As long as I can remember, my Mom always prayed for everyone, especially children.
In fact, whenever she'd see a child, she would take out her rosary beads and say a prayer, right there, at that moment, wherever she was, asking the accompanying parent if it was okay for her to bless their child.
"Of course," they'd say.
Then, every Monday-Friday, she attended the Senior Center in Irondequoit, New York; and that cost her about $6.00 a day - a price that included lunch and service for the van (that picked her up and took her home).
Thirty bucks a week for a senior's regular activities?
At this simple-treasured Center, she also played 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.
Every other day, I’d walk into her apartment, and interrupt her daily viewing of Seinfeld 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, twenty-eigh in all.
As I did this, her reaction was one of astonishment.
She’d look at me 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’d reply, "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.