Saturday, October 24, 2015


My grandmother spoke to God. My grandmother spoke to God the way she spoke to our neighbor in apartment 2C. She didn't use any particular address. She just said, "God," as if they met for tea every afternoon.

When we went on the subway or into a store she kept up a silent conversation. I could tell that she and God were conversing by the look on her face. It appeared as if she was listening.

Once while she was chopping vegetables she said God always has time to listen.
" Does he have helpers," I asked. At the time I was in the second grade and I knew the teacher had helpers. For weeks I wanted to take the blackboard erasers out and bang them together, but the teacher always selected boys for that job.

On evening I began tossing Jujubes, a hard gummy candy, into the air and then attempted to catch them in my mouth. The game proceeded quite without incident until I started to choke on a few Jujubes. I  recall being unable to breathe. My grandmother didn't drive and we didn't own a car, my parents were out for the evening, and our Doctor lived three city blocks away.  

My grandmother knew nothing about any maneuvers to dislodge a jujube. While she banged on my back with the palm of her hand she talked to God. She reminded God of how she gave some money to the insurance man to buy shoes, how she never forgot to thank him for her family. Now, she said while I continued to choke, I need help. Now , she said.

" Some things," she said, "I can wait for, but now. I promise she wouldn't do this again." All the while she thumped my back with more and more urgent slaps.

Then out popped three red Jujubes.


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