A couple of days ago I was passing by a Russian store and saw white radishes. I bought one for a salad, not knowing that it would bring me to tears.
You see, my dad עליו השלום, loved it. He made it himself for the last 20 years at least. He would be very happy to add his favorite, gribenes to it, but it was said to be too unhealthy, so he was denied this treat most of the time.
What is it about our ancestral food that makes us so sentimental? This is such an easy salad, just
carrots – 1 or 2
a bit of lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil (whichever there is)
Nothing to it, just shred, mix, and it’s done.
Yet, when I was making it, my adult life sort of flashed in front of me.
My father was a smart, humorous, but also a strict man. He liked the home being clean, dinner prepared, and my mom looking good at home. I don’t think she ever wore an old home dress, which I like so much to wear. They lived together for almost 56 years. Will people in the next generation even be able to comprehend this?
I remember my sister עליה השלום and me, both married with children already, sitting at the end of the day resting at my parents’ apartment, where we used to come with kids for some summer respite. Around the time of my dad’s projected arrival from work, both of us jump up looking around the house, making sure everything is fine, clean, inviting.
My father would always bring at least some present for the little girls – grapes, cherries, sweets, toys. He, simply, could not be ungenerous. He was – to the end of his days. Worrying that we don’t sleep, miss work, etc. staying by his hospital bed. Sometimes he was even surprised by the attention he was given from the many girls he loved – wife, daughters, granddaughters, great-granddaughters. I was telling him that he gave us all of himself all the time, now it was our turn.
It is almost two months since he is gone. How do you measure time? And – suffering? How do you measure it? Each person is irreplaceable for the ones that love him. May we all keep my dad’s sparkling blue eyes in our minds and at least try to be as kind and generous as he was.