My mother died in January of 2004. A year later my brother Brian called and told me that the estate had been settled and my share was four thousand dollars. My intent was to hand it over to my wife, Judy, the family bookkeeper. She is Jewish, tall, shapely and a wonderful partner. When I told her about my windfall, she said, “Treat yourself. Do something special with it. It’s found money.”
What did I do to deserve this woman? What should I buy? I thought: a new kitchen floor, oak cabinets, winterize the balcony, a giant-screen plasma television. Then slowly like mist clearing from a mountain, a joyous plan took shape my mind – why not fulfill my twenty-five year old dream to return to Kibbutz Ramat Yochanan, where I had spent the happiest time of my adulthood – maybe of my life.
But Judy wouldn’t go for it. She had given me carte-blanche with the cash but Israel, with its reputation for danger -- I didn’t think so. A friend told me, after she had met Judy for the first time, that she was an angel. Maybe more like a guardian angel – protective. And she is not one to hide her feelings.
On my way home from work on March 1st, I prepared my arguments in preparation for her objections: statistically, it is very unlikely that I will get injured by in a terrorist’s attack; I will not go anyplace dangerous like the West Bank; this means more to me than you can possibly realize.
Armed and ready, I presented my case, trying to sound casual, I said, “I think I know what I want do with my mother’s money.”
“Tell me,” she said.
“I wanna go to Israel.”
“So go then,” she said.
I thought I knew my wife. I do know her. But I didn’t realize there was part of her that lay hidden: her love for me and her desire to make me happy overrode her protective instincts.
“Judy,” I said. “Thanks. I was afraid that you would react to the tensions.”
What tensions? In this house?”
“No, silly,” I said, “the tensions in Israel.”
“Well, John, You have always wanted to return and I know it means so much to you. I trust that you will not do anything stupid. You would not intentionally put yourself in danger. You told me it was the happiest time of your life. There is no way I am going to stop you.”
“Will you come with me?”
“No. That is too far from home and I am sure you will have more fun on your own retracing your footsteps.”
Flabbergasted and happy and before she could change her mind, I made my travel plans. My flight, hotels and car rental are booked. I’m going for eight days. I contacted Ramat Yochanan by e-mail. Apparently, quite a few people remembered me. I can stay on the kibbutz for as long as I wish. I’m jumping out off my skin with excitement. I’m going home.