Last weekend, I found myself walking towards the Fenway area in time for Neil Diamond to open his set with “Sweet Caroline.” I could hear the delirious crowd singing along, loud and clear, and it nearly made up for my failed attempt to get tickets to the show.
My father was surprised to learn I’d even considered it. I asked him why. “Because I thought you’d think he was too –“
“Schmaltzy?” I said.
Perhaps, but my father wanted to set me straight. “Do you know what ‘schmaltz’ even means?”
I hadn’t a clue, and was bracing myself for a lesson in anatomy (see “schmuck”, noun). Fortunately, my father’s childhood was characterized more by trips to the Bronx, when his grandmother would hand his mother a greasy bag containing a jar of chicken fat. “That,” my father said, “was schmaltz.”
Schmaltz was actually in the news this week, as part of the Obama/Biden campaign’s first post-convention stop. I wonder what my great grandmother and grandmother would think of that.

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