Manhattan and Travels North
April 25, 2010
I had a great time visiting up North! I spent a few days with my friend Bob and his wife Louise in New Jersey. Bob has been my “webmaster” for years… since Roger and I were on our sailboat adventures. As a wanna-be sailboater, Bob enjoyed living vicariously through our adventures. I enjoy their company immensely… and I just LOVE that Louise in particular (they are both devote Catholics) freely throws Yiddish words into everyday conversation. I MISS Yiddish! There are only a handful of people down here in North Carolina that understand such deliciously onomatopoeic words as “shlep”, “nudzh”, “shmir” and “shmutz”… Louise has a “shmutz” pot in her kitchen! How can you NOT love a woman with a shmutz pot? I grew up using Yiddish words! Virtually EVERYONE in the greater New York area uses them to one degree or another. It was great to be “home”!
I ran up to my parents house in Chenango County, NY to visit a few days. My sister was also visiting from Omaha, NE. My parents DO have a computer and internet access, but don’t understand the finer points of virus and firewall protection, so my sister spent four or five hours talking with a guy in India, killing all the malware and viruses that had invaded their computer! It was good to visit with them all (my family, not the viruses!).
From there I went down to Manhattan for the weekend. I attended a conference on Western and Buddhist psychology led Jack Kornfield, with Tara Brach and Mark Epstein… all Buddhist authors and psychologists. Jack Kornfield is one of my favorite Buddhist authors. He teaches by telling Buddhist stories… beautiful, delightful stories! But of course, the best part of a conference like that is the PEOPLE you meet. I met awesome and amazing people! Surprisingly, none were “shrinks”, even though about 90 percent of the attendees were therapists of some sort. I’ve never really had an affinity for “shrinks”. I find that they tend to have too many of their own “issues”. (Oh dear! I’m showing one of my prejudices… I’ll have to work on THAT one!).
I met a couple of young Israeli men in the lobby while using the internet one night. I had tried very hard to refrain from talking American/Israeli politics while living in Israel… I don’t feel I understand it well enough and ALL political talk (particularly in Jerusalem) seemed to be inflammatory. It seemed better to remain “neutral”, but I was interested in engaging these two young men in the Sheraton lobby… and learned a lot! One of the more interesting tidbits I picked up was the answer to something that had been a puzzle to me… why had my friend in Tel Aviv assumed that I would prefer to watch FOX news?
For my international friends, I should explain that FOX news leans FAR to the right. Domestic FOX news is loaded with glowing coverage of the “Tea Parties” and Sarah Palin. I wouldn’t normally watch it at all, but lately it seems that every Hospice patient I sit with wants to die with FOX news blaring! I have seen more of FOX news than I would ever care to watch!
So… when I had been invited to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv with my friends I was AGHAST to be offered FOX news to watch! I had spent Friday night at their house after a beautiful shabbatz dinner with their family. I was asked to confine myself to their guest suite after bedtime because they have some beautiful (and valuable) art work in their house, and if I stepped outside of the suite, I would have set off the house alarms. My host was kind enough to show me around the suite and make sure I had everything I would need for the night… and offered to show me how to turn on the TV so I could watch news in the morning, if I woke up early. He automatically turned on FOX news… the ONE English language news station (out of six or seven choices) for which he knew the proper channel number!
Well, according to my new Israeli acquaintances, FOX news has the most honest reporting on Israel! I have never paid THAT much attention… but it makes some sense. FOX news has a decidedly right-wing Christian agenda, and lately many evangelical Christian groups have taken up the Israeli cause because of some obscure Bible passage that they interpret to predict that Jesus will ONLY return after the Third Temple has been built on the Temple Mount. Obviously that Third Temple ISN’T going to be built by Palestinians! They want Israel to stay in control of Jerusalem… so the “rapture” will perhaps come in their lifetime! Interesting!
I met and enjoyed the company of several of the other conference attendees. I even met a woman a few years older than me that had recently made the same Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella that I am preparing for! Short and “frumpy” like me, she said she woke up one morning with the strange notion that she was a 5’9” blonde Norwegian alpine hiker-goddess! Her body hadn’t gotten the “memo”! But she did the trek and lived to tell about it! It gives me courage!
From New York City, I drove up to New Hampshire…since I was in the “neighborhood” (within 300 or 400 miles of it at least!). I stayed with my good friend Colleen and touched base with a number of old friends there. I stopped into the Eaton Village Store… the place that Colleen and her husband owned for years. Roger and I spent hours and HOURS at the EVS! It hasn’t changed much!
I spent a night again with my friends in New Jersey on the way home and managed to make it into Greenville JUST in time for my first Catholic Inquiry class… aka Catholic Catechism. Honestly, they DON’T know what to make of me, but they were all very kind! I think I will enjoy learning about this faith! “Learning” is ALWAYS a good thing, but I don’t foresee “joining”!
Hey! Life’s a TRIP!