As long as I can remember, my Mom always prayed for everyone, especially children.
In fact, upon seeing any child, she would take out her rosary beads and say a prayer, right there, at that moment, wherever she was, asking permission from the accompanying parent if it was okay for her to bless their child.
"Of course," they'd say.
Then, every Monday-Friday, my Mom visited the Senior Center, which used to cost her about $5.00 a day, which included lunch, and van service (which picked her up and drove her home).
Twenty-five bucks a week for a senior's regular activities?
Not bad at all.
At this simple-treasured Center, she'd also play cards, went on picnics, and played bingo. She especially loved the bingo.
A whole lot.
I never realized how much, really.
Until, one day, when I started giving her "extra" quarters with which to play the game.
Not a lot of quarters. Just seven dollars worth.
Every other day, I'd walk into her apartment, and interrupt her daily viewing of Murder, She Wrote or The Golden Girls, walk over to her, kiss her, and ask her to open up her hand.
At that moment, I'd pour out the seven dollars in quarters, 28 in all.
As I did this, her reaction was one of astonishment. She looked as if she won the lottery or the mega-jackpot in Vegas.
"Oh, Herbie J," she'd say with so much joy, "...what a great son you are! I have to pay you back! I have to pay you back!!"
"Ma," I replied, "You just go have fun at the Center."
And she did, all the more...with that mere extra seven dollars.
Not a million.
Not a thousand.
Not even ten.