Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bubby

Though this posting is not primarily intended as a nostalgic memorial tribute to my two grandmothers, neither can it be entirely devoid of such sentiments. I was fortunate to have known all four of my grandparents. This was all the more fortunate because my mother, in attending to the medical issues which afflicted her at the time, frequently needed help in providing child care to me and my siblings. Much of that need was fulfilled by my grandmothers.

Later on, I was able, nay, privileged, to assist each of my grandmothers in their waning years. For quite a while, I was the one who took Bubby shopping every week or two. And while my other grandmother's living situation provided for those needs, I did attend to drafting and overseeing the execution of certain legal documents for her, which greatly simplified matters for her (and later, for her estate) in ways which were unexpected at the time such arrangements were made.

At the time of the first-mentioned Bubby's demise, I was employed at a situs closer to her apartment than to my home (I was still living with my parents at the time), so the usual routine would be that after I finished working at about 10 or 11 PM, I would drive directly to her apartment, sleep on her couch, and take her shopping the next morning (which was my day off).

One evening, when I arrived at her apartment, my parents, aunt, uncle and cousin were there. I instinctively knew that Bubby had passed on, and so, instead of taking her shopping, I followed Jewish law and tradition by taking my turn watching over her body until the undertaker's men arrived to remove her. I knew that my supervisor was still in, so I called him to inform him that I would not be coming to work for the next 3 or 4 days. My supervisor was certainly empathetic, and told me to take as much time off as I needed. But understand that I was paid on commission, and accordingly, did feel the financial pinch from my absence from work.

Approximately 20 years later, my other Bubby, who had survived well into her 90's, died. By then, I was married, had a child, and had moved away from the area. It was in the middle of the winter, and a storm was approaching. But my wife and I and our son traveled to the funeral, which was a quick and simple graveside affair. My wife and son promptly returned home, arriving just ahead of the worst of the snow. I stayed with my parents for a few days, and then returned on my own, using the services of various cabs and trains, in a 6+ hour trek.

My mother and her siblings all decided to go forward with the burial, even though her brother from California would not be able to arrive for another 36 - 48 hours. But he did arrive, and joined everyone else in sitting shiva at my parents' home.

The unexpected travel certainly caused some glitches in my law practice. My wife had to burn annual leave for the excursion. It was very inconvenient. But now, more than a decade later, nobody regrets how they handled the situation. My son was fortunate enough to know his great-grandmother, and to have had a relationship with her, and all the hassle of pulling him from school to attend the burial for the few minutes he was there was certainly worthwhile.

I cannot help but contrast and compare my family experiences regarding my respective grandmothers' funerals to the way Barack Hussein Obama is attending (or rather, not attending) to his own grandmother's funeral. It seems that Madelyn Payne ("Toot") Dunham's funeral is not planned until sometime in December, more than a full month after her demise.

The funeral arrangements for each of my grandmothers cost me money. Each disrupted my routine and plans, particularly the one after I had moved away from my hometown. As for my uncle, while he was not present at the actual burial, he did arrive as soon as he practically could, and there is no doubt that his plans were also disrupted considerably.

I can understand (and perhaps approve of) Obama's "The-Show-Must-Go-On" attitude when his grandmother died a little more than a day before the election. It strikes me, however, that once the election was over, a man of Barack Hussein Obama's wealth and power should certainly be able to find a way to get himself and his children to Hawaii to pay their respects to the woman who provided even more care to him than my grandmothers provided for me.

I stated it in my posting of 10 November 2008, and I shall now quote Justice Musmanno again:

"Those who have no respect for the dead can have but little appreciation of the dignity of man, either living or dead." -- Kotal v. Goldberg, 375 Pa. 397, 405, 100 A.2d 630, 634 (1953) (Musmanno, J.).


To which I shall add: "Or woman!"

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