Here at Chez delagar, where Dr. Skull is a semi-non-observant Jew, the kid is an atheist Jew, and I am an inveterate atheist, we celebrate the New Year by -- first -- going down to the banks of the Arkansas River and throwing bread (bits of the challah Dr. Skull has baked) into the water while we shout out the wrongs we are sorry for doing over the past year.
Me: I'm sorry for all the times I have shouted at other drivers! (flings bread) I'm sorry I yell at Dr. Skull so much! (flings bread) I'm sorry I think Republicans are idiots! (flings bread)
The Kid: I'm sorry I yell at Big Dog! (Flings bread) I'm sorry I yell at Dad! (Flings bread) I'm sorry I called that other artist a misogynistic name, almost, when I thought she stole my idea!
Dr. Skull: I'm sorry I hate subbing so much. (Flings bread.) I'm sorry I ignore Cher Mama. (Flings bread.) I'm sorry I got mad about people eating in the car. (Flings bread.)
Then we come home and eat a big meal, featuring roast chicken and the rest of the challah, and finishing up with honey cake.
After that, it's the Days of Awe, y'all.
*** **** ***
But this morning, prior to the Wild Rumpus, I had to go to court.
Remember my wreck, a few weeks ago? Yeah. The fella that hit me is (I guess) challenging the ticket. Or something. I'm not exactly certain what's up. He might be going to jail over too many traffic accidents. It's not entirely clear, because as it turned out the trial did not get held today.
Anyway, I'm State's Witness against the guy, who's got a public defender. The guy and his lawyer showed up, as did I, but the arresting officer did not, so the case got continued until next month.
It was all very interesting, as were the other cases being brought before the court along with my guy's. Interesting being the best and least depressing word I can find for it. These were all reminders that however grim my life may occasionally seem to me, things could be far worse.
The worst was a young woman who was perhaps twenty-five or six. The public defender, speaking swiftly and dispassionately, told her that the judge was probably going to give her jail time. (I have no idea what she was up for.)
"But I have a child," the woman said. "I have a little girl."
"All right," the public defender said. "I can ask for a fine. I'm telling you she'll probably give you jail. What do you want to do when that happens?"
The young woman just stared at her. Because -- well, what exactly could she do?
"You think about it," the public defender said, who I imagine deals with 9,000 of these cases a year, and went off to talk to one of the other 20 people she was talking to that afternoon.
Standing in the bright sunlight on the mixed limestone and grassy bank of the river, watching the fish rise to snap up the bread we had flung to them -- eating our sins along with them -- I was so glad to be there, with my family. I was so glad my wrongs were these, things I could fling away so lightly, walk away from easily, up to the green hillside and dinner waiting.
"Wait," Dr. Skull said. "I gotta take your picture."
I didn't even get annoyed -- as I usually would -- at his insistence at documenting every aspect of our lives. Instead, I looped my arm over the kid's shoulder and smiled into the sunlight.
"One more for the West Coast," Dr. Skull said, clicking the shutter. "Perfect."