Saturday, June 27, 2015

Day 21: Conversations with my grandmother

Day 21!

I visited my grandmother yesterday...and the following is a semi-poemed version of my actual conversation with her.  

I hope this poem reads like love and heartache, because that's how it feels.

Conversations with my grandmother

Hi Pussycat!
You said you would be here in 30 minutes and here you are! 
That wasn't 30 minutes. 
You drive fast. 
You're a speed demon. 
You look so good, Baruch Hashem.

I move the walker aside
lean over the brown recliner,
and kiss her cheek.
Hi, Bubby.  
How are you?

Better now that you're here. 
You look good, kenahora. 
I don't remember you being so beautiful. 
Were you always so beautiful? 
I think I just don't remember. 
We're blessed, right? 
Kenahora, you look good. 
Just like your Bubby, right? 
                She laughs.
What's your name again?

I'm Laura.  Steve's daughter. 
You're looking good, Bubby. 
How are you feeling?

I have a new chair.  And the girls come and take care of me.
They always take care.
I didn't want them, but I'm grateful they do good. 
Don't tell Steve. 
I just do it for him.  I don't need them, but I do it for him.
He worries.
We all worry.
We all worry about everything.
                She pauses.   
What can I do for you?  
I can't do a damn thing, but I can offer. 
You look so good, kenahora. 
You got skinny. 
Did you get skinny?

I like your new chair. 
Is it comfortable?

Betty came by the other day.  You know, she always complains.
I talk to Ruthie on the phone a couple times a day. 
You know, they tell me I can't drive anymore.
Do you drive? Do you live in a house? 
I can't believe how beautiful you are, kenahora.

I do drive.  And I do live in a house. 
Dad told me Betty was in the hospital. 
Is she feeling better?

Who told you that? 
Who's your father? 

Steve, Bubby. 
Your son, Steve.

You talk to him? 
Why do you talk to him?
Which one are you again?
I don't know, was Betty in the hospital? 
I can't remember, kid. 
I just can't get over how beautiful you are. 
Your hair, kenahora, you have good hair. 
Do you go to shul? 
Do you have a shul near you?

I'm sure there's a shul near me, Bubby.

Do you drive? 
Can you drive yourself to shul? 
You go to shul.  Sometimes, right? 
We all go to shul sometimes? 
You know it's shabbos. 
I'm not supposed to be watching television, but I do it anyway. 
It's okay.  Right?  We do what we can. 

We all do what we can, Bubby.

So when are you getting married?

Whenever I meet the right person, Bubby.
The right person is hard to find, you know?

So it'll happen when it happens,
and if it doesn't, so be it, right?

I laugh.
I guess that's right.
We're all going to Sara's wedding in August.
That will be fun, won't it?

Which one are you again?
Baruch Hashem, we're all good.
It's good to be good, for the thing there.
I'm so glad you came.
I'm feeling so much better.
You said 30 minutes and then you were here.
You're a speed demon.  We won't tell Daddy.  
We'll keep it our secret, right?

You don't go to shul.
That's okay.
You're Jewish in your heart, right?
Baruch Hashem.
You're Jewish in your heart.
I don't think you've always been this beautiful.
Your hair, my God, look at your hair.

I got my good hair from you, didn't I, Bubby?

Of course, Pussycat. 
You're beautiful, just like your Bubby.
                She puts her hand over her heart.
You're Jewish in your heart?
We're all Jewish in our hearts.
I think we're all Jewish in our hearts.

Yes, Bubby, I say.
I put my hand over my heart.
Baruch Hashem,
I'm Jewish in my heart.


In case you need assistance with the language in this post:

Bubby - Yiddish word for Grandmother

Baruch Hashem - Hebrew for "Thank God"

Kenahora - This is Yiddish...and it's kinda hard to put my finger on exactly what it means.  It's almost like a "knock on wood" type of saying, I think, It literally translates to something like "without the evil eye" and is sometimes accompanied by spitting.

Shul - Synagogue (it's Yiddish...and apparently used primarily by Jews of Ashkenazi descent.  Thanks, Google!).

Shabbos - Jewish sabbath.  Technically, because it is the Sabbath, Jews aren't supposed to use electricity or do any "work" Friday evening through Saturday evening (hence her comment that she's not supposed to be watching television).

"For the thing there"....this is just a phrase that my grandmother tags on to nearly everything she says.

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