Flash Fiction Repost: Hot Pink in the Synagogue

I was dressed in a completely inappropriate shade of pink and I didn’t care. In fact, all I really wanted to do march down the aisle of that synagogue and shout “hello” to as many people as possible while the Rabbi was praying. Yes, you guessed it. I was ticked off at Rabbi Coulter. He had insulted my choice of dress the last time I saw him and I was tired of his ‘holier than thou’ attitude about life in general.

I am not exactly the best Jew, I will admit. I am fond of telling people I am Jew-ish. I almost never go to synagogue and when I do, I like to sit at the back and leave immediately after. That was exactly what I was trying to do the last time I saw the Rabbi, but somehow he managed to nab me on the way out the door. That’s when he said, “My goodness, Margo, for a woman who almost never comes, you are certainly dressed in a bright and engaging outfit.” Engaging was his way of saying too revealing, I’m certain. It just so happened that I was due to go to a dressy event immediately after that last visit, which was a wedding of a good friend’s son – and I was, in fact, wearing a purple sequined dress with a slightly revealing neckline. Could I help it if I had another obligation and this was what I had to wear? My response, “If you don’t take chances, Rabbi, you may as well not be alive.”

That is when he cocked his eyebrow at me and said, “Hmm. I don’t quite know what that means, but I hope you’re confining the chances you’re taking to your apparel. Otherwise, you’re life could go right down the toilet.”

Needless to say, I assumed he had learned of my latest exploit, a brief encounter with an Argentinian that hadn’t ended very well. Not that I’m an immoral woman. I’m an official widow and I have a right to date. But Emanuel wasn’t Jewish and perhaps a few decades younger than myself, and I suspect the Rabbi had heard all the gossip that was sweeping through the synagogue like wildfire about me and my young gold-digging South American. The fact that I ended up throwing him out of the house after discovering him in the pool with my housekeeper, well, really, how could I have predicted that?

Anyway, there I was heading down the aisle in my bright pink dress, looking like some crazy lady on a mission. I knew I was being rude, but somehow I didn’t care. I’d given the Rabbi $400 bucks the last time we’d seen each other as a gift to the temple and he’d had the nerve to say, “Margo, I hope you’ll exercise better judgment in the future.” That was, of course, after he took my money. Better judgment, my rear end.

Just about the time I was about to truly make a scene, an older gentleman I’d never seen before smiled at me and patted the seat next to him as if to say, “Come, come, don’t make a fool of yourself. You are better than that.” Maybe it was the color of his bright blue eyes or that he had a toupee that reminded me of my sweet late Morrie, but whatever it was, I found myself sliding into that seat and the next thing I knew, he was patting my arm as if he’d known me for a lifetime.

The Rabbi smiled down when he saw us together like he was giving his blessing. I didn’t particularly like that part, but I have to admit Saul is a pretty good catch. Turns out he lost his wife just about the same time I lost Morrie and he happens to love hot pink regardless of the occasion.



hot pink dress1

Ojai Evening

Ray and I arrived at the orange grove about thirty minutes ago. He and the dogs are already snuggled up in bed; I am sitting at the table in the kitchen area writing this blog. We are here tonight and part of tomorrow. I just need to return in late afternoon for students. 

It is so wonderful that we can get settled in so fast. The bed is already made and the Airstream becomes very hospitable with the flip of a few switches to turn on gas and electricity. The only other real task is to put the cushions that we store inside back outside on chairs and a chaise lounge. I also took the dogs for a quick walk just so we don’t have any accident from Frankie in the middle of the night. Cordelia is completely trustworthy but Frankie can get a little nervous and wet the bed if we don’t go on that evening walk. A lesson learned the hard way, believe me. 

Now I am sitting in complete silence save for the ticking of a battery operated clock. I am certain that silence is one of the primary reasons  I feel so rested in such a short time once I am here. The constant audio overload of living in the city, plus listening to news on the radio and on the television (which, admittedly, is not on all that much) combine to wearing me right out. I love music and do well when I make a habit of listening to it, but sometimes the silence seems the very best restorative tonic. 

