Grandma tries to make conversation, but she’s fading and she tends to ask the same questions again and again. With my cousins, my aunt and my new husband sitting around her room, she looked at the Mr. and asked, "Are you Jewish?"
There was some uncomfortable shifting around. There was a brief silence. Without discussion, we all nodded. Yes.
"Of course he’s Jewish, Grammy," I said. What was she going to do? Leap out of bed and Google him? This first lie felt so right. I shot a look to my husband.
"I’m Jewish," he added, and we all looked at each other, a team of liars, all realizing at once that this was the thing to do. We were all smiling, because it was kind of funny, my Catholic blond of a husband’s sudden conversion. Plus, smiling is kind of like crossing your fingers. If anyone was checking, we could say we were only joking with grandma.
As is her custom lately, she asked the question about half a dozen more times and got the same answer. I married a Jew, I married a Jew, I married a Jew. This news never failed to delight her.
"How are Buddy’s grades?" Grandma asked. Buddy is my 15-year-old cousin, a great kid, excellent drummer, adequate wrestler, but perhaps not the best student, which is the only thing that concerns my grandma. That woman wants your G.P.A. even when she is almost R.I.P.