Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where authors and readers come together!

stories from shul ...

the day had been mediocre at best. i felt cold all day-no matter the heat was on, had taken my meds on schedule but still felt poorly. all in all, not a 5-star day.

i was to meet my wife at our favorite starbucks after minyan. had to drag myself, really could have convinced myself to stay home but i went and you know what?

I am exceedingly glad i did. yes, the weather was undesirable, i still felt cold, stiff. a tad off balance (pretty much par for the course for a middle-aged man with PD (oh! sorry ... parkinson's disease)

happily, we had a big crowd for minyan. rabbi louis taught from medrash tanchuma between mincha and maariv; a nice d'var Torah sprinkled with a few light-hearted remarks, pretty much par for the course for Reb Louis. this man has kept me going for nearly fifteen years with his friendship, his Torah and good humor.

we finished maariv; the guys were getting ready to leave. the customary handshakes, yasher koachs, you know the usual stuff. i was chatting with walter when comes up to me this man ...

"excuse me sir, are you alan busch?"

not to worry, my interlocutor was a yid from new york. we were in an orthodox shul in its beis medrash.what? i should worry?

"yes, i am."

" i just wanted to let you know i read your book. haven't been here for a year or so, but last time i picked up a copy, cried all the while i was reading. thank you for sharing these stories of your beloved son!"

"thank you, thank you very much, your kind words, i ..."

"as a parent, well i can't imagine it but your sensitivity, the way you wrote it, your language, rabbi was there too, " he said, pointing to Reb Louis.

"yes, my dearest friend."

well, i must tell you, this gentleman went on for another three minutes. i took his hand.

"i wasn't sure you'd be here, but i was hopeful. i'm in town for a few days. will you be here?"

"yom yom, " (every day) i responded genuinely touched by this kind man's generosity of praise.

and then ...

"my name is Benjamin."

my heart nearly flew out of my chest!

"well, thank you Ben," i couldn't restrain this enormous smile i felt overtaking my face. it had been such a crummy day.

"hey ... Ben, that right," he realized. "that was your son's name. i forgot and was trying to remember it."

"thank you Ben," i did not want the moment to end. i let go of his hand reluctantly. Ben turned to leave.

The "Aibishter" sends messengers. He really does, believe me. one of mine has been called "Benjamin" twice ...

"walter, you need a ride home?"

"sure," he responded. walter walks with a cane. i left shul with that same smile.

"see you tomorrow walter after minyan?" i asked."

"i'll try to make it," he said closing the car door. "oh," he said, reopening the door, "coffee tomorrow after shul?"

"it's a date," i gladly accepted. you see? i almost did not go to shul tonight, feeling poorly as i had been, but the "Aibishter" sent me a "refuah". Baruch Ha Shem! so who am i to complain?

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