- The World Series
To my father, 1934–2003
While machines flashed red numeralshope, despair, hopeyour long graceful fingersreached up from your ICU-induced sleep stateto trace figures in airborne columns of debits and credits.
Yiddish was your first languagebut numbers were your native tongue.Balance sheets spoke to you of nuance,challenges mastered and tamed,the stories and dramas of the universe.
Numbers talked,and you answered.You wrote your life story in their epic languageof plusses and minuses. [End Page 16]
Ebbetts Field was your princely realm,a boyhood kingdom in whichthe beauty and order of statskept the chaos away.
"Peppy" they called you in high schoolbecause Pepsi's kept you sharp.The reliable math of poker andthe clean geometry of pool sharkingprovided cool cashstored always in serial number order.
Becoming an accountantprovided an arithmetic solutionto the sum of your first-generation yearnings.Controlling the figures in ledgers and spreadsheetssupplied the way to amountto a man of substance.
You would have loved tonight's gamea four-of-four sweep for my son's team.As we watched, his eyes on the screen and my eyes on him,he held forth in that language ofstats and averages, innings and outs,that I haven't heard since your numbers went still. [End Page 17]
Hara E. Person is Publisher and Director of the CCAR Press. She received rabbinic ordination from HUC-JIR, an MA in Fine Arts from NYU/ICP, and a BA from Amherst College. She is the co-author of Stories of Heaven and Earth: Bible Heroes in Contemporary Children's Literature and was the Managing Editor of the The Torah: A Women's Commentary. She is the Adjunct Rabbi at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and is also the High Holy Day Rabbi in Fire Island Pines. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.