W hew. This has been a long week. Honey’s Apiary, as promised, is still on the school grounds, and by now has become part of the parking lot furniture, along with an old broken desk, the caretaker’s hut, and a bunch of rusty garden tools. But the more interesting happenings of the week, sadly perhaps, have nothing to do with our buzzing creatures in the parking lot.

Last night, as promised, Dassi and I joined Leah on her old-age home visit. It was actually, quite an eye-opener. To be honest, I was a tiny bit scared (though nobody would have been able to tell). Dassi took less pains to conceal her queasiness as she pinched my arms while we rode the elevator to the fifth floor — the Alzheimer’s unit.

“Dassi,” I said.

“Yeah?”

“If you want to stop the blood flowing to my hands, this is the way to do it!”

She laughed nervously, and loosened her pinch slightly.

Leah chatted almost merrily as we walked along, pointing out the different departments and waving at the nurses, who she seemed to know well. Then she led us into a large, open room, with beds lining each side and some elderly people sitting up. She started at the very end bed and beckoned me and Dassi to join her.

“This is my friend, Mrs. Davis. Mrs. Davis, these are my friends Libby and Dassi.”

Both of us gave sweet smiles and I watched uncomfortably as Mrs. Davis tried to say a hello in response. We stayed there for a while and chatted with her. She didn’t respond much, it was obviously a strain, but it was evident in her bright green eyes that our company made her happy.

We moved on to some of the other patients. We met Mrs. Blachman, who squeezed all our hands but stared blankly into the distance, and Mr. Reich who told us repeatedly about the grocery shops he used to own. I wondered how Leah had the patience to do this week after week; it was hard work. Dassi was good at it, too. She knew what to say and how to smile, and how to move on in a polite way (I should ask her about how to do that when conversing with Mrs. L.!) I had a lot to learn, it seemed. We spent time with most of the patients who were awake, only avoiding two who were having a loud argument.

“So, nu?” said Leah, as we stepped out into the darkening evening.

“That was really special,” said Dassi, honestly. “Seeing how we gave something to these people really made me feel good. No, Libby?”

I pondered, trying to articulate something from the buzzing mush which was my brain.

“Yeah, it does feel good. And I think Mrs. Rosenfeld took a fancy to you, Dassi!”

Dassi grinned.

“Great, so are you guys on for next week?” Asked Leah.

“Sounds good to me,” said Dassi.

“Yep.”

“Fabulous, was so much better going with other people!” said Leah. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Junior, Issue 661)