Friday, February 19, 2010
Visit at the Donut Shop
I stopped into see some of my Lebanese friends with my daughter this morning at their donut shop. I didn't know who would be there exactly but I lucked out and saw 3 of my favorites. They gave us a huge box of donuts and we started talking and laughing. My favorite, Haj, who the patriarch of the family came in and immediately smiled. He told me that the last time I ran into him at Costco, he did not even recognize me. I had lost so much weight and was extremely thin (size 00 to be exact). He said he walked out the door and asked his daughter, who was that?
When she told him it was me he could not believe it.
He said, now you are back. I'm so happy.
He asked about my marriage and I told him I was divorcing. He said he had heard that and was sorry. He said my daughter was beautiful and he wished her good luck. He said in Lebanon when they see a beautiful young girl, they always wish her luck to marry a kind man.
He said not everyone is lucky like me in business and love. He began to speak of his wife who passed many years ago after a very bad stroke. He shared about sending her to Lebanon once for vacation while they were living in Africa. Israel invaded the south of Lebanon a few days after she arrived. Members of the Israeli Army came into their home and demanded all the gold and valuables. They took all her paperwork. It took 3 years before she was able to return to him.
I met him and his wife over 15 years ago. She was extremely disabled from stroke when I met her. She had to be fed, could not walk and could barely speak. The grace that her family took care of her with in that 10-year period before she died has always stayed with me. Her daughter-in-law would quietly wipe away her drooling when no one was looking. She had to be helped with every little thing in her day-to-day life. But I always remember that they treated her with dignity, respect and love. I never heard anyone in that family complain about their duties, even though I knew they were very hard duties to carry out day-to-day for all those years.
Even today after her death - nearly 6 years ago - he was still obviously deeply in love with his wife.
He then spoke of his daughters. He has 5.
He said all but one were lucky with their husbands because they asked his blessing first. The daughter that did not get his blessing married a very bad man who did not work and lived off of her. He told her that he did not believe she should marry him, but she decided she wanted to anyway. He told me about a recent fight they had where the husband called him and threatened to divorce his daughter. He told him please do. And began to laugh.
I told him next time, I will bring the man to him first for approval. We laughed again.
Haj got up to leave and gave me a giant hug. He told me, you are a very nice girl. You deserve a lot better. I love you.