Back when Evan and Joannie were homesteading on the flat along the Prophet River, Flora would mail them a large carton from Macy’s each Passover, filled with matzah, macaroons, dried mangos and papaya, and anything else she thought would be nice for the holiday. After a steady diet of bear meat, lentils, rice and carrots (the only vegetable they succeeded in growing in the far north of British Columbia) the Passover box was a welcome change.
While Flora was preparing to host a seder for eighty friends and relatives in the family’s large apartment on Central Park West, her son Evan was enjoying being so far from the crowds and noise, the press and shove of New York. At the makeshift seder he and Joannie held, he spoke about the rain. It rained a lot in the far north, and after a few days of it their clothing and boots were wet through and it was hard to imagine a world in which anything was dry. The rain and cold also ruined all the vegetables they planted in summer, except for the carrots. But at the seder Evan spoke about how wonderful it was to realize that the rain wasn’t falling from the sky in order to harass him, as people on the streets of New York had done. The rain just was!
After that speech, Evan looked out the window at the valley, which was forty by sixty miles, and sang one of his favorite songs—a cowboy tune called “Don’t Fence Me In” which he had sometimes sung for the guests at his parents’ seders. When he wrote to Flora to thank her for the Passover box, he mentioned that for the first time in his life he felt truly free.
Copyright © Leora Freedman 2017
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