Gladys Bletter’s cigarette was her best weapon.
Suppose you are on your death bed. What’s left to say?
I’d like to think I’ll say only the most meaningful things when the time is running out. I’d bring up all the love that is welling in my heart. I’d drop the resentments because I don’t want to trail them into the next part of my journey. (Though I’ve heard it said the people bear no grudges in heaven but why take chances?) I’d apologize to whomever I’d hurt and accept anyone’s apology to me. I’d open my heart wide, even wider, and embrace the people around me just as they are. I’d work hard, really hard, to turn whatever negative feelings I had into positive feelings—or at least to try to gain a different perspective so that I could accept and make peace with any person and every situation.
Often times, a woman would come into my mother’s antique jewelry store. The woman would try on a ring, let’s say, and then waffle about whether she wanted to buy it. “Don’t be a shmuck,” my mother would chide. “You want his second wife to get it all?”
We don’t know how much time we have in this life. Today might be it. What are we waiting for?
Tool For Tuesday: What Are You Waiting For?
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Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
Your mother’s customers probably came into her shop especially for her smart-mouth, wise advice. I think it’s great.
She told you to lie when you gave the eulogy, but telling these true gems about her is even better. You’re a good daughter, Diana, and although your advice isn’t smart-mouth, it’s sound and true.
Thank your Marylin – I am channeling her humor more and more. It is really incredible. Thanks for pointing this out to me!
“Don’t be a shmuck.You want his second wife to get it all?”I remember the line well.
How can anyone forget it?!? That line is a classic!
Diana, you’re a woman after my own heart. People will always let us down, but the important thing is to forgive. We are only responsible for our actions. Your mom sounds like she was a firecracker. Her attitude oozes out of the photo. I just love it! 🙂
Thank you, Tracy! I appreciate your comments. Takes one firecracker to know another!
Hee hee. Thanks for my smile for today. 🙂