OFF TO CLEVELAND…FUNERAL AND FOOD

10 Jul

Some really bad news given me yesterday. My godmother’s family had to make the painful decision to remove her life support yesterday, following a relapse post a June heart bypass. She was Kaukab’s sister-in-law (my deceased father’s baby sister). Their’s was a relationship filled with a variety of emotions–good and horrible–spanning nearly 60 years. My godmother cooked like her mother–rather poorly. My grandmother couldn’t even make Kool-aid taste good. It was sickening sweet, and for a kid who liked sweets, that’s not saying much. Used to be, when she’d pour us grandkids a tall glass of it, we’d wait until she went back in the house, and then we’d pour it over the porch railing into her plants below. Every last drop.

My godmother enjoyed Kaukab’s cooking, although you’d never hear her admit to it. She was younger and more Americanized, so casseroles and multi-colored layered jello desserts were more her forte and considered more hip.

I talked to my mother on the phone this morning. She sounded like her heart had broken. Her heart had been breaking bit-by-bit over the last 15 years, or so. Too many family funerals. So few left.

A few hours after we talked, my sister called to tell me that Kaukab has begun firing off a combination of Arabic and broken-English verbages about getting food to prepare for our arrival–we will be in Cleveland for precisely 24 hours, yet she believes that one must be fed appropriately, i.e., no fast food, or food prepared by others than herself. Mind you, Kaukab’s main kitchen is in the midst of reconstruction and I had already mentioned that she may want to hang up the idea of trying to cook anything in it and just relax. But, that makes much too much sense.

So, I will gather myself up for the visit, relying on past ones to understand that I will be dining on a big plate of guilt and remorse. Remorse for the inevitable American-born English verbages that surely will leak from my ungrateful mouth.

 I pray that I will have the strength and common decency to honor her, and particularly, my godmother at this saddest of times.

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