So far on my cross-country journey, I haved traveled 8,000 miles and visited or passed through 16 states. I don’t collect souvenirs (except for the pink cowgirl hat I bought in Texas). Instead, I collect firsts. My first night camping. My first view of the Sonoran Desert. My first sip of Grand Marnier. My first taste of Greek food. There have been hundreds of firsts on this journey, but a true gem to add to my crown of experience was the first time ever I was at a dinner when someone said, “Pass the matzo.”
If you have spent any time reading the comments at the bottom of my posts, you will have come across Rami Ungar, a long-time follower of this blog and an author of horror fiction. (He has a new book coming out next month, so look for it if you like scary fiction.)
Rami and his rabbi father invited me to a family dinner when I passed through Ohio, and they apologized profusely for the poor fare. Because it was Passover, there were various dietary restrictions, but even if the food hadn’t been gourmet quality (it was truly delicious), I would have been delighted with the meal. I mean really — Passover with a rabbi? How cool is that! (Another couple of firsts for me: first Passover meal, first visit with a rabbi.)
It was wonderful to meet Rami after all these years, a treat to sit in the kitchen with him and his father as they baked the following day’s fare, and a pleasure to meet his beautiful sisters.
There was a lot of talk that night — religion, writing, comedy, travel — but what I will always remember is the joy of that simple sentence, a strange one to me, a common one to them: “Pass the matzo.”
Be sure to check out Rami’s post for more about our visit:
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)