Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Seder to Remember

Lauren and Josh are all smiles after announcing we'll
be needing another chair at next year's Seder!
I’ve written much about the ghosts that take part in my Passover Seders, a spiritual link that connects me with both my ancient ancestors and family members who have died in recent years. Interestingly, this holiday season it wasn’t the past that offered up a cosmic connection but a glance into the future.

The first night of Passover, the lovely Miss Wendy and I attended a Seder at the Nathan’s – that would be Barbara and George, longtime friends of our machatunim – along with other family and friends. We spent a few minutes shrugging off the evening’s chill and warming up with casual chit-chat, then settled in for the night’s high ritual and festive meal.

So it came as a small surprise when Josh, my son-in-law, shushed the expectant crowd and asked for everyone’s attention. He stood silent for an instant then casually mentioned that Passover had been a very special time for him, especially in recent years when good fortune and grand adventure had become part of the holiday.

Five years earlier, Josh recalled, he and Lauren had gotten engaged. Wendy and I were hosting 30 of our closest friends and family for the first night of Pesach that year and were madly dashing about taking care of last minute details – honey, where did you store the matzo balls?
I was in the process of adding additional sugar to the bottles of Manischewitz – hey, you can’t be too rich, too thin or have too much sugar in your Passover wine – when Lauren called and asked if she and Josh could drop by to, ah, check out some pillows! For a normal person, the pillow talk should have been a clue that something was up; but I was deep into Passover madness.

So it was that the happy couple dropped by, stood in the foyer making small talk as Wendy and I whirled and swirled around in a prepping frenzy. After 15 minutes or so they mentioned they needed to be off and, yet, they still stood and waited. Lauren kept waving her hand about and I kept wondering why they hadn’t checked out the pillows upstairs.
It was in all this misdirection and hustle and bustle that the word “engaged” finally captured my and Wendy’s attention and we took note of the glittering diamond Lauren had been waving around frantically since she’d arrived. The diamond sparkled; Lauren and Josh beamed.

And so, it’s been five wonderful years, Josh was saying at the Seder the other night, and I thought how nice it was of him to celebrate the moment. But then I noticed Lauren. She was, well, beaming – again! I forget exactly what Josh said in the next few moments; something about needing an extra seat at next year’s Seder! What I mostly remember is everyone laughing and crying and hugging. I’m pretty sure I even heard the oh-so festive melody of Siman Tov Umazal Tov quietly in the background. After all, my yiddishe ghosts travel with me.
It turns out that for Lauren and Josh; Janice, Steve, Wendy and me, Passover will now always be about the future. If I recall my high school biology, Lauren will be doing the heavy lifting – after all, she’s the one who’s pregnant – but I’m pretty certain we’re all expecting!


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  2. So happy for you all! Will Wendy get to bring him to the JCC? :) That will be one lucky grandchild!