Passover scares me, and I’m not talking about all of the work involved in preparing for it. Although, yes, it is a daunting task and I do get a little crazy. Basically I know that I will get everything accomplished that I need to, I do every year.
Well doctor, you see, it all started when I was a little girl. I loved Passover even though I always had to ask the Four Questions and being the centre of attention like that has never been comfortable for me. Opening the door for Elijah was always kind of scary, but good scary. My mother would tell us the story of when she was little and she opened the door and a black cat ran into the house. Very scary (also please raise your hand if when you were a kid you thought Eliahu’s last name was Hanavi. If your hand isn’t up, neither is mine). Anyway, this one year I made it through the Questions no problem even with 27 guests in the house. It was meal time, yeah meal time! I was about 7 or 8, too young to help, I would just be under foot. So I sat in my chair patiently waiting while the food was being brought to the table. My eldest sister was helping. The turkey was on the table, she was bringing in the cranberry sauce. Someone started talking to her. She stopped to talk while the cranberry sauce remained poised over my head (can you see where this is going?). I was the only one who got cranberry sauce that night. My mother had to give me a bath complete with hair wash and I spent the rest of the seder in my beloved lavender bath robe which I had received for Chanukah.
The next traumatic event occurred as I became a preteen. As my father would dole out the readings of the sons it somehow seemed that I became the odds on favourite for the Wicked/Rebelious Son. Every, flipping, year. Really, the Wicked Son? I am so bad that had I been there I would not have been saved? Come on. He might not mean anything by this, but then again, every year… Parents, do all your kids a favour, read the wicked son yourself. Because, your kid might just decide that if he/she is going to get the label anyway he/she might as well earn it.
The next event is not so much traumatic as it is awkward. One year as I opened the door for Elijah my parents’ Russian Jewish neighbours walked out of their apartment door at the exact same time. We smiled at each other, said a nice hello and then they stood there staring at me, waiting to see what my next move was. Was I going out they asked? Umm no. Was I waiting for someone they asked? Umm, kind of. So I explained Elijah to them, amid shouts of, ‘You can close the door now.’ It was weird. They looked at me smiling and nodding their slightly angled heads. They didn’t get it. Elijah’s a tough one to explain. I know they thought I was delusional. She was a psychiatrist and I could just see her mentally pencilling me in for an appointment.
So, now I’m all grown up. I don’t have to do the Four Questions anymore, I can more or less handle being the Rebellious Son, my kids open the door for Elijah. All is fine, but not quite.
I have to make an over 300km drive to buy my groceries. No matter what my changing feelings toward religion over the years I will not be the rebellious son, I will welcome the holiday into my home and do it honour. I also strongly feel that if we do not celebrate our religious freedoms we would not notice if we began to lose them. More of a threat when the days of Communism were strong but a consideration none the less. Every year I worry that I have underestimated how much of something we need. Every year we are, mostly, fine. I will soon throw out last year’s left over jam. I drive in on Friday morning buy all of my frozen and cold products to go in my sister’s spare fridge and freezer and then do the bulk of my dried goods finishing off anything I missed on my way out of town on Sunday.
Two years ago I left all of my dried goods locked in my car on her driveway as usual. As I went to load the car up on Sunday I noticed that the trunk was empty, except for the matzah. Did I bring everything else into the house? I went back in. With shock on her face my sister told me, no I did not. I went back out and looked at the trunk again. Maybe, somehow, I just didn’t see the $300.00 worth of groceries. My brother in law asked if I could have left them in the cart. It was raining that day, I remember putting them in the trunk and not returning my cart because of the rain (sorry, I guess I am a little wicked), I also remember the look of all of those bags in the trunk. I felt sick to my stomach and needed to repurchase everything except the matzah. How come no one likes matzah, not even thieves?
Last year on my way to my sister’s house after having done my shopping I got t-boned at an intersection. The driver of the other car said that I ran the red light. I don’t know what happened I just know that it was my first accident in 30 years and I was in shock. I thought that I had looked at the light, but maybe I was too far back when I last checked it. I don’t know. The guy in the car behind him said that it was my fault too. Did I mention that they worked together? At an auto body shop. The guy who hit me was driving a luxury SUV which he was returning to its owner. I did everything wrong. I didn’t get the proper information, when they said it was my fault I said I was sorry and absolved the driver of all guilt in writing (don’t ask!). I was shaking and I was stunned (obviously). This summer I got a summons from the police to appear in court, it appears that the driver was driving with a suspended license. My husband insists that it could not have been my fault and that they pressured me into admitting guilt and I still say that I really don’t know what happened.
The long and the short of it is that I’m going in this weekend to do my shopping and I’m kind of scared. What is going to happen this year? I will be sooo careful when I’m driving and I’m going to make doubly sure that I lock my car doors at night. Still I cannot escape the prickly feeling at the back of my neck that anything can happen.
I won’t even get into how scary I find the cakes, imported chocolates, potato chips, potatoes every which way, matzah puddings and fried matzah breakfasts.