Life

Tisha B’Av: On Sadness, Continuity and Redemption

20170523_224637_001.jpg

We are in Israel and the saddest day on the Jewish calendar has begun. Tisha B’Av (the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av) has been commemorated throughout the ages as a day of Jewish national tragedy. It is the day that both of our Holy Temples were destroyed and a day that is filled with mourning, trepidation and many tears.

It is a day that the following terrible Jewish tragedies have occurred:

  • The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE
  • The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE
  • The city of Beitar was destroyed by the Romans in 135 CE and the Jewish population of that city was annihilated.
  • Turnus Rufus, a Roman warrior, plowed the city of Jerusalem in 135 CE.
  • Jews were expelled from England in 1290, from France in 1306, and from Spain in 1492.
  • Germany entered World War I in 1914
  • SS commander Heinrich Himmler received formal approval for The Final Solution and thus began the Holocaust.
  • The Jews were deported from the Warsaw Ghetto. in 1942

We fast on this day, we sit on or close to the floor and we cry for the pain of the losses, the devastation and the void left by the destruction of the Jewish Temples almost 2000 years ago. Our tears are for the majesty that was lost and for the light of the connection to G-d at the time of the Holy Temples that was unparalleled. We cry over what we had and what we have lost.  And we pray for our tears of sadness will be replaced with rejoicing upon the final redemption.  .

According to the Jewish calendar, the festival of Pesach (Passover) always falls out on the same day of the week as Tisha B’Av. In Hebrew, there is no real word for coincidence because in Judaism things are just not coincidental. Things that happen in the same way were meant to be that way. And so, there must be a connection between Pesach, the festival of Geula (redemption) and Tisha B’av, the day of national mourning.

Redemption by definition implies that we will return to something that we have lost, something that we have already experienced. While Pesach commemorates our becoming a nation through the open miracles of our Exodus from Egypt, Tisha B’av dwells on our mourning the details of all that we have lost through the destruction of the Holy Temples in Jerusalem.

Only by understanding what we are missing can we ever hope to regain that which has been lost. And, so, on this day of national mourning, we lament the loss of the grandeur of the Holy Temples, the unity and the closeness that the spiritual relationship we experienced  during that time.  We read Megillas Eicha (the scroll of lamentations) and we shed true tears for all the tragedy and pain that has befallen our nation and has taken us from the holiness of an era long past.

Our fast begins on the eve of Tisha B’Av and continues until dark nightfall on the next day.  The mourning begins with great intensity and we sit on the floor or low chairs as Jewish mourners do.  We fast throughout the day, but the mourning gradually lessens throughout the day of Tisha B’Av. At Chatzos (midday), we are permitted to sit on regular chairs.

On this terrible day in history,  the structure of our precious Temple was set afire by our enemies. And, the most intense burning of the wood and stones of our Temples occurred at midday.

So, why would midday, the time of the most painful sight of the fiery destruction of our most holy site and of the holiest place on earth, be the time that we start lessening our mourning?

Because precisely at the moment that our precious Temples began burning did we see the hope for the future and the end of our mourning.

At midday, yes, our holiest Jewish sites were burning but we understood that our nation would survive. G-d had chosen to pour out his wrath on the stones and wood of Jerusalem’s holiest site and left our nation to repent, heal and hope for redemption.  That is true continuity and that is mourning with a mission.

And that is precisely the connection to Pesach. Pesach is the celebration of our becoming a nation and our hope for the Final Redemption. Tisha B’av, although painful, is integral for forcing us to recognize what we have lost.  It is the ultimate day for us to contemplate our continuity and redemption and return to what we had.   Tisha B’av is the day to elucidate what we had and cry real tears of understanding for the enormity of the void left by these losses. Only then, will we be granted the merit to witness the Final Redemption and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.

Frosted Candied Grapes

Grapes are featured prominently at the annual Pesach (Passover) seder (festive meal, lit: order).  After all, we drink four cups of wine or grape juice and the seder ceremony begins with the kiddush (santification) over the first cup of wine (or grape juice).  Wine is featured in the charoset (fruit and nut dip symbolizing mortar) for the maror (bitter herbs).

