One of the most treasured words in the Yiddish language is “ainikel.” You may wonder why. Is dehr enfehr (the answer is) that ainikel refers to a grandchild, and ainiklach are many grandchildren. Many moons ago, I would hear “old timers” telling stories; I don’t remember the stories, but I remember them often saying how wonderful ainiklach are.
Why? you may ask. Well, for one thing, ainiklach rarely rebel against their bubby or zaidy. As for their parents – nu, sometimes. For example, in the Tanach, there is a chapter about a Yiddel known as Avshalom. His father was the great King Dovid. Unfortunately, Avshalom decided that he, Avshalom, was more fit to be king than Dovid. If David’s father Yishai had got wind of Avshalom’s plot to overthrow his father, he would probably be the first zaidy who did not exactly cherish his ainikel!
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Nu, the title of this story refers to “adventures” with my ainiklach. How did this miseh (story) begin? Don’t ask. After all, oyf ah miseh fregt mehn niht kine kashes – we don’t ask questions about a story.
Several or more than several years ago, my vible (wife) Shirley and I visited our kids in New Jersey. They were going on vacation for a few days and left the ainiklach in our care. We looked forward to being with our ainiklach and soon began following their parents’ suggested list.
Shirley reviewed their homework and prepared the meals. My function was to entertain them by hiking, and to tell them bubeh maises (tall tales) to encourage them to fall asleep. The bubeh maises usually had a message attached, such as being careful not to get lost and reviewing vital information with them, such as their address and phone number.
The kids live near a nature preserve and enjoyed hiking on the trails and collecting “stuff.” On one of our hikes, we collected feathers, stones, wood chips, etc. in order to create a “golem,” a new project. After all, if the Maharal could do it, why not give it a try ourselves!?
Upon returning home, we took clay and formed a golem, and for a while thought that we could get the thing to at least move one inch! When we moved it, however, the gantseh miseh (whole thing) crashed, and the golem went to pot, so to speak.
Anyway, one day we set out on a trail that curved towards a path that led to another trail – and before you knew it, I was totally lost! My misehs about not getting lost went to the wind, so to speak.
Of course, my ainiklach were delighted, and I still believe that they were aware of where we were, since they had been there before. Anyway, we departed from the trail and finally exited the nature preserve. We soon realized that we were in another section of town! I was too exhausted to return to the woods and follow another trail. Nu, voss zol mehn tawn (what to do)? I attempted to flag down a car, but the driver had us teef ihn bawd (ignored us) and kept on driving.
Another car approached, and the driver was a yenteh who gave me directions that could lead you to Brooklyn! She told me to walk a mile north, make a left where there was a red building, walk five blocks and then ask someone else! Hairst ah geshichteh (can you imagine such a thing)?
Nu, I was ready to return to the trail in the woods when an outstanding ness (miracle) occurred: A police car drove by. I assured the kids that we were witnessing a real miracle and would soon be on our way home. They were not happy, because they were ready to hike for another few miles!
The officer stopped and told me that he was sorry, but he was on his routine route and could not help us. His next brilliant suggestion was that we should return to the path in the woods! He had me ihn bawd, so to speak, and I figured that he was an anti-Semite for sure!
The kids were having a marvelous time and, as mentioned, wanted to return to the woods, so we turned around, ready to continue hiking. Suddenly I spotted a balabatish (refined) and responsible-looking lady leaving her house. Nu, I told the kids, “Let’s give it one more try.” I approached the house and began with the words, “Shalom aleichem.” The good lady’s eyes widened and I explained the situation to her.
She responded “vahrt ain minute (wait a minute)” and returned to the house to discuss the matter with her husband. He warned her that the kids and I might be a trio of no-goodniks and to watch her purse! Hairst ah geshichteh – can you imagine such a thing!
The good lady decided to take a chance, however, and after putting the seatbelts on the children and hiding her purse, she proceeded to our residence. I thanked her and stated that only a Yiddisher mameh would have such rachmoness (pity) on a zaidy and his ainiklach. She smiled and responded, “You should have ah gezunten yohr, a healthy year!”
I thanked her and slowly walked towards the house with a krechts (sigh), to which my ainiklach responded, “That was fun. Let’s take another walk!”