I’m not the type to believe that Hashem is like a lucky penny, like – rub him the right way and he’ll bring you luck.
BUT. Sometimes, well, sometimes, if you do the right thing, stuff works out okay.
No idea if Hashem is directly responsible. Take it up with Harold Kushner; he says bad stuff (and presumably good stuff, too) just happens. That’s why good stuff happens to bad people, and presumably vice versa.
I don’t buy it, but anyway.
Last year, they had fireworks for three motzaei Shabboses in December, and I was late for every single one. No idea why. Well, one week, I was downtown with my mother, visiting my father in St. Mike’s. I didn’t want to rush the visit, so we only caught the tail end of the fireworks on the way to the subway.
My mother was rubbing some cream onto my father’s feet. It was the first time I’d seen how sick and skinny he was. His roommate had AIDS; it wasn’t a dedicated cancer unit, just folks with problems, I guess. The ward of emaciated people.
So that’s one of the three weeks, a decent excuse. But for two of the weeks, I was just late, like I’m always late. If Shabbos ends before 6, there’s no reason I can’t get to city hall (30 minutes away by subway) with two kiddies by 8 p.m., but there you go – for me, it’s impossible.
So this year I promised myself! I said to myself, “I will be on time.” The kids are a year older – easy! Grab a snack, bundle up, and go!
When Abigail called last night after Shabbos, she said, “you’re going to be late – I know you’re going to be late.” And I promised her, because I’d promised myself: “No; I will be on the corner at 7:30.”
Well, as you’re probably guessing, stuff comes up, and something important came up, and before I knew it, at 7:31 I looked up at the clock in somebody else’s living room, and I was just about as far from the corner above Osgoode Subway Station as you could possibly get and still be in Toronto.
I threw myself on my bike and headed for home as fast as possible, had YM call my mother and grabbed - without even stopping to look or criticize - the snack I’d ordered him to throw together for the littles. Pottied GZ (for once he didn’t cry first) and pulled on his underpants (yes, it’s December and he’s still going bottomless) – praying he’d stay dry. (yes, I pray small wishes to the lucky-penny God sometimes; I can’t help it)
When my mother showed up about four minutes later, I had YM take the kids out to the car (he was half an hour late for school because he’d been watching the kids) and we tossed them in – yes,
unbuckled buckled, but with no car seats (Ted, don’t read this; it was safe enough for us when we were growing up!!!!).
By then it was 7:45 p.m. Yes, we were still late.
Grabbed my knapsack, locked the door, jumped in the car (with the wagon) and my mother drove us the two blocks to the subway.
Hauled out the wagon, popped the kids in, thanked my mother, who was complaining that she was sick and there was no point in taking YM to school so late anyway and ran across to the subway.
7:51, caught the subway.
7:57, subway stuck somewhere south of St. Clair. Stop. Wait. Wait. Yay, it’s going again.
8:01, prepare Naomi Rivka for the possibility that we may miss part of the fireworks. And that we might not be able to meet Abigail if she’d left already. Naomi started to cry and insisted that “they’ll wait for us.” (the fireworks)
8:06, arrive at Osgoode, run run run up up up in the elevator to the corner – and Abigail was indeed gone, though I spotted a bike that looked like hers.
Fireworks are kabooming.
Run run run run run run the half-block to City Hall.
And THERE, by a miracle, is Abigail.
And THERE are the fireworks. There were a couple of booms and then nothing; I figured it was all over. “No… they just started,” Abigail said. She left the corner, apparently, because I was so definite that I would be on time that she figured I had been and gone – leaving in anger because she herself was 5 or 10 minutes late.
So I relaxed, and enjoyed, and the fireworks were wonderful. Easily the best show around.
I don’t believe in the lucky-penny God; I don’t believe Hashem makes wishes come true that way, but I don’t know… it wasn’t my fault I was called away and had to come late… and I really believe I was involved in doing something God would probably find more important, in the grand scheme of things, than fireworks.
So maybe, maybe that has something to do with the unusual lateness of the fireworks? And finding my sister in the darkened kaboomy crowd of thousands?
Afterwards, we had all the time in the world. What a nice feeling after so much rushing!
We went with Naomi and Gavriel Zev to see the extremely goyishe “dolls in the windows,” the display of Santa Claus narishkeit that is at once musical, magical and trashy in the most materialistic way.
Abigail was holding up Gavriel Zev to see the windows and noticed he was wriggling around a lot. He reached out to me, so I took him, but he was still wiggly. I asked, “do you have to go make?” and he said “pishy!”
So I left Abigail, ran (more running!) to the Eaton Centre across the street, stood in line with this 2-year-old in my arms, waiting in the bathroom behind five people for one of five stalls… and he made it! Dry!
Another gift from the lucky-penny God.