Saturday, 7 January 2012

Last post for now

So I am at Geneva airport on my way home. We flew in on Tuesday to begin to sort out my father's estate.  It felt very good to get out of Israel and out of the house on which he died.  When I arrived in Israel, I wandered into his bedroom and saw a massive digital clock that he spent ages haggling over and buying in Thailand. First I groaned at the memory of us standing at a market stall and him taking an hour to negotiate a deal over an item that cost less than a meal out. Then I saw him, in my mind's eye, lying in bed, virtually blind without his glasses, looking at the large digits on the clock and thinking : that's better. And it made me smile. And all the small things in the house that he bought and brought and considered and loved I suddenly loved too and I thought, you mad mad amazing ridiculous man.

We have been trying to work out what to put on his gravestone. It's not easy because his father's inscription is just above it and we need something that is similar, personal to him and yet doesn't eclipse his memory. This is still a work on progress, but we need to have it done soon and definitely before I head back in February for the stone laying service. This is strictly supposed to be 30 days after the death, but Jewish law is surprisingly flexible on this point.

Small story which probably won't make sense to anyone but me, but I wanted to write it down to remember it. Many years ago, there was a television ad in Israel for McDonald's. It was advertising their new flamegrilled burger or something. It featured an Indian guy recalling that his grandfather walked on hot coals and his father walked on hot coals. When his father approached him to follow in the same vein, he said "Abi Babbi, are you crazy? I only walk on hot coals at McDonald's!" Abi Babbi is a bizarre bastardisation of the Hebrew word for father (abba). I took to calling my father Abi Babbi and he thought it was hilarous. So it stuck. I called him that on his death bed. If all things were equal and I didn't have to consider anyone else, I would write the following on my father's grave: "Abi Babbi walked on hot coals".

So that's it. Unless I feel the need to post again, this blog has fulfilled it's orginal purpose. It kept people updated about what was going on and of our journey. That journey is now ended. Obviously, we all remain and I hope to go back to work soon. But this chapter is closing. If my writing has been of any use to anyone, I am glad. It definitely was to me. Thanks for listening. It helped.

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