It came to mind this morning that my dad, who fought in WW2 in the Army, was honorably discharged when the war ended, and immediately met my mom and married her… he never lost his army discipline. Every single morning without fail he woke up and did calisthenics. That’s a lost, old-fashioned word, isn’t it? He also slept with the window cracked open, even in the Buffalo winter. That way he could wake up at any instant, alert and ready to jump into action. His birthday is coming up this month. I wonder if he’s doing calisthenics in heaven, and what my mom and dad would think of all this.
Pretty sure they’re rallying the others against Trump. Maybe they even have a giant living room to host the meetings in. They were the organizing type. There would be lots of raised voices, people talking over one another. I’d sit in the corner, listening with rapt attention, even occasionally chiming in. They encouraged my precociousness.
My mom would serve brie and stone wheat crackers and fresh fruit. Maybe some crudite and dips, too. If it was a morning gathering my dad would make his famous scrambled eggs and french toast. My dad learned to cook in the Army. My mom’s no slouch, either. Her mom was a kosher caterer. If it was a cold day she’d have some hearty stew and her famous hello dollies waiting. I love to cook and my daughter is taking an interest now, too. Possibly due to my mom’s heavenly influence.
The Jews in heaven are getting lucky this year with her Rosh Hashanah briskit and tzimmes and homemade family applesauce cake. We always had a full table… family, new immigrants, the homeless, friends of all religions. I remember when my Uncle Alfie was single and would come down from Toronto to enjoy. My Grammie Rose who only spoke Yiddish, smiling and somehow conversing.
Next month will be my mom’s first yartzheit. It’s time for her headstone now. Yet we can’t be there. It still astounds me that I consider us lucky to have been able to attend her funeral, before the pandemic came.
I’d like to think Eve and Leo are still holding hands and laughing all the time and dancing, too. I know they love their grandchildren for eternity. One thing I also know for sure is that they never thought of any human being as a winner or a loser.
My dad passed four months after my Rosie was born. The Jewish life cycle always remembers the bitter with the sweet. My parents enjoyed 56 years together. And now they’re together again, raising hell in heaven, no doubt.
I get nervous about the state of this country. I wish I’d found the love of my life to help get me through all of this. We all have different blessings in life, and different travails. I wish so much that my beautiful daughter had had a great father who could have given her all those wonderful daddy moments and memories. The way my dad taught me to dive by letting me stand on his shoulders to launch into Lake Erie at Bay Beach. Endless summer fun.
But Labor Day is upon us and a fraught fall awaits. I have to hope we’re not in this alone. That the collective strength of heaven is pulling in our favor. There are a lot of veterans in heaven, after all.
My parents and their friends would be absolutely thrilled by the prospect of a Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Presidency and Vice-Presidency. They would have grasped the urgency. My daughter will be voting this year for the first time and they must be so proud. I take comfort that my community involved, politically active parents, who led by example, will never give up fighting for justice and goodness.