Thursday, March 5, 2009
Green Glass Bowl
I inherited any number of things from my grandparents, Eva and Max. From Grandma, a penchant for fretting and some skill with a crochet hook; from Grandpa, acerbity and a peculiar dark way of seeing the world; from both, my Judaism and a love and understanding of classical music.
I also inherited a green glass bowl. This bowl rested dead center of their enormous, formal dining room table for as long as I can see backwards into the past, probably since long before I was even born, always filled, predictably, with fruit: apples, bananas, peaches, and pears with only slight seasonal variation. We were welcome to help ourselves, and we did so--bananas to be sliced into cornflakes, or a stray peach cut in half and shared between me and my sister.
But the fruit was really for Grandpa Max. He was a creature of unflagging habit, and just as he shaved every day with Noxzema and traded his ubiquitous suits for short-sleeved button-up shirts and trousers in the summer, washed with Ivory soap and listened to the classical music station every morning for two hours after breakfast, so too would he eat fruit, two or four pieces a day, day after day and year after year. Lunch and dinner, he would without fail end his meal this way, eaten quickly, matter-of-factly as one would take one's vitamins. He ate apples including their pits and cores. He ate bananas in three bites. Peaches in two. He would often bite off a piece of peach, then hand it to the invariable doberman drooling and staring hopefully at his elbow. The dobermans died and were replaced by new generations of dobermans; the green glass bowl and the simple fruit remained the same.
I have this bowl now, dead center of my table, and more than anything else, tangible or intangible, it invokes for me daily the presence of my grandfather.