There is a menorah ten feet in front of me with candles burning and 10,000 memories flowing through my head.
Just finished watching Taste The Nation, Happy Challah Days and have a million questions about the relatives who lived in New York and those who chose Chicago instead.
Six or seven hours ago I swung by Deli News in Addison to pick up a few items and realized I haven’t been in there since before Covid19 changed the world.
Stood at the counter and turned towards the table where Dad and I had our last normal meal together. It was before the pancreatic cancer diagnosis and the knowledge that a fuse had been lit.
I could almost see him working on his bowl of soup and hear our conversation. He had asked me to take him to work with me and I had gladly done it the same way he had taken me when I was a boy.
We talked about life in Texas, future plans, the grandchildren and so many other things. It is only 3 years ago but it feels like a lifetime.
As I take my order and turn to leave I hear and feel something and stop to stare. Someone asks if I am ok and I shake my head dismissively. That moment is tied to the something that happened before but alludes to somewhere down the road.
“I gather myself and prepare for the confrontation that must come, the challenge will be met head on, I don’t know any other way. The hard part sometimes is making me do so in a timely fashion, sometimes I hesitate and avoid it. But I never completely duck it. Sooner or later I will hit it and hit it hard.”
A Giant Menorah
The man says excuse me and mumbles something about not seeing me. I tell him people are surprised a man my size can move so quietly.
“But you weren’t moving.”
I smile and nod my head and watch as he tries to figure out if I am screwing with him. In a moment he’ll be lost in the crowd and I’ll think I ought to have made a second comment about slipping him into the shadows but I don’t.
Got a few thoughts I could share about a silent conversation and how fucking loud that can be sometimes and how many decisions aren’t logical, rational or reasonable.
Made me do some things the hard way, but if you aren’t blazing your own trail you aren’t living and I don’t know how else to do it.
Standing in Deli News looking for a ghost made me smile because at 52-years-old I still wanted to share some big victories from this week with him.
Wanted to tell him about how many people heard and how sweet it was because it was redemption and proof that some people do better if they stay out of my way. You can’t saddle me, can’t break or control me and expect me to perform.
Just have to let me be who I am and trust it will work out.
Won’t lie and say that always works or that I haven’t had my share of challenges but most of the time I have figured them out.
Hell, I watched my son prove the importance of this approach so if I didn’t know as a person I for damn sure know as a father.
But Dad is not here so those conversations are different but not the silent kind I referred to earlier, those are a different one entirely.
“Growth comes through discomfort. You don’t know what you can do or will do until you are challenged”
The guy looks at me and tells me I sound like his father and mentions something about how easily I recited the line
“You have said that before more than once.”
I nod my head and ask him if his father graduated high school in the eighties.
“Yeah, did you?”
“Yeah, I bet your dad is around mid fifties right?”
He laughs and asks how I knew.
“It is a guess. You’re a couple years older than my son and something you said about your dad made me think of it. You don’t have to take any of my advice or believe in it. Life experience proved it works for me, and yeah, my kids have heard it a couple of times.”
He doesn’t know I already know how this is going to play out. The conversation is a courtesy.
Better for him to feel like he has more agency here than he does because this is going to go my way. The world is filled with smarter and more clever people than myself but it doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a trick or two.
Hours later I am using my new percussive massager again and am almost ready to become one of the true believers.
This thing isn’t just working the kinks and knots out of my body, it is restoring mobility I hadn’t realized I had lost.
I am beginning to think maybe that idea about turning the clock backwards might work for me…maybe.
Keep grabbing snippets of old pieces of writing that stimulate new ideas and play with them.
The promises of the past and the echoes of the future tell me that some things aren’t quite done. The whispers in the wind tell of a time coming that will give the truth of the matter.
Standing inside Deli News, the guy at counter asks me if I need anything else and I shake my head no, don’t need any latkes for Chanukah.
A different voice asks if I speak Jewish and I turn my head forgetting I am in Texas and not somewhere on Fairfax. “Ya, a bisele, but not as much as I should.”
A cocked head makes it clear they don’t know what I said.
“Yeah, I am Jewish.”
“We love the Jewish people. I pray for you all every day.”
I smile, say thank you and by the time I sit down in the car I can’t say if I was in there for a minute or a 100.
This wasn’t playing in the background but maybe it should have been.