Does your family have traditions that you can plot like clockwork? Traditions that happen as steadily as turning the pages on a calendar? Well, Susie and I do, and as it happens, the three I’m going to talk about come together most Sundays, and that is what separates our Sundays, from the other 6 days of the week! I’m not going to say that these traditions are set in stone, but honestly, there’s got to be a pretty big reason for us to deviate from them! Let me start with the oldest of the three, and give you a view of the timeline of the events that eventually became our Ocean City Sundays.
Stir, Stir Sunday
Are you of an age, where you remember watching old black and white movies like the Thin Man series, staring William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles? Movies of that era featured lots of drinking and one drink that was promptly featured was the martini. Why there was even a movie in the Thin Man series called, Mix Martinis Marriage and Murder! Somebody was always mixing a pitcher of martinis in these movies either as a means of celebration, or as an antidote to get through a tough situation. Now, I’m not talking about the James Bond, “Shaken not Stirred” Vodka martini (note…we do those too, but NOT on Sunday), I’m talking about the tall elegant glass pitcher, filled with ice and in those early days, more likely gin than vodka, and stirred with a long glass wand! If you do remember those scenes in old movies, then you understand what I’m talking about!
A number of years ago, through the magic of Ebay, where you can find just about anything, we bought a vintage Martini Set, containing the pitcher, glass stirrer, and 6 period correct martini glasses. I say period correct, because unlike today’s huge martini glasses, some of which can take half a bottle of spirits, the vintage glasses were of a more manageable size, which is why folks back then could spend the afternoon drinking from them! So this then is our set.
Now, don’t really think when we first got them they were exclusively used on Sundays, but I do know that eventually they did end up being the anchor of our Sunday evenings, and were exclusively used on Sundays at about 5 PM. First the pitcher is filled with ice, then the vodka fresh from the freezer joins the mix (FYI…no vermouth is used in the making of Stir, Stir Sunday), and then the stirring commences, usually by my lovely wife Susie! Meanwhile, I take the frozen glasses out of the freezer, trim some subtle elegant lemon peals, and then we join the frozen vodka, with the frozen glasses! If we are home at 5PM on a Sunday, we participate in our tradition! In fact, back before we sold the Mineola house, and became exclusively residents of Ocean City, we had a set in Mineola and a set in Ocean City, so that at either house, we were prepared! Cheers to you!!
The second oldest tradition on our Sundays involve bagels! When we started regularly having bagels, there was not any particular day involved, and then for a while it was pretty regularly a Saturday thing, but a number of years ago, it became a fixed part of our Sunday mornings! We did this both on Long Island and here in Ocean City, and since we became full time OC residents, every Sunday starts the same! We get up (Susie usually before me), we goof around with our iPads for an hour or so checking mail, Facebook, and the news, and then we get dressed and are ready to start the day! I always go alone, driving over the bridge to Somers Point and my friends at Hot Bagels and More on Route 9, but as an offshoot of the pandemic, now I call first and put in our order. Some weeks I get through on my first try, some weekends it takes longer, but eventually I do get our order placed! My favorite way to do the drive is with the top down on the Mustang, but if the weather does not cooperate, then I go with the top up or in our Honda CRV. It’s about a 10 minute drive, and I love seeing my Hot Bagel friends Sue, Kris, Maria, and CC, and taking the sometimes still hot bagel sandwiches home to enjoy!
Once I’m home, and the bagels are plated and the accompanying cups of tea are made, Susie and I sit down and enjoy our bagel sandwiches (usually a flavored cream cheese – Scallion for Susie and Veggie for me – and either well done bacon, or sometimes something like ham or pork roll) while watching TV. During the TV season, it was usually Friday night’s Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods off the DVR, but since they ended for the year (and Hawaii Five-O for good), we’ve been hooked on the TV show Las Vegas from the early 2000s!
Some people may wonder how the South Jersey Bagels compare with the Long Island Bagels from our past. Let me say that we were never 100% committed to any one bagel store around Mineola, having tried 3 or 4 different ones over the years. As to how they compared with our South Jersey bagels? I’ll say that anytime Bagel Sunday found us on Long Island, we missed the quality and the size of our Hot Bagel and More sandwiches! In fact, in 2019 we found a bagel store down in Indian Rocks Beach, and tried to keep our tradition alive. We were so disappointed by the offerings there, that when we spent February, 2020 in Indian Rocks Beach, it was with a dozen frozen everything bagels from our bagel friends at Hot Bagels and More, on Route 9 in Somers Point! I’d put their bagels up against anyone’s!
The Sunday Drive
This, the newest of our Sunday Traditions, is something we really didn’t do when we still lived on Long Island. We’d take drives around our part of Long Island, but it wasn’t really pegged to Sundays. In fact, for most of the 15 years we’ve owned our Ocean City house, our Sunday drive usually was comprised of a 150 mile trip back to our Mineola house via the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike, Lincoln Tunnel, Midtown Tunnel and the LIE! So, this Sunday Tradition really had it’s start back when we made Ocean City our full time residence in November of 2017.
If you are like me, growing up in Queens, a Sunday drive was often a part of our weekend! When we lived in Jackson Heights, we’d drive out to the “country”, which it turns out was just down the road from the Bayside house our family moved to in 1968! We really weren’t going anywhere (except those Sundays we’d stop for a hot dog and some ice cream at Howard Johnsons), but were just getting out of our 4 room apartment and exploring! Well, that’s what Susie and I do! In nice weather, we hop into the Mustang, put the top down, and go out and explore the area, but honestly, it’s something we do 12 months a year, top up or down! If anyone is interested, the Mustang is a 2000, that we picked up at the dealership on March 31, 2000. We ordered her just 3 days after my 50th birthday, and I would say that my red convertible was my “mid-life crisis car”! Now after 21 summers in our life, she’s turned into my “retirement car”!
So where do we go? Well, over the years we’ve explored most of Cape May and much of Atlantic Counties. We’ve headed out with a purpose to see something, or just made random turns at intersections. We’ve traveled up and down most of the streets in Ocean City, and explored our neighbors to the north and south! We’ve learned where we live and know what’s around, and we’ve seen some incredible sights. Take a look at some of our discoveries over the years!
And there you have Susie and my Sunday Traditions! We start with our bagels, continue with our exploration of Southern Jersey, and wrap up the day with Stir Stir! Susie always tries to have a crockpot meal or something she can just throw into the oven to cook, so meal preparation doesn’t affect our enjoyment! It is truly an anchor of our week, and during our time in “lockdown” during the pandemic, sometimes it was the only way we could tell Sundays from the rest of the week. We love our Sundays, our traditions, and we jealously guard them, and hope to continue Bagel Sunday, Stir Stir Sunday and our rides forever! Why you may ask don’t we include going to the beach on our Sundays? Well, for one, we live here and don’t have the need to be at the beach every day, but more importantly, Sundays are the weekly renters first full day at the shore, and we figure to let them enjoy the beach, while we enjoy our other Sunday Traditions!
Thanks for joining us for our D’Elia Family Sunday Traditions…We hope you have yours!