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Friday, April 6, 2012

Passing Over!

  • First came the parental insitance that one day I’d look back fondly upon these family holidays and the sweet traditions of my youth. 
  • Then came my tantrums and sulks.
  • Then the parental threats. 
  • Then the grim, soul-crushing acceptance of utter powerlessness and the knowledge that the Passover Seder at Auntie Jenny’s was as unavoidable and inevitable as death.  
  • Last came me -- in a dress, with hard shoes and a bitter scowl.

Great Auntie Jenny and Uncle Manny had two sons. Uncle Bill and Greta had three sons. I had a brother. And then there was me, the only girl. That meant that when we arrived at Auntie Jenny’s each adult told me how pretty I was, or how pretty my stupid dress was, or both. And then no one spoke another word to me for the rest of the interminable night.
Me & Barry
While I sat in a lump of resentment, my brother and the boy cousins would play boy games having boy fun until dinner, at which time I helped my auntie serve soup. This meant carrying one bowl at a time and setting it down before each of my uncles and aunts and boy cousins.
Perhaps this doesn’t sound utterly humiliating and horrid. But it was. 

Worse, everyone complimented my parents on how nice it must be to have a helpful daughter like me. Grrrrrrrr!
And worse than even that -- in between courses we went around the table reading the Passover Haggadah, including prayers in Hebrew... out loud!  
In a stew of dread, I’d feel my turn to read lurching toward me like the Frankenstien Monster. I did not want to read out loud in front of these people and I did not want to read this crazy stuff about plagues, and first born sons dying, and blood on door posts and lamb’s bones, and bitter herbs and tears and slavery and smart sons and stupid sons, and boils.

Perhaps if a kid is raised with religious stuff more than once a year, the odder aspects of the Sedar wouldn’t be as utterly bizarre and confusing. But I don’t think you can be rational and straightforward month after month, then suddenly spring all kinds of kookie goings on at someone and expect them to swallow it whole. And besides being wacko, the Passover Seder was also unbelievably l-o-n-g and tedious. 
Luckily, all miserable things do come to an end. And finally we’d be back in the car on the drive home. That’s when my mom always said, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
So now, as Passover is here once more, I ask this: Do I now, as foretold in the prophacy by my wise mother, look back fondly at those sweet holiday memories? 
The answer is NO! I absolutely do not! 
But as an adult at long last, I can pass over Passover. And so I say amen & happy holidaze!

1 comment:

Amy Goldman Koss said...

P.S. Comments are back. (Unless the creepo returns)