Today, SOB (sister of blogger), Dad and I planned to have brunch and then go visit our cousins who sell antiques and are in New York City for a show on the antiques circuit.
SIDEBAR: This is NOT Antiques Road Show, where a sculpture of a hand holding a bird is estimated to be more valuable than two birds in the bush. How do I know my cousins are a notch above? First, they travel the world over to buy the “stuff”; second, they charge a lot for the “stuff”; and third, they had to buy a whole other house to keep the “stuff”. (One still maintains a day job.)
We told Dad to meet us at noon at a coffee shop not too far from his house (he likes to walk a little to get the blood flowing, which is essential at 91.5 years old). Knowing that Dad arrives at least 30 minutes early, SOB and I decide to get there even earlier so we can have a pre-Dad schmooze. We arrive at the coffee shop at 11:10am. As we enter, we see Dad walking up. (I am glad we said noon; if we had said 10am, Dad would have arrived at 11pm the night before.)
We had our usual conversations, punctuated by what was happening in the GOP primaries. SOB and I are attuned to Dad’s rhythms. We can tell from his body language that he is about to make a loud and slightly aggressive request for more coffee. We also know that he did not hear the server say that a new pot was brewing and he would freshen up the coffee as soon as the pot was ready. So as his hand is going up, SOB gently guided it back down to the table as I repeated (louder this time) that the coffee is coming.
SIDEBAR: I attribute our gentle ballet to the skills we learned playing Capture the Egg on Sundays at camp. For those of you unfamiliar with the “sport”, it is Capture the Flag but with eggs. The winning team has the most number of intact eggs at the end of the game. Some of the eggs are hard boiled, some are soft boiled and some are raw. When your teammate runs into “enemy territory” and gets trapped, she then has to throw the egg to you as you stand on your side of the field. You need to assume it is raw but hope it is hard boiled. The trick in catching a raw egg is that you don’t catch it like a baseball; you catch it like a football — a cradle-like reception, as you gently reduce its spiral and speed. And then, when the raw egg nevertheless splatters all over you, you call, “first in line for the shower!!!” Ok, I digress.
Dad is really steady at his age, but snow and ice is a challenge. Of course, he wanted to take the bus. I wanted to take a cab. And I didn’t have enough on my Metrocard for a ride.
SIDEBAR: It is true that my Metrocard was low; but it was convenient on a cold day on the icy streets of New York when I want my father to be in one piece for my wedding.
SOB said to Dad, “If we take a cab, we will save [Blogger] money on her Metrocard.” We throw in test of logical thinking every now and again to assess Dad’s mental acuity. He rolled his eyes, so we know he is ok. SOB is non-confrontational, yet effective. Strong work.
We arrive at the Antiques Show at the 26th Street Armory (in case anyone is wondering, I paid for a cab or two on this adventure). Our cousins were there, as was another cousin. The other cousin talked about his son’s engagement to an Iranian Muslim. I noted that the successful marriages in our family were mostly mixed or same-sex marriages. We all looked at each other. Yep, we were all happy and either our partners were not Jewish or, if Jewish, the same sex. So, I suggested to my cousin that we should all be relieved that his son was not marrying a Jew, for the sake of his future happiness.
One cousin asked about my upcoming nuptials. Most of the details that are not quite settled relate to religious law. Clearly, this makes no sense since a lesbian wedding is not sanctioned by tradition. So why do we worry so much about complying with all of the rituals? I tried to explain to this to our cousin, a non-Jew who married into the family, that Jews fearlessly go into absurd detail where others — except maybe the Vatican — don’t dare tread. The mental gymnastics required to marry two women free and clear of prior entanglements are epic, as in Homer-like epic. Too bad the Bard is not around to sing the tale of mighty warrior(ette)s slaying the various beasts, and overcoming the various challenges placed in their path by the gods on their way, so that they may seal their love and singular devotion (and have a little party). All for a 20 minute ritual. The things we do for tribal continuity.
Maybe PBS will do a mini-series. The J-Word: Life Behind the Lesbian Chuppah.