This evening my boss' grandson came to visit her jewelry store with her husband. The holiday season had been brutal. We had yet to make a sale. While her husband parked their Ladnrover, Jeri taught the six-year-old how to open a safe and once the handsome lad opened the steel cube she asked, "Did you get a Hannukah gift for your mother?"
"I wanted to, but I don't know if I have enough money."
"How much you think you have?"
"That's a lot of money. Let me see what we can find."
"I like those." Matthew pointed to a pair of sliced sapphire earring rimmed by gold.
"You have a good eye." Jeri pulled out the earrings. They cost $100. "You said you had money."
"$2." Matthew proudly emptied his coins on the counter. The boy was a goy, but his father was ein bissen Juden on his paternal side and as an Irishman I have a strong respect for tradition.
"$2 and four cents for the tax."
"Yes, that's what the government charges, so we have roads and TV and lights."
Her husband and I exchanged a glance. We shared another opinion about taxes, but this was Hannukah, a night for good thoughts.
"Today, they sung a new song," interjected his grandfather.
"Ho, Ho, Ho, Hannukah."
"Do you know how to sing it?" I asked from my chair.
My youngest son in Thailand was the same age as Matthew.
I hadn't seen Fenway in over two years nor Fluke, Noy, or Angie, but I knew they loved their mothers same as Matthew loved his. The six year-old looked to Jeri and his grandfather. A smile broke over his lips and he chanted, "Ho-Ho-Ho Hannukah."
Jeri sniffed back a tear. She wanted grandchildren of her own. We are life. We are light. She kissed Matthew on the cheek.
"You're a good boychek." Jeri handed him the earrings in a pouch.
"Thank you. My mommy will be so happy."
Matthew left with his grandfather. Jeri stared at me.
"That was our first sale of the season."
This afternoon a 68 year-old man had refused his wife a fancy-yellow diamond, because he said he didn't have the money. I believed him, but Matthew gave his every penny to make his mom happy and I was happy too, because I would have done the same for my mother and so would Jeri.