I am heading off to bed now. I hope you are in a relaxed and quiet place this evening, getting your own needed rest. We Americans tend to not sleep enough. I am off to do my part to alter that statistic!

Will check back in tomorrow. 

Getting Back to a Routine…

Happy to say that life is settling down a bit.  I have finished with all my students who had term papers that called for burning the midnight oil, and Ray and I are almost finished with an estate that has required a lot of sorting, assessing, packing and moving. Hooray.  Life might just get back into a nice easy routine. Ah, a relief, to be sure.

I am looking forward to seeing my grandbabies later in the week. I saw them a week ago Saturday, but that’s too long for this grandma.  I need a weekly dose of love from those two little critters or else I start to get this yearning that is hard to dispell.  I am very lucky to live so near all my children.  I get that same yearning for my girls if I go too long without seeing them and now their husbands/boyfriends.  I have many friends who do not have the luxury of such close proximity with their kids and that can be tough. Sarah and Rachael both lived in Texas a few years back (Sarah for 3 years and Rachael for 1) and we figured out how to stay in touch via texts and phone and several trips, but it was not nearly as convenient as an easy car ride across town.  So, I do not take this treat for granted, I promise you.

I have been physically very tired over the past few days.  I don’t bounce back quite as fast these days from a night with only 4 hours of sleep, which is what happened for one of those term papers.  (We worked until 2 am and then resumed at 6 am.)  But today was restful.  I served as subdeacon for the 10:30 mass at St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood and then returned later in the afternoon for a viola concert at the church that was lovely. There was a reception afterward that was filled with good food and conversation so now I feel more rested than I did.  The music was very beautiful.  That is always quite restorative.

Okay, off to bed I go. We have an early morning and a full day ahead.  Off to Ojai in the afternoon. I always look forward to that!

Sleep well, my friends.  I’ll check back in tomorrow from Ojai.






Off the Grid Lately, Snowed

Hi folks. Forgive my silence.  I have been snowed with work, both with students and with a recent estate we’re handling.  With one student, I helped work on a paper about T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock.  Now that is one interesting poem. Also, I am neck-deep with another student on a 25-page paper on Eugenics.  Yikes.  Who knew the United States was a leader in this now discredited belief system back in the early 20th century.  Finally, we are making our way through an estate that has a large amount of Gouda pottery.  Pretty stuff, but lots and lots of it. This requires time and energy as we work in that house.

I will return to life as I know it by week’s end or perhaps next week’s beginning. That is where all deadlines loom and I am happy in these cases for deadlines.  Otherwise, there might never feel like a natural stopping point.  I await “spring” with open arms.

Until then…I hope you’re all well.

Heading to bed so I can tackle those projects afresh tomorrow.


Ray’s Birthday

We have been celebrating Ray’s birthday all day.  Breakfast with Rachael and Ariel at Hugo’s at 11.  A snack and chat with Liz and Ron at their apartment in Glendale. Then the official whole family gathering at Sarah and Gregorio’s house in Pasadena for dinner and presents.  That started around 3:30 and it is now 11:20 pm.

Gregorio grilled chicken and vegetables, Sarah cooked up rice and beans, Liz made a huge salad, Rachael baked a honey-sweetened apple cake and I made a honey-sweetened chocolate bundt cake.  The food was delicious and the company even better.  Luna presented Grandpa with a poster filled with family pictures over the years, Nico toddled around looking cute and two of Sarah and Gregorio’s friends came to help celebrate.

Ray is very happy.

I’m happy too.

A birthday filled with love. Nothing better.



One Major Paper Down!

I have just helped one of my college students finish a 20-page paper on the Aryan Brotherhood.  Feel free to ask me anything; she and I have spent a lot of time researching this prison gang.

We have been working since 1:30 pm today and it is now 9.

I am going to bed now.

The good news is that the paper is finished and it is strong.  It is also neatly footnoted!

Hooray. Life is good.


Flash Fiction, Memoir and Essay

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