Sunday, July 14, 2013

About That Candle

It's the weekend so the " We're just sayin" staff will give the President a break:  he has no public events. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean he is doing nothing, or that he might be doing something, like playing golf, but no one is allowed to see it? (Oh, speaking of golf, today would have been President Ford’s 100th birthday and we think of him fondly.) But  we can wonder. With whom is the President  playing golf, and like with most corporate executives, will it further his career? 

 President Ford on the 18th, Rancho Mirage
It is also the 14th of July. Rosie Groman died on the 16th of July three years ago and I am in the yearly quandary. Do I light the yahrzeit candle on the 15th or 16th,  or on the day of her death according to the Jewish calendar?  Last year I lit it on the 13th because dad died on the 10th and I thought that since they always wanted to share everything, they should share a yahrzeit candle. Really, I didn't do it to save money. The candle only costs $1.29. But I did do it because two yahrzeits within a week is just too painful for any one merely mortal child to suffer.

Two years ago, I went to the cemetery where they are buried and we had the same conversation we had when my dad had his leg removed, and mom had it buried in the plot they owned, all the way out in Long Island. It went something like this:
Mom & me...
Me:  "Mom, remember when you told me you were going to buy new plots in Newburgh and be buried with all your sisters. Well, you didn't fool us. We knew once the leg was buried, daddy had to go with it, and that eventually, if we wanted to have this conversation, it would mean we had to schlep all the way out in Long Island.  Yes, it is true that we, your children, could just speak to you in the Temple, or the kitchen, or maybe even the frozen food section at Shoprite, but then who would put a stone on your tombstone (as Aunt Peppy called it?) I always liked the idea of you having something that reminded me of a "gun slinger."  Anyway, you are not around to bless me with any guilt trip, but you are always in my head, reminding me that if I don't do it who will?” 

Mom:  “Jeffrey would like to,” you would say.  “But he lives all the way across the country. It's too far and too expensive to expect him to do it.  And I know you loved your father enough that once a year, you could go a little out of your way to say hello. As long as you are that close you might as well say hello to me. (We are, after all, under the same headstone!)   And your grandparents are only, you should pardon the joke, a stone’s throw away. While you are standing around, there is a little something I wanted to talk to you about. I was never good with plants. You know I killed anything green that was expected to flourish in my house. It’s why I liked plastic fruit and vegetables. 

And yes, I do forgive you for hanging my plastic onions on a tree in your yard to keep the deer away. As long as we are on the subject of green, is that why you decided not to sign up for perpetual grave care?   Daddy has it and when I look over, he's got bushes, but me, not so much.  Don't get me wrong I do like what you wrote on the stone, so you kids did something very nice, but could you get Els to clean up the green?  There is only one more thing I wanted to say until next year or whenever you do a stop by on the way to the airport -- which as long as you come -- is OK.  It's about the kids.  Since I am not around, you need to take special care not to hover. They need to grow strong and find their own direction. That's what I let you and Jeffrey do, maybe by situation, maybe because I was busy with your father or my sisters, but for whatever the reason, you both did all right. So, I won't say goodbye, because it's never goodbye. Stay well and remember, if you have your health....

One other thing.  You know, I never had duck; I am sorry for that, but don't worry, it's not your fault.  Love, Mom.”

We’re just sayin’… Iris

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