I started to think about what Pearl's life lessons for me would be had she taken the time to write them down. And if I think back over the almost forty years I got to spend with her, there are really four or so:
1. Take care of your family before you take care of yourself. This may not seem like modern thinking, but if I really look to why she would do this it begins to come clear. If you do this, you will make everyone including yourself happy. If I think about each and every meal, I am not sure that she ever sat down with us, but rather served us. And who doesn't remember how each and every meal began, with your choice of a half grapefruit sprinkled with sugar (what I always chose) or a small glass of tomato juice (what Dawn always chose).
2. Stand up for what you believe in. Pearl was absolutely famous for this. She demanded amazing customer service, and I would sometimes feel sad for the people on the other end of the phone, letter, etc. because they had no idea what had just hit them. And yes, I have even been the person at the other end of this belief...my Grandma spent nearly forty years trying to get me to eat lox and pickled herring, not accepting that I just didn't like it.
3. Don't let the other guy know that you are one step ahead of him. She would always win her argument and she knew she would before she even started it, because she was really smart, but she was gracious anyway.
4. Make sure that you are really good at playing Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. I'm not sure about why this one is important, but I can tell you that I spent many nights of my life watching these shows with her and she was good.
Grandma, thank you for modeling these life lessons for me, and for teaching me how to needlepoint and for sneaking whole Passover picnics into the movies when I would come and visit. More importantly than having made an impact on this world, you have made an impact on me. For this I will always be grateful.