Friday, January 8, 2010

Here's to Life

I’ve been in a pensive mood for the past few weeks since my mother died. So my friend Jim gave me a copy of Barbra Streisand’s latest disc, Love is the Answer to cheer me up. Her voice really is like but-tah, and I’ve been relishing it like a piece of the most decadent chocolate cake. There’s an intimacy about her recording, like she’s whispering something personal to you and you alone. Not only can you hear her every breath, you can hear what she had for lunch.

I detected a piece of brisket when her voice gradually got beefier during a bridge. Granted, a lean cut. Babs isn’t really a saturated fat kinda gal. Then there was the egg salad with dill when her voice got a little playful. It was the dill that really made that song. I heard smoked whitefish on bagel when the strings swelled, reaching a gorgeous, smoky crescendo. You can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take the whitefish out of the girl. And when she showed amazing vocal restraint, I heard one perfect bite of creamy New York cheesecake. You knew she could have gone whole hog, but unlike me, Babs is not a binger.

Hell, I can hear a better meal in her voice than we had for my mom’s funeral. Six days of turkey, roast beef and tuna on flaccid bread from a place called Jason’s Deli. My sister’s gracious coterie of catering friends apparently got their signals crossed and ordered three of the same ginormous sandwich platters—enough to feed a Dallas shtetl. My mom taught us to never waste food, so the onus was on us. Six straight days of leftover cold cuts. So much for comfort food.

Yet like the most satisfying comfort food, a powerful song not only has the ability to soothe and coddle you, it can even be life-affirming, as the opener on Barbra’s disc proves:

Here’s To Life

I had my share

I drank my fill

And even though I’m satisfied

I’m hungry still

To see what’s down another road

Beyond the hill

And do it all again

So here’s to life

And all the joy it brings

Yes here’s to life

And dreamers and their dreams

May all your storms be weathered

And all that’s good get better

Here’s to life

Here’s to love

Here’s to you

And here’s to mom, Barbra and but-tah. L’chaim.


  1. I feel your pain, but I want the cake!

  2. That cake was from the Cheesecake Factory. I had a sliver of it at someone's house when I was in Dallas. It was as good as it looks!