We went to The Temple Friday night. I saw the parents of one of my elementary school friends. I've also discovered I have picked up a touch of Demophobia (or Enochlophobia, or Ochlophobia), fear of crowds. I felt very jittery being at the center of the group as we were leaving services and I moved quickly to the outside area where I felt much calmer. On the plus side, I was relatively non-psychotic the entire airport portion of the trip, so maybe I'm not so much getting a new fear as I am trading one irrational fear for another. I think I'd rather lose my irrational fear of my heights than my irrational fear of being late, but I was not consulted in this matter.
The services were nice. I was slightly bummed that they didn't do my favourite Friday night song, but you can't have everything.
The next day we went to Anshei Sfard for services and Mom and Dad's Kiddush (social hour/coffee hour type thing). The weekly Bible reading was a section from the end of Numbers.
The first five books of the Bible are called the "Torah" in Hebrew, or the Pentatuch in Greek. (which was like my favorite word as a kid. There's no way to say it so it doesn't sound funny.) These books are divided up and read every week: Monday and Thursdays (market days), they read from the first part of the portion of the week, like an appetizer for Saturday when they do the full portion. The division of portion is considered by some to have been codified by Moses (yes, that Moses). Each portion is named for the first word of the portion. This is actually a pretty common practice among Hebrew religious texts. They'll use enough of the first words to make it obvious what's being referred to.
The Torah service on Saturday is further divided into seven portions. For each portion, a person is honoured by being asked to call the congregation to worship, and recite the blessings of thanksgiving for being allowed to have the Torah. This is called an "Aliyah" from the Hebrew word meaning "to ascend."
So during the 6th Aliyah. They were discussing the cities of refuge and how the death of the high priest releases murders from the city. In this portion, they found a break in the word "death." This is a big deal. You can't read out of a Torah that's imperfect.* And yet on the other hand, that's sorta reassuring isn't it? Death breaks in the face of my parents anniversary. It was a very odd sort of thing. Anyway, my parents and my mother's BFF and her husband (seriously, they've been tight since elementary school) both celebrated their anniversaries together. It was very, very sweet. Sharon (said BFF) told me stories of what it was like growing up at this synagogue and how her mom z'l was so happy when she and Eddie (BFF's husband) started dating because it was the first time she had a boy she could send up to the bimah (platform where the services happen). Sharon and Eddie's wedding was the first one to happen in the synagogue's current building.
We had a lot of family and friends there. Robin The Midwife wasn't able to make it because one of her children was recovering from surgery. But Angie was there with Jonathan and Hunter. I meant to ask Angie and Jonathan how their Bible study was going. I got distracted. Jonathan and I were too busy playing Red Sox and Yankees fans. There were lot of kids there, actually. Sharon and Eddie's whole family was there so I got to see a lot of people I grew up with and their children. It was a nice crowd.
That night we did the social thing with MeeMaw, Uncle Mark and Aunt Stella. I got pretty well plastered on half a melon colada. Shameful.
Sunday we went to Janice's in Lexington for a pool party. Kelli and Angie did the games mistress thing. There was rocking music and lots of family and friends. And for once MeeMaw wasn't chained to the kitchen turning out latkes. (although I wouldn't have complained!) I have pictures which I need to upload, but for now, let me hit the highlights. Asher fell asleep with MeeMaw. Gabriel, Jonathan Michael and I explored the attic (and tried not to wake Mark and Stella), and Dozer (Angie's dog) jumped in the pool and had no way to get out. Jonathan clearly has dealt with this before, because he lowered a resin chair into the water for Dozer to climb up and jump out of the pool on.
Dad and his partner won the balloon toss, Mom won the electric slide, and Brian won the limbo. Hoppie took an honourable mention in the electric slide as the only man to do it among a sea of women. Sissy and Asher won a prize for mother/baby dance team in the electric slide.
I have pictures, but I can't upload them now. I'll do it when I get home.
I gave Mom and Dad a digital picture frame along with the book and they were delighted with it. It may end up in Mom's office, but for right now, it's in the family room.
An amusing story: Saturday night I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep because it was so hot upstairs. (My bedroom has always been the least air conditioned of the lot.) So I went downstairs to sleep on the couch in the family room. I was going to go into the basement, but elected not too because I can't tell what time it is if I wake up in a room without windows and I'm constantly worried about oversleeping. Anyway, around 7:00 I hear someone moving around. I look at the clock and as it's 7, it seems like a reasonable time get up. So I go upstairs to take a bath. I come down after my bath and Brian is sleeping on the chair. We're taking shifts in sleeping around the house!
Sunday night after we got home from the picnic, we went to Shakespeare in the (Central) Park. They were performing Measure for Measure which hoppie is tired of hearing me refer to as "Not my favourite." which is better than saying it's one of the worst of the comedic plays. Still if there's a such thing a praising with faint damning, this would be it. It's still funny in places and they did a good job. Isabel spoke a little too quickly and because of where we were sitting (off to the side) it would sometimes be hard to hear if the actors were facing away from you.
The other interesting thing is that we were there on Shadow Signing night so they had actors shadowing the speakers, dressed in period, acting in period, and being gestured too and generally treated like part of the action, but their purpose was to sign the translation of the play for the hearing impaired. Neat huh? The only disadvantage is that because the gestures of the signers were more pronounced and frequent then the actors, I found my eyes drawn to them more. I don't think I missed anything, though.
Vicky came out to the park with us and she brought little Alan. He made it nearly the whole way through the show with minimal fussing. We had fun and I don't think we were too disruptive. I got to hold him most of the first act and I got to feed him! Vicky is taking to motherhood pretty well and that's very reassuring.
Then there was Monday. Robin the Midwife picked me up and we dropped a couple of the kids off at a camp. Camp is interesting. It's like a themed learning camp. They have things like a week long weekshop to create a robot, or design your own website, or live in Sponge Bob Square Pants' world.
Then we took the twins back to the house and had breakfast and said goodbye to Brian, Sissy, and Asher who headed back to Florida.
Then Hoppie, Mom, and I sat down and talked for awhile and Dad came home and joined us, and I kept popping in and out to do work. Then we got a plane home. The trip was pretty uneventful. We were slightly late leaving Louisville, and later leaving Charlotte.
And we're back.
*This is matter of some debate which I won't go into. If you're really curious, you can ask me next time you see me. (Not because I shy away from the perspectives, I can understand both sides, but it's sorta complex and I feel like I need a lot of words, and my hands free to gesture wildly.)