Recap: Ezra takes Yishai to the Blennerhassett mansion and introduces him to Harman Blennerhassett. Yishai sees that the values of their host are not the right ones for his brother, but he doesn’t know how to guide his big brother away from a dangerous mistake.
The next morning, I woke to a face staring at me. Two bright blue eyes looked into mine. Then this tiny little person began jumping on my stomach.
“Hey, Dovid. Wait a minute,” I said, laughing.
Dovid watched, fascinated, as I washed neigel vasser. “Come, I’ll help you do it,” I said.
I went into the living room to get my t’filin.
Ezra greeted me. He was sipping a cup of coffee in the kitchen.
“I have to head for work now,” he said.
It wasn’t sunrise yet. “Where will you daven?” I asked.
He didn’t answer. “Have a great day. Hey, Dovid.“ He ruffled his son’s curly brown hair and then headed out the door.
Dovid watched me, fascinated, as I put on my t’filin and began to daven. I wished there was a shul to daven in but there wasn’t one here. I asked Hashem to help me find the right words to convince Miriam that they should move away from here and Ezra had to extricate himself from this terrible plan.
At breakfast, Miriam brought us each a big bowl of steamy oatmeal.
“Thanks so much,” I said.
“Dovid loves you so much,” she said. “Can you help him? He gets distracted, so if he sees you eating with him, maybe he’ll eat his whole breakfast.”
I said the brachah out loud. “What’s that?” Dovid asked.
I tried not to let my surprise show to Miriam, but how could it be that Dovid never heard a brachah? “It’s a blessing thanking Hashem, Who gave us the gift of this delicious breakfast,” I explained.
I taught Dovid the words and he picked up how to say it very quickly. “When will you be five?” I asked him.
“My birthday is in yesterday,” he said in a very grown-up manner. “I came from yesterday.”
“Hmm, yesterday. In yesterday? Miriam, when is his birthday?”
“He’s funny. Everything is yesterday. He’ll be five in December. December 5, G-d willing.”
Miriam finished cleaning the pot from breakfast and then she removed her apron and put on her walking cloak. “I have to go to the post office.” She turned towards me. Can you watch Dovid for a bit? We’re expecting a letter from Mr. Burr.”
Now, she’d mentioned Mr. Burr. Now I should say something. “Miriam, this whole plan with Mr. Burr is risky. Wouldn’t it be better to move back to Pittsburgh with family, and Dovid would have a proper Jewish education and you’d have a community?”
“Mr. Burr is well-respected. We trust that he knows what he’s doing and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You don’t realize the opportunity it is.” She headed out the door.
After breakfast, Dovid and I went outside to play catch. The sun sparkled on the river nearby, and a soft breeze stirred the leaves on the oak and cedar trees that lined the yard. Behind the house there were acres of woods. We heard the whirr of insects in the tall grasses.
“Let’s play over there.” Dovid pointed to a spot right near the edge of the woods.
Just then, a boy around Dovid’s age passed by. He was carrying a bow and arrow and he was dressed like an Indian. He wore moccasins, a long tunic with fringes, and a fur cape. Dovid waved at the boy and the boy waved back and then he disappeared into the woods.
“Do you know that boy?” I asked.
Dovid threw the ball and I caught it and threw it gently back to him.
“His name is Lalawethika, but I just call him Lala.”
“You speak to him?”
“Sometimes. He comes here sometimes to hunt with his father. He knows some English. Throw farther, throw farther,” he said.
I threw it farther and Dovid squealed and ran after it, his little legs pumping. He threw it back at me and it rolled towards me. We threw back and forth and then for fun I tossed it up high in the air. Dovid shrieked and ran after it. It landed in the tall grasses away from the yard. Dovid raced after it.
A few minutes passed and he called to me. “I can’t find it, Yishai.”
I headed towards him.
“Look what I found!” He called.
As I approached I saw him reaching for what looked like a stick. The “stick” uncoiled, revealing a snake’s head. It reared its copper-colored head towards Dovid.
“Watch out!” I screamed.
To be continued…
Susie Garber is the author of A Bridge in Time (Menucha Publishing, 2021), Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers, 2020), Denver Dreams, a novel (Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials, and features in various magazines. Fiction serial Jewish Press Falling Star (2019).