Friday, July 04, 2008

A Tale of 2 Tykes

In memory of my grandmother Yehudis bas Alexander, whose second yahrzeit was this week.
(to dedicate a future Table Talk, send an email)

A short story, a question, and a famous poem.

When I returned home on Monday afternoon, Yoseph, our 4-year-old Baltimore boy, ran up to me eagerly. “Abba, would you take off the raining wheels from off of my bike? I want to ride without training wheels!”

“It’s pretty hard to ride without training wheels. Do you think you’re ready?”

“I’m ready, I’m ready! I want to ride without training wheels!”

“I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we first raise the training wheels. If you can ride without them touching the ground, then you’re ready.”

“OK, but could you raise them right now?”

He waited ever so patiently while I changed my clothes and fetched the wrench. Then he didn’t waste a second in showing me how he could ride. “See Abba? The training wheels didn’t touch the ground.”

I wasn’t convinced. “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we take off one wheel first, and see how that goes?”

But even that experiment wasn’t conclusive, and he seemed so determined, came the second wheel.

I’ve never seen a child more determined to do learn a new skill. Without hesitation he was pedaling furiously, falling, then trying again. I wasn’t the only one he impressed – all the children became very excited...

Meanwhile, inside, Yoseph’s little sister Devorah – 2.5 years – decided with equal determination that she was going to stop wearing diapers. We weren’t sure she was ready, but she was positive. She would hear nothing of diapers nor even child toilet seats. She wanted the real McCoy. She’s old enough to tell us her preferences but not old enough to reason with.

(that translates into a week of 90 percent potty success rate. Ie., 10 percent failure...)

Emuna comes running in - “Abba! He’s really doing it! Yosephi’s riding his bike!”

I look out the window to see him pedal about twenty feet before crashing into the fence.

Emuna harbors no resentment that her younger brother learned to ride before she. But stay tuned....

Question for your table – What is a greater quality in a person: zeal or perseverence?

OK, now the famous poem....did you ever notice that the “Star-Spangled Banner” ends with a question? What’s the answer?

You have to read Francis Key's entire poem to find out:

“The Star-Spangled Banner”

Oh! say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mist of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep.
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream
‘Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n - rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto–”In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy 4th

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