Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: She's Still A Button

Jean of "Thank God he's Jewish!" fame. Read part 1 here

BENNINGTON -- Stop me if you've heard this one: sassy 85-year-old WASP plays mahjong with old Utica Jews and ... wait, even I haven't even heard that one.

Ahh, sweet Jean.

Sweet Jean returned to Fiddlehead at Four Corners 183 days later -- today -- and lit the joint up like she did on Easter Sunday while delivering this iconic line:

"They're only open because he's Jewish -- Thank God he's Jewish!"

Counter boy feels the same way when Chinese buffets are the only restaurants to open on Christmas. They're only open because they're Chine-- wait, whut?!

This time Jean brought an old friend by the name of Shirley and her other daughter, Cathy. They stopped at Fiddlehead on the way back from Putney, East Vermont, where Jean's other daughter, and Cathy's sister, owns the Putney Pharmacy.

Jean bought a glass necklace and while he's wrapping and bagging her new piece of jewelry counter boy asks what her plans are for the rest of the day.

"I'm going to play mahjong at the Jewish Community Center in Utica."

"Utica," he says. "I spent a month there one night."

Bossman's eyes bulge as if to say, Be careful there, hoss.

It's a fine line, like floss, but counter boy knows his audience and Jean cackles. 


"Shirley! He said he spent a month in Utica one night!" and starts laughing as counter boy says "Kramer uses that line in Seinfeld."

"My grandma," he continues, "was a mahjong girl who played in Vegas half the year. ... I can only imagine what mahjong at the Utica Jewish Community Center must be like."

Jean cackled again. 


Counter boy said "There probably won't be any steamed hams at the game, huh?"

She had no idea what that meant.

If you don't, either, click here.

Jean and Cathy

Shirley with a maple leaf pin-dant

Cathy with a glass heart paperweight