We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
An email from Nathan, our correspondent in Jerusalem:
The head burger assembler at Burger Bar is a tall, handsomely groomed, black-bearded Samurai master of the knife. More a ridged machete or sword he wields, rather twirls, flips, flicks in a ballet of carbon-forged steel. He calls me Abelleh, "little father," as if I could have fathered such a towering genius of the blade, with a smile that dims the knife"s glistening. From my loins, not likely. But as one of my professors who served in the Pacific said when complemented for his respect towards Japanese colleagues said, "Gotta be nice to these bastards; never know whether one of 'em is mine."
I take refuge in Burger Bar after a marathon of moving, a different choreography of furniture shifting, socks disappearing, blaring badly-sung, out of tune Hasidic music blaring as the "Dosies" (those who have found haredi religion) whip away an adult lifetime's collection and disappear it into a half-container.
Only the Chagall I worried about, insured separately, and between my house and the truck, it disappeared, evaporated into the blazing Jerusalem arid air, whiffed away as if heavenward. One of the packers complained, "Chagall, Shmagal, what is this, who is this, what does it matter?" Only the insistence of my helper, Keren, and a search of many unlabeled packages was Abraham consoling Sarah as the angels come to announce her fruition, does Chagall reappear. A city of miracles, Jerusalem is. And persistence, as Keren raises her voice and pays back with interest. ("The Chagall is equal to the whole value of the shipment. You will open every box until we find it.") Tough chick.
After this, seeking a place with Wi-Fi, I decide I must make my belly into a graveyard for living beasts. I need meat. The Burger Bar (as Pinhas will attest) is home of the 220 gm patty: part beef, part mutton -- just a touch more fat than might be needed, just a little something to give the coronaries pause. The buns are fine; puffed, a touch of crisp outside and fluffy within; a comfortable cushion for a patty.
Samurai master sees me waiting to order from the fellow on the cell phone; he intervenes to take my order until Gabby Hayes is done, perhaps with his dear, perhaps a buddy. "Do I want extra spicey? Chips, Onion rings, a full meal.?" Just meat; beef and a brew. Also, pull out some of the carbs in the bun; I want little between my teeth and my meat.
Before I head down the steps to watch the Mondial and plug into Wi=Fi, I admire Samurai. Two fine young ladies order him and he smiles with every squeeze: many sauces to squeeze: pesto, chimichanga, garlic, some other green substance, several mustards, ketchup. each bottle he hoists, flips around just above his shoulder, does a good kvetch to decorate the meat, then a reverse swivel in his palm horizontally until he holsters the weapon before him. Condiments? tomato, pickle, onions (fried or fresh), eggplant grilled, lettuce shredded, avocado. Each flipped with joy, the meat slab, his canvas; he a Jackson Pollock of beef.
Then his shiny sword he withdraws briskly from its holster so that it twangs slightly as it's poised above its victim. A drink? He usese the back end of the knife to pop off the cap, which flies to his left and upwards: enough caps on the floor to create a flamenco clatter by the workers busiying to and fro. His co-workers take little notice, but seem neither impressed nor irritated.
I retreat below; absent-mindedly watch Mondial as others glue their lens to the screen. I ascend to check with Sammy Samurai. He smiles, "Abelleh!" Has my burger poised to rest on the bun shell; decorates with mustard, a touch of pesto, ketchup on the side, a few tomato slices and two pickles. He is pleased when I agree that he can, like John Belushi, whack my sesameed burger in half. opens it carefully to admire the layer of colors, pops off a cap from a Stella and says, "You enjoy, Abbeleh."
I would welcome being this guy's pa.
Image is Chagall's 1911 "I and the Village," a Chagall which Nathan unfortunately does not happen to own.