FRIDAY, YOM HASHISHI

Still misty in the morning. Out for more errands. Dropping off welcome bags to all the other hotels where our friends are staying. Jonathan and I went to Napa to get barbecue tools and a burger at In and Out, his favorite burger chain. Jonathan has the capacity to eat mass quantities of cholesterol and maintain a frighteningly low blood level. Throughout the weekend, both Marjorie and Jonathan have been on their cellular phones for hours a day. Today, Jonathan talked his brother, David, through getting off the deck at M&J's house, where David had locked himself out. Jonathan got a haircut. Carol and Marjorie got manicures and handkerchiefs to cry into.

The guests began to arrive in the late afternoon. And with them came the sun and warmth and light. We tried the hot tub and the sulphur spring.
The Gabor sistersGilda, Nancy, Bess
                         The Gabor sisters                                                         Gilda, Nancy, Bess

Four Jews and an apikoresJonathan and Bess
                                 Five Jews and an apikores                                                                  Jonathan and Bess
 

In the evening, we gathered in the Lodge for a dinner for family and friends staying at WSS. Everyone introduced himself. I introduced my mother, as follows:

"Shabbat shalom. It's been too long since we've come together for family simhalike this. When I was a boy, growing up in Roxbury, all the members of the Ingall and Gottler families would gather together once a year, at Hanukah, brought together by one woman who kept our family together. That woman, my mother, Bess Spiro, is our hostess tonight. My mother is an extraordinary woman. I can say the things Iím about to say because she canít hear a word Iím saying. She is reserved, but full of laughter at a good joke, a woman who loves people, never has a bad word to say about anyone, and is loved and respected by all who meet her. She is wise and full of understanding, as well as patience and tolerance for the foibles and weirdness of others, with me at the top of the list. Tonight, we are in for a wonderful Shabbat dinner. When Marjorie and Jonathan announced their engagement last year, and we began to make plans for the wedding, my mother told me and Carol, 'Iím hosting the Friday night dinner' Then she added in her characteristic manner, 'And I donít want you to spare any expense.' Donít you worry, Ma, we didnít.

"Iíve only said this to my mother once before in my life, and that was many years ago, when I thought I was dying. Tonight, in this place that is so full of life, I say it again, I love you, Ma."

And then my mother said this:

"Every life has its milestones. This weekend is a milestone for me--the marriage of my first grandchild, Marjorie, to Jonathan, who has endeared himself to us. We welcome him and his family to be a part of our extended family.

"I welcome all of you: my relatives, friends, and guests to share with me our Shabbat dinner in honor of this special occasion.

"There are members of our family who are no longer with us but are fixed indelibly in our memories: my parents, Bobbe and Zayde; Olla and Harry, Carol's parents; my dear husband, Morrie, Michael's father; my late husband, Tom Spiro; and our dear late departed "Uncle Jack." Unfortunately, Morrie, Harry, and Zayde did not have the yihus to live long enough to kleib naches from our beautiful, talented and charming Marjorie--that's Grandma's pride showing through; but Bobbe, Olla and Jack did. They loved Marjorie dearly, and she returned their love.

"For the privilege of having made it, I want to say sheheheyanu, to thank the Lord for keeping me alive to celebrate this festive occasion. Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheynu melech ha'olam, sheheheyanu, v'ki'manu, v'higi'anu lazman hazeh."

She introduced Uncle Sid, who made Kiddush, in as glorious voice as ever.

My mother is amazing. She flew all day (first class, using her frequent flyer miles. She quotes her father: "Vos die reicher hot, iz besser.") with her sister Evie. She drove out in traffic for two hours with Andy. She gave an elegant speech. And later, she walked from table to table to greet everyone, as the hostess.

The food was just right for the occasion. The Kosher caterer, Deborah Kelman, whom M & J hired,outdid herself. There was a panoply of vegetarian salads and kugel. Fabulous desserts. Great coffee. Lots of beer, soda, Calistoga water and wine (we served Mondavi Chardonnay and St. Supéry Cabernet Sauvignon).

The flower arrangements by Marjorie's friend, Jill Davidson, were simple, elegant, creative, lovely. So many of Marjorie's friends have been so wonderful, making websites, bringing them food to eat during the past week, running errands, being loving and supportive.

After dinner, Carol led birkat hamazon.

The best part of the evening was the mood, the spirit, the warmth, the closeness, the total feeling of comfort and relaxation and love, surrounded by those whom we care about and who are so dear to us. It doesn't get any better than this.
 

David Gottler  Janet and Bess
                          David Gottler                                                            Janet and Bess

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