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The Passover Trip From Hell

You know, I had a plan. I was going to get up on Saturday morning, fly out to New England, and spend Saturday night with the Pony Family at their special New England Saturday Seder. All I had to do was endure a brief layover in Cleveland on the way out, and a rather longer layover in Cleveland on the way back. It was supposed to be so simple.

It wasn't supposed to snow in Cleveland on the first weekend in April. Cleveland wasn't supposed to be buried under intermittent blizzards that delayed my morning flight out of Chicago such that I missed the noon flight to Hartford by ten minutes. And, of course, the Cleveland airport goes utterly dead on Saturday afternoons anyway, so the next flight to Hartford was at six in the evening. I took it, because anything is better than being stuck overnight in Cleveland (Detroit without the glamor), but only after exhausting all possibilities, even trying for flights to Boston or Providence. Nothing was flying out of Cleveland to New England all afternoon.

So I got the thrill of spending six hours in the Cleveland airport. Whoopee. Of course, I missed the seder. But they did save me some dinner, and I did get to see various and sundry Ponies, if only for the remains of the evening and this morning at the Matzo Brei Breakfast. That was something, at least.

I think perhaps I shall go to Lithuania next summer.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 9th, 2007 09:27 am (UTC)

What a hellish journey! I'm sorry you missed the family seder.

I think the travel problems were widespread on Saturday, thought it's a hot bank holiday weekend here. My daughter decided to travel back to Uni (to see her boyfriend who was still there) and described it as 'the worst bloody train journey of her life'. I had to work, and a drive that usually takes 15 minutes took over an hour!!

Apr. 9th, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC)
The travel gods must have been taking years of revenge all on Saturday. That's the only possible explanation.
Apr. 9th, 2007 11:36 am (UTC)
Ah, airports. We flew to New Jersey on Friday and back on Sunday and only one of four flights left on time. But at least we didn't spend six hours in Cleveland.
Apr. 9th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
After I exhausted all my possibilities for getting to New England at a reasonable time, I finally asked the desk lady what was fun to do in the Cleveland airport for six hours. She just laughed a bitter laugh. I was beginning to feel like I was in David Ives' The Philadelphia:

"Mark: I don't know. It's not that bad in a Philadelphia.
Waitress: Could be worse. I've been in a Cleveland all week.
Mark: A Cleveland. What's that like?
Waitress: It's like death, without the advantages."
Apr. 9th, 2007 12:13 pm (UTC)
Poor Pony! I certainly empathize with airline hell. And I'm so sorry you missed the family seder. From what you've told us about your family, getting a few leftovers after the fact did not make up for missing the big event.

How on earth did you end up flying out of Chicago and needing to transfer in Cleveland, of all places? I didn't know that was possible.
Apr. 9th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)
Fortunately for me, they all thought much the same way about leftover dinner versus being there for The Event. Little Sister Pony had to fill in for my special Psalm and help lead the singing. Everyone said she did a good job, but we all want me for next year.

I have no earthly idea how I wound up going from Chicago to Hartford through Cleveland. At the time I bought my ticket, somehow Southwest was refusing to offer its usual nonstops, and Continental's Cleveland route was the cheapest ticket on offer. No more Cleveland. I'd honestly rather be stuck in the airport in Detroit than in Cleveland. There's more to do in Detroit.
Apr. 9th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
but we all want me for next year.

LOL! Even I want you for next year. Did you read my post on Meckinock's thread about the soloists at my dad's church? I thought about you while I was sitting through the 'de-furring of the cats'. I really did. I wondered why shape-note singing went out of style and if you'd be willing to handle the music next year. That would be quite a sensation, I think, down here in the Southern Baptist Realm.

Better yet, maybe the Pony family will just let me come to your seder. I'll sit quietly, relishing the fact there is no canned bad contemporary music. This music always has only two or three lines which are repeated forty times, over and over. I need your 'Oy' icon.

