Friday, April 6, 2012

passover: night one (lyn)

Tonight is the first night of Passover, and my first without Alexander.  Although he of course doesn’t remember his first Passover, I do.  It was mid-April, 1993.  My parents came, as was the tradition.  And so did Alexander’s dad, which was his first and only time.  I don’t remember the details of the night, but the photo helps elicit memories of it.

Tonight we go to Jill’s, Abby’s sister.  A few other things have changed from Alexander’s first Passover 19 years ago.  First, my parents are unable to come.  My mom wants to, but my dad cannot travel that far.  It’s been a few years since my mother has even been to New York; I miss her visits as much as she does.  Jason is celebrating the first night of Passover at his girlfriend’s parent’s house.  Without him, we lose our resident rabbi.  He’s the best Hebrew-reader in our family.  Alexander tells me he is going to a Seder with friends at Cornell.  He never mastered the four questions, despite many many years of Hebrew School and a Bar Mitzvah.  And Michael lives in California and can’t make it.

Before arriving, I decide I’ll eat no appetizers.  That concept evaporates as soon as I see Jill’s spread of chopped liver, creamed herring, cut-up vegetables and dip.  I should know better than to make these hollow promises with myself.

Following appetizers, we all sit down to a beautifully set table with haggadah’s at each seat.  Adam begins the religious part of the meal with, “Everyone, please pass your haggadah’s to the left and I will collect them.”  Despite some eye-rolling from the elders at the table, no one resists.  But really, Passover for us is about family and getting together. 

The food is excellent, and I partake as if I’ve never heard of points and scales and weight watchers.  I start with a big bowl of matzo ball soup and end with fruit and two slices of 7-layer cake. In between I have one slice of rare filet, green beans, a tiny bit of spinach soufflé, and applesauce.  The fast-moving conversation covers many topics.  But it’s Adam who keeps us entertained.  He is a master storyteller, and his ability to inhabit the persona of the characters he is describing (both real and imagined) is hilarious.  If laughing could count as activity points, we’d all have earned enough to cancel out the meal we just ate.

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