April 13, 2008

Passing The Baton- Grandma is 94

Sunday night and the house is almost quiet. The sole noise is that caused by my fingers tapping on the keyboard and the music in the background. At the moment I am listening to Aya Korem sing Shir Ahava Pashut.

A few hours ago my daughter said "Abba, I want to twirl now." That is code for "it is dancing time." The girl has spent all sorts of time in dance class, not to mention watching Dancing With the Stars. She has big plans for her old dad. She puts her hands on her hips and provides careful instruction as to what I am to do and how. It is important that I help her twirl just right.

I told her that I'd share some of those songs with you. We danced to Wonderful Tonight, Something, (Want to hear James Brown's cover? Click here) I am, I said and The Bad Touch by The Bloodhound Gang. I did my best to ignore the lyrics of that last song and just go with the wacky beat, which was pretty easy, thanks to the loud squeals of laughter from my baby girl.

This week marks the first seder to be held at my house. Up until now every seder I have ever been to has been elsewhere. Technically it will not be the first seder I have led, but the fact that it is going to be here is significant to me.

More significantly this marks the first time in 38 years that I won't celebrate the chag with my parents. I suspected that it would bother me, but I was surprised to realize just how much. The parental units have just returned from several months in Israel and have decided to camp out on the East Coast with one of my 3,987 sisters.

If you attend a seder with my family you'd hear singing that sounds a bit like a cross between James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing, it just is. My grandfather used to say that he didn't sing well, but he did sing loud.

He used to like to sing Molly Malone.
"In Dublin's fair city,
where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

"Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh",
Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".
I don't have to close my eyes to see the twinkle in his bright blue eyes as he belted it out.

Here are some versions for you to check out:
Sinead O'Connor
The Dubliners
Shamrockfest 08
Stumbled onto this song Ordinary Day and kind of liked it. More Passover thoughts later this week.

Can't finish this without giving my grandmother her own special section. Today is her 94th birthday. We put together a real nice brunch for her and grandpa and managed to gather half of her great-grandchildren to help celebrate.

Macular degeneration has taken her eyesight and her short term memory is a little rough, but overall she is in really good shape. She told me that she thinks that her age has finally caught up to her. That may or may not be true, but she still exudes quiet strength and she still is among the happiest people I have ever known. If you ask her why she'll laugh and tell you that life is hard and that is why you have to smile. If you press her to provide a less cryptic answer she will, but that is a story for a different day.

For now I'll leave you with a few thoughts. Just before I drove her and grandpa home I watched as the grandchildren ran up to give her a hug and a kiss goodbye. The excitement in their eyes made me smile, great-grandmother and great-children alike.

When I dropped them off at their home I had to take a moment. They both hugged and kissed me goodbye, and then without any further ado they held hands and walked off towards the entrance. When I tried to follow them in my grandfather stuck his cane out and told me not to interrupt his time with his special girl and with a twinkle in his eye told me to tell the office that they wouldn't make it to dinner tonight.

My apologies for not being able to provide a better description of those two, but sometimes less is more.

Laila tov.

2 comments:

cruisin-mom said...

"told me not to interrupt his time with his special girl and with a twinkle in his eye".
Jack, I think that pretty much says everything you need to say.
Nice post.

Jack said...

Thanks.