Home again, home again…
Last Monday morning I took the bus to Boston to help take care of my mother.
The seat I was sitting on on the bus was pitched forward so I had to spend the entire four and a half hours of the trip bracing my feet against the floor so I didn’t have to spend the trip sliding onto the bus floor.
By the time I got to Boston I was tired and cranky. While the Red Line train line does have a South Station stop, both the connection between the bus and subway , and the bus station itself are so terribly designed that by the time I get myself out to Brookline I feel too completely assaulted by design crimes that I am apt to be really cranky by the time I get to my mother’s apartment.
A long time ago, my mother coined the term, “ And that’s why God invented money.”, to explain why she, a normally really thrifty woman, would choose to do something expedient rather than thrifty.
Because God invented money, I took a taxi to my mother’s house from the bus station. My father was one of those people who when in the presence of a new person would often learn the story of that person’s life. It was always amazing to watch him at work. What he learned about the people who crossed his path was often quite remarkable.
So following my father’s lead, I often ask taxi drivers where they are from. While my father was dying and I was visiting him , twice I had the same driver from South sStation to the Hebrew rehab, a former child soldier from Somalia. I got big chunks of his life story,and of course my father was delighted to hear about the life of my cabbie.
Last Monday my driver and I settled into a nice banter. By the time we got into Kenmore Square he asked me if I was a Muslim and if I thought Mohammed was divine. I explained that I wasn’t a Muslim and thought that Mohammad was a man who lived a long time ago.
My driver then played a You-Tube video with a lecture by a woman who had grown up Islamic and had renounced Islam because she had serious issues with it’s views of others. Then my driver asked me if I had heard of Aramaic. Well, of course I had heard of Aramaic!!! It’s the language of the Talmud and many of our prayers are written in Aramaic. It’s a language that is deeply familiar to me.
My My driver than put on this You-Tube video. He asked me to translate it for him. The music itself feels familiar in a deep in my bones sort of a way. It feels like traditional Jewish prayer modes. I translated the text first into Hebrew in my head and then into English for my driver.
My driver was a Maranite Christian from Lebanon.
It was a powerful moment in that taxi. It was a moment my father would have loved. It was a really apt way to begin my time with my mother.
Here is my mother in her apartment. In this photo she looks very much like her beloved Aunt Becky.