Bingo Chips and Other Such Questions
I went to a wedding yesterday. It was Christian traditional and custom conventional, but the couple’s bounty of personal touches and radiant love made it one all the guests will remember.
Today, I had reserved for relaxing and reading, so after cooking and enjoying a satisfying breakfast, I reclined into my couch with Kindle in hand. But as I put my feet up onto the ottoman, my eyes drifted to the bookcase that lines the wall in front of me. My gaze fell upon the plastic covered spine of my parents’ wedding photo album. No doubt yesterday’s celebration influenced this detour.
I brought it down from the shelf, and worked my way through it, turning the substantial cardboard bound photos, giving each one a few seconds of consideration, until I came to this one. It’s of my mother and her parents performing the Jewish custom of Hakafot. Traditionally, after the bride walks down the aisle, she (and sometimes her entourage) walks seven circles around the groom before settling in to stand by his side, for the ceremony to begin.
Her face. I can’t stop staring at her face.
My grandmother looks like a doe reading a license plate.
My father looks like he’s going to faint.
My mother looks like she’s having fun.
That was May 25, 1969.
She died in April 1977. I don’t know the day. I was six years old.
As she circled my father, she had no idea
and he had no idea
that she’d not live to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary.
I don’t remember her through our personal interactions. I remember her through her things, like the pile of loose plastic bingo chips that would shift around the kitchen junk drawer whenever I needed a pencil or some scotch tape, for years and years after she was gone.
Her bingo prowess was that of legend! I have it on good authority that she would play no fewer than ten cards simultaneously while reading a book.
What else did she like to do?
What was the exact, single thought that made her smile like that?
Who was she?
There’s so much I’d like to know.
First appeared in SMITH Magazine, smithmag.net.