A letter to my late, first husband and the amazing magician, Harvey Cohen
I thought about you so much this past weekend. I took an Amtrak train up to Albany, boarding the last train leaving Penn Station. A snowstorm was predicted and transportation was shutting down for the rest of the day. The sky was gray and the snow was falling as I looked out the window at the frozen Hudson River.
We took that train ride many times together and you would say to me "this is one of the most scenic rides in the world."
You loved storms almost as much as you loved to WOW people. There was nothing more gratifying to you than that look of surprise on someone's face as you double lifted a card into oblivion, or when you made someone believe that a metaphysical miracle was happening and they were a part of it.
I laughed out loud on the train thinking about the time we were invited to Betsy Karp’s Birthday dinner at a little restaurant on Leroy St. She invited a few friends and a couple of people she worked with. One of them was an annoying little man who had a big mouth. He was outspoken and full of himself and you were trying to conceal your boredom by bending spoons and rearranging the sweet and low.
Every few minutes you would wrap your foot around the leg of “Big Mouth’s” chair and give it a delicate tug, while pretending to listen intensely to the conversation. I watched as the poor guy constantly glanced behind himself, glaring at a passing patron or a waiter.
You continued to discretely push and jerk his chair till he finally said: "Someone keeps bumping into me god damn it!" Everyone assured him that no one was doing that, at least not purposefully. I nudged you, silently pleading for you to stop, and you just smiled and gave me the dancing eyebrow response.
The wait staff circled round our table, a clear distance away from your victim. A well-frosted cake was placed in front of Betsy as everyone sang Happy Birthday, and you just couldn't stop yourself. You somehow were able to secure the bottom of his chair with both of your sneakers and lift him in mid-air, dropping him with a Bang. He screamed, "That's it! This place is possessed!" He left in a big hurry and without any cake.
The staff, the guests and our table were convinced that evil spirits had tormented this guy. When you finally revealed your harmless charade, everyone was hysterical. Turned out no one else liked him either.
Harvey, Happy Birthday! I miss laughing with you.
Your three most profound miracles--Jena, Brett and Katie--miss you so much and they carry your magic deep inside. Keep watching over your girls.
We all love you!
Happy Birthday Harv!
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