So it was Passover yesterday. And I actually got to participate in a real, actual Passover... complete with gefilte fish and horse radish and alot of wine.
I had participated in a Passover before, but it was part of my World Cultures class in high school. It consisted of a bunch of sophomores sitting around in these robes we made out of old sheets. The male students wore coffee filters on their heads to represent skull caps. We ate Heinz horseradish and the parsley we ate was a little old. I remember when the local rabbi (there was only one rabbi in Shreveport... go figure...) walked into our festivities to lead the ceremony and the look on his face was one that said, "Coffee filters? Flowered sheet robes? Oy! I gotta get out of the South." (Now that I think about it, he did end up leaving Shreveport 6 months later. Hm.)
As you can imagine, I was excited to actually go to a real Passover, sans coffee filters and old parsley.
I'll let you in on a little secret: When I was a kid, I wanted to be Jewish. So bad. And my reasons for wanting to be Jewish had nothing to do with the religion. It had to do with the people. All the Jewish people I knew were the damn coolest, nicest, funniest people. I fell in love with a boy in the 4th grade and had a huge crush on him until Junior year of high school. He was Jewish. He was funny. He was the only other kid I remember in elementary school who cast his vote for Dukakis in our mock election. The teacher read the results "Bush- 58. Dukakis- 2." Our eyes met across the room... both knowing that the other was a "cool liberal." Not too shabby for a couple of 5th graders in elementary school.
By Junior year, however, I concluded that our liberal love affair would never be fulfilled and turned my attentions to Ned- the captain of the debate team. Methodist. Eh.
So that gives you a little back history into my excitedness about all things Jewish.
But this particular Passover's excitement was mixed with dread. Why? Because I was going to have to be there with Lipman's parents and all of their friends.
As soon as we pulled up to the house, I was nervous. A sick sort of nervous. First off, hanging out with your lover's parents is not something that I find joy in. I dread it. I don't know what it is- oh, wait, yes I do- it's because I'm fucking their son and they know it. That just adds a certain air to any socialization I have with parents.
"This is Lipman's fuckmate, Ladeeleroy."
"Hi. Nice to meet you. I enjoy fucking their son."
Second, I was so scared that my not being Jewish was going to be a problem. I felt like I was a spy that was there to collect all their Koscher cooking recipes to sell to Southern Living on the sly.
The first thing I did when I got there was down a glass of wine. Why? Because, that's why.
The first 20 minutes were horrendous. I was the girl who was sitting alone on a couch, pushing a piece of mushy fish around on a plate... not wanting to eat it because it was not a particular tasty piece of mushy fish, but also not wanting to appear anti-semetic because I didn't like gefilte fish. I didn't want to be attached at Lipman's side, for fear that it would be obvious to all that I was uncomfortable and co-dependant. So I went into my own little loner couch world. I counted the lights on the ceiling- 8. I looked at all the family photos on the wall. I finally figured out that the thing on top of the TV was a stuffed rooster. I felt like a Protestant in Israel.
That's when the husband of the household came up to me and said, "Gefilte, fish, huh? Not the most tasty thing in the world. Can I give you a suggestion?"
"Sure.." I said, afraid that he was going to respond with something like "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE YOU NON-EATING GEFILTE FISH NAZI!....."
Instead he said:
"Drown the thing with horse radish sauce. The horse radish will kill the taste and will actually numb the back of your throat so that you'll be able to eat about three more, if forced to."
That's when I knew that I was going to enjoy myself at this Passover.
There was one moment, however, that I was a little unsure of my conclusion. The wife of the household informed Lipman and I that we were going to have to sit at the children's table.
My 28 year-old boyfriend and my 24-year-old ass were going to be sitting at the kid's table. Punch me in the mouth and call me pretty, this was going to be weird.
After the blessing of the food and all of the singing and reading and finding Motzah hidden under the kitchen sink, Lipman and I retreated to the kid's table.
(I realized I just breezed over the Passover part- so let me give you the overall impression. These blessings make you drink a glass of wine after every blessing. You also have to wash your hands alot. I tell you what, this Jewish thing has it's selling points- drunkardness and hygiene. But that's not all, I was really touched by the tradition and the recognition of Jewish history and their remarkability to survive throughout all the crap that they've had to go through. It was really enlightening. I don't think I'll be converting, but it was a really interesting ceremony to witness and participate in. Alot of love and what not. Summary concluded.)
So it's me, Lipman, a 12-year-old, a 14-year-old, and a girl who I thought was 15, but turned out to be a freshman at UT.
I had another glass of wine.
"How many glasses of wine have you had?," asked the 12-year-old.
"Two.," I lied as I poured my third full glass of wine, wondering if my status as Role Model was in jeopardy.
"Oh. Did you see that episode of the Nanny when Fran Dreschner ran over this rabbit and then freaked out when another car she was driving in had a rabbit's foot on the rear view mirror?"
And, again, another rush of relief came over me. I knew I was going to be okay.
I tell you what. Next time someone tells me that I have to sit at the Kid's table, I'm going to be happy about it. I had the best time conversating with them. They were so smart. And so polite. And just really really all around cool.
I think I had a better time than the adults. Screw the adult table. Kid's table is where it's at. Boo Yeah, beetches.
The night finally concluded. I was stuffed with two bowls (not bowels) of Motzah ball soup, a big apricot salad, some potato cakes (lachies?), asparagus, some chopped up apple salad, baked chicken, koscher deserts, and four glasses of wine.
As I departed, I thanked the host for letting me come into her home and be a part of a family tradition. "People with good hearts are always family.," she said.
Damn. Jewish people are cool.
This weekend Lipman gets to have Easter with me and my family. God Bless America. I think that's just so neat.