by Neena Strichart
As a young teen I loved watching movies depicting college kids on “Easter vacation.” Films like Where The Boys Are and Palm Springs Weekend gave me dreamy ideas of the fun and independence I could look forward to. Alas, I never had the opportunity to experience what the kids now call “spring break.” No Fort Lauderdale or Palm Springs for me, just time at home with a big “status quo” stamped on my forehead.
This past weekend I did have a bit of a spring break that I now like to refer to as “Where The Goys Are.” (The word “Goy” being a Hebrew and Yiddish term for a non-Jewish person).
Friday evening Steve and I attended a Passover Seder dinner at the home of our friends Rob Schlesinger and Kelly James. Knowing of my food limitations, these lovely folks made sure that EVERYTHING they served was gluten-free, even the matzah crackerbread! Talk about a feast. They served brisket, potatoes, vegetables, matzah ball soup, chicken liver paté, haroset (a cold dish made with apples) and a beautiful, flourless chocolate cake for dessert.
To help with the festive mood, Steve and I brought along the alcoholic beverages: Manischewitz wine, peach champagne, and hard apple cider. By the end of the evening, all 10 of the people present had satisfied tastebuds and were grateful for the fellowship. I have rarely had such a lovely evening. The traditional ritual readings were especially meaningful. Thanks again to Rob and Kelly.
Saturday morning I hopped out of bed like a little Easter bunny ready to go do my volunteer work at Signal Hill’s Spring Fest. When I tried to get Steve up and moving to join me, he just groaned and said he had too much Passover brisket and may never eat again. So, rather than try to lure him from his bed, I decided to go without him– his loss! I had a ball. The first half hour or so I took pictures for the City and was then assigned to work a booth assisting youngsters putting spring-like stickers on pastoral scenes. The kids were so cute.
As I completed my own project (took me an hour) while passing out the sticker-project to each child. It was fun interacting with the kids and their parents, and I enjoyed teasing the participants by telling them not to put the stickers on their sisters or so make sure they didn’t sell the finished product on eBay, because I’d be watching. What I found really interesting was how many children wanted me to see their completed picture and seemed anxious for my critique. I “oohed and ahhed” over each piece of artwork and made personal comments about every one.
“Wow, you did a great job of putting the carrot in the bunny’s mouth” or “Nice job putting the sheep jumping over the sun; I would have never thought of that!” They seemed so pleased to hear positive feedback from a stranger. Thanks, City of Signal Hill, for giving me the opportunity to be a kid again!
Easter Sunday, after a few minutes of private prayer, Steve and I got ready to head out to my mother’s place for lunch. Living at Bixby Knolls Towers makes it easy for Mom to be the perfect hostess– no cooking or cleaning up! Joining us for lunch was Steve’s brother Robert, our friend Shari and pals Gary Dudley and Jane Fallon. Once again we had a great meal and wonderful visit with family and friends. The weekend may not have been the “spring break” that I dreamed of as a young teenager, but it was pretty fantastic for this 55-plus-year-old woman.