Friday, January 25, 2008

Confessions of a Montrealer

It's a bit hard to mock your neighbourhood and faux friends when you're staying in a three star hotel overlooking the worlds ugliest depressed highway, the Decarie Expressway, in a distant corner of Montreal. So my apologies for the lack of Faux Hill lifestyle updates of the rich and famous (oh my god that Faux Hillary's shameles...). Besides - with Gossip Girl now taking over the TV, perhaps, my raison d'etre is sorta... no more. "Spotted outside of David's by Day..."

The Two-Fer has faced a challenging week, as our patriarch and my grandfather passed away last Tuesday, and with the exception of a couple of emails I sent to friends telling them that my Pops has died (and by Pops I meant my grandfather NOT Papa Len) this really has been no laughing matter.

When you eulogize someone who you know for 25 years but whom you didn't really know (ie... you never once called them crying about the state of your life) an odd dichotomy emerges. On one hand my grandfather was someone who had consistently been there for his grandchildren (to quote Bold: "you couldn't have asked for a better grandfather") but on the other hand friends and boyfriends whom I've known for only a year or two probably know more about me then Pops. Especially boyfriends... once you've fingered someone's ass I'd say your bound to them for life.

On the plane back from Montreal, realizing that I had run into an ex about two hours before take-off, I realized that relationships subsequently seem to come and go, oscillate through time, forever impermanent; while the ties of family are forever binding in a world where permanency is hard to purchase.

So what else is pretty permanent? Moishe's. Moishe's is the grand damn of Jewish Montreal steakhouses, a restaurant that has matured over the years in conjunction with its Jewish Montreal clientelle so much so that a filet mignon is now in the fifty dollar range. Moishe's opened in 1938 on the Main (St Laurent Blvd) at a time when Montreal's Jewish Community was struggling to define itself as a minority group in Canada's then pre-eminent city. Read a Mordechai Richler book if you want to truly understand what life in Jewish "village" around St Urban Street, in Montreal, was like in the thirties and forties.

As did the Jewish population grow in numbers and prominence so did Moishe's. Just as Duddy Kravitz moved further and further up the Westmount Hill... so did the prices of a Moishe's shrimp cocktail. As Papa Len said jockingly - when we were growing up in Montreal, we always wanted to meet a Westmount girl. Papa Len grew up, of course, on Park Ave, deep in the heart of Richler's St Urbain street melieue and yet - today - Montreal's Jewish community are only too happy to call Hampstead and Westmount home... Westmount FYI has out Fauxed the Village with its own Ugg store.

Last Friday night found the Faux Hillary family around a table at Moishe's eating steak and telling stories about our beloved patriarch. There was something quite telling about the whole situation almost as if our ability to spend hundreds of dollars on a meal was in thanks to my grandfather's struggle. Pops, like many Jewish immigrants, worked in a Montreal garment factory, putting in enough hours so his son could become the first in the family to go to university and law school.

It was that sacrifice which made Pop's death so hard for the family, as you realize, upon burial, just how important one person can be to your morals, values and sense of self. And as the family left Moishe's I decided that we are, however, Peter's greatest legacy and as we move on - we cannot help but carry a little bit of him with us, not to forget our past, nor live in it - but to carry it forward.

Funnier news to follow.

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