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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

Chez Cohen Nail Salon

Here’s the hard part about visiting my parents once a week: my children have needs, too. I am a typical member of the sandwich generation, those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help, and their own children.

Today was a prime example. I had promised my dad several weeks ago that I would be with Mom while he attended a meeting at his city’s community college. And, wouldn’t you know it, today was also the day that my younger son had an appointment with the head of the children’s clinic at the local hospital. (He’s fine, thank God.)

Fortunately, I have a particularly wonderful husband who was willing pressed into service to accompany our son to the doctor. I still felt torn, having been involved with the intensive arrangements for the hospital visit, including gathering all the correct paperwork, only to step back when it really counted.

But off I went for my weekly visit. Mom and I actually accomplished two important tasks this morning—hair and nails. Though she was reluctant at first (“I don’t need someone to cut my hair. There’s nothing wrong with it.”), when we walked into the salon, Mom greeted her long-time hairdresser with gusto. Twenty minutes later, she looked fabulous.

Nails were a bit harder to take care of. Mom insisted she could cut her own nails. They’d grown so long and thin that a few of them had cracked. I waited until she was in a good mood before inviting her to the Chez Cohen Nail Salon.

“Where is it?” Mom asked.

“In your living room,” I countered.

Perhaps because we’d worn her out while walking through town, Mom was compliant when I cut her nails.

When it was time to go, I received effusive hugs and kisses as I made my way out the door, promising I’d be back next week to visit.

I am grateful that Mom, despite her Alzheimer’s, can still laugh about silly things. She surprised me today by rhyming words about getting her nails cut. Whales have tails, if not nails, she joked.

I know my children will forgive me for the days I am absent caring for my parents. As they lead their own busy lives, my children are becoming more independent and need my mothering less and less. I want them to know that I am always here for them, but right now, my parents are my priority. Mom’s laughter, our mutual joy at being together, won’t go on indefinitely. That’s why I visit every week.

With a nod to Thanksgiving, I present my pumpkin pie recipe. The last time I made it, my in-laws were visiting, and I guess it didn’t pass muster. I vaguely remember an accident where too much of the spiced cloves fell into the pie filling. So I stopped making it. This time, I had a hard time keeping it in the pie pan.

Pumpkin Pie

It is highly recommended to serve this pie a la mode. I like using whipped cream but vanilla ice cream works well, too.


2 cups pumpkin puree

½ cup date honey

2 Tbsp maple syrup

¼ tsp powdered cloves

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

3 eggs

1 cup warm soy milk


1½ cups flour

½ cup canola oil

5 Tbsp cold water

1 tsp salt

pinch of sugar


Cube pumpkin and place in pan of boiling water then simmer until soft. Drain, mash, and let cool. Prepare crust by mixing crust ingredients then pat into a round pie pan. Add honey, syrup, spices, eggs, and lastly, warm soy milk (heat in microwave for 60 seconds) to pumpkin. Pour pumpkin filling over crust. Bake as follows: 10 minutes at 450° then 30 minutes at 350°. Serve with whipped cream.

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