Following maariv we discovered that almost everyone was planning to attend the Machon Chana dinner. We learned that only a short while ago the organizers had decided to cancel the whole affair because the response (and the support) was so poor; only twenty-five couples, fifty people, had intimated that they would be present. The Rebbe was asked by the organizers whether they should hold a more moderate and smaller function instead. The Rebbe told them quite emphatically to adhere to the original arrangements and that everything should be done with the highest possible taste and the height of luxury, and “prepare for 300 people.”

We arrived at the Young Israel Hall shortly before 8:00 p.m. and already a nice crowd had gathered. An excellent reception was provided with drinks and all types of hot and cold dishes and delicacies; a sumptuous spread.

One had time to walk around and chat with friends. I was particularly delighted and enchanted to meet an old friend of mine from Manchester whom I knew so well many years ago. Although we do correspond regularly, exchanging New Year greetings each year, I had not seen her in ages. This young lady’s name is Mrs. Nemtzov – Nettie Mindel’s mother, and Dr. Nissen Mindel’s (one of the Rebbe’s secretaries) mother-in-law. She implied that she was well over ninety years young, ka”h. She does not look a day over sixty. Thank G‑d she has all her faculties and abounding energy. It was a wonderful experience to have seen and spoken to her again.

At about 8:30, three hundred people sat down to dinner. It was an excellent meal. By 9:30 Avrohom complained that he was terribly tired and he wanted to leave. We had risen very early that morning and had been traveling all day long from Manchester to London to New York. Besides which, by our watches, still on English time, it was nearly 3:00 in the morning. Menachem Mendel Katsch was already fast asleep! I prevailed upon Avrohom to wait at least until 10 o’clock. By that time, I hoped, we would have heard the main speakers and there was the chance that I might be asked to make my own speech a little earlier.

However, by 10:15 the formal proceedings had still not even commenced. I had no alternative but to accede to the pressure of Avrohom to take him home. I awakened Menachem Mendel Katsch and we bentched and took our leave. As we passed the top table, the chairman (I presume he was the chairman) begged me to stay, as I was the very “next speaker.” This reminded me of two stories:

A barbershop is crammed with customers who have been waiting for hours. The door opens and the newcomer gasps when he sees so many people awaiting their turn. The barber turns to him and calls out, “Come on inside. You’re next.”

A public meeting was taking place and speeches were going on and on and on for hours! People were creeping out all the time. Finally, only one person of the audience remained. The speaker turned to this fellow and said, “Tell me, everyone else has gone home; what are you waiting for?”

“Oh,” he replied, “I am the next speaker.”