904 For The Cost of An Egg-Cream… 04-18-2020

Mr. Alex was ancient.
A little, bald, Polish nome,
scurrying around behind
the counter of his soda shop,
scooping ice-cream from the freezer,
making malteds
or,
for just ten cents,
the best egg-creams in the world.

Scotch-taped on the walls
all round his little shop,
4×5 index cards
with Bible verses,
hand-printed in blue ink,
key words shaded in red pencil.

“Jehovah!”
was Mr. Alex’s favorite word.
He lived to speak that name,
for Mr. Alex was
a “Witness”.

My buddies and I knew
he was a Witness.
We knew, also, that
his egg-creams were heavenly.

We’d empty our soda glasses quickly,
place our dimes on the counter.
Then one of us would point
to the one of the texts on the walls
and ask Mr. Alex
its meaning.

He would smile and begin his
well practiced exigesis.
We would listen,
politely,
for a minute or four,
then feign to leave.
Mr. Alex would grab our empty glasses
from the counter
and, holding his long silver spoon
beneath the seltzer’s spray,
aiming the flow at the thick vanella syrup,
he’d create a foaming miracle
for each of us,
hand one to each,
“Freebie-seconds!” he’d promise,
and, never missing a sacred moment,
continue pouring out to us,
his Water of Life.

Only seldom would we push our luck
when our seconds were finished.

But,

in the name of his Jehovah
and in memory
of his slaughtered family,
their ashes heaped somewhere unknown,
“…in the East”
who were, as he once told me,
“…not lucky enough to get out quick,
before the Bastard-Nazi came to get them,”

Mr. Alex would,
spoon poised,
fountain flowing,
be ready and willing
to give us each,
another sweet,
freebie,
blessing!

About Ken Greenman

Married and Happy. Retired and busy. Living in NC. 71 and counting. December 12, 2020 and it's 72! ... I would love some written comments, critiques, adulation or kind suggestions.... If you have the time and or inclination, please feel free! Not in fear but by faith. We will see. See you later! If you ever want to talk for real, email me and I will send you my cell number.... I am enjoying this!
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