Stories about my friend, Lisa. Baruch Dayan HaEmet. Lisa, of blessed memory, died last night, finishing second day Passover, almost Erev Shabbat, April 10, 2009, 15 Nissan 5769. 6:40 PM. Counting of the Omer, Day one, Chesed she b'Chesed. Lisa, 28 years my senior, was my friend for about 25 years, living two houses away, down the hill. We laughed alot together, and I will miss her. Lisa is now with her beloved Joe, z'l, and her parents, z'l whom she respected and loved so very much...

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Lisa floating on her 'noodles'.
(c) Joy Krauthammer

by Joy Krauthammer

Oct. 23, 2006

My friend and neighbor, Lisa, at 4:30 PM today, called while I was writing, doing my work and I did not want to be disturbed, and Lisa said, "Come swimming; It is 70 *". Lisa knows that I will ask her how cold it is so she was prepared. She must have been desperate for my company. She loves me and misses me now that swim season is over. Our feelings are mutual.

I had already packed away my swim suit for the season. We have not swum in weeks, not since September. It was 70* in her pool--freezing cold, when we stopped weeks ago. We watched the degrees go from 92* (when air temperature was 115*) to 89* down, down, down. 81* was passable. 74* was hardly acceptable.

For its last summer's hurrah, I had by mistake washed and dried my swim suit in the hot spinning machines with my laundry, so now the swim suit elastic was dead. That is not great for one's bosom. I got out my elastic-less suit to test it. I drove all of two houses away to Lisa's, so when our usual swimming "mechaiyah" was done, I could get a quick getaway in my car instead of walking home up hill, all wet while the sun would be almost setting.

By 5 PM I got to the pool, looked at the thermostat not believing that the water was even that warm at 70*, but it was, exactly as she said. Lisa was ready and waiting in her suit. Her aide got her two styrofoam long tubular "noodles" to 'toodle' about in the pool. One pink and one blue. I bought them for Lisa. Each summer I buy Lisa new noodles in the colors that I like. She enjoys floating upright on them. I tried it once and it was fun floating. I thought that I was a seahorse riding the noodle. I usually swim circles around Lisa while we shmooze; deep end, shallow end; it does not matter. When through, each day, Lisa has to keep the noodles locked away because otherwise some unknown wild animal bites out big chunks of them at night, and they become disgusting and foam pieces are everywhere. Opossums, raccoons, rats, coyotes, cats, who knows? The blue swimming board also gets chewed up with lots of teeth marks.

Lisa gazed at the water and said, "It looks freezing cold." She then said, "We are two idiots," and we both laughed. Holding the rails, Lisa headed down the pool stairs. I'm no fool. I watched. She was freezing as she was riding both noodles at the same time! This I had not seen before. I said, "I am going in so fast so that I don't have to feel it", and I dove into the freezing cold water and kept swimming not missing a stroke. Slowly is a killer in the cold. I took the challenge. I bit the bullet. I was certainly not going to let some "old lady", as Lisa calls herself, outdo me.

Lisa's daily joke before we slinked into the water was, "Two people froze today."

The two of us were laughing even more that we could do this; such brave ladies.
Lisa has already had her morning indoor warm exercise swim at the YMCA in 81* temperature and certainly did not need this. October 23rd today. We never swam outside this late in the season. Two crazy ladies.

While floating for only a couple of minutes on her double noodles, one in each color at the same time, wrapped around her from front poking out, under, and sticking out the back, Lisa remembered that she had her flu shot today and is "not supposed to be in a tub" so needed to get out immediately, and she did. I said, "The pool is not a tub". She got out anyway being a responsible 87 year old woman. Lisa may have lousy memory issues but she remembered her rules from the doc today. I thanked Lisa that she had warmed the water for me with her body and said, the water was "probably 70.5* by now". I was wrong. I looked at the thermostat. It was still the same 70*. Icy cold.

I kept swimming alone since I was already totally wet, and honestly I was beginning to enjoy the swimming after my body temperature must have cooled down so much it wasn't bothered as much. It did not matter that so many leaves had blown into the pool. I swam so fast I hardly saw them. Having no suit elastic did not benefit me. But since I have a Brazilian Samba music class tonight in an hour, I cut short the swim. My excuse. I was probably no more than ten minutes in the icy water.

Lisa is so sweet. I had turned down a ride on a noodle, but she gave me two of the red tomatoes (without worm holes) from her still producing summer vine and I accepted them. Usually I only get one at a time, even if there are many. Probably compensation to me for being her crazy partner in the pool. For years, we always have fun together.

It was not good enough that I told Lisa I would visit after drumming tonight, she wanted me to suffer earlier with her. And so it was. I love Lisa. If she calls tomorrow, I will go swimming again with Lisa in her Pool. Friends...

~ ~ ~ ~
My photo above of Lisa riding her noodles in her pool in the early morning mist, and wearing her shower cap to keep her hair dry.
My last photo of Lisa in her pool.



To read more swim stories, and about Edith, my dear friend and life guard:
with a link included to You Tube and Edith's Persimmons

1 comment:

  1. Dear DEAR Joy!
    What a mench...friend, love, a true JOY!
    You are an angel, to all that know you.
    I hope you have the joy and peace and love in your life, increase ten times, what you give to others.
    Enjoy the end of Pesach,


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Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy