This week's view across the street from the bus stop. The walled garden belongs to Dumbarton House, home of the first fiscal officer of the United States (they hadn't even started to call this person "Secretary of the Treasury"). The red flowers are azaleas, and the blue flowers?? Well, they're not bluebells.
Kramerbooks & Afterwords opens for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. during the week (it's open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays), and this week, I brought my camera along.
The waiters prepare your beverage orders in this little cubby created when they made a third level for dining at the back of the bookstore. It's a cozy spot for breakfast, especially if you love books and enjoy their company.
This week ended with Lida telling me about her plans to donate her body to science.
"When I die," she said....and she paused..."When I die, did you get that?"
"Yes, when you die...," I said.
"I'm 86, you know."
"Yes, I know...."
"I hate funerals!" she said. "I never go to them...well, I buried my father and I buried my mother and I buried my cousin, but that's it! I can't abide that stuff.
When my father died, my mother and I went to the funeral director, a fat guy with a big diamond on his pinky, and he started leading us around showing us the caskets. Finally, after about 10 minutes, my mother (oh, she was wonderful), said,
'Listen. You've never laid eyes on me before, and I've never laid eyes on you before, so stop telling me how I'm feeling about my husband! Just show me the cheapest one!'
So he led us way to the back of this big showroom, way to a far corner, where there was this plain little casket.
My mother said, 'Is that a CHILD'S casket??' and yes, it was.
Anyway, we got the cheapest adult casket, and when we left the funeral director's, she said,'That was a terrible experience. Nobody should ever have to go through that.' Then she said to me, 'When I die, I want you to bury me orthodox.'
Of course, we never went to temple or kept kosher or did any of those other things that make you crazy, but my mother said, 'Orthodox is the cheapest, and it's also the most dignified.'
So I thought that when she died, I'd have to go find an orthodox rabbi and say, 'Hello, you don't know me (you've never seen me in your temple), but....'
Wouldn't you know, before she died, I met this wonderful man, and when I was telling him about my mother's wishes, he said, 'I am an orthodox rabbi, but I don't practice. I can't do your mother's funeral, but my brother, who is also an orthodox rabbi, can.'
So when my mother died, these two wonderful men took care of the whole thing. She was wrapped in a white shroud and buried in a plain pine box. It was simple and very dignified.
But I'm not even going to have that. I'm donating my body to science. NO FUNERAL!!"
She looked pleased with herself now that she has arranged her exit from this plane. Then she went on to tell me that a friend once told her, "Lida, you must have been born with a lucky star over your head."
"It's true," she said. "The most wonderful things happen to me."
OK, but not just yet, Lida. Let's not have that last most wonderful thing you've arranged for your life just yet.