Making friends with the locals and Pea & Ham.

Where my parents live is a very Jewish area and the street often has visits from what my parents have dubbed ‘the Jewish Mafia’, the hassidic men who go door to door dispensing, well I’m not sure what they dispense because I’ve never answered the door to them before but they dispense something. Anyway, I was chatting to my parents in their living room the other day when the doorbell rang. Seemed a bit unfair to make the disabled bloke get off his arse and answer the door so off I trot to see who it is. And lo and behold, it’s two of the Jewish mafia.

“Hello” I say cheerfully. “Good afternoon” says the smaller of the two, “We’ve come to bring you some matzah. The grain has been guarded from the field all the way to here”. He hands me two boxes of matzah. I’m a bit puzzled as to why they’ve been guarding grain so closely but from his expression this is a good gift and it’s nice for people to come round and give you things. I live down the rougher end of town, the only free thing you’ll get from someone on your doorstep where I live is a gobful of nonsense. “Thanks” I say, giving him the benefit of my finest cheerful smile. It’s clearly a bit wonky at the moment because the larger one looks terrified and backs off up t he driveway slightly.

“You know you should be spending Pesach in Jerusalem with the Messiah?” asks the smaller of the two. I’m still reading the back of matzah packet rather than thinking about filtering what comes out of my mouth so I say the first thing that comes into my head “Ah well the thing is my dad’s got terminal lung cancer so we can’t go abroad at the moment, we have to stay close to home because he can’t be in the car for too long”. Massive silence…..understandable really, there’s no sensible reply to that. The larger one is now backing further up the driveway away from the crazy lady, while trying hard not to make eye contact or sudden movements in case it startles me into doing something batshit mad. The smaller one is made of sterner stuff however “Ah right” he eventually says, “Well when the Messiah comes we will all be healed”. I’m still reading the packet, “Lovely, we’ll be looking forward to that because chemotherapy is supposed be a right bastard”. Another massive silence, during which I realise that I did in fact just say that out loud rather than in my head. At this point even the smaller guy gives up and scampers up the driveway tossing a ‘Have a nice afternoon’ over his shoulder. I’m guessing we won’t be getting any more free matzah anytime soon. I take my two boxes into the living room. “Look” I show my father the boxes, “Some bloke just gave me free matzah” and I tell him my little story.  “You’re meant to tell them you’re not Jewish you pillock” he informs me while laughing heartily at the fact he’s clearly bred a not-right who has the ability to scare total strangers while trying to be nice. Oops.

In other news I am trying to make lots of nutritious soup for my dad to eat when he feels hungry and to this end my mum has lent me their soupmaker. It’s a very clever gadget that prepares all the bits and cooks them all in the one jug. Yesterday I made pea and ham. I prepared it all, popped it in the jug, set it to cook and waited. When it finished cooking, the instructions said ‘pulse for a minute to blend’. So I switched the dial to ‘pulse’. Pea and ham rose majestically up the sides of the jug, the lid blew off and bounced off the ceiling, the dog yowled and adopted the brace position ready to flee but wasn’t quite fast enough as pea and ham left the jug with all the force of an exploding volcano and hit him, me, the walls and even the ceiling, leaving everything in a 5 foot radius coated liberally in both peas and ham. The dog hadn’t a clue what to do next, he just stood there blinking as peas dripped off his ears. At this point Mr V came in to see what the noise was all about, he took one look at the vegetable coated kitchen, wife and family pet, shook his head ruefully and left again. I was still picking peas off the dog well into the evening and I found a pea in my hair this morning. I shall be writing to the manufacturers of the soupmaker this evening to ask them to include the instruction “Ensure lid is securely fastened” BEFORE the instruction to pulse.


13 Responses

  1. Good one, Vicola. That story could only be improved by you and the dog greeting the Jewish gentlemen a few seconds after the pea and ham explosion. Yes, I can see it now…

  2. Aw now see what happens when you try and do something nice? For me it was parking my mums car for her and some fucktard decides that leaving an inch between wing mirrors is enough to pass a car safely and twatted the front end of the car. I’m still fighting her claim that somehow her hitting a stationary car is my fault. Sorry about the peas and stuff but your story had me laughing out loud in the office. Best be careful, you can get sacked for that these days. Hugs.

  3. Wait … so all these writings I’ve seen from people who say, “Who needs to be reminded of this stuff?” can now be answered!

    The poor dog was probably saying, “If she had to cover me in soup, why couldn’t it be something other than pea soup?”

  4. Re Snowy’s comment – offering them some pea and ham soup might also have added something to the mix. Am sure they would have appreciated having something to dunk their matzah in. Ahem.

  5. I’m sitting here at my friend’s house in Seoul at 1:30am laughing hysterically, trying not to wake them up.

    In NZ (unlike in the US), when religious types come to the door, they are not at all persistent. A few days ago, one came to the door bearing religious pamphlets. All I said was, “We’re atheists”, and she said, “Have a good day” and left. I’ve never had a chance to awkwardly be nice to them while telling them there’s no chance they’re going to get me back into the light. I’m always a wee bit disappointed. One of my earliest and fondest memories of my dad is having him invite the hapless Jehovah’s Witnesses inside to pester them. He loved arguing with them. (He was an atheist, much to my Catholic mother’s Catholic. She had no idea when she married him. Don’t ask me how. Frankly, I think she was in denial from day one Not a surprise that union didn’t last.)

    I’ve never gotten free matzah though. Do you know how to make matzah ball soup? It’s really good:) I live on the stuff during the winter (having married into Jewish stock myself), I’ve long been addicted to the stuff).


  6. I love the way your head works when in conversation with idiots.

  7. Uh… Did the soup survive? Did Gotham City eat Motzah? Will Catwoman lick pea soup off the dog? Tune in tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel…

  8. sorry to hear about your dad vicola 😦

  9. This did make me laugh. Visions of peas in your hair.
    Hope your Dad is feeling comfortable…

  10. Outstanding, Vicola.

    I can think of plenty of retorts for the faith pushers but none as effective as your accidental response.

  11. Aw Vicola, only you could make such a funny post out of adversity. You are a talented woman my friend. I particularly laughted at the bit about your dog blinking as peas dripped off his ears!

  12. Sorry to hear about your dad, and recognise the feelings and thoughts that such an experience brings to the fore, although I could not have expressed them a tenth so well.

    • Cheers Brendan, it’s a shit situation to find yourself in, really really shit and the worst thing is that there’s not a damn thing you can do to fix it. Nothing. You’re not by any chance Brendan Hoare father of Katie and John Hoare are you?

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