Ramona on Corona and…Latkes and The Countdown

A humor series on navigating this difficult time

cartoon of a woman on a spin bike

Today, I’m sharing another installment of a humor series from my friend Pam Goldman, centering on a woman named Ramona, who tries to help… in her own way. If you’re new to this series: Here’s the previous installment. Read on.


This will be a mish mash because right now my mind’s a mish mash. Brain fog. So much going on personally (I miss my family), professionally (I need to be funny), nationally (oy vey) and globally (we used to be the popular kid).

You need a laugh, right? I could use one myself. 

True story. Pre-covid. 

I went to my favorite deli to pick up a few things. It was lunchtime and the tables were full in the restaurant section, but I was there to buy at the takeaway counter, so I ambled over and pulled number 63 from the machine. I took my place in line behind 60, 61 and 62, envious of their primacy. 

I hadn’t eaten lunch and my mouth was watering as I took in the full display of offerings behind the glass… roast turkey, brisket, corned beef, pastrami (lean and extra lean), chopped liver, Nova Scotia salmon (lox in Brooklyn and New Jersey), kasha varnishkes, half-sour pickles, sour pickles, beets (I hate beets) and latkes (my favorite), all in silver bins and aesthetically garnished with fresh parsley, which always makes me buy a half pound more. 

I was starving so imagine my delight when a deli guy plunked a plate of hot latkes on the counter a few feet from me. The smell wafted over 60, 61 and 62 right to 63’s nostrils, causing my feet to ambulate past 60, 61 and 62, straight to the plate filled with latkes and a small ramekin filled with applesauce. In fact I was there to buy, among other things, latkes, but my stomach was growling and since mine would be cold by the time I got home, I reached for a latke, dipped it in applesauce and scarfed down what turned out to be the ultimate orgasmic culinary experience.

It’s hard to eat just one perfectly cooked latke, the kind with slightly crunchy edges and a soft middle. I reached for another. There were three left. I ate two. Number 63 was happy.

A bit surprised by my own gluttony, I was just starting to feel a hint of something close to remorse, when a zaftig waitress approached the counter, grabbed the plate and turned to me as I chewed. In a loud voice, she said, “What’s in your mouth? What have you done?! You ate my customer’s lunch!” 

“What?!“ I tried to say with bits of latke still oozing between my teeth. I swallowed, “I thought these were free samples!”

The moral of the story: never shop for food when you’re hungry☺

Now back to reality…

Aren’t you exhausted from hearing others talk about how exhausted they are from everything that’s been going on? I’ve heard it from Barack in Philly, from Michelle when she told us to pack a bag lunch on election day, even I think from Dianne Feinstein during opening remarks at ACB’s nomination hearing (before she bear-hugged Lindsey Graham). 

It’s only 10 days until November 3rd and I’m counting down…9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… BLAST OFF! But then I stop. Blast off to where, to what? I’m a blank when it comes to conjuring up what the future will look like.

If he-who-shall-not-be-named wins, legally or otherwise, my husband K. swears he will move to Provence in the south of France. I would not be opposed. The region is well known for its magical light that captured the attention of the 19th century Impressionists Monet, Manet, Renoir, to name a few.

I will remain in America. I will miss him but this is where my children and grandchildren live…. du-uh. I am the voice of reason in this marriage and I will visit K. every summer, during school vacations and of course I will be by his side on Bastille Day. 

He will live in a sweet stucco two-story house with periwinkle blue shutters on the windows and a periwinkle blue front door. Vineyards will fan out behind the house as far as the eye can see. K. will speak rudimentary French with a Brooklyn accent. He will have his regular game of bocce on Sundays on the dirt court in the village square with his French compatriots who will all have played bocce ball since they were 5. K. will lose routinely but as gracefully as K. is able, which is not very. 

On Tuesdays he will go to the city center (centre ville) for market day when a ton of vendors flood the main street to sell everything from live chickens to car tires to moisturizer. K.’s obsession is food so he will bring 2 large straw baskets and fill them with:

A steaming roast chicken (poulet roti)
Gorgeous red tomatoes (tomates rouge)
Three kinds of cheese (fromage)
A freshly baked baguette
3 freshly baked croissants
1 lb. of freshly sliced ham (jambon)
1 jar fresh raspberry jam (confiture de framboise)
2 Cavaillon melons
1 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (vin)

He will be a happy man and his wife will be having Chinese take-out at home, an estimated 8 hours and 3 minutes on Delta or 3991 miles/6424 kilometers away.

And this is how we would live for 4 years. Please not 8. 

On the other hand if the nice man wins on November 3rd we will both remain in America. We will do our part to help in the return to normalcy. We will support essential workers i.e. chefs and restaurant owners by eating out a lot, hairdressers and manicurists by indulging in self-care not done by the self and Sephora sales staff by purchasing eye liner, mascara and lip gloss for the first time in months. We will return all of the hoarded paper goods K. stacked in Aisle 7 in our basement to Costco. We will donate to our local food pantry all hoarded non-perishable items K. stacked in Aisle 5 in our basement: canned goods, pasta, Cheerios, peanut butter and marinara sauce. 

By the way, to those of you earning over $400,000 a year, can we talk? You only represent 1.8% of the population and earn about 25% of the nation’s income! I know you’re worried your tax rate may increase and you won’t be able to buy a second Tesla but hey, man…take a breath. 

Put yourself for a moment with two parents living in a small two bedroom apartment in the Bronx projects with three kids, no jobs, no health insurance, no washer/dryer, no central air, unreliable radiators, bills piling up, schools closed, no respite from worry. How’s that feeling? Can you imagine it? Try harder.

The Dow Jones will survive. The Nasdaq will survive. The stock market will survive. Wall Street will survive. What about that family in the Bronx? I can’t hear you.

I pray the ballot count will not be contested. I pray a peaceful transfer of power can serve as an example to our young children and grandchildren. I pray that they will all get straight A’s on their report cards in a subject that should have been a prerequisite for you-know-who before taking office… “plays well with others.” 

Please mail your ballot postmarked no later than November 3rd or place it in an Official Ballot Drop Box or go to the polls to vote in person. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTING IN YOUR STATE please go to this site.

No pressure but it’s all up to us.

The last word: VOTE