A vacation from our family vacation
Sometimes getting things organized with my family can be difficult. We are dealing with five different sets of needs and five different sets of obligations that all need to be aligned, so we can all go away together. As I ,looked at the calendar looking at the week that seemed best for our vacation, I realized that my father's Yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death fell in the middle of our vacation.
Yarhzeit is usually marked by reciting Kaddish. One of the truly brilliant practices n Judaism is that Kaddish can not be recited in isolation. It is a call and response prayer. It needs to be said within a group of at least ten. You just can't do it alone. My father's Yarhzeit was Tuesday evening and Wednesday.
Where we are staying is rich in lakes and hiking trails and antique stores, not so rich in synagogues and Jewish community. I decided that it would make sense for me to to take the bus from town and travel the 2 1/2 hours to Boston to say Kaddish with my mother and my sisters. This would be the first time since my father's Shiva that we would be standing together and saying kaddish.
Bus service from this corner of the world is not like taking the M104 bus down Broadway. In order to get the the 7:00 p.m. service, I had to take a 9:30 a.m. bus. I figured that I could wander around Boston a bit and hang out with my mother before evening services. The bus-in bus out quickie trip to Boston would feel very much like the many quick but intense trips to Boston that I took while my father was dying.
Surprisingly, the bus trip itself was delightful. My seatmate pulled out a Hebrew textbook on style and writing. Within a few minutes we were chatting in away in Hebrew and English. Asaph grew up just a few miles from the kibbutz where my son lived for the past two years. The unexpectedness of chatting in Hebrew on the North Conway to Boston bus,, combined with how completely delightful Asaph was in any language, made the bus-ride fell the way the traditional commentators described Jacob's journey...that the road hurried itself under his feet.
After the bus got to Boston, I went to the one fabric store left in Boston's old fabric district. Winmill has a large collection of fabric and it's well priced. But it made me realize how lucky I am to have the range of stores I have even in the diminished New York garment district.
One of the odd things about wandering around downtown Boston is that because of all of the historic sites many of the tour guides for the sites are dress in 18th century costume. So as I wandered, I kept seeing folks dressed as if it was 1774, drinking their cups of Starbucks or waiting to place their lunch order at a food truck. No one gives these visitors from another era a second look.
I then went to my mother's apartment. The house I grew up in was located at the bottom of a hill. It was completely surrounded by large elm trees. The view from the windows was green and lush, but you had the sense of being closed in. My mother's apartment is on the 5th floor and has views. I think it was one of the things that made my mother choose it. My mother has put some of her favorite things on the living .room window sills. Now that my mother is less mobile than she used to be, having a view of the big wide world is really important to her.
My mother, my sisters and I said Kaddish together at evening services and then went out to dinner to celebrate my oldest sister's birthday, which is today. ( HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!) In the morning three of us went back to morning services and then I took the subway back to South Station and took the bus back to my husband and my boys. In the herding cats difficulty of coordinating all of our schedules, our daughter was unable to join us.