Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Almost (continued . . .)

From the oldest to the youngest, including the baby, all seven boys wore a yamika upon their head. The father was nearby, wresting one of the boys out of his seat belt in the somewhat tattered van. My fascination was growing by leaps and bounds. How amazingly stark a contrast their traditional attire against the backdrop of a windblown wilderness rock! Ever more apparent was the truth that the stately woman, still hidden behind the dark frames of her sunglasses was not ethnically Jewish. Her features only served to further the awkwardness of the visual before me. I wondered if I were dreaming.

No. Dell was pulling on the leash, as he dodged the boys again. His activity startled me back to the reason why I was here. He had to get in a good run tonight, if I wished to enjoy his company in calm fashion tomorrow. But I wanted to talk to her ~ if only I could extract more than a monosyllabic response to my questions, I thought.

She seemed interested enough in a conversation with me, lingering beside me, a smile playing on the corners of her lips ever so slightly. A low whine-growl came from deep within Dell's throat. I would have to go.

Turning to head the opposite direction, I felt conflicted. I would have to let my curiosity remain a curiosity.

We hiked.


I could scarcely believe my eyes! A multiplication had occurred in the forty-five minutes I'd been gone. I had been certain that they would be gone upon my return. Instead, two additional families, in various stages of traditional dress were gathered for a family portrait.

Oh, how I wanted to take photographs! One boy from the new family became the object of my lens in my minds' eye. He was the one fully dressed in long black jacket and hat. I determined to ask permission.

I stood quietly behind my acquaintance as she snapped the final shots of the family with a camera. Upon my lips were the words with which I would respectfully make my request. The entire clan, perhaps fifteen people strong, was keenly aware of my presence. I wondered to myself what type of thoughts they must be having about me. I stood, completely engrossed and participating with their family frivolity and joy, yet an outsider, peeking through a window, uninvited.

I was given no opportunity. Immediately the patriarch of the family gave directives to load the car to go. I stood as a fixed marker of sorts, while people scattered round about me, like a group of marbles that had been hit by an Aggie.

Perhaps I can gain his eye, I thought as I followed the patriarch with my gaze. He did not return my nonverbal cue.

Resignation echoed within me. I paused briefly within myself, recounting again the numerous poses I had conjured up, and, with a sigh, released them. It was just as well, I supposed. Such a request would surely seem too intrusive.
to be continued . . .
photograph courtesy of Arnold Zigman circa 2005

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't get it, how did you know she isn't ethnically Jewish? Because she has red hair and freckles? There are lots of Jews with red hair. It was even stereotyped as a "Jewish" trait in some parts of Europe.

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