The Euphemist

Reflections on Jewish Studies and many other subjects big and little, by a perpetual student who sometimes searches a little too long for just the right word ...

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Location: Minnesota, United States

Christian, truth seeker, husband, son, brother & uncle, Lutheran pastor, musician (cello, etc.), Jewish Studies grad student, intellectual historian, aquarium enthusiast & pet owner, philologist, astronomer, Norwegian-American, Ford pickup driver, buffoon.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

2,561.9 miles, a few goats, many blessings, zero pounds!

In the last couple of weeks we went on a journey to my wife's home state of Indiana (sorry I didn't say "hi", Michael H, maybe on the next trip ...) & saw most of her family & a few friends. Here's the obligatory travelogue, prefaced by Holy Week a few days earlier.

April 13: Maundy Thursday, led the second annual Passover Seder, this year at the Town Church. Our seder followed the Haggadah found at Shalom Scripture Studies, a Hebrew-Christian ministry. At almost the last minute I found a few legs of lamb (the Sephardic tradition includes it, the Ashkenazim exclude it) at HyVee. I had earlier asked a lady whose husband raises sheep if they had any lamb on hand, and she said they didn't, but she made this well-intentioned offer: "We have some pork roast in the freezer. We could cook it and just pretend it's lamb." I said "no, thanks" & decided that on some other occasion I might give a tactful, gentle clarification of just how uniquely inappropriate it would be to have pork roast at a seder. It's worse than those ham & cheese bagels, for crying out loud. But the same lady made this wonderful charoseth (recipe from the same website:)

(makes 4 cups)

1 pound chopped apples
1 pound dried raisins
8 ounces pitted dates
2 cups water (or as needed)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Place the apples, raisins, and dates in a bowl with
enough water to cover. Let stand for 1 hour.

Add the sugar and whirl the mixture in a blender, a
few spoonfuls at a time. Or divide the mixture in
thirds and place in a food processor.

Transfer the chopped fruits to a heavy saucepan and
let simmer over low
heat until the fruits are cooked and the liquid
absorbed. It should take about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and place in a jar. When cool,
sprinkle with chopped nuts.

YIELD: 16 Servings

There are many recipe variations. Often some wine is used, & one could use honey or another natural sweetener. The seder was a blessing.

April 14: a very simple Good Friday Tenebrae service at the Country Church.

April 16: Celebrating the Resurrection.

Monday, April 17: A few hectic last-minute preparations finally gave way to the beginning of our vacation. We loaded up "Strider" our Ford Ranger (get it?), headed on out and stayed in a camping cabin in Western Iowa.

Tuesday, April 18: Made the happy discovery of the Museum of Religious Arts, which includes a display of prints by child prodigy artist Akiane, who credits her gift to God. I'm collecting bits of evidence here & there that God exists, & I'm adding her gifts to the list. Made our way to another campground in Eastern Iowa.

Wednesday, April 19: An extremely friendly half-grown kitten hanging out at the campground tried to include herself in our luggage. Crossed Illinois & arrived at yet another campground in West Central Indiana.

Thursday, April 20: While leisurely doing laundry at about 9:00 AM, we discovered it was really 10:00 AM! After years of non-conformity, Central Indiana has adopted Daylight Savings Time, just in time to put us to an unexpected rush, because we needed to check out by noon & head out to my wife's parents' home in Fishers, IN. Had a nice time, & stayed at their house that night.

Friday, April 21: Visited with the in-laws, including lunch at Moe's Southwest Grill, where the crew shouts "Welcome to Moe's" every time someone comes in. Then we headed back to the campground, where we stayed the next few nights.

Saturday, April 22: Picked up my wife's sister in South Indianapolis, then the three of of headed to SW Indiana to visit another sister & her two kids. Thought we were running an hour late, but we ended up being exactly on time, because we didn't realize their county's time was an hour earlier! Toured the house, went on a walk and visited a few neighborhood goats.

Sunday, April 23: Blessed through a fine time of worship at a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod church 1/4 mile from my wife's parents' house, then saw one of my wife's brothers & his wife & their two kids, who came down from Fort Wayne. I took a leave for part of the afternoon & went to a relatively short "Agape Vespers" service at an Orthodox Church where my wife was once a member (the 23rd was Pascha or Easter on their calendar), & where friends Michael & Rebecca are very active. This service features the reading of the Gospel lesson in many languages, & I was there to read it in Hebrew (I'll blog later on my humbling first attempt to be a Hebrew lector).

Monday, April 24: Dined with friend Mina, had supper with Michael & Rebecca & their daughter. Last night at campground in Indiana. My wife's family & friends are very nice people, all of them. MEMO TO ALL YOU SINGLES OUT THERE: If you must marry, be sure to marry someone whose friends are truly good people. But if you remain single, you've committed no sin ... regardless of how certain people in your church might make you feel about it ...

Tuesday, April 25: The only day it rained, was sunny by the time we arrived at a hotel in Eastern Iowa.

Wednesday, April 26: Cruised across Iowa. While taking a break at Stuart, Iowa, we saw an intriguing sign that said there was a "Byzantine Style Church." Investigated, & found to our dismay that the building stands in severe disrepair due to a 1995 "hate crime." Read more about it at Returned to the same campground as on the first night of the trip. Fish were literally jumping out of the water (& flopping back in) all evening.

Thursday, April 27: Journeyed home.

Friday, April 28: Retreived Pluto aka "The Dogster" from the doggie hotel (kennel), where he had become a sort of mascot. He was truly overjoyed to see us, & the feeling was mutual. Life is getting back to normal again. I think we had an above-average vacation. Very pleased to step on the scale & find I had gained zero pounds! If I may crow for a moment, I've worked nearly 40 pounds off in the last year & a half, & I'm within 16-17 pounds of my target weight (I had let myself get pretty big). Trips have always been a challenge to the diet, & I didn't want to lose any hard-won ground. But praise the LORD it worked out pretty well this time.

Next post: "Invitation to the Septuagint."


Anonymous michael h said...

You didn't say "hi," but you better have at least waved...

I didn't wind up attending a seder this year, and missed it, especially the maror and charoset...

One particular highlight of Pesach this year was the golf ball sized hail throughout most of Indianapolis on the first day. It hailed for 8 minutes, with a sustained intensity that was truly frightening. I have never seen anything like it.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Yes, I was told of the hail, which sounded rather ominous, to say the least.

I kept my eyes peeled for you, Michael. I may never have told you that we also made a visit to Indy on Thanksgiving 2003, and even made a visit to "The Good Earth" and fed the ducks, etc. in the canal. I at least half-expected you to show up & it almost seemed weird that you didn't, though it was in the middle of a weekday, so you probably were at work.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous michael h said...

I was half kidding in the first paragraph...

Maybe one of these times we can visit during one of your visits...seems more likely than my somehow being in SD...:)

9:01 PM  

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