A Torch Song for MahJong

I loved that sound of the tiles clicking as the ladies spread them around. Once you have that sound in your head, you can’t forget it.

My mom played once a week. Come hell or coffee and cake.

It was a Tuesday night. 1970-something. The ladies were coming. My brother and sister and I were banished to the living room while mom set up the game for the girls.

Tragedy struck. Mom fell off the kitchen chair changing the bulb in the light fixture over the table. She crashed to the ground. Thump Whomp Thump. Plates and glasses tumbled to the floor. Broken glass cut a deep gash into her thigh. Blood flowed and clumped like a soggy bowl of hot matzoh ball soup. Our dad was not yet home. I was watching HAPPY DAYS on TV and I did not want to be bothered. Eventually my brother and sister and I went in the kitchen to see what was going on.

The blood was not a pretty sight, so we knew something bad happened. We had to help her up off the ground and clean her off. We had no idea what to do.

Mom did.

She insisted she had to get back to preparing for the night’s mahjong game. Blood and all.

Thank g-d Dad came home soon and knew this was not a simple cut. He took her to a nearby emergency room. Many hours and many stitches later, they came home.

I have no idea how we cancelled the game for Mom. But I know she was feeling guilt because… Jewish. <g>

And her motto was always: The Game Must Go On!
I never learned to play. Talk about guilt.

All of the ladies of my mother’s game are gone.
Remembrances of things past? Yes yes.
Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.
Talk about a bam and a crack! To the heart. To the heart.

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