I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Being an Angel

My next door neighbor, Clara is 94 years old. She's a tiny, feisty old thing that got out of Austria in 1939, and sometimes slips into speaking to me in Yiddish, even though I can only pick out a word here and a word there (except when today she taught me the phrase "Schmeir mit honei, schtink auf drek" = Smeared in honey, but smells like shit) The good thing is, as she speaks English, I'm learning a bit of yiddish here and there, because she peppers the entire conversation wtih words I've never heard... like today when she said, "Mine zon, he's always giving me eytze." (I thought that meant heartburn... it means advice.)

I try to give her at least an hour a week of visit time, because she's lonely and can't get out much. I wish I could give her more, but I'm simply not home enough.

A couple weeks ago, she was diagnosed with skin cancer on her face, and mentioned to me that she was going to have surgery today to have it removed. I called her from work to check on her, and she didn't sound great, so I stopped by Publix to buy her some Matzah Ball soup and challah and smoked Empire turkey in case she didn't have anything to eat (I should have known better - of course she had...)

When I got to her house I made her a cup of hot tea (a glezltei) (even though her house was about 85 degrees, because she was freezing after the surgery) and a glass of water, and got out some pain pills for her, and sat and chatted for an hour and forty minutes as she dabbed the blood seeping from underneath her bandages.

Naturally she wouldn't think of taking my food, told me "That stuff Streit's makes is no good. Return it! Once I bought the kneidlich in a jar and they were horrible! I took one bite, and right down the toilet they went!" Further, she kept trying to get me to take some meatballs home with me (Delicious! I made them with the Ground Turkey and some Sweet n' Low!), until I firmly insisted that there was no way in hell, as she sat there with a bandaged face, that she was going to take care of me; I was the young healthy one and I was there for her. So stop nurturing, goddammit, the Meatballs were there for her tomorrow when she felt better to eat.

But as I left, she looked at me and said, "God has sent you to me. You are an angel. God has sent me an angel. You have made me so happy. I am so lucky to have you."

She was so grateful for something I didn't think twice about doing. She's someone's grandmother, and I'd want someone to do the same for my grandmother.

So...for those of you who aren't doing angely things - get out there. Do something you're simply supposed to do, and don't think about it. I didn't expect to be branded an angel, and I don't think I am... but it's really a nice feeling knowing that you've made someone else so happy, that they consider you to be one...