Seriously, I hate you missed your family's seder, but at least you made it for the full breakfast event. And got safely, though slowly, there and back again.
Apr. 9th, 2007 01:46 pm (UTC)
I did skim the post about the soloists. I'll have to go back and read it in more detail. It sounded like a terrible experience. Of course, your fellow churchgoers might just compare shape-note singing to a de-furring of cats. We'd have to start them off with something from the Cooper Book, nice and gospelly, and only gradually work up to the real hard-core harmonies.

I bet I could do a real fine job with the music, but do you think they'd let me?

Better yet, maybe the Pony family will just let me come to your seder.

Part of the point of the seder is that it should be open to guests (although it is polite to make previous arrangements with the host/ess). Any good seder will take note of this -- it's even prescribed in the Haggadah:

"This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry -- let them come and eat. All who are needy -- let them come and celebrate the Passover with us. Now we are here; next year may we be in the land of Israel. Now we are slaves; next year may we be free."
Apr. 9th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
It sounded like a terrible experience.

Oh, bless their hearts.... I hate to be so unkind, but the choices the music director makes every Sunday are what my dad and I snark about on the way home. And you have to know my dad, he's not the snarking type. But this contemporary, and it's bad contemporary, not the good stuff, grates on his nerves. Mine too, and I'm pretty laid back myself. I get so tired of finding words printed on an insert in the bulletin. Seriously, there are no real lyrics, just a couple of lines that are pounded like tough steak over and over.

I bet I could do a real fine job with the music, but do you think they'd let me?

I don't doubt for a second you could do a great job with the music, but I'm afraid they might make you take a blood oath or something. :>) But I think it would be way cool to have a nice Jewish girl leading the singing. This little church my dad attends dates back to the 1700's and is attended by a lot of former educators. Educators are often more open to new experiences. They might like shape-note singing and a nice doctorial student teaching them. One thing I can say sincerely about this congregation is that they really are nice caring folks.

Part of the point of the seder is that it should be open to guests

That sounds wonderful. Someday, I would like to attend a seder. I actually have Jewish friends around these parts and I bet if they knew I'd like to attend, they'd allow me. But in the meantime, I'm taking my dad (because it's important to him) to church every Sunday, revisiting my childhood services without the naps during the sermon, and being grateful for my escape. I sound like I'd fit in with a seder. :>)
Apr. 9th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, bless their hearts....

Ooooo. Them's fightin' words.

I get so tired of finding words printed on an insert in the bulletin. Seriously, there are no real lyrics, just a couple of lines that are pounded like tough steak over and over.

Let me guess. The lyrics go something like this:
Jesus Jesus Jesus
We love you Jesus
And you love us
Jesus Jesus Jesus
All praise to Jesus


But I think it would be way cool to have a nice Jewish girl leading the singing.

Plus, I have no problem with working on Sundays. And there's so much contemporary liturgical choral music that's really good. You just need a competent choir director with a little imagination.

Definitely ask your friends about the seder for next year. I think they might enjoy having you there.
Apr. 9th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
Let me guess. The lyrics go something like this:

That's pretty close, but you have to repeat it at least eight times. In fact, if you can put that to music, we can probably sell it to somebody.

I guess I'm just an old coot because I like older hymns that actually tell a story. Most are poetry and very lovely. I love good music...which is subjective, I realize...and this stuff ain't it. Every time I get one of those little inserts, I wave it at my dad and say, "Proof of the dumbing down of earth's population." I don't say America's because some of these neat little ditties are written by non-Americans. I blame the whole world.

One Sunday while everyone was struggling to sing some song no one had ever heard before from a sheet with only words, I got out the hymnal and was reading it. My dad leaned over and asked if the song was in the hymnal? "No," I said, "I just wanted to admire some real lyrics." Dadanator shook his head and laughed.

You just need a competent choir director with a little imagination.

My dad tells me the previous director was very good and the choir was second to none. Truthfully, they don't sound all that bad when they sing together. I'm more annoyed by the 'jingle' songs the choir director wants the congregation to sing. But she does have a tendency to pick songs for herself, her soloists, and the choir that are a range and a dream outside their reach. Oh well, I guess everybody needs dreams.

