It was the end of a long day. I spent 5 ½ hours in eviction court waiting and listening to nothing but conflict and sadness. I was working out a problem in the building when I heard the distinctive voice of my Russian friend Boris. He speaks English with a Russian accent; besides speaking English and Russian, he speaks German and French also. Boris is a 60-something rotund, architect-engineer who emigrated from Russia seven years ago. He has a booming “Tevia-like” voice and possesses a fun-loving, appreciative attitude.
As I was walking down the hall, I hear his Boris’s booming voice, “Yerry, it’s a bad day.” I turn to see him standing with his hands in the position of holding a twenty-pound oblong watermelon at his waist. “Yerry,” he repeats, “it’s a bad day!”
I ask, “Boris, why is it a bad day?”
And Boris replies, “It’s a bad day because the transmission in my car broke down.”
“Oh, really?” I reply.
But Boris replies like Tevia from Fiddler on the Roof, “But Yerry, it’s a good day, too.”
I ask, “Why is it a good day, too?”
Boris smiles and replies, “It’s a good day because even though the transmission broke down, at least I have a car! Yes, Yerry, it’s a good day!” We laugh; the happy Russian made my day.
In Russia, Boris didn’t have a car. As a matter of fact, as a Russian Jew, he didn’t have much of anything. In America, he is grateful for all things great and small—a lesson I need to remember. God has been good to us.
I remember the first time I met this rotund, portly Tevia of Russia. He said to me in broken English “This is good.”
I said, “What’s good?”
He said, “I found another fat man!” That’s just Boris!
Boris has seen many trials in his life; tears mingled with joy. Good days and bad days separated with a smile and an appreciative attitude.
When I see or hear Boris, I smile. When I’m with Boris, it’s a good day.