I love the fall. Pumpkins and cider and the smell of firewood and soups and stews. There's something comforting about autumn. It a time when I organize and nest and start my year.
Funny that our new year starts in January. September seems like a much more appropriate time to me. And that's exactly when the Jewish calendar resets itself.
Tonight is the first night of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. It signifies the time when God writes in the book of life our fates. On Yom Kippur it is sealed.
What a strange concept. Last year it was decided that we would lose Jonny? By praying and being pious during a year we are mandated a certain fate for the year to come? That just does not make sense to me. I have trouble believing. Jonny was so good. Deeply good. He was the kid who included everyone, thought about his baby nieces and nephews, made more friends than I can count feel like they were his best. That, to me, defines good. He made people feel good. That IS good.
But while I struggle with the beliefs of our religion, I find solace and comfort in our traditions. So many of them are so beautiful and meaningful.
Around the Rosh Hashana table we pass apples dipped in honey. It is meant to represent the sweetness of a new year.
In the Kessner house we have a tradition of apple weekend. Every year in the fall we all head out to our family home which in the back has a scattering of apple trees. We go out together and pick barrels of apples. We get the ladders out and let the kids climb up (spotted of course) and pick the ones all the way at the top (ish).
Then we each take our bag of apples and make a dish with them. It's an apple pot luck kinda thing. If you know us, you know that it's obviously a contest, judged by my father in law, and the winner gets............a hug and a kiss. If you know him you're laughing now. If you don't, I hope you love him a little more from this.
A couple years ago, Jonny won the contest. He won for most innovative. I called him lazy, but hey. His dish was apples and honey. He thought he was so funny. (He was). And my father in law got a huge kick out of it. Belly laughs.
That was Jonny. Simple. Funny. Making people laugh.
This year will be my hardest. Without him everything will be a harsh reminder of him. I miss him already. Let me be signed in the books as strong this year. I will need it.