During the darkest and most stressful moments in the snack food business, I often relied on my mantra. It also turned out to be quite useful in my new life as Mom’s caregiver. On the cusp of losing all hope, I didn’t go negative; I went positive. And if I said, “I love my job” over and over again, I just might believe it. If not, on to wine, preferably red, and plenty of it.
We hadn’t been out much in the past year. I thought a breath of fresh air would do us both some good. So we, as Mom liked to say, went “gallivanting.” We Jersey-Shored it for Caryl’s royal spa treatment, which gave my Day of Beauty a royal run for its money. We drove to Long Island for lunch with Dad’s sister, Claire, the last of her generation. Closer to home, we traversed the county visiting favorite places only to find time had erased them. A strip mall now stood where Tice’s and Van Riper’s Farms once did. These were the go-to places in the Fall for fresh apple cider, red candy apples, and losing yourself in a sweet cloud of cinnamon. Fishel’s Bakery, home of melt-in-your-mouth cream donuts and our traditional ice cream birthday cakes, no longer existed. T & Ws, who made the best chocolate chip mint ice cream, gone. Mama Rosa’s pizza vanished—still the best pizza, and the one I measure all others by. Wilke’s Deli replaced Pat’s Deli and overcharges non-suspecting customers for every sandwich. You never had to count your change with Pat.