He Kissed My Hand

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My husband Aaron Elek and his  parents were Hungarian by  birth.  My in-laws were sentimental and emotional people,  especially my father-in-law Aron Elek, an old World gentleman to whom hand-kissing was second nature. After a long  illness he died in 1967, and my mother-in-law followed him  within three months.

Our son Emery was born  late in my in-laws’ life and was very special to them. Because our home in Bay City,  Michigan,  was so  distant  from a church of their  faith Emery never was baptized during their lifetimes. But  early in 1972 we finally put our minds to it and  made the  arrangements for his baptism.

On Sunday, February 13, 1972, we drove  three hundred  miles to Cleveland, Ohio,  to the Hungarian Reformed  Church my husband had attended   during his teens. The minister of the church. who coincidentally bore the same  name as my husband, Aaron Elek,  was delighted to  perform the ceremony for us.

We arrived at the church shortly before the service. My  husband was ushered immediately into the pastor’s office. I followed slightly behind.  Several people greeted us cordially as welcome strangers although most of them spoke only  Hungarian and I do not  know the language.

One gentleman in particular came right up to me.He was  just under  average height and wore the traditional mustache of elderly Hungarian men.  He smiled warmly as he reached for my  hand. I thought he wanted to shake hands but he lifted my  hand kissed it with some emotion.

Just then my husband  called me to the office to complete  filling out papers for the baptism. When we finished and  left the office I looked for the man who had  greeted me so  warmly in  order to introduce my husband. But the man  was nowhere in sight.

He might be an usher,  I decided. I  would look for him  during the service.   But as  the service progressed I saw no sign of the man. I  described him to  friends who members of the church but they could not identify him from my description.

After the service,  my curiosity aroused,  I asked  my husband and his friends to help me  search for the  elusive  gentleman.  But the elderly Hungarian was nowhere to be found.

When I described the man again my husband observed  that my  description fit only one person- his father. That  brought me to a halt, for it  was true. I had  seen my father-in-law frequently during his  long illness, but it had been  several years since I had seen him up and about.

Both the  appearance and the mannerisms of the unidentified man exactly matched those my deceased father-in-law. I feel that Aron Elek came back to show  me that he   was pleased we finally had Emery after such a long delay.

Patricia  Elek

Bay City, Michigan

June 1973

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