Acts of Love:
Every Morning, Without Fail
My Mother woke up at 4AM to get to work every day. She was supervisor of the kitchen at Nebraska Methodist Hospital in Omaha. She was in charge of getting breakfast and lunch trays to every patient. She managed dietitians and a crew of forty food prep workers. She also had three school age kids and three others who had already grown up and moved out.
She was long gone, overseeing the hospital kitchen, when we stumbled downstairs, half asleep and prepping for our own school day. Yet every morning we found something she had left for our breakfast: pancakes warming in the oven, a pot of oatmeal on the stove or scrambled eggs in the dented pan, covered with a cast iron lid. Okay. The pancakes were stiff as Frisbees, the oatmeal congealed, the eggs somewhat rubbery. It was nothing a dollop of syrup couldn’t fix. She never failed to leave something for us. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized what time she had to get up to do all of this.
It was her act of love.
Acts of Love:
Worth the Drive
Every summer around the Fourth of July we drove to Petersburg, Nebraska to visit my Dad’s Aunt Betty. He had lived in the farming town during the Depression when his own family was too poor to take care of him. It was always sweltering and there was no air-conditioning. But without fail, when we pulled up to the white frame house and walked into the kitchen, Aunt Betty would be pulling homemade cinnamon rolls out of the O’Keefe and Merritt oven. The smell alone was worth the drive. She always made two trays. One tray to eat on her back porch with glasses of frosty iced tea. The other for us to take home. “It must have been a hundred degrees in that kitchen,” said my Dad as we drove down the dusty highway. He patted the tin foil package of rolls, “but she still came up with the goods.”
“She loves you,” answered my Mom.
Acts of Love:
One Last Time
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorite things to do. The tourist crush on nice days is such that I purposely choose awful, rainy days so that I can enjoy its vistas unobstructed by cell phone sticks. About a month ago I found just such a day. Fog obscured the Chrysler Building. Dark clouds cast shadows on the ferries headed toward Staten Island. The tourist hordes were gone. It was just me and an elderly couple. The wife pushed her husband in a wheelchair. They bumped across the wooden slats of the bridge. The wind whipped the blanket across his lap. His wife stopped to tuck it back.
She kissed his forehead.
She had to stop every few feet to re-arrange his hood, to pull down the sleeves on his parka. We three stopped to gaze at the Statue of Liberty. I looked at her in wonder and she answered my unspoken question. “We’re out here in the rain because he wanted to go across the Brooklyn Bridge one last time. I love him. I’m crazy about him, always have been.”
“I couldn’t say no.”
There are acts of love all around us; they float in our memory, they happen all around us, if we open our eyes to them.
Kate Fuglei is an actress and singer who divides her time between Studio City and Brooklyn. She has appeared in over forty episodes of television, including most recently in one of the first episodes of STAR TREK/PICARD. She is a published author with two novels based on the lives of the physicist Enrico Fermi and the educator Maria Montessori. The greatest blessing in her life is her marriage to writer Ken LaZebnik and her two sons, Jack LaZebnik and Ben LaZebnik. They inspire her every single day.
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