Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Good Morning World

Whoa,oa,oa. I feel good!
I knew that I would now!
I FEEL good; I knew that I would Now!
So good,
I got you!

May James Brown, rest his soul, feel as good as I did when I woke up this morning. Haven’t felt my heart in 24 hours – that’s a good sign. Meds are kickin’ in. So from the dawning of this day, I knew it would hold tremendous promise. It hasn’t disappointed me yet.

Sunday is a business day in Israel. The Post Office and banks are open as are all businesses. Children, laden backpacks, walk in groups back to school and tour buses are back on the roads. I’ve gotten used to tourist gawking at me, I guess they assume that I’m Israeli. One day I was walking my neighbor’s dog and someone actually took a picture of me!! HA! Car horns are back to honking and pedestrians are once again walking hurriedly, head down, no smiles. And I’m singing in my heart, I feel good. James would be proud.

I thought I would stop at the Post Office before heading to Church at 9:00 am in the Old City. This changes my route somewhat but today it turned out to be fortuitous. After mailing some letters I turned the corner. I noticed that cars were at a full stop and that people also were not moving. Highly unusual and suspect. I look across the street and see that traffic on King George Street had come to a halt in all directions. Police cars, security people, IDF personnel stood at a distance. I heard someone say, “There, by the bus stop”.

I look at the bus stop and there is a robot. He was not waiting for Egged bus #19! In fact, this robot, which looked like a tank but more the size of a small ATV, painted in camouflage, had its head, or what looked like a head, bent down sniffing a black plastic bag that clearly had things inside of it. Not so unusual, a plastic bag, this is the land of plastic bags. The bag was next to a public garbage container.

Then Mr. Robot raised, what looked like one of two arms. The next thing I hear is a shot. Mr. Robot shot the bag. Nothing happened. (THANK YOU KNOW WHO!!!) OK, everyone breathed. Then Mr. Robot sniffed it again and took another shot at it. Nothing happened again. Good. Now, drama over, a car began to honk! Mr. R. wasn’t quite done; he went and sniffed the public garbage container. Somehow he gave the ok and a spaceman sort of looking man came over and checked the bag. He motioned the police and they began to let everyone pass. Back to normal. Moral of the story, in Israel they take suspicious looking, solitary bags VERY seriously. And you ask if I’m safe. Now, it’s 8:20 am.

I made it to Church in time. Great service for this Epiphany Sunday. Church was very crowded today with visitors. What is nice about our service is that before the Benediction the Pastor gives a few announcements and then asks all the visitors to introduce themselves and join us for tea on the veranda afterwards. Today there was a group of students from Wagner College – no relation. Also a group of seminarians, pastors, and professors from a seminary in the Midwest were visiting. There was some bishop from the Methodist Church, I think it was Methodist visiting and a couple from France who were on their honeymoon.

After church schmoozing (coffee hour) was over so only us “regulars” were left. We went to a little restaurant by Jaffe Gate in the Old City. I’ve been past this hole in the wall several times but never really thought to go in. How stupid because it was the next best thing to heaven. To me, it was like going to a New England diner. Eggs, sandwiches, pancakes, soups and very NON kosher. Although, diners in New England are not kosher. But here in Israel you just assume that restaurants are kosher, which means meat and dairy aren’t served within a two block radius of one another. On the menu were eggs with ham, HAM. Cheeseburgers, BACON cheeseburgers, fries, salads. It was so good and we all felt SO sinful. (not that any of us keep kosher) but somehow it seemed a little unusual to be eating meat and cheese in one restaurant and seeing the HAM actually printed on the menu. How decadent.

While we were sitting there, eating like there would be no tomorrow, we began to hear drums. We all kind of looked at one another and, in unison, lifted one eyebrow. The drums got louder, people started to gather outside of the restaurant. Then, along with the drums we began to hear bagpipes. We collectively looked at our watches and said, “Ahh, Christmas.” Again. Actually, Christmas Eve morning. A cross, lifted high, passed by followed by the drums and bagpipes and about 30 or 40 Greek Orthodox priests. They all look pretty much the same. Black robes, black cummerbunds, huge crosses around their necks, inverted short stove pipe looking hats, long beards originally black but with varied degrees of grey. So you see one, you’ve seen them all in a parade. Off they went, not sure if this was a procession to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem or the Jerusalem contingent that was left behind to hold their ground at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

We wished one another a Merry Christmas, again, and parted for the week. Two Christmas’ down, one more to go. I ran over to the Domitian Abbey for noontime prayers with the Monks – a weekly tradition that I’ve set up for myself, but that’s another blog.

Since George W. is due in on Wednesday Jerusalem has been getting ready. Security has pumped up. On the way home from the Abbey I decided to walk by the King David Hotel where GWB will be staying. It looked pretty spiffed. Not that it doesn’t always look spiffed, it’s a very classy hotel, but there were deep purple pansies in bloom and the bright red geranium bushes were in bloom as well. All along King David St. and King George St. and over by the Begin highway there are American flags flying along side of Israeli and Jerusalem flags. Workers were putting them up today. We are gearing up for a complete, major pain in the _ _ tt traffic gridlock during GWB’s visit. Let’s hope he does some good for cryin’ out loud or else he’s going to have a heck of a lot of angry drivers and pedestrians on his hands in addition to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

My neighborhood, Rehavia is home to the Prime Minister and the Pres’ residence. Netanyahu also resides in Rehavia. And, if you take down a few tall apartment buildings you would be able to see the Knesset (home of the parliament) building. Ramban, as I have mentioned before is the usual motorcade route for dignitaries. Wah who. I’ve been told to carry my passport AND my lease with me during the week. Seems excessive, but on the other hand….. there were quite a few security men with serious clipboards in hand on Ramban as I walked home today.

2:30 pm. Back home. I still feel good, great as a matter of fact. But, my heart has had enough for today. Epiphany blessings to you all. May you follow the light of the star and if you need to go home by another way, do so. It’ll all be ok.

Happy Birthday to my beloved brother Richard, Hoppy by another name. I love you.
Now go put on some James Brown!

1 comment:

hoppy said...

You've converted the family crier.