Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Most Israeli Day

Memorial Day morning. Peter goes to shop for some lamb chops and other ingredients for tomorrow's BBQ. I just got a recipe for a great marinade and mint pesto from a South African lady teaching cooking in her Hod Hasharon kitchen. After breakfast, we decide to walk to the industrial area to look for some training gear for Peter. The streets are quiet, almost deserted, general sadness in the air. While walking through the park, the siren goes on for 2 minutes. We stand still, enveloped in our individual feelings. I think about lost young lives, I see dying soldiers, sudden deaths, long and painful deaths. Tears crawl from under my sun glasses onto my cheeks. The few people around us with kids and dogs stand still too. Cars stop and the drivers get out and stand by their cars. Loud bird sounds in the air.

We pass along a building site. Lately, tall office building started rising in Holon, with some hi-tech firms moving in shortly. We discuss the advantages of working close to home. On the way, we enter a pet shop to buy anti fur-ball paste for Venus. We wander along the isles, looking at the fish in aquariums. They remind us snorkeling in the Maldives. Finally, the lady at the cashier offers help. Before paying, she tells us how her Facebook page is full of pictures of dogs employed by the IDF's Oketz Unit, she is fascinated and moved by the respect the dogs get and their own cemetery. She gives me a baseball cap with the Israeli flag print, as a present.

We don't find the training gear sought, but discover a new food shop, where we buy seasoned feta cheese cubes in olive oil for tonight's Greek salad, and a cup of fresh lemonade. On the way back, we discover a bike path. After lunch, Peter rests while I read through two newspapers. He decorates the balcony for Independence Day with flags and epileptic blue lights. While on the balcony admiring the decorations, we're debating the hour the fireworks start. "At quarter to nine", says Chezy, our upstairs neighbor, former war prisoner and current bank branch manager. He is in the window overlooking our balcony, and we realize he was listening to our conversation. I ask him if he likes our decorations and he replies politely. He gives us his daily Globes copy, as he gets another one at work.

I do some volunteering for the wannabe party candidate for the upcoming  municipal elections: I make up a slogan, list the major problems we need to solve in the city, write about the improvements we'll bring to the city council. While researching, I learn that our municipal budget is above 950M shekkels. Dan is impressed by the figure.

After consuming the Greek salad for dinner with the ceremonies on TV in the background, Dan and I are headed to see the fireworks. Lots of folks are outside, walking on the closed-for-traffic street. We sit on the traffic island and wait for the fireworks to start. No cellular connection. The antenna opposite us is most probably overloaded by the sudden heavy cellular traffic. The national ceremony is heard via loudspeakers. Before they end, partisan fireworks start in a nearby penthouse. After the mayor speaks shortly, the "official" fireworks begin. They are truly splendid. Tom calls from the army just to let me know he is OK. I manage to barely hear him with the firework booms. We return in the midst of foam spray, oversize inflated plastic hammers, kids, dogs and baby carriages.

Happy 65th Independence Day, Israel. Thank you for being.