Monday Morning Musings:
I often wonder what I would do to survive, to escape
it’s the story of Passover, after all.
the story of a group of enslaved people who escape
(with the help of a few miracles)
and of people all over the world in the past and present.
My grandparents left a repressive land,
pogroms and restrictions,
coming here where they could prosper
they met and married.
Both sets of grandparents—love matches.
They worked hard through the Great Depression
making certain that their children were educated.
Some people don’t want to think about
slavery in this country.
They want to visit historic sites
without a reminder that slave labor kept the homes and farms running.
But we can acknowledge the achievements
and the faults of historic figures.
I listen to Annette Gordon-Reed and
Peter S. Onuf discuss Jefferson’s complicated
people and situations are seldom simple
black or white–
and still the world has slavery,
people forced to work with little sleep or food,
beaten if they disobey,
women kept as sex slaves,
a young woman, now a college student here,
who escaped from the
“And I say to one of my friends that I’m going to jump out of the truck. I would rather die and my parents will see my body and bury it than to go with the Boko Haram.”
I wonder if I would have had the courage to jump from a truck and run.
I read Those Who Save Us, a novel by Jenna Blum,
and I wonder—
what I would do in war time to survive?
It’s easy to judge others.
And so on Passover,
I think about slavery and escape,
of generations of people celebrating this story with words and foods,
celebrating in basements,
in wealthy homes,
in concentration camps,
We sit around the table(s)—reading from our homemade “Haggadah,”
going through some of the Seder steps, mixed with family lore,
“the spirit of roast beef.”
We read our parts in our Passover play,
this year, the play includes “Pharaoh Trump,
and rap songs.
We eat the food that I spent days cooking–
chicken soup, vegetable broth, knaidlach made the way my mom taught me
with separated eggs,
no recipe of course,
done by feel,
done with love,
but they are light. No sinkers here!
Matzo balls that float,
and don’t land with a heavy thud in your stomach.
Gefilte fish with horseradish
to clear away those spring allergy symptoms
Oh—that’s not what it symbolizes?
We eat my sister’s charoset,
the mixture of fruit and nuts that symbolizes the mortar or mud used to make the bricks in
the Exodus story.
The meat eaters consume brisket and turkey breast with delight.
Those who don’t eat meat, enjoy the roasted sweet potatoes and salad of spring greens.
Many glasses of wine. No Manischewitz!
For dessert, flourless chocolate cake,
And my daughter’s cheesecake, made with a crust of chocolate almond macaroons.
And coffee meringues with chocolate chips
And lemon-almond macaroons
My daughter, believing she is addressing a lack in my education,
brings Fireball whiskey for me to do my first shot ever-
It’s a group activity—with dancing.
I realize suddenly that this is the first holiday in years
where all of my siblings
are here together,
and both of my daughters with their spouses.
My mom is still here, too.
I feel love.
I feel content.
OK. I feel a bit tired
by the time it ends.
But happiness, too.
Recipes for the Flourless Chocolate Cake (to which I add 1 Tbsp. espresso powder and 1 tsp. vanilla, and bake for one hour at 325 degrees) and the recipe for the coffee meringues were in this post from last year. https://merrildsmith.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/a-passover-legacy/