Years ago, there was a movie, The Longest Day, about the Normandy landings. Today, June 21, is, I believe, the longest day of the year. Is it the best day of the year? Well, I like “fall back,” when we gain an hour. I begin my latest episode of Music for a While with “A Soft Day,” one of my favorite songs: by Stanford (setting a poem by Winifred Mary Letts). It came to mind when I was out in a park, seeing everything lush and wet. Anyway, you’ll love the song, if you don’t know it already.
Yesterday, I had a “Tel Aviv Journal,” which prompted some interesting mail. I heard two versions of a story — a story that is a joke with a point. To set it up, let me quote the opening of my journal, please:
When we land in Tel Aviv from Bucharest, some people on the plane — women! — are very, very rude: pushing, shoving, and yelling. I’m about to put my dukes up and the F-word hangs on my lips — and then I remember: “Ah, right: They’re Israelis. They’re supposed to be this way.”
And the same women who are trying to run you over to get to the overhead bins they want would probably cook you a meal and tuck you in at night.
And take up arms to defend you.
Culture, culture …
Okay, here’s the story, or at least one version of it: It’s late December on a flight from New York to Tel Aviv. The pilot gets on the speaker and announces that the plane is starting the descent to Ben-Gurion Airport, and it will be 20 minutes until touchdown. It will probably be another ten minutes before arrival at the gate. During this half-hour, he stresses, all passengers must remain seated with their seatbelts secured. He adds, “For those of you still seated, as I speak: Merry Christmas.”
A reader said he had lived in Israel in the mid-1970s and really and truly saw the following sign in a hospital in Haifa: No Smoking. On the Sabbath, Positively No Smoking.