The seder is a mixture of tradition and whimsy.  It is the only night on the Jewish calendar when we sing Hallel (songs of praise) and tell the story of Egypt at length.  It is an evening in which we engage the children and pass these Jewish traditions from generation to generation.  In fact, so much of the elements of the seder are intended to pique the interest of our children.

Which brings me to candied grapes.  We are taught that parents are to give their children special foods and gifts in order to engage them at the seder.  So, why not combine the elements of tradition and whimsy in creating these adorable and delicious candied grapes?

One note of caution, though.  The round shape of the grapes  can create a choking hazard for small children.  These grapes should not be given to young children, unless they are quartered.

These grapes can make a delicious snack or the perfect garnish for desserts.

 
candied grapesINGREDIENTS

1 box jello
grapes

 
DIRECTIONS

Rinse individual grapes thoroughly in a colander. Spread jello powder in a pie plate or large plate.  Coat grapes with powder.    Place on waxed or parchment paper to dry.
Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow gelatin to set.

NOTES

The round shape of the grapes  can present a choking hazard for small children.  These grapes should not be given to young children, unless they are quartered.

Sheva Brochos To-Go Station

 

Last week, in preparation for Goldie and Tuvia’s Sheva Brochos (one of seven wedding after-parties, each with seven blessings), I purchased a large box of hamentaschen (triangular Purim pastries) to add to the Viennese table. While I was setting up, Don mentioned that we should set up a to-go station similar to those that we had at our daughters weddings. He thought that we should set out the hamentaschen individually wrapped along with tea and coffee.

I thought that was a wonderful idea.

Except, the weather was unseasonably warm.

So, we set up a water bottle and hamentaschen to-go station with personalized labels for the hamentaschen and water bottles.

I covered an old desk with an elegant tablecloth and inserted a printed sign into a vintage frame that read:

“Please take
something cold and something sweet
for the road ahead”

Our guests loved it.  It really was simple to wow them.

And, we plan to do this again at our next home celebration.

Great idea, Don!

to-go-station-complete

Who did it better? Free nightstand vs. $395

 

 

I just received the newest Anthropologie House & Home catalogue and had so much fun leafing through it.

When I turned to page 75, I couldn’t believe my eyes!

There was a nightstand so similar to the one that I refinished from a free cast-off in A Nightstand Castoff: Simply Upgraded and Gilded.

Oh, and, it sells for $395.

So, I ask you.  Who did it better?

I know who did it last summer and who did it for a whole lot less money.  As we like to say in our house, “Nothing beats free”!

White and Wow Wedding Arches

white-and-wow-arches

When Kaitlyn’s friends started to get married, we realized that there were no places in our community to rent or borrow wedding shtick (items of whimsy to adorn the wedding dancing).

That left only one choice.

We quickly needed to figure out how to make our own.

And we did. The most popular item that we designed were our wedding arches.

After the traditional Jewish wedding chupah (Jewish canopy) ceremony, the Jewish bride and groom have a few moments alone called Yichud (seclusion) in order to enjoy each other’s company before entering the reception room.

As the bride and groom prepare to enter the reception room after Yichud, there is palpable excitement in the air.  The band gets ready to perform a musical intro and the guests are on their feet waiting to dance the new couple into their lives together.

In the last few years, so many Jewish couples enter the reception by dancing under beautiful arches held by their friends and family.  There is nothing in halacha (Jewish law) or minhag (Jewish custom) that explains the significance of these arches.

So, we are truly left to our imagination.

Perhaps, the arches mimic the idea of the chupah, a shelter representing their new home and they represent the doorway from the new couple’s status as individuals into a life of togetherness. Perhaps, these arches connect earth and heaven.  Maybe, they incorporate the idea that the new couple is rooted in the friends and family that hold the arches.

Nonetheless, these arches carry the excitement and whimsy of an exciting new chapter just opened by this new Jewish couple.

And, that is what has guided the design of our wedding shtick.

These arches can be designed in so many different ways.  We have feathered and flower arches, but our most popular arches are our fluffy, curly and whimsical mesh arches.

