Passover, Freedom, Matzo Ball Soup, Goodbye

18 Apr

When I was pregnant with my first child, my grandfather used to meet me for breakfast or lunch at a slightly grungy diner up the street. Even if we met for breakfast, I’d order soup.  “You’re a cheap date,” he’d say.  “That’s what I hear,” I’d reply and scoop up broth, carrots, and celery.  I would always give him a bite, and without fail, a bit of the matzo ball would wind up stuck in his white beard.  Yesterday, I went with my dad to finish cleaning out my grandfather’s house.  He died this fall at the age of 91.  Though he wasn’t religious, Passover was one of his favorite holidays because it’s about freedom.  My papa was a staunch believer in equal rights for everyone no matter their religion, race, sexual orientation, or soup preference.  He marched, he wrote letters, he voted.  He loved me without reserve and without pause.  I miss him.  He was a parent, grandparent, and great grandparent.  A world traveler.  A doctor.  A gardener.  A loving husband for 67 years.  A swimmer in the cold Atlantic by the house now undone on Cape Cod.  I would watch him swim as I looked for crabs under the barnacled rocks.  We scattered him there, out past the jetty.  Today, I make matzo balls, and while I wish I could give him a taste and see it stick in his white beard, I know he’d be thrilled at life continuing on, about the quest for freedom, the gathering of family around a cheap bowl of soup.

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