Apr. 10th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)
I went to a wedding once where the World's Whitest Gospel Choir chewed up a good twenty minutes singing the "Jesus Jesus Jesus" sort of song, which is why I was able to guess at the lyrics. And they projected the words onto a wall with a follow-the-bouncing-ball.

Here's what I would have them sing: "Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord," by Undine Moore. Go to http://www.geocities.com/hearchoirs/, click under "D", and click on the link that says, in full, "Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord -- Arr. Undine S. Moore" for a really good performance.
Apr. 10th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
"Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord," by Undine Moore.

Oooh. I like that. You'd have to bring your own male soloists though.

I think I might drop that song suggestion in the offering plate as it passes next Sunday. I doubt they get many request.

I going to rummage around that site a little. It looks like fun.
Apr. 10th, 2007 03:36 am (UTC)
There's lots of good stuff on that site.

"Daniel, Daniel" is probably Undine Moore's most famous work ever. I remember singing it in a youth choir when I was about fifteen or sixteen. It's definitely do-able, even by non-professional choirs.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 9th, 2007 01:38 pm (UTC)
It was like being in one of those "home for the holidays" comedies, only without the lovable twist at the end that allows the heroine to show up at the door just as the ceremony is beginning. And those sorts of comedies are always funnier when they're on a movie screen happening to someone else.
Apr. 9th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
I was watching pictures of the mess in Cleveland and burying my feverish head under blankets. We only had cold, not snow, at least (of course, we're due for 4 inches tomorrow, allegedly). I cannot imagine spending 6 hours in the Cleveland airport. I'm sorry you missed the Seder too. Glad you made it home and are not still stuck in Cleveland on the way back.
Apr. 9th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
If you ever do have the misfortune to be stuck in Cleveland for six hours, go directly to Terminal A. What entertainment there is in the Cleveland airport is in Terminal A, along with a few comfy chairs for long hours of homework, napping, and novel-reading.
Apr. 9th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
Well, we didn't want you to feel left out of the travel hell that is so popular these days, so we made sure you were included. Great to be part of the crowd, right? NOT!! I feel for you. Traveling stinks! And I have to admit, Cleveland would not be my first choice of places to be stuck. But then neither would Florida...
Apr. 9th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I'd rather have been stuck in Detroit. There's more fun things to do in the Detroit airport. And, in Florida, there might not have been blizzards in the first place.
Apr. 10th, 2007 01:35 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry you missed the seder. What a disappointment. We had that spring snow here, too, but it wasn't enough to delay anybody or anything. Cold, though.

I've been in the Detroit airport but not long enough to see much of anything. Don't think I've ever been in the Cleveland airport. I was once and was delayed by snow in the Pittsburgh airport, but it was a matter of an hour or two, not six.
Apr. 10th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
The Detroit airport is actually kind of fun, because it's a ginormous international airport. There's a fountain to watch, and you can ride the monorail back and forth, and there's lots of shops, and even a place where you can get a massage (which I would have done if I'd been there for six hours). Cleveland is just dead, though.
Apr. 10th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC)
Oh dear, I'm SO sorry you had such a horrible time AND missed Seder....

And... can I come to the Seder too? I might not sit too quietly--since I adore singing--but I promise to behave very nicely!

And can I go to Lithuania with you? My grandfather's father was from Klaipeda when it was Memel...

Apr. 10th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
I did get to read lots of Camber in the airport, though. . .

I might not sit too quietly--

Good God, I hope not. You can't sit quietly at the Pony Family Seder. Everyone has to help sing, at the top of their lungs, especially now that Uncle Bernie's gone.

And can I go to Lithuania with you?

I don't think I'll go this summer, but next summer is when I plan to go. I'd be going to the Vilnius institute for intensive Yiddish study. Still interested?
Apr. 10th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
This is the place in Lithuania I was thinking of.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )