Sunday, February 15, 2009

For Helen. Or Hilda.

Veev's grandmother on her mother Helen's side was a elderly woman named Hilda. Hilda Minde was a holocaust survivor whose best years for long past by the time I met her. Veev and I always thought it was a funny coincidence that her maternal grandparents, Abe and Hilda, shared the same name as my grandparents, and even more coincidentally, shared the same last four digits of their phone number, 5076. But I digress.

By the time I met Hilda, or Bubbie as we called, her, she was a shell of her former self, but to my surprise, she lasted a lot longer than I thought she would. As too many people do, she made Aliyah in a box in 2006, and can be found about twenty minutes outside of Modiin, in the Young Israel section of one of the cemeteries outside Beit Shemesh.

At her first Yahrzeit, in the summer of 2007, we went to say a few T'hillim, and do whatever it is people do when they remember the departed. We brought the kids, and at least for my littlest, it was her first time going to the cemetery. To make the visit meaningful, we had her and my middlest color a few rocks to place on the headstone.

As Chanukah this year approached, Veev and I decided not to give each other gifts. We haven't really given gifts in a long time, and just for the record, we don't give the kids gifts either on Chanukah. Its not that we don't think the kids shouldn't get gifts, it's just that we are mean.

Despite our agreement, I wanted to give Aviva a token gift, so I made a mix CD for her, full of country music that I thought she would like, especially since we are half a world away from a decent country music station on the radio. And every fourth or fifth track, I added in a track of fake news. You know, like my brother Yakoff wanting to sue the State of Israel for kidnapping his siblings, nieces and nephews, and mocking my son for being a fan of Everything on Facebook, because he was already a fan of everything else.

And of course, Veev's grandmother's tombstone made it into one of the news sketches. I talked about how police were investigating apparent vandalism of the tombstone, as it appeared that someone had left colored rocks all over the tombstone, and after a recent rainfall, the color had run all over the headstone.

So Veev plays the CD, and skips all the music to listen to the sketches of me poking fun at both of our families. Which she thinks is quite funny. But the she stops, after listening to the report about her grandmother's vandalized headstone, and plays it for me. My voice fills the air, as I, in a most serious voice, report on the vandalized tombstone of Helen Minde.

What, I ask? What's wrong. Is it too far? I did not think it was too far. It's not like I had resurrected her, or done anything to her. Justa silly thing about Veev's grandmother's tombstone. So she played it again. And again, I listened as I reported on the vandalization of Helen Minde's tombstone.

What's wrong, I asked again. Shaking her head, Veev said, "R, you just killed of my mother."