Monday nights I chauffeur Pop to and from his Adult Education class at the temple. The class is a survey of all things Jewish. Pop's missed two of the last three classes due to the coughing fits his doctors can't figure out; but this past Monday, coughing be damned, Pop went to class.
Pop isn't sick, not chest-cold or stomach-flu sick, not anything contagious sick, he's got some kind of chronic nasal-dripping problem. It gets a little worse every year, but the hacking that results usually wanes by the time he dresses and plods down the stairs for breakfast.* Starting three weeks ago, though, it hasn't let up much at all—not unless he's chewing gum or lying down. Even if he yaps too much, he’ll start coughing. Mention the Sox, or the Bears, or the market, or old clients, or God, and, believe you me, he’ll have plenty to yap about.† He'll rant all the way through "Wheel of Fortune," coughing after every third word.
So this past Monday night, when I pull up alongside the temple entrance to pick Pop up, his teacher hurries around to tap on my window. As I cranked it down, she orders me to buy chicken soup for Pop from Ada’s “Famous” delicatessen. And it’s gotta be from Ada’s. Never mind that Ada’s is in the heart of Chicago’s downtown “Loop,” some thirty miles south of here.‡ She tells me Ada’s soup is exactly what Pop needs. Instead of telling her about the doctor visits and two weeks of antibiotics and prescription cough drops and all the nasal sprays, all I say is, "Ok."
Pop settles into the passenger side seat and says to me, "It was a good session. I asked a lot of questions. The problem was, I couldn't hear most of the answers."
14 December 2006
*[04/09/23: Unless he was legitimately ill, he rarely, if ever, suffered coughing fits through the night.]
†[04/09/23: Ever the board officer, Pop often asked, “Who appointed God?”]
‡[04/09/23: Once upon a time, Ada’s had two “Famous” Delis, and one of them was much closer to Pop’s neck of the woods. In my formative years, I crammed way too many of Ada’s “Famous” Francheezies (a hot dog stuffed with melted cheese and wrapped in bacon) down my gullet—which might explain everything. The closer Ada’s shuttered years before the Loop location folded.]