Walking out of the front door of the Pavilion I was greeted by oodles of lilacs hanging from the two trees at the entrance, showing a sensational display of purple color while filling the air all around with clouds of exquisite aroma. Further down, three trees of which I don't know the name grow, in spite of being gassed by exhaust fumes of cars entering the under-ground parking, a profusion of white flowers, smelling so good it puts my nose in overdrive. Come a week later and all coloring is erased as yesterdays assignment from a blackboard and replaced by the brightest of green leaves.
I witness the start of an organization at work as several young women haste to their specific places in the administration of the campus where I live, all arriving at this early hour and I wondered how much work they did before they arrived at their work.
Getting out of bed, waking up the husband, shower, dress, getting the children up, making breakfast for the husband, the children, herself? Making lunches, kissing the husband goodbye, shoving the children out of the door, getting into the car to bring all or one of the kids to school or babysitter, trying to find a parking-spot - and than still be able to say good morning including a big smile to an old man, like several did to me on my morning walk.
Are they all wonder-women?
One of these women still able to smile after doing her home-work before going to work drives in to park her car.I am unable to see the driver inside the car and amble on, apparently not fast enough as suddenly she walks beside me - smiling.
We talked, or better, she talked and I smiled, better yet, she talked and did most of the smiling. What we were talking about I don't know anymore, but it did not disturb at all the good feelings experienced the entire morning. At the end of our duo walk I had good feelings about Hungary, and managed to say “See you soon” thinking of meeting her at exercise class where she is instructor.
I have time for a cup of coffee, the cafeteria is open but not serving yet because I am about twenty minutes early, so I seat myself in the corner. The paperboy takes the paper to the table where I usually sit occupy, but is occupied by a lady now, also waiting. The elderly man who sometimes hands me a paper hands it to her and after just noticing me uppes his shoulders like a Frenchman would - sorry.
'Its ok,' I mouth, but now the lady insist for me to have the paper. I lie that I've read the paper already which neither she nor the paper deliverer believes, I think, but she keeps the paper anyways. She orders a coffee for herself and comes back with it together with the coffee I have ordered. “What d'you take in it” she asked. “Nothing, just dark,” I lie again. Why I do that I don't know.
Again she offers me the paper but by this time I tell her that I have to leave since I must meet the instructor of our exercise class and would not want to miss that for anything. I thank the lady for her kindness and notice the amount of rings on her fingers, which I calculate to be worth as much as a mid-size car.
I am early at the exercise room and make myself useful by placing the armchairs in a circle, sit down, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the instructor, who has provided the zenith of my good-feeling this morning by talking, and – even smiling at me.
Before I tell you more about my instructor, I have to take you along to where I, more than eighty years ago originated, in Fryslân, where after every mealtime my father would read a chapter out of the bible, and to keep us attentive, would ask any one of us children at random at the end of the reading what the last word was that he had read.
Father was great reader making us usually listen well, and a lot of bible stories are quite interesting. This time he read about a young man named Jacob who had traveled to the far country where his family immigrated from to find a wife for himself, but instead of looking around at the local girls he fell head over heels in love with the youngest of two daughters of a relative of his mother, probably his mother's brother, which would make the young Rachel Jacob's niece.
A dutch saying goes like this – neef en nicht vrijt licht, (nephew and niece, smooch easy), but Rachel's father put the brakes on Jacob's romantic dreams by putting a stiff price on Rachel's head.
“Beauty does not come cheap Jacob,” Laban administers the would-be suitor of his daughter “Work seven years for me and my daughter will be yours wife.” Jacob agrees willingly and diligently looks after Laban's flock which increases every year under his care and because his love for Rachel does not diminish, the years fly by.
After seven years Jacob claims Rachel as his bride.
“I have worked hard for you,” he said, “your herd is healthier than it has ever been and has increased every year, I have fulfilled my obligation to you Laban, and as we agreed to seven years ago, I now claim your daughter as my wife.”
“You have indeed done very well Jacob, you tended my animals as if they were your own, my flock is healthy and has increased. I own more goats and sheep now than I ever possessed, therefore I will organize a wedding-feast and you will have my daughter as your wife as we agreed.”
Laban kept his word, calling his extensive family, friends, and the entire neighborhood to the wedding- feast that would last for a week. It was a happy party where all were pampered with plentiful food and indulged in freely flowing wines.
Late on the evening of the last day of feasting Laban took his daughter to an intoxicated Jacob, who slept with her. When Jacob awoke he needed only one look to see that he has been fooled, he had not slept with his true love Rachel, but with her older sister Leah.
He bitterly complains to who is now his father-in-law Laban about being cheated, but Laban counters it by saying that he promised him his daughter and that Jacob got his daughter, wasn't it his daughter Jacob slept with?
And as for his complaint that it was not Leah, but Rachel he was in love with and bargained for, Laban lectured Jacob that the custom of the area was that the oldest daughter was to marry before her younger sisters and Jacob had lived in the country long enough to know their customs, he should have been aware of that. So, Jacob was hooked, whether he liked it or not, but Laban came with a solution – he wanted a promise from Jacob to work another another seven years for him and for that he would get Rachel as his wife as well. Jacob settled for that.
It is very interesting to read the rest of the story which you can find in Genesis 29, (of the bible) and several other stories, all to do with the life of Jacob who married two sisters and about their life in the really olden days. The reason why I wrote this story has to do with my father reading the bible almost eighty years ago.
When it comes to the part where Jacob wakes up and father reads '...and see, it was Leah... my father's face altered as in wonderment, his eyebrows arched up, and after so many years I still wonder what he was thinking about at that very moment but that is not the only reason – after I had set up the chairs in the exercise room and was impatiently awaiting the arrival of the woman responsible for my good-feeling, our instructor Timi, see who waltzes in – Rebecca...
What a relief that I love them both.