A Visit to the States

My husband and I just returned from a glorious 5 weeks in the United States. From all the horrendous news, we just didn’t know what to expect. And we were absolutely shocked!!! To see all the tremendous displays of unabashedly proud American patriotism. Everywhere we traveled-

Savannah, Georgia
Florida

It was all so beautiful. We saw all different races and cultures getting along well together. In towns, parks, university campuses, bed and breakfasts. Everyone was quite friendly and respectful. I think for the most part, people want to get along and enjoy their lives.

Seeing family again after three and a half years was the best thing ever! We got to meet our oldest daughter’s new husband. Three of our daughters met us in Florida for a beachy, family reunion. Unfortunately our son was still in school in Israel, and my third daughter and her fiancé are. In Scotland, where travel is closed. We visited my husband’s family in Florida. John’s dad is now 94. All John’s siblings and their children were there. And meeting our new granddaughter who is 7months old was a special treat. Highlights included a day trip to St. Augustine; a backyard barbecue/wedding reception for Katie and Tim; a sunset boat trip around the islands off the coast of Florida; and a hunt for alligators in the local wetlands (a nice way to say swamp). Our youngest daughter convinced my husband and me to get up before the crack of dawn one morning to see the sunrise over the Atlantic: she, her husband and daughter had done it the day before. We are definitely not morning people, but John and I took a blanket and thermos of hot coffee with some sweet rolls. What an amazing (and romantic) experience!

From Florida, we traveled to Southern California, visiting our #2 daughter. Our 3 year old grandson was getting over a cold, so he and his dad, Steven missed the great Florida/Georgia adventure. Can I tell you how marvelous it was to finally truly meet Logan – endless superhero costumes,parks, a farm, funny faces, and nighttime stories? And the baby is just the sweetest!!! Emma’s organic vegetable garden was huge and incredibly productive with tomatoes, pumpkin, squash, cucumbers, carrots, beets, greens. One day I made a spiced tomato jam, and Emma made the most delicious pasta sauce. Yum! Reuniting with many of our oldest and dearest friends was a time we will treasure, but the week was all too short…

It was on to the Pacific Northwest where my youngest daughter lives. We’d always wanted to travel “up the coast” towards Canada but never did in the 32 years we lived in California. It was gorgeous!!! The mountains and volcanoes, Puget Sound, the forests and the lakes. Now I know why Tessa and Mike love it so much. We hiked a lot. We visited old fur trapper forts. The sal on runs had just started, so watched the fisherman shoulder to shoulder in the rivers. One Sunday we packed up and headed to the lake with their friends. Babies, toddlers, inflatable boats and paddle boards and a lovely picnic made for a fantastic time. And the best part was playing with our 3 year old granddaughter. She’s so cute and a real whippersnapper!

While we were in Washington it was also blackberry season. Thick bushes filled with the ripe purple gems grew wild EVERYWHERE!!!! So I spent hours picking until my fingers and lips were stained and our big buckets were full. In the week I was there, I spent an entire day making endless jars of blackberry lavender preserves. I strained out some of the berry juice and mixed it with balsamic vinegar, crushed shallots, salt, pepper, a splash of white wine vinegar and some water. Not only is it delicious on a spinach salad, but I marinated a large filet of salmon in the sauce. We put it on a cedar plank and Mike grilled it. Heavenly! It broke our hearts to leave them –

The next few days were spent back in Southern California. We spent the time with Katie and really getting to know Tim. Because of the pandemic, we’d missed their courtship and wedding. But I’m absolutely thrilled with the gentlemen our daughters have chosen as life partners. They are great husbands and fathers. We were able to spend a couple days with Logan aka Spider-Man, aka Batman, aka CatBoy, aka The Geko. And John and I shopped for things we can’t find in Israel, filling up another huge suitcase and two carry-ons. The last day was spent with Katie and Tim at the Getty, our favorite place.

It was the most fabulous trip! However, it was waaaaaay too short. We want them all to come spend time together with us here in Israel. We had so many California friends we weren’t able to connect with. Maybe next time. The flight back was a long one and we have been quarantined at home for 14 days. 14days! And three negative PCR tests for each person. Our son, who lives an hour and a half away, was able to come and air out the house and stock up on groceries before we arrived.

Since then, I’ve been cleaning and dong a lot of cooking for the upcoming Jewish high holy days. I have developed a whole slew of delicious recipes using the symbolic foods of the season. I can’t wait to share the, with you in a couple days. Rosh haShonnah is tonight and it’s coming all too quickly. So all those yummy foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner will be posted very soon. Until then, I leave you with a parting shot from our last evening in Long Beach, California –