A few years ago, when Hal was a golf fanatic, he and I were enjoying a very romantic dinner, candlelight, moonlight, French cuisine served by Chef Correa, on a lovely open air porch in Key West. We were laughing and chatting, very romantic. Then I did the girl thing. I said, "Honey, I know you love me, but I don’t know your wants, your goals, your dreams. What are they?" Without missing a beat, in all seriousness, like a proposal, he replied, "I wanna break 80."

He said it so fast, with such enthusiasm, it was like he’d been waiting all evening for me to ask. He realized immediately it was not the answer I was seeking and he tried to backpedal… But too late. It’s ok. For Hal, that was the only answer: at that moment, it’s all he wanted in this world. And, you know, in the next year, he did it.

Irwin_n_meLast night, so did Irwin. Irwin Mollot is Penny’s father. Penny and I go way back. We were co-owners of Heavenly Bodies Aerobics at the CoffeeMill since 1983 till I finally had to do something that made money instead of cost money, and got my real estate license. Penny took over HBA and finally meshed it with her dance studio…. anyway. We gadda history.

I met Irwin when I went to the Mollot’s home in the Bronx for Thanksgiving one year. There were at least 50 relatives (seemed like 100) in the Mollot’s basement. I think they were all deaf because they all yelled, from the little kids on up to Irwin’s 96 year old mother. Ok, she didn’t yell that loud. But everyone else did. They yelled every word they said. At one point, Irwin was standing next to Betty (Penny’s mom) in the kitchen and Betty yelled, "IRWIN, GET ME MY CIGARETTES!" And Irwin yelled right back, "THEY’RE RIGHT NEXT TO YOU. BEHIND THE TOASTER." Like that.

All 50 Mollots yelled like that THE ENTIRE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. It was the loudest Thanksgiving of my life. I am no shy wallflower and I remember sitting in a chair against the wall with my mouth slightly ajar… I could not compete with this. Even today, when I talk to Penny on the phone, I have to hold the phone away from my ear. Because she yells everything. I think the Bronx did that to her.

Because my father is no longer with us, Irwin is Mo and Ryan’s surrogate grandfather. He came to the adoption proceedings and was officially sworn in and everything. (It’s a small town, you can make stuff up here behind closed doors in a judge’s chambers.) Last night, to celebrate Irwin’s 80th birthday, we had dinner at Leto’s, Penny and Dave (Leto)’s new ristorante in downtown Key West. Yum, good food, good company, chocolate cake with chocolate icing. No hard questions. Lovely all the way around. I’m so glad I was here for this. That’s lucky.

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