Monday, April 25, 2011

Quarters from heaven

Having been to a seder on the second night of Passover, I hosted my own yesterday.

Technically, it was still Passover, and although it's traditional to do it on the first or second night, we figured it's OK to do it later if that's the only time people can come. It also happened to be Easter, making grocery shopping a potential problem.

I set out to do most of my shopping during the week, but I needed more things on Saturday. The store was packed. I ended up on a long line and started to feel very stressed, anticipating all the work that needed to be done. Hostessing does not come easily to me. I had just come from a yoga class, but the calm did not carry over.

Then I looked down and saw a quarter directly in front of my cart.

I have this feeling that my parents send me quarters to remind me that they're here...the inflationary equivalent of pennies from heaven. It's because they always stocked up on quarters to feed parking meters and ride the bus, and when I was in New York they helped me out when I ran short. So now they are helping me out with this sign.

I felt like it was my mother saying, "Calm down, you can do this."

I bought a 20-pound turkey to serve 12 people (with leftovers), so that I wouldn't have to roast two large chickens. I opened the packaging Saturday night around 9:15 to prepare the turkey, and I thought it didn't smell right. Katie came in and said it smelled like eggs. Yuk.

I called Big Y, the local supermarket, and a manager who answered said they were closed. I explained the situation and said I didn't want to sicken a bunch of people with this turkey; he said he only had five 13-pound turkeys left, but if I could be there in 15 minutes he'd make a switch. So I rushed to the store with the rotten turkey and was met in the empty store by my contact, who gave me two 13-pound turkeys, called the deal even, and rushed me out the door.

Here I was once again facing turkey trouble, a different kind but reminiscent of the near-fiasco on Thanksgiving when I decided to clean the oven and the door got stuck shut until at the last minute Jim (my ex-husband) pried it open, only after Joe had ripped off the handle.

Two of my new turkeys would be too much, but one might not be enough. I only had one roasting pan, so I put Turkey #1 in it and crammed Turkey #2 into a disposable lasagna pan.

On Sunday, all three kids were here, and through a team effort, we got ready. The turkeys were cooking nicely, although Turkey #2 ran into trouble when the pan sprang a leak and I fumbled it while trying to get it out of the oven to put foil underneath. I kept it in the pan, but the dog was very happy to discover that most of the drippings had escaped onto the floor.

Anyway, peace descended when we all sat down at the table and the seder began. I lit the candles, and Diane and David, in keeping with tradition, led us through the reading of the Haggadah.

We had our usual guests, my friend Deb and her daughter, Charlotte, who are like family, and special guests Bob (my cousin) and his wife, Lynne. Bob is famous for his rendition of "Go Down, Moses."

We alternate readings, and ever since my illness Diane has given me the one about how Passover is not only about celebrating the exodus of the Jews from Egypt but also about identifying the mitzrayim – the tight spots – in our own lives and in the lives of others and seeking liberation from them.

Having gotten out of some major tight spots, yesterday I got out of a minor one.

Everyone pronounced the turkey my best one ever. The second one was relegated to leftovers.


Elayne said...

Happy Passover Ronnie!

Chez said...

Ronni, it is great to be back in time to pick up on what are new traditions for me [Does that make sense?]
Yummo! Turkey is just about my all time favourite. Glad yours was so succesful, and with leftovers.

Diane said...

Wonderful meal and Sedar, and a joy for us to be together as your guests.
Diane, David, and Sam (and Lily if she had been on the east coast!)

Nelle said...

That was a great save with turkey exchange. Glad to know that you had a seder to enjoy. I think traditions are important and I love that we can add new ones to the old. I love that you saw the quarter. I see so many things that remind me of my grandma such as the bleeding heart plant that would never bloom until the spring after I lost her. It's gorgeous this year.