Wednesday, April 29, 2015

You Want a What?

Flying home last night on a gorgeous, apparently brand new Airbus A321, I was reading a book by former Major League umpire Ken Kaiser. He grew up in Rochester, NY, the city I had left that morning. The city where my mom had lived most of her life, and where she had passed.

She was born in Philadelphia, and moved her family north when my father accepted a job at General Dynamics Electronics. She needed a map - Rochester isn't an especially intuitive city. She'd never learned to drive, so a new friend took her to Pittsford Department Store. My mom asked for a map.

The clerk brought her a mop.

Rochester's accent is much more like Chicago's than NYC's. The Great Lakes accent, it is called. Some translation was necessary.

"Not a mahp" her friend said. "A may-ip."

Ken Kaiser was explaining something Rochester-esque. "We went to Wagmans, the grocery giant of Upstate New York."

Wagmans?! I knew instantly what had happened. Ken Kaiser had spoken into a tape recorder and his "as told to" collated the recollections into an entirely entertaining book. But, to the untrained ear Wegmans, spoken in Rochester-ese, sounded like Wagmans and the editor hadn't caught it.

Wegmans, where my mom and I had spent a lot of foodie hours. She loved spring green salad with blueberries and strawberries. I knew right where to go for the ingredients, especially in the Pittsford store. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

So I did both.

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