Saturday, February 25, 2012
Yesterday was a busy day and understandably so. With the memorial service scheduled for Tuesday there is a lot that needs to be accomplished before then. yesterday Susan and her brothers wrote the obituary notice that will be published in the local paper here, as well as The Salem News. There was a meeting with the rabbi who will be conducting the service and a brief meeting with the head of the sisterhood of the synagogue. They will be in charge of the reception that will follow the service and have volunteered to do so in appreciation of all that Sam did for the synagogue and also to relieve the family of the need to plan yet another event with all the other business that needs to be addressed.
At the memorial service there will be a display of photos and part of yesterday morning was spent going through a number of pictures that were in the basement of the house where Sam spent his California days. There were a number of pictures from his service days, as well as photos from his career in education. Prior to meeting with the rabbi the foursome made a stop at the local paper to discuss the obituary and then made arrangements with a local graphic artist to produce a slide show that will be part of the celebration of Sam’s life. While all that was happening downtown, brother Saul came up the hill with his violin and demonstrated his skill on his recently acquired instrument.
Saul plays a multiplicity of instruments. He plays guitar, fife, ukulele, banjo, drums, clarinet and now the violin. His violin was purchased at the Goodwill in San Francisco. It turns out that its previous owner was an Emily Chen and the violin was covered with stickers that displayed her name and her likeness. Saul thought she looked a bit like Snow White and for that reason he christened his new instrument as the Princess Emily Chen Violin. For someone who purchased the violin in November having never played one before he is at the point where he can play a number of tunes on the violin. Saul revealed the secret that lies behind his ability to play a multiplicity of instruments. He said that the key was when he realized that there was one thing that all instruments have in common. They were designed to be played with ten fingers. Once he discovered that commonality the number of instruments that he was able to play grew by leaps and bounds.
Saul and I decided to take a trip to the local supermarket to pick up some makings for lunch and to restock some of the basics in Mary’s house. Our cart soon was filled with fruit, vegetables, bread, lunchmeat, milk, chips, as well as other necessities like a case of beer, a bottle of gin, a bottle of bourbon and a bottle of tequila. It soon became obvious that we needed to pay a visit to the potato chip aisle so that everyone would be able to make it through the day. As we made our way up and down the aisles Saul played a variety of tunes on his violin. We also serenaded the checkout clerks and one of them suggested to Saul that he might want to take a seat at the bench outside the store where the homeless hang out and play his violin there. He implied that Saul might be able to earn a day’s pay out there. We thanked him for his suggestion, but we informed him that our task for the day was magical in nature in that we were going to cause much of the beer in our cart to disappear in the course of the day.
We sat down to lunch around one and everyone took care of making their own sandwich. We polished off a couple of bags of chips and made a sizable dent in the containers of coleslaw and macaroni salad. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking at pictures and working on the computer at a variety of tasks. Mary and Miladie had been busy all day preparing cakes and pies for the impending visit of Sara, Katrina and Elio. In addition to making her world famous zucchini cake, Mary popped a couple of pumpkin pies into the oven. At about 5:00 PM Mary got back into action preparing supper. In addition to making a salad, she prepared some Yukon Gold potatoes, asparagus and a rather large filet of salmon.
Susan and Robert sat down to dinner as soon as the salmon was ready. They had planned to go to Friday night services at the synagogue and would return back home much too late to have dinner. Susan and Robert left at 7:00 and the rest of us grazed at the island as we waited for Sara, Katrina and Elio to arrive. They had picked up their rental car at the San Francisco airport at 2:30 and had encountered the same miserable traffic jams that we had encountered the previous day. As much as San Franciscans make fun of LA’s traffic situation, I hasten to tell them that their traffic situation is as bad if not worse because LA offers a number of different alternatives to get from point A to point B. San Francisco does not have those alternatives.
Katrina, Elio and Sara did not pull into the driveway until well after 10:00. Elio had fallen asleep in the car seat and shortly afterwards he was transferred to one of the many beds in the house. David arrived soon thereafter and we sat around the kitchen island chatting while we enjoyed a wide variety of food and drink. The pumpkin pie emerged from the fridge and quickly disappeared. Susan and Robert returned a little after 10:30 and joined the party. I turned in about 10:45 and Susan and Sara continued to chat for a while and I have no idea when Susan came to bed.