My mother’s birthday is on Sunday so I thought it would be nice to visit her today. When she was alive I’d buy her an Hermes scarf that I thought she’d like which was a mistake as I now own at least four fall colored Hermes silk scarves that look like my mother. My color palate preference is far more summer, winter or spring. I’d take my mother out for lunch and to a matinee and make a fuss over her. Growing up I had to share my birthday party with Addie whose birthday was the day before mine which in my mother’s mind probably justified why she’d give her the first slice of cake with a rose on top that was always larger than the piece she’d slice for me.
On my way to the cemetery I stopped for roses that are usually two dozen for $10 but were $15 today. Bringing roses to a dead person is also a waste of money but far saner than spending $400 on a Hermes scarf you know you’ll never want to wear.
It was pouring rain when I got to the cemetery so the suede boots that my shoemaker had just charged me $65 to “refresh” got soaked. I had wanted to dress the part of a stylish New York Real Estate agent for the clients I took out in the morning assuming if I wore the right outfit the apartments I showed them would look better.
I decorated my mother’s grave with orange roses that matched her favorite nail polish color and then put a few roses on my grandmother and grandfather’s graves before I walked over to my Uncle Jerry the dentist’s grave. I told my mother that I loved her and wished her a happy birthday and that I hoped she was warm and having a good time up in heaven. I told my Uncle Jerry that I forgave him for messing up my mouth.
After visiting the dead in the rain I felt I deserved to go to my favorite homemade ice cream parlor that Waze said was 8 miles away. Although I had a premonition it might be closed, I was still very disappointed when the store looked dark and a sign on the door said they were closed for Passover.
I felt guilty putting flowers instead of stones on the graves of my relatives, going for ice cream for lunch rather than for something sensible like a salad with protein so I figured since I was already feeling guilty eating a bagel wouldn’t much matter. The Passover Police thought I’d change my mind when Pick a Bagel didn’t have my favorite “flavor” but I defied them and chose Pumpernickel rationalizing that since I’d already had a chocolate chip cookie I’d violated the no flour during Passover edict. Maybe it was because I was starving but the guilt I felt eating the bagel didn’t make it one mouthful less delicious. On a rainy day it’s easy for me to swallow my Jewish guilt.