Sharing our thoughts with Manitou
As I wander around The Land, one of the way I amuse myself is to read the slogans and quotations on people’s shirts. Usually, it’s young girls or women who walk around with logos written in English, and I often wonder if they have any idea what the words mean. In some cases, I’m pretty sure not, particularly when the messages being worn by eight-year-olds are clearly salacious. There are some occasions, however, when adults are wearing something that makes for interesting reading. I’ve even posted a couple of witty sayings on my Facebook page. One day, when I was walking up Rehov Yaffo to the shuk, I spotted the following emblazoned on the shirt of a Filipino caretaker (although I’m not sure what I have is an exact quote): 90% of my brain is composed of song lyrics.
You take a left and then a right…
You have to know your way around these parts. You take a left; you go a spell; then you make a right; when you get to the stop sign, turn left again…. All of it on winding roads with no street signs anywhere. I guess you could use Waze, but Frank and Abby don’t; they seem to know where they ‘re going. Anyway, with Abby at the helm, we made the forty-five-minute journey to Tanglewood.
In New York, on a typical evening in season, thousands of people make their way to the various venues at Lincoln Center. They arrive by subway, by bus, even by taxi, with only a few out-of-towners parking their cars in the relatively small underground facility. Not so in Lenox MA. Everyone is coming by car, meaning you need a small army of local police and volunteers to direct the traffic. The first huge parking area we came to already capacitied-out. We were sent a mile or so off to another huge area. We might still be looking for a place to park, but our collective age seems to have earned us some special treatment. With a wave of the hand, one of the traffic directors motioned us to an area where we could park, near the entrance to the performance. There has to be some benefit to being old; the rest of it, feh!
Kenneth asks a question
You’ll think I’m making this up, but it’s the God’s honest truth. It really did happen, just the way I’m describing it. It was Sun. morning, about 9AM. We had arrived safe and sound at the Port Authority bus terminal in NYC, in plenty of time to catch the 9:30 Peter Pan bus (which runs only once a week) to the Berkshires. We always plan to have time to use the facilities before starting any such journey, because… you never know. There I was, standing outside the restrooms, the ones between the two buildings on the second floor, guarding our luggage while Barbara took her turn. There stood Kenneth. I know that was his name because it was written on his Port Authority Uniform. His official job description must have been custodian, maintenance, or some such, but he seemed to be occupied as an official greeter to any folks passing through the terminal on their way to somewhere.
You’re late – even when you’re not!
There’s a suggestion, attributed to some important rabbi, but darned if I remember which one, that if you arrive in shul on time (that is, when the minyan is just getting ready to start), you’re already late. Whether Ze’ev is aware of that aphorism, I can’t say, but he takes it to heart anyway. It would take me about five minutes to walk from their house on Carlton Place to the front door of Congregation Beth Aaron. Ze’ev, going at a slightly slower pace, might take eight minutes for the same stroll. However, we left fifteen minutes before the scheduled start of early Friday night minyan, and, guess what, we arrived before they started, something that with me rarely happens – as in once in a blue moon.
So we’ll bring…
We had a choice, but it wasn’t really a choice. We could either head out to Teaneck on Thurs. after dinner, or we could get up early – quite early – Fri. morning and do the same. As I have an allergic reaction to cracks of dawn….. As I said, it really wasn’t much of a choice.
We have a barter system of sorts going on. Whenever we need to spend a Shabbat in New Jersey, we head to Ze’ev and Susie in Teaneck, and whenever their girls and related others need a place to sleep in Ma’ale Adumim, they know whom to call. For a while, Susie’s aged and infirmed father was living with them on Carleton Terrace. In order for the arrangement to work, they built an addition to the first floor of their house, with a bedroom and a bath. Once the elderly gentleman passed, voila! there was now a separate suite for guests, one we are more than willing to occupy. Susie had done most of her Shabbat preparations on Thurs., so she graciously agreed to take us on a whirlwind shopping spree Fri. morning, so we could get a few things we needed.
Is he really coming?
Is he really coming? That would be the story of the century, and you would hear about it first on these pages. That’s what the message from Uber said. JESUS IS COMING! He is coming to pick you up at 10AM Wed. morning to take you to the airport. Wow! When we arrived the week before, a regular, run-of-the-mill young woman picked us up at the airport. Now, Jesus, himself. What a step up!
A big nothing-burger…
One of the things you realize once you leave the land of your birth is how little attention the rest of the world pays to the national holidays that were such a big deal to you before you went away. Here in The Land, there is no nakba (catastrophe) for turkeys in the middle of November (although Black Friday – celebrated any day of the year – has caught on big time). July 4 is a big nothing-burger in this part of the world. Having made aliyah the end of July 2007, we had gone thirteen years without a proper fireworks display and the obligatory barbecue that most citizens of the U.S.A. are able to enjoy as the highlight of the summer season.
The Good Lord, having some time on His hands one day, and being in a particularly good mood, decided to have some fun. He would create a series of rivers and lakes that would allow the humans (who would sooner or later live in the area) to start out way up north, in what would become Canada, and travel inland from the Atlantic Ocean and then south and west, traveling all the way to the Gulf of Mexico by boat. However (however!), it shouldn’t be too easy. I know; I’ll put a waterfall in one place and some rapids in another. I’ll make sure that there are plenty of other obstacles as well. Let’s see how long it takes for the humans to figure out how to deal with all of them so they can travel the whole way without setting foot on dry land.
When the word got out that we were planning a visit to The States and that our first stop would be the Windy City, two of our friends, originally from those parts, got excited, very excited, maybe more excited than we were (well, than I was). Bryna Lee went so far as to notify some old friends of theirs that we would be in their neck of the woods and suggested that they invite us to spend Shabbat with them in W. Rogers Park. A series of emails followed between us and Sherwin, and we were duly invited.
What could they feed us; what could we bring them? I understand, Sherwin, that you are a coffee drinker. Shall I bring you some extraordinary coffee from my supplier? No thanks, I drink instant these days. How about some wine? My wife drinks wine; I’m OK with grape juice. I get the picture: a good guy with simple tastes.
The doctor knows best: Tina was cleared to end her COVID isolation and reenter the world at large – as long as she continued wearing a mask for the next two days. That was a sensible arrangement as far as we all were concerned. And so, Fri morning, Tina drove the family car – with Milo secured in his car seat in the back – into the alleyway behind the houses on the block between Goethe and Schiller Sts. (You can figure out the ethnicity of the original occupants.) Head back up N. Welles St. until the end, make the 45° left turn, go a respectable distance, and then pull into the parking garage across the street from where we need to be.