We offer all of our wedding shtick with a donation to Camp HASC (Hebrew Academy for Special Children) in memory of Stephanie Cohen a’h. Stephanie was a very special friend of our daughter, Leah, and our family.  Her dear parents, Lisa and Stuart, are like part of our own family.  The joyfulness and whimsy of these arches were designed with Stephanie’s delightful character and joyful nature in mind.

stephanie-cohen

Stephanie lived a life of joy and lit up the lives of all those who knew her.  Although she was physically and cognitively challenged, she used every fiber of her body to bring happiness and whimsy to others.  She taught everyone around her about being positive and happy  in one’s life and she brought a smile to all who interacted with her.  The original set of colorful mesh arches were designed using Stephanie’s favorite vibrant colors in order to raise money for the place that she loved most, Camp HASC.  

arches-with-michelle-and-scotty

Stephanie’s colorful arches have been and continued to be borrowed over and over and have raised a great deal of money for Camp HASC.

This week, I  designed a new set of white and wow wedding arches to complement the colorful mesh arches that were designed several years ago. This time I documented the supplies and directions necessary to create their design.

Here we go!

SUPPLIES

hula hoop
heavy-duty scissors
scotch or cloth tape (optional)
duct tape or White Gorilla duct tape
21″ wide deco mesh (For each arch, I needed one 10-yard roll of deco mesh plus extra embellished mesh for accents)
pipe cleaners to match mesh or floral wire
white gloves (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Carefully cut a hula hoop using strong scissors.  Some hula hoops have beads inside to create hula hoop sound effects.  If you would like to add those sound effects to a plain hula hoop, add a few beads to the inside of the cut hula hoop.

Cover the ends of the hula hoop with duct or cloth tape to prevent the beads inside from falling out.  Use duct tape to coat the hula hoop from one end to the other.  I find that the easiest way is to leave a 2-3 inch section of tape exposed on the roll and wrap the duct tape roll around and around the cut hula hoop.

mesh-wedding-arches-hula-hoop-covered-in-duct-tape

Prepare pipe cleaners or cut wire into 12-16 inch sections.

Line up mesh near one end of the hoop.  Begin securing the mesh to the hula hoop by using a pipe cleaner or mesh to secure the mesh to the hula hoop about 6 inches from the end of the hula hoop.

Making sure that the mesh covers both sides of the hula hoop, wrap the mesh around the hula hoop, twisting slightly to form a swelling effect.  Secure mesh again to the hula hoop in about 12-15 inches.

mesh-wedding-arches-mesh-wrapped-around-hula-hoop

deco-mesh-arches-hula-hoops-covered-in-duct-tape

Continue to wrap the mesh around the hoop, securing it with the pipe cleaner or cut wire at equal intervals, making sure that the last interval before the end of the hula hoop is secured about 6 inches from the other end.

deco-mesh-arches-wired-at-even-intervals

Cut the mesh close to the end of the hula hoop, leaving the same amount of space for a handle at both ends.

Using the deco mesh, cut 8-12 inch sections of mesh.  The longer the sections, the more perfect your rolls will look.  The shorter the sections, the more rolls you will have.

mesh-wedding-arches-mesh-tubes

deco-mesh-arch-rolled-mesh

Prepare pipe cleaners or cut wire into 18-30 inch sections.

Take 3-4 deco mesh rolls and twist a pipe cleaner or wire section around the middle, forming a whimsical curly flower, making sure to twist the middle tightly, but to leave plenty of wire at the ends so that the curly flower can be securely fastened to the arch.  Here is where you can be creative and incorporate different colors, textures, ribbons or media.  For these arches, I used three white sparkly mesh rolls and one 4″ section of bubbly mesh for each curly flower.

deco-mesh-arch-flourish-with-wire

Continue to cut deco mesh rolls and create at least as many curly flowers as you have secured intervals on your hula hoop arch.  Each one of these flowers will cover the wire that you used to secure the mesh to the hula hoop.

deco-mesh-arch-flourish

I like to prepare a few extra curly flowers to fill in the middle of the arch, which will add whimsy and height to the final arch.  I also sometimes prepare a few smaller curly flowers, made with only 2-3 curls to fill in areas where the arch needs some more volume.

mesh-wedding-arches-in-parts

Using the ends of the wire or pipe cleaner, secure each flower to the arch covering the exposed pipe cleaner or wire that you created when you secured the mesh to the hula hoop, making sure to twist tightly and secure all wire ends.  Examine your arch carefully and critically, adjusting curly flowers to cover both sides of the hula hoop and making sire that the arc looks full.  Add curly flowers to areas on your arch that look unadorned.  To achieve a full look, each of these arches took 9-12 curly mesh flowers.

deco-mesh-arch

If necessary, cut the end of the deco mesh so that at least 2-3 inches at each end of the hula hoop can be handled.  Use heavy duty duct tape, secure the ends of the deco mesh to the handle.  Wrap the duct tape around and around so that the handle is neat, comfortable and secure.

