When Words Fail

When words fail, memories have to suffice. A long time ago my wife and I were car camping our way down the Pacific Coast Highway.  We’d setup our camp at the mouth of the Carmel River just north of Big Sur and were preparing dinner when a guy pops into our camp holding a couple bottles of wine.  “If you’ve got a corkscrew, I’ve got some wine…”

Well we did have a corkscrew and Steve didn’t look like a serial killer so we ended up inviting him to share our dinner.  Good wine, food, a river and a campfire make for good conversation… long story short and to get to the point, Steve was a big ol’ Jew!

Or should I saw Jewish? That probably sounds better… I should have asked him but I think he probably just wanted to be called Steve.  Anyway when we found out Steve was a Hebrew, we perked right up, because we are Christians and we love Hebrews and we told him so. To which Steve replied “Christians…they love us! Except for the ones that hate us.”

I remember saying I never understood anti-semites. I mean I can unterstand why Palestinians  and Arabs hate Jews but Europeans? Americans? I still don’t understand that brand of hate and I still have a soft spot in my heart for the children of Jacob that I can’t put into words.

So I’ll remember a young couple who weren’t yet too afraid to welcome a stranger to their table. I’ll remember my wife telling her campfire story of trying to go for a sunrise swim at a Tel Aviv beach. Her trying to sweet talk the Israeli soldier who informed her of the curfew. Her saying “but – but I’m not a terrorist, I’m an American!”  Her removing  her beach towel and proclaiming “Look I don’t have any weapons!” To which the soldier replied “Oh I wouldn’t say that ma’am.” I’ll remember us all laughing tired and tipsy and Steve making a gracious timely exit.

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