The holes silence can create.
My mind scattered like a million ants swarming from their disturbed anthill. He usually didn’t attend Saturday morning services. Mr. Lodiner’s imposing figure made me nervous.
Sabbath services at the temple started at 9 am and the normal crowd began taking their seats. My great-grandfather sat in his reserved seat in the side section of Temple Israel and I sat in the aisle a section away. We recently quarreled over his behavior.
Only 12 other people attended services this Saturday leaving most of the seats in the synagogue empty. At least three hundred could fill the sanctuary for a High Holy day or bat mitzvah. Mr. Lodiner’s presence immediately filled my gut with apprehension because intuition warned me he came to see me.
The Wednesday before Saturday Morning temple services I came to our family’s business R&R Roofing to speak to my mother about my new apartment. Walking in the front door I heard gruff yelling. My great-grandfather Sam Rothenberg gave all his 93-year-old strength could give.
He stood in the doorway of my mother’s office screaming at her. Drool and spittle flew from his mouth and words in an unrestrained rage. I watched him for a moment and noticed my mother crying as he berated her.
The scene stunned me but I could not stand there watching my mother taking abuse. Grabbing my great-grandfather in a bear hug, I lifted him and walked him out into R&R’s general office area.
“Leave her alone. Don’t you yell at my mother,” I screamed, “I wish you were my age because I’d knock you through the wall right now.”
Great-grandpa was shocked and just stared at me confused at my actions. He didn’t speak a word to me, turned around, and used his walker to go back in his office.
After consoling my mother I looked in on my great-grandfather but he wouldn’t look or speak to me. I left R&R Roofing feeling good having stood up for my mother but also disturbed about leaving great-grandpa in an aggressive abrupt manner.
Sam Rothenberg enjoyed a respected stature in our community and he always found favor with me. He was the patriarch of our family and me his first great-grandchild.