With George dying in Beth Israel, and
Aunt Dana at his bedside, with
my mother clinging to a chance,
drifting log, I knew there would
be no family Passover this year. And I

thought of Black Elk on his mountain-
top, declaiming amidst rain and tears
that the nation's hoop had now been
broken. So I said, look, we have a
few hours, let's make a small seder

here in Croton, just us. Nooo, she said,
weary but, as ever, not beyond words. I'm not
part of just one tradition any longer, I've
gone beyond that, I'm an "in-ta-nationalist,"
she said in her very Jewish way, words

falling lightly as knishes.  I ran
to the local A&P, moved less by spirit
than a hunch, and shamelessly
bought our seder-in-a-can: bouillon
cube consomme, the Jolly Green Giant's

own "select" green beans, matzoh balls
by Manischewitz, gefilte fish pallid in
the jar, barbecued chicken right off
the spit.  Crowded in by the usual eggs,
bones, charoses, we gathered round this
modern miracle, delayed only by
Sandy's insistence that fresh parsley
--Please!-- be put in the
soup. Ten minutes later, the meal
was over, the waters had parted, and

somewhere in the Sinai we continued
to wander. The photo we took had her
in half-shadow. Not quite a month later
we were eulogizing our great poet-mother, and
opening the morgue's plain manila envelope

to examine the final inventory: one wedding band,
one diamond ring (her mother's), and from off her
neck one old Jewish star (mine) that she had taken
to wearing to challenge her granddaughter's cross,  
fighting fire with fire to the last.  

October 1990                                                                                

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
Contact Bill Schechter