The Miracle of the Non-Seder

Posted on April 3, 2018


Saturday was the Annual Life in the Boomer Lane Seder.  The Seder, for those readers whose understanding of the Jewish religion is limited to “Jesus was Jewish, right?”  is a traditional meal to honor the Passover.  The Passover, for those readers who are still stuck on how Jesus could be Jewish if he celebrated Christmas and Easter, is the commemoration of the 40 years-across-the-dessert wandering the Jews went through in order to reach the Promised Land and figure out how to get things wholesale.

So, in sum, the Seder includes following a Hagaddah (prayer book), interspersed with periods of eating foods symbolizing the events of the Passover story,  copious wine drinking, and, in the case of LBL, small children ending up under the dining room table.

Seders are as varied as the people who hold them, ranging from a several hours long very serious religious service, followed by the actual meal, to the more freewheeling mayhem usually found at the home of LBL.  In her time, LBL has hosted a wide variety of Seders, some with different themes.  The Liberal/Vegetarian/Feminist/Recovering Alcoholic/Lesbian Seder remains a fan favorite.

This year, LBL planned for a Seder that would include nine adults and eight small children.  As always, she made numerous food lists and promptly misplaced most of them.  As always, the trips to various area supermarkets vastly outnumbered the number of ingredients to be purchased. As always, a lot of the ingredients were incorrect and had to be returned. As always, there was a lot of creative license taken with recipes, or, at least with the recipes LBL didn’t misplace.

This year, events conspired to make this Seder especially memorable. During the week leading up to the Seder, LBL managed to make an entire batch of matzoh balls have the density of little bowling balls.  For those readers not familiar with matzoh balls, LBL will inform you that you have already exceed the limit of Jewish-related words LBL is willing to explain to you. You are on your own now.

LBL also made a jello mold that refused to set, in the most militant way possible.  She trusts that all readers are familiar with the term “jello mold.”  For those readers who were born after the Era of Jello Molds ended, she doesn’t care. She will still not explain this to you.

The day before the Seder, five adults and four children dropped out, due to unforeseen circumstances, which LBL believes had nothing to do with news getting out about the with the failed matzoh balls and the liquid jello mold.   LBL cut down on the ingredients for the new batches of matzoh balls and the new jello mold.  They were both, like the first tries, abject failures.

At 5:30 AM on Seder day, LBL and Now Husband had to make an emergency trip to Philly to see LBL’s friend Janice.  Beloved Daughter was now in charge of creating matzoh balls that didn’t resemble little cannon balls and a jello mold that would set. She was to also include cooking the brisket and taking care of everything else. This, in addition to her job as mom to three small boys.

Thanks to her, the third batch of matzoh balls worked out, as did the third jello mold.  LBL and Now Husband returned home at 3:30 PM.  Two new adults and three new children materialized at about 5 PM, the original time for the Seder. This may have occurred because of the new successful matzoh balls and jello mold, but LBL isn’t certain.

While the adults were taking care of the final touches to the meal, the six children had gone upstairs in order to entertain themselves with a variety of imaginative, and mostly lethal, activities. The twenty-two-month-old, who lives in a one level apartment, was fascinated by the readily available staircase.  After considering his options as to how to utilize this new toy, he decided on throwing about 100 articles of clothing down the stairs.

Because of all the confusion, people sat down to the table late.  Before the Seder service could start, two adults arrived who had been invited for dessert.   They were added to the dinner. The children in the other room needed attention and, while this was going on, two more adults arrived for dessert and were added to the dinner. While people were eating, three more adults arrived and then two more. Like the loaves and fishes, the matzoh balls, kugel, and brisket miraculously served everyone.

In sum, fifteen adults and six children ate the meal and the dessert.  A lot of food was consumed and a lot of wine was imbibed, even without express any directive from on high. The twenty-two-month-old was especially joyful, as he had extra helpings of the jello mold which had been made with Passover wine.

The kids all got to bed way too late.  The house was a wreck.  The stairs were impassable. LBL and her daughter were up until 2 AM. cleaning up. By then, LBL had lost track of how many people were coming in and out, how much food was eaten, where exactly her wine had gotten to, and which holiday they were supposed to be celebrating. She was mentally and physically exhausted. And this year, even more so than all others previously, her gratitude for health, for family and for friends, was unprecedented.