To give the arches a more finished look, wrap matching pipe cleaners around all exposed wire securing the curly flowers to the mesh hula hoop.

If you would like to make a donation to Camp HASC  or would like information on borrowing these arches for an upcoming wedding, please comment below or email me at simpletowow@gmail.com.

Please Note:  This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, which means I earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase.

A Special Day for Savta

Today is a wonderful day for my mother.

After finally getting the all-clear to start bearing full weight on her hip after surgery, my mother is finally coming home.  It has been over six grueling weeks since Savta’s hip-revision surgery.

Savta will be continue to receive physical therapy here until she returns home to Cleveland later next week.

And, we are rolling out the red carpet.

With the red carpet, of course, we will need a welcome home sign.  And, a welcome home party thrown by the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  And, so the celebration begins…

Just in case the kids don’t get the sign here before Savta’s arrival, I quickly drew a welcome home sign.  I used a large piece of white foam board and poster markers in black and red.  I finished the exclamation sign off with a cloth bandage.

Welcome home, Savta!

SUPPLIES

white foam board
thick markers
Band-Aids

TIP

Display welcome home sign  in window.  That way, no tape is needed and sign can be turned around to be viewed indoors, as well.

The 21st of Kislev: The Yarzheit of my Mother-in-law

 

mom-and-dad

 

Tonight begins the 21st of Kislev.  This year, the days of December line up with the days of Kislev.  It is a sad day in our family as it is the Yahrzeit (commemoration of the anniversary of death) of my mother-in-law, Devorah bas Yitzchok Ahron.  We light a yahrtzeit candle, also called a נר נשמה‎‎ (candle of the soul) during the yahrzeit to reflect on the neshoma (soul) of the departed.

My mother-in-law had an effervescence that was contagious.  She loved being around people and she loved life.  She loved parties of all kinds.  She remembered everyone’s birthdays and she especially loved Chanukah.  When she would travel to Florida for the winter, she would always remember to send presents for the grandchildren before she left.  She loved dressing up on Purim and bringing costumes and masks for everyone else.  Mom was the life of the party.

Mom had been ill with pancreatic cancer for over two years. The fact that she lived with this terrible illness for that long was testimony to the excellent care that she received from her children.  Every medical decision was contemplated and carefully evaluated.  She was warmly cared for by her children and grandchildren who worked hard to allow her effervescence to shine through until her very last moments.

That Chanukah during shiva (seven day mourning period) eight years ago was so poignant and yet so beautiful.   Lighting the Chanukah candles together and sitting all together on Chanukah was so reminiscent of Mom’s energy and spirit. Her neshoma was so entwined with the albeit sad Chanukah celebration that year and in the future.

Mom loved to share all that she had and all that she enjoyed with others.  Mom’s Hebrew name was דְּבוֹרָה, Devorah, and it is so significant that her name began with the letter Daled, ד. The Hebrew letter, Daled, ד,  is shaped like a door with a horizontal line on top for protection and a vertical line for stability. Mom’s life was truly like a door, as her home and heart were open to everyone. She invited so many friends and neighbors to enjoy Shabbos and Yomim Tovim (Jewish holidays) with her.   She invited her mother to live in her home after her father passed away.  There was a steady stream of visitors and crafts every Sunday as her many siblings and family members came to visit Bubby, the matriarch of the Kramer family.   Even when Mom was most ill, she was always concerned with those around her.

Tonight, Don and his brother have traveled to Israel, where Mom is buried.  They have commemorated the yahrzeit with a siyum (completion of a tractate of Torah) and seuda (festive meal) in Jerusalem.    The family will visit Mom’s grave tomorrow and then return in time for Chanukah.  Mom would be so content and happy to have her yarzheit commemorated with Torah and with a festive gathering of family and friends.  That was the true spirit of her life.  It is the ongoing legacy that she has left us.

