Sunday, April 26, 2009


Helen walked down the aisle, headed toward the rear of the bus. She wasn’t sure how she got there - all she knew was that she felt better than she had in years. And she knew she had better find a seat.

There. There, on the left side of the aisle, next to that striking white-haired lady.

She sat down and arranged her robe. Where had that robe come from? It felt like silk on the outside, but the lining was like the softest terry.

The woman sitting next to her - damn, but she looked familiar! - turned to her and said, “I’m Bernice. And you are...”


“Nice to meet you, Helen. Welcome to the bus.”

“Thanks. Nice to meet you too. Now, where the hell are we going?”

Bernice grinned. “Ooooh, salty! A real firecracker - I should’ve known, with that strawberry-blonde hair. I think I like you already. How old were you?”

Comprehension slowly dawned in Helen’s eyes. “I am... was... eighty-eight.”

“You got me beat. I would’ve been eighty-seven next month. Ahhh, well.”

“So, let me ask you again. Where the hell are we going? Oy. Maybe I should rephrase that.”

“This is the express to Olam ha-Ba. The Next World, the World to Come. Whetever the hell that means. Err, maybe I should rephrase that.”

“Bernice, you look familiar.” Helen regarded her seatmate with a cocked eyebrow. “Have I seen you somewhere?”

“I suppose it’s possible. I used to be an actress. Bea Arthur was my stage name. Ever watch ‘The Golden Girls’?”

“Ah HAH! I knew it! I loved that show. Except I had four sisters, and I could never understand how all you women could live together in one house like that without killing one another.”

Bernice smiled. “It was television.”


SWMBO’s great-aunt Helen and actress Bea Arthur (née Bernice Frankel) both passed away Saturday, April 25, 2009. Barukh Dayan Emet: blessèd be the True Judge.

Exalted, compassionate God, grant perfect peace in Your sheltering Presence, among the holy and the pure, to the souls of Helen and Bernice. May their memory endure, inspiring truth and loyalty in our lives. May their souls thus be bound up in the bond of life. May they rest in peace. And let us say: Amen.

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