A few weeks ago, I shared with you that my computer needed a new battery. Joe, the helpful genius, assisted me, and I was so happy. What also made me happy is that when I started using the computer again, I noticed that it looked brand new. This was because my friends at Apple cleaned my keyboard and my screen — something I hadn’t done, well, ever. It looked like a whole new product.
Of course, this past Friday, I was making challah, and I managed to tilt the bread machine over and my beloved computer was covered in flour and yeast. Fortunately, none of the wet ingredients fell upon my trusty MacBook, but now my clean computer feels more at home being a mess again. Every time I open it, zillions of particles of flour reemerge on the screen and the keyboard. And just when I’ve thought that I have cleaned it all out, it happens again. Just a little story I thought I would share with all of you.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
The first time I took Son #1 driving, I remember thinking how has no one ever warned me about this momentous occasion? Why had no one told me how absolutely harrowing and horrifying it is to take your child in a car, with him/her/they at the wheel? Folks had warned me about the hazards of toilet training, stitches, general heartbreak, but no one ever said, “Hey, the first time you are in the car with your kid at the wheel, your heart feels like it is going to burst out of your chest and your fingertips start to sweat. You start to scream like you have Tourette’s syndrome, and your life will never be the same again.” Yup, no one warned me.
Of course, there have been other things that have happened that no one warned me about either. Things that are really too painful to bring up in day-to-day conversation. Things that, perhaps, are too private to mention.
I would like to share one of those things with you. For those of you who have experienced it already, I apologize. For those that have not experienced it, may you not until 120.
It is the first time you see a headstone with your loved one’s name on it.
Now, I know this is a humor column, but I have digressed before. When I received the proof of my beloved dad’s headstone, it was like someone had kicked me in the stomach. I actually lost my breath. The woman who has been helping me at the headstone place — really depressing job by the way — must think I am a total flake, because it takes me so long to get back to her. I guess I am bringing this up because my father-in-law’s unveiling was this past Sunday, and I know that my dad’s is up next.
A few years ago, I wrote a column about headstones. I had been at my friend’s dad’s funeral, and I was looking at the people buried next to him. I remember writing that it was important to know who you were spending all of eternity next to, and that the writing on the stone should be a little more specific so you know if you are ending up next to a serial killer or a veterinarian. (Yes, two very random occupations.) At my father-in-law’s unveiling, my sister-in-law and I saw a woman’s grave that was covered with colorful rocks with messages written on them. It also had bracelets and seashells on it. You have to wonder what kind of woman she was to have her “guests” leaving her such a bounty, so many creative expressions of love.
And then there was a couple who both lived into their 90s, died within three months of each other, and were childless. Who were they? Son #3 and my mother-in-law saw a headstone of a boy who passed away at 16. His last name was Gancherow. Who was he? (Very depressing. Sorry about that.)
I’m not quite sure how I am going to end this one. Hug the ones you love really, really hard. And that is all I’ve got for this one. May my father-in-law’s neshamah have an aliyah….
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is grateful to concerned neighbors who let her know when her burglar alarm goes off. Nothing was burgled, but she just wanted to give them a shout-out.