May the neshoma of Devorah bas Yitzchok Ahron a’H be elevated.

Simplicity is not Simple

Baruch Dayan He’Emes (Blessed are You, G‑d, the Judge of the Truth).

This morning, I lost a dear friend and great role model.

Her name was Chaya Mindel bas Aryeh Leib.  She was my husband’s first cousin and one of the greatest women I know.  She had a very challenging life, but met every experience with simplicity, sensibility, perspective and great devotion to Hakadosh Baruch Hu (G-d).

She was on a higher spiritual level than almost anyone I know.  I always felt that I could not even hope to emulate her, yet every moment that I spent with her taught me so much. Chaya a’h remains for me the paradigm of an Isha Tzidchanis (righteous woman).  These are some of the many lessons that she taught me.

Keep Life Simple

Chaya a’h filled her time with helping others and connecting to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.  She simplified the other parts of her life so that she could maximize the time and energy spent on those very important things.  That is the type of simplicity that is not simple.

Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard Than Everyone Else.  Great People Make Others Feel Big.

In Chaya’s presence, I often felt humble and rather foolish, because I am on a much lower spiritual level than  her.  Yet, she always saw the meaning in the things that I tried to do and acknowledged them.  She made everyone around her feel big, but never lowered her own standard.  Even when she was in terrible pain, she was polite and appreciative to those around her.

Advocate.  Advocate. Advocate. 

Chaya advocated for those around her who needed advocating.  She called, wrote letters and did whatever it took to advocate and help.  She left no stone unturned if someone needed something.  I was often surprised to find that Chaya had found and enlisted the support and admiration of the experts in whatever field she needed.  Chaya made it look simple, but it wasn’t.

Teach and Share What You Know

Whatever Chaya learned, she shared with those who could benefit from this knowledge. She helped others with similar challenges to her own.  She gave shiurim (Torah lectures), to her friends and neighbors even when she was quite ill, to share the words of Torah that resonated so deeply within her.

When the Going Gets Tough, Stay Devoted and True

I watched Chaya daven (pray) through great pain and I was envious of the connection that she had with G-d, even when she was suffering.  She made sacrifices for Torah learning, even to her last breath. Her emuna peshuta (simple faith) shown through, even when the going was so tough.  Emuna peshuta at that level is not simple.  It is profound.

T’hay nafsha tzrurah b’tzror hachaim (May her soul be bound in the bond of life)

 

 

 

When It’s Hard Not to Judge

I have always been taught not to judge others.   Leave the judging to God.  We just have to give others the benefit of the doubt.  I internalized these ideas and I tried to transmit them to my children.  I thought that I had succeeded and then something happened that taught us all an important lesson.  An experience has the power to teach and transform in a way that preachy words just cannot.

We were on vacation and the kids wanted to swim.  We found an olympic sized indoor pool and we arrived one evening an hour before closing.  We noticed that the pool had lap lanes for the serious swimmers  and a wider area for the families that just wanted to swim leisurely and play in the pool.  We noticed that the pool had handicap access and that there was a wheelchair at the side of the pool.

We entered the pool area and the kids got down to pool business.  They tried to play Marco Polo.  They tried to make handstands and cartwheels underwater.  They tried to swim leisurely.

They were unable to enjoy any of the fun things they were used to doing in the pool. 

There was a man in one of the lap lanes swimming with such vigor that he was creating waves in the pool.  The intensity of his swimming precluded anyone else from leisurely enjoying the pool.  

The kids asked me to intervene.

I felt badly.  The man seemed to be enjoying his swim and was so focused. Anyways, it didn’t seem that he could sustain the vigorous swimming for much longer.  I looked at the clock.  There were forty-five minutes left until pool closing   

I negotiated with the kids. Should we give him twenty minutes more before we complained?  They wanted to swim right away.  We compromised and all agreed to wait ten minutes before complaining to him or to the lifeguard on duty. 

Five minutes later, we were delighted to see that he was winding down and heading to his last lap.  We collectively breathed a sigh of relief and watched him exit the pool.  He hoisted himself up to the side using only his arms and plunked himself in the wheelchair.  

And then we understood everything.  The man had no legs.

We never used words to crowd the experiential “aha” that we experienced that evening.  It was just one of those moments that taught us about giving others the benefit of the doubt.  

