I had recently moved back to my old neighborhood in Chicago and decided to go to the kosher deli for lunch.
When I got there, I was surprised to see the place was closed for vacation.
Even more surprising was a new kosher restaurant setting up shop right next door.
While a sign in the window said “Opening Soon,” I noticed there were people working inside so I decided to walk in and introduce myself.
I was greeted by an attractive woman in her 40s with long light brown hair who spoke with an Eastern European accent and greeted me by telling me she was the owner’s daughter and had recently immigrated to Chicago from Belarus.
I told her my family also came from the former Soviet Union and she then introduced me to her father who was working in the kitchen.
As her father spoke no English, the daughter translated what I was saying to the man who was busy making a large pot of soup.
I asked the woman to ask her father if he made cold beet borscht and he smiled at me nodding his head.
The woman said it was one of his favorite dishes.
Hearing the telephone ringing in her office, the woman went answer the phone and told me to come in to her office and close the door behind me.
She spoke on the phone in her native language for a few minutes, occasionally glancing up at me with a kind smile that I construed to be somewhat flirtatious.
After she hung up the phone, she told me that was her father’s doctor on the phone who had called from Minsk to tell her that he had just received her father’s test results and that the man had terminal cancer.
She said her father knew he was dying and wanted to spend whatever time he had left living out his life’s dream of opening up a restaurant in America in the city he had always dreamed about living in since having seen the movie “The Blues Brothers” in 1980, the year the woman said she was born.
She asked me if I would be interested in helping her run the restaurant after her father passed away.
She said she was going to make some coffee and asked me if I would like to stay for lunch.
Then I woke up.