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Summer Job: Chapter 26

Dov Haller

Chaim tells Chana Leeba he’s taking the job

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"N o way,” Yudi Reimer said, helping himself to an oversized piece of cake. “I cannot believe you did that.”

Chana Leeba shrugged. “No big deal. It’s a conversation that someone had to have with him and Mommy doesn’t do confrontation.”

“She’s an oldest, it’s about time she acted like it,” Nechamie whispered to her sister-in-law, Shira, in the kitchen. “I mean, the Chanukah party has to be by my house, and I watch everyone’s kids when they go on vacation. But she’s a big macher life coach now, so all of a sudden, she’s going to save Tatty. Good. Let her do something.” 

Chana Leeba, who’d summoned her Lakewood siblings for an update and was clearly relishing her role, had positioned herself at the head of the table, in Yerachmiel’s vacant seat. “I think Tatty appreciated the chance to talk it through. He seemed relieved after we were done.” “Did you tell Mommy that you spoke to him?” Shira asked.

Chana Leeba gave her a strange look. Sisters-in-law should sit quietly and not intervene in family politics. “Of course,” she said patiently, “I spoke to Mommy before I went and called her right after we left. She understood, of course. I mean, she’s Mommy, you know?” “Understood what?” Yudi sai, frowning.

“First of all, don’t talk with your mouth full,” Chana Leeba instructed, parenting her brother. “And second of all, she understood that sometimes you have to let people do things and see for themselves what they don’t want to. Like last week,” she continued, pausing reflectively, “I took the kids to Great Adventure.So Shmuel Dov wanted to go on the roller coaster desperately, but I knew he would hate it, I mamesh knew. He gets nauseous when we drive to Brooklyn, but I also knew that if he wouldn’t follow that dream, he’d be frustrated with himself a month from now. So we waited on line forever and he finally got on. He was miserable — he came off green — but he had the satisfaction of having done something he’d wanted to do for a while. That’s something.” “Shkoyach, that’s a great story. He’s lucky he has a life coach for a mother,” Yudi said, taking more cake.

“I’m sorry about my husband,” Shira Reimer laughed, “maybe he’s jealous. He wants to work in a camp and Tatty makes fun of camp all the time and somehow, this job falls into his lap.” “Yeah, why didn’t they ask me?” Yudi mock-pouted. Everyone laughed: Only Shira knew how serious her husband was.

“Okay, listen to what Tatty told me,” Chana Leeba said, holding up her hand. “You know how he never really mentions Grandma, right? He doesn’t really talk much about being a child. Anyhow, he did. He said that always, she would tell them who not to be like — what was wrong with this guy’s life, that guy’s job. I guess it was how she made herself feel good? So Tatty says, ‘Chana Leeba, I don’t want to be happy ’cause of what I’m not doing but ’cause of what I am doing.” It was quiet for a moment.

Shira spoke first. “Wow, that’s so deep!” she said, earning herself another dirty look: This time from both sisters in law.

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