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Jr. Tales: Tagalongs

Bracha Rosman

One by one the weekly lists for chesed volunteers filled with names of excited girls. “I can’t believe it,” Yocheved said, “all the good stuff was taken already. What’s left?”

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

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The girls crowded around the colorful bulletin board in the school lunchroom.

“Oh!” Leah said searching her pocket. “I can’t find a pen. Anyone have one?”

“I do.”

“Great. Can you sign me up for mother’s helper? I love little kids.”

“Sure.”

“Sign me up for baking,” someone else called out.

One by one the weekly lists for chesed volunteers filled with names of excited girls.

Yocheved went from list to list and shook her head.

“I can’t believe it,” she said, “all the good stuff was taken already. What’s left?”

Rochel turned around from the list she was adding her name to. “There’s still a slot to visit the retirement home. That’s what I’m signing up for.”

Yocheved wrinkled her nose. “I don’t think so. I’m not so good with old people.”

“So we’ll go together. It’ll be fun.”

“Fun!” Yocheved said. “How can you have fun in a retirement home?”

“I always enjoy going.”

“Always? You mean, you go often?”

“On Shabbos with my sisters. I made a lot of friends there.”

Yocheved’s eyebrows vanished behind her bangs. “Friends?”

“You’ll see. It’ll be nice. Anyway, you have to sign up for an hour of chesed, it’s mandatory, and this is all that’s left.”

Yocheved shrugged. “Fine, but since you’re such a pro, you’re doing all the talking. I’m just tagging along.”

Rochel smiled. “No problem.” She wrote Yocheved’s name right below hers. “So when do you want to go?”

“I don’t care. I told you, I’m just tagging along.”

Rochel’s eyes lit up. “Okay, let’s go right before Tu B’Shevat. We’ll bring some dried fruit to give out. I’m sure everyone will appreciate that.”

“Whatever.”

“Great.”

“Yeah, great.”

*

“Taking care of the twins was so much fun,” Leah said a few days later. “They’re the cutest. I was so upset when they fell asleep. I could have easily played with them for another hour.”

“You’re so lucky,” Yocheved said. “I wish I had such a good chesed job. Rochel and I are going to the retirement home, today, after school. It was the only thing left to sign up for.”

“What are you going to do for a whole hour in a retirement home?”

“We’re giving out little bags of dried fruit for Tu B’Shevat. So that should take a bit of time. Then we’ll just … I don’t know, walk around and stuff.”

“Maybe next week you’ll be lucky and get mother’s helper or baking for school sales. I heard the baking group had a blast last night decorating the fruit -shaped cookies they’re selling in honor of Tu B’Shevat.”

Yocheved’s eyes looked wistful. “I sure hope so. Because if I get stuck bubby-sitting next week, too, I’m going to scream! Anyway,” she slung her backpack over her shoulder, “I have to go. Rochel’s probably waiting for me.”

“I feel so bad for you, Yocheved. Next time, if I can, I’ll sign you up for something good as soon as the lists go up.”

“Thanks, Leah. I really appreciate that.”

*

The girls stopped at the front desk in the lobby. “Hi, Mrs. Fine,” Rochel said.

The receptionist smiled. “Hi, Rochel. It’s nice to see you again.”

“Is now a good time to visit?”

“It’s always a good time to visit. I see you brought a friend.”

“And Tu B’Shevat fruit.” She lifted the basket in her hand. By the way, this is Yocheved.”

Yocheved forced a smile.

“Nice to meet you,” Mrs. Fine said. “The ladies are in the arts and crafts room, and the men are listening to a shiur in the beis medrash.”

“Arts and crafts?” Yocheved laughed.

“Sure, some of the residents here are extremely talented.”

Yocheved found that hard to believe.

Rochel took Yocheved by the arm. “Come on, I know where the arts and crafts room is.”

“Remember,” Yocheved said, “you do all the talking. I’m just a tagalong.”

“Come on, tagalong.” Leah led a reluctant Yocheved to a brightly lit room. “Let me introduce you to the ladies.”

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