August 19, 2007

Vinegar Pie

1 stick margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Stir together all ingredients
Pour into unbaked pie shell
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees

Life should be this simple!


I don't know why, but I keep thinking of death today. Well, not "death" per se, but of dead people. Maybe, it's because of all of the tragic events on the news lately, or maybe, it's because I just dreamed about my favorite cousin who died a few years ago. She was still young. We were the same age, only six weeks apart in age. Everytime that I dream about her, she is sad. Maybe, it is because of there being no closure in the event...a phrase that I don't like, and is way overused to my way of thinking. Is there ever any such thing, really? Especially to the one who has lost someone they love?

My aunt, her mother, is still grieving over the death of her daughter, even though it has been nearly eight years, now. That's because she feels in her heart that it was not due to natural illness, but that it was something that was done to her, and now she has no way of ever finding out the truth. No closure.

My mother had five brothers, and two sisters. Only one sister survives, and all the rest, except for one older brother, died within two or three years of each other, including my mother, who died six years ago. At the funeral of my cousin, another of my young cousins, Butch, said that it was too bad that everyone got together only at funerals. Eight months later, his dad, my Uncle Seals, died. Six weeks after that, Butch died suddenly. In a span of two years, after the death of my mother, one of my stepsisters, a stepbrother, my favorite sister-in-law, and two very good friends died. They've all been on my mind lately.

Two years ago, a young cousin drove his pickup to his favorite place, high up on a mountain. He climbed into the bed of the truck, and sucked on a hose he had attached to the exhaust. It was in the hot summertime, and they didn't find him for five days. No one knows why. No closure.

This past June, a thirty year old cousin, was found dead of an overdose. Ironically, she had been to the same doctor who was in the news lately concerning the wrestler who killed his wife and son. She picked up her prescriptions that day, and she was dead the next morning. Her death is still under investigation. No closure.

What is that really--closure? Does it mean that it's okay that someone died, they are dead and gone? Does it mean one has come to terms with it, and accepts it for what it is, a final farewell, at least in this life?

I had one real brother. By that I mean that he was not a step-sibling. The thing is, I never really knew him very well. When my parents divorced, my dad kept kidnapping him from my mother who was awarded custody, and in those days there was no such thing as Women's Rights, so there was nothing she could do about it. So, I didn't ever see my brother until I was fourteen years old, and he was a stranger. Many years passed before I saw him again, and he was still a stranger.

When our mother became so ill, and I was taking care of her, he started coming around, pretty often. Soon afterwards, his wife divorced him, and I didn't see much of him, but talked to him, daily, on the phone.

When we moved up here, four years ago, we still talked daily. One day, he mentioned that he had been to the doctor, and had some tests, and they had seen something on an xray, and the doctor thought that he might have cancer. He smoked five packs of cigarettes a day. He joked about it, just the way he joked about everything. He said that he was about to take a trip on that long black train, or something like that, referring to a song .

The thing that I had found out about my brother was that he could either tell the truth about something, or a lie--it didn't much matter. So I didn't even know if what he said was true.

A few days went by, and he didn't call. I called him, and his phone had been disconnected. I didn't know his address. I didn't know his friends. I did everything to try to find out what had happened, and always came to a dead end.

The last time I had talked to him, had been in April that year. In February, my husband got a call from his company's headquarters. They said that they had a phone number for his wife to call.

I called the number. It was someone who had known my brother. He told me that my brother had died the day before. He died of lung cancer. It seems that he never went back to the doctor that April, and then he became so ill that he went to the hospital on that Friday in February. They sent him to some kind of hospice facility the next day, Saturday. He was dead on Sunday.

His friend said that he had gone there to see him, and asked if there was anyone that he needed to call, and he told him no. He asked him if he didn't have a sister, somewhere, and did she know where he was. He asked if he wanted him to call his sister for him? He told him that he had just talked to me that morning. He asked him if he wanted him to call a priest or a rabbi, and he told him no, and became angry and told him that he had better not call one.

I don't know why he told him that...I don't know why he didn't want me to know anything about anything that was happening to him. I don't know anything except that he was almost penniless. I do know that I would have tried to help him. I do know that I gave his friend permission to scatter his ashes on our mother's grave...because that is what he wanted. He wanted no service of any kind...only to be cremated. I complied. That was the only, the final, thing that I could ever do for him. Doing that, for me, was closure.

Magen David

Even if you are not Jewish, I think that you will find this amazing about the Jewish Star, which is alo referred to as a Magen David.

All twenty-four letters of the Hebrew Alphabet are found in a Magen David. There is no such thing in any other language.