Tuesday, October 4, 2022 -
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Always the bearer of bad news?

ROSH HASHANAH 5783
SECTION D PAGE 23

I called my 30-year-old son the other day. His first words were, “What’s the matter? What’s wrong now?”

Ouch!

Does he perceive that I am always the bearer of bad news? Worse yet, am I always the bearer of bad news? Worst of all, is there only bad news to bear?

Certainly now that I’m older, it feels that way. This one died of cancer. That one has just been diagnosed with cancer. So-and-so had a heart attack. Case in point: Just yesterday three people died in my extended circle. I wasn’t close with any of them, but still three people in one day! It gives you pause.

In contrast, that very same day my 30-something Pilates teacher mentioned that three of her friends were due to deliver babies any day.

While the list and litany of my loved ones and friends with ailments has grown in recent years, surely, I’m not all darkness and despair. I still believe I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal. Still optimistic. Still looking forward to what life has to offer.

But do my conversations reflect that? After my son’s comment, I’m not so sure. Certainly, there’s not much fun family or girlfriend gossip to report. Honestly, there’s not much family left to talk about! So, sadly, long gone are the glory days of dishing the dirt on the relatives! Too many are gone to the Great Beyond. Oh, well. At least, there’s no more guilt about engaging in lashon hara!

I’ve got no relatives of marriageable age. So, I cannot trash talk about future brides, grooms or prospective in-laws. Nobody’s due to give birth. So there’s no room for a happy chat about new babies.

My husband and I don’t squabble much. So, there are no bad-mouthing moments there. All in all, the family is a bust for providing grist for the gossip mill.

And as for the dating ways of my girlfriends? Those days are kaput! They’re all happily wedded. No flings or divorces in the offing. So, no opportunities for gossipy updates there either.

As for discussing world news and current events? Nope. That’s not our family phone thing. Sports?

Decidedly a strikeout.

So, what’s left for a mother and child to talk about on the phone? Nagging is an option. I admit I do my fair share of that, mostly along the lines of “When are you coming to visit?” and “Are you getting enough rest?”

In my hunt for sparkling telephone banter, I found it just the other day as I ran in to grab a take-out order. A burly bald biker guy stepped in ahead of me. His appearance gave me pause. He was all tatted out, bedecked in a leather jacket despite the heat, and kind of surly looking.

Before stepping up to the register, he grabbed a paper bag and started scooping up something from a big bin. I gasped. Peanuts!

Apparently, I gasped out loud, because Mr. Tough Guy looked up and smiled.

“Oh, man, I didn’t know,” I gushed. “I didn’t know they had peanuts. Oh, wow. I just love fresh peanuts in their shell. Reminds me of baseball games in New York.”

He laughed and said, “Well, allow me.”

With that, the big guy bowed slightly and stepped aside, handing me the scope and bag he was using. I was practically dancing with joy as I filled the bag to the brim.

When I got home, hands still slightly crumbly with peanut shell crumbs, I called my son ASAP. Ha! I thought. At last, there was good news that could not wait. Peanuts!

Now, how’s that for being the bearer of good news? No doom. No gloom. Not even a trace of lashon hara. A little nutty, but still . . .

But was my son happy I called? Of course not. I woke him from a nap.




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