I give in,” I acquiesced; “you got me.”

“So,” she continued, “it’s in the party room, next to the pool, at seven o’clock. There will be an open bar, and a string quartet. And it’s informal, so just be comfortably dressed.”

“Sounds elaborate,” I ventured, “but I’ll be there. For you.”

Next: 025 Aunt Sophie throws a party


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