To Your Health

A last toast to temperance


Jerry stuffed the papers into an accordion envelope, a process made more difficult by the envelope holding my grandmother's ashes which he was always surprised to find in his hands.

He deftly poured a shot of herbal liqueur from the very large green bottle held brought over when he fled Czechoslovakia with my mother and dying father. Even with the envelope in his hands he managed to do it without spilling a drop.

I tried to pour another round the way Jerry had, but I hesitated and the viscous liquer ran down the side of the bottle. I was ready to explain my clumsiness, attribute it to having lost my sense of touch--a thing which I kept a secret from everyone--but Jerry was kinder than usual, slurped it up off the table saying "It is good luck!" instead of calling me an idiot and failure the way I expected him to.

"To her generosity," he said, referring to my grandmother whose remians he held in one hand, a ceramic shotglass raised in the other.

"Na zdravi," I said, employing all the Czech I knew.

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