At first I searched for something clever to say about fifty five, how it was different, staring us in the face, perhaps something to do with two digits of five arranged like vase. But this train of thought was not too constructive, all it yielded were white sheets of paper, some phrases and letters and commas, all too predictive. I sat on top of my writers-block wall, accepting that after fifty five years I could say nothing at all, which would end with a bang of a loud painful fall. Oh, how distressing, what a depressing sensation, but my stairwell to redemption came from sheer accusation. Was it not Imma, who sixteen years before me, did not come to the aid of a child stung by a bee? And was it not rumored that except for a few hugs and kisses, and pulling the stinger and icing the welt, not much more compensated for that hurtful neglect? If you ask me breast feeding counts, and white cocoa in the morning, and new clothes every week, and hunting down every teacher who made your day bleak, and cleaning, and teaching, and sharing quality time, and giving advice whenever it’s needed, and mending the pieces when it was not heeded. Cajoling, encouraging and prodding us forward, ‘you have so much to give, get it out of your gizzard.’ Praying on supermarkets to hunt down our food, Friday fifteen course dinners to share with our brood, with your friends that she likes and those not so much, did that every stop her from feeding them lunch? Hungry or not, with or without appetites ‘the least you can do is take one small bite’ How many times have you heard: ‘I have cut, I have mixed, marinated and cooked, I have toiled, broiled, and boiled, if you do not eat all of this will get spoiled!’ Not for a moment deterred by our cold leaving indifference, she whips up alternatives and chases the distance, holding sandwiches overflowing with turkey and chives, between bleeding fingers that got in the way of the knives. ‘Go build a Sukkah we’ll observe like the good Jews that we are, Yeela and Elad have come all the way from Afar.’ The architect and the soul of our community Seder; with matzoth, and kneidlach, and two dozen seats, potatoes and yams and whoever likes beets; even carrots and peas, and Moses and miracles parting the seas. Margaritas for the drunks and Pepsi for us, all greeted with smiles never making a fuss. Yom Kippur is a day when we get to reflect, but who gets much done when all share a bed? Huddling to fend off hunger and thirst ‘when three stars come out, who wants honey cake first?’ When illness sets in and doctors are fumbling will she not disregard what they are prescribing? ‘I know what you have, you have had it before, and all these antibiotics should go out the door.’ You should know that is it hard to discern the social good from its rife, therefore heed, and have patience and learn from her life. Picking good friends is not easy, she knows, precise as a minuteman she picks your friends from your foes. Social threads might need mending; you need to be blending, always stand tall in the sororities you’re attending. What else counts as caring or shows some remorse for one bumble bee that took her life’s course? How about skiing for togetherness and gambling for bonding, and movies and pot-lucks and carpools withstanding? Does helping pick college and making a dorm more like home, bring some closure to minutes when you felt left alone? ‘I have some drapes for the windows linens for the bed’ – does that make up for something wrong that was said? Embracing your every initiative and creative ideas, knowing that if you wrote stories you would all be a hit, languages are the keys to succeed, French, Spanish and English especially Chinese. Your teeth are straight, and you all play the piano, and some shoes and some cars; one of you even went to Milano. Not much more came to mind, except maybe five phone calls a day, just to see how you were, very near, not as close, even far, far away, some texting and skyping, and some e-mails for giggles, and buddy bags loaded with cookies and skittles. Suitcases filled with supplies and some books and a kindle to go, with some coffee or toothpaste and chocolate and soap. Never missing a tournament where you played flute and trombone, and the French horn and big drums, soccer, and basketball and trips to the mall. Stories, and poems and music and concerts, is it so much to ask that your books will be published? It did not come easy that none of you is an ‘ignoramous’, all she asks is that you all become very famous. So when fifty five followed in fifty four’s footsteps, was it any surprise that we all knew the concept? Nothing much for a bee that stung once and fell dead, except for a kiss and a pat on the head, and a hug and some more, and a warm hearted smile, ten cuddles an hour, a hundred a day, how many thousands over the years would you say? Indeed it’s just one of those days which are not all that different. It is one more of those days which we hope last for years, if just for that finger that dries off the tears.
A collective objective perspective.
Happy Birthday Imma.