Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Ein Gedi Botanic Garden
Seek the serenity of a Judean Desert sky in Autumn at the Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Yishuv State of Mind


“Hello. I have your daughter’s phone.”

“Oh no….”

Faint chuckle.

“Tell someone to be at the corner at 8:00 p.m.”

Sigh. “Okay. Thanks.”

“No problem.”

At 7:45 p.m., I still had no volunteers, so of course I trudged out the door into the cold, dark, windy night. It was perfect weather for a murder, a kidnap, a ransom note. No rain to make things messy; just a frigid, biting cold to make it mean.

I headed toward the corner. A car stopped next to me. “Shalom!!” Moshe was at his brightest, which meant I was in for an hour-long conversation, wind notwithstanding, about the benefits of “Intra”, a fancy nutritional supplement that he believes will even wash your dishes for you. The truth is, the stuff does beef up the immune system; my husband’s gout disappeared because of it. But the enthusiastic insistence of my happy-go-lucky neighbor that the entire world will be saved by this liquid was just too much to handle on a cold dark night.

“Moshe, I gotta go. I’m supposed to meet someone…”

“We’ll get you to drink it one of these days!” he threatened with a big smile. “There’s no escape!”

Cheerful thought. As I turned back toward the corner, I saw the car, headlights blazing, peeling a U-turn with tires screaming in protest. The car slammed to a stop. A horn honked impatiently.

I kicked up the trudging just a notch. As I reached the car, the passenger’s window rolled down. A tired, slightly irritated young man glared at me as I leaned down.

“Here,” he said, clearly resigned. A muscular arm stretched toward me, brandishing the family cell phone.

“Thanks,” I said apologetically. “Give Shloime my best and tell him thanks for bailing out my kid.”

He nodded, a small grin escaping the scowl. The window rolled up. I turned away.

My husband was just getting home when I walked in the door. “Which one this time?” he asked.

“Esty. Apparently she left it on Shoime’s bus this afternoon. They called earlier, but she forgot to go to the corner at 6:00 p.m. and it was the last run. They caught this guy leaving to go home and made him bring it.”

We looked at each other. My children now own the cell phone-forgetting record for the Egged Bus Cooperative, Arad division. And the Egged Arad bus drivers, together, own the cell phone-retrieving-and-delivering record probably for the entire country.

Arad -- it's small town living in a yishuv state of mind. Ya gotta love it.