Wow!  

You have the World at Hello

Growing up, we were taught to greet people in a friendly manner.  A friendly greeting can really transform a person’s day.  I remember vividly how special I felt as a child when I came to visit my mother’s best friend, my Tante Bashi. As I came through her door, she would exclaim.  “Wow!  What an important guest is here.”  She would always make me feel ten feet tall.  

In the local supermarket parking lot, there was an older man with a thick accent who had been  hired to round up and return the shopping carts to their assigned place.  He worked very hard through good and bad weather.  He was there when I shopped early and he was there when I shopped late.  He was always right there to take my shopping cart from me right after I unloaded the groceries into my car.   He was reliable and hardworking.

And, he wore a white shirt and suit to work.

I was always intrigued by his choice of dress. Why would he choose to wear the clothing of an executive to perform such a menial job?  Was it to show respect and appreciation for a job he cherished?  Did his family think that he was the CEO of a company and he played the part?  Was he auditioning for Undercover Boss?

I never had the nerve to ask him, but I always noticed him and admired his professionalism, both in dress and in action.

Whenever I would leave my car to enter the supermarket, I would greet him warmly.   Whenever he would return my cart for me, I would thank him and wish him a good day.  I wondered if anyone else acknowledged, greeted and thanked him.

One day, I was having a bad day.  I parked my car at the supermarket and was lost in my thoughts.  Without thinking, I reached for a  shopping cart, when someone said, “Good morning.  How are you? Is everything okay?”  I snapped out of my thoughts and looked up. It was the shopping cart executive.

His greeting brightened my day.

The gift of a warm hello and bright smile really can transform someone’s world.

Saying Please and Thank You the Adult Way

Our parents and teachers taught us the “magic words”.  Now that we are adults, have we lost the magic?

In today’s fast paced world, we cannot tolerate someone else having a bad day.  And, it is so easy to complain.  We phone our kids’ school complaining.  We leave negative reviews.   We rate our doctors, our professors and our dry cleaners with just a touch of the keyboard.

Do we find the time, the words and the keystrokes to say “Thank You”, too?  Are we even-handed, making sure that we offer compliments as easily as we offer criticism?

A while back, our township’s postmaster changed the mail routes on our side of town.  For several weeks, our mail was coming at odd times, after dark and some times not at all.  My city block had been removed from the route of the wonderful mail carrier who had delivered our mail for over a decade.   My mail was being delivered by whomever was available at the end of the day, and clearly there were days that no one was available.  I was livid and it was time to set the record straight.  I was determined to make sure that our mail would be reassigned to our original mail carrier.

I picked up the phone and called the postmaster.  She patiently explained to me that she  was unable to give our address back to the original mail carrier. She also explained to me that there was no guarantee that our mail would be delivered consistently at the same time of day.  Furthermore, she explained that occasionally I may have to contend with mail arriving after dark and that she was still working on finding a new mail carrier for us.  I was disappointed, but decided to wait and see how the new mail carrier worked out  before calling again.

To my great delight, the postmaster placed our address with a mail carrier who was friendlier, more efficient and even more consistent than his predecessor.  I thanked our new mailman when he brought mail all the way to to my door and when he took the outgoing mail from my roadside mailbox.  I thanked him when he delivered the mail in the rain, in the the sleet and in the hail.  I thanked him when he brought an entire crate of mail after a vacation hold.  I was an adult using the magic word and I was pleased with myself.

After months of exemplary mail delivery service, I mentioned to my kids how pleased I was with our new mail carrier and I shared the story about calling the postmaster.

They were unimpressed.

They asked, “Did you call the postmaster to thank her for making the adjustment?”

Right.  I took the time to call her with a complaint, but I couldn’t find the time to call her with a compliment.

I picked up the phone.  I called the postmaster.

I could tell she was holding her breath when I rattled off my address and the fact that I had called her six months ago. She was clearly waiting for the next complaint.

And then, I used the magic my kids had suggested.

“I just wanted to thank you for addressing my issue and sending me the most wonderful mail carrier.”

The postmaster was astounded and shared the following with me: “In all my years as postmaster, no one has ever called to thank me. You made my day.”

Clearly, the magic words still have the power to impress.