When I get one of those e-mails about women as a ‘sisterhood,’ I usually gag and hit Delete. The bulk and somewhat impersonal notes, that often end with ‘send this on or lightning will strike you dead,’ are worth ignoring. But that is not the same as having a few women who are such an intimate part of my life, that I consider them Sisters. Here are examples of just a few. Tina, has been part of my life since before we were born. Our mothers were best friends and it was almost as if we had no choice. Tina has not had an easy time of late. Her husband died, their business went bankrupt and what seems like an impossibility, financial struggle, has become her reality. Despite all this, Tina remains one of the funniest people in the world—maybe in the universe.
Then there are my high school friends, Joyce and Pam. Actually, Pam has been part of my life since nursery school but that’s almost too far away to remember. We shared so many incredible experiences as children, like I was tossed out of Brownies because the leader was anti-semitic, and Pam’s mom, in protest, took her out of the troop. That was really something. It was a statement I would never forget. I met Joyce in Home Ec (I wanted to take car repair and wood shop, but they didn’t let girls do that). I was forced to take cooking and sewing. Cooking was bearable, but sewing was beyond my comprehension. Joyce, seeing my struggle, decided it was easier to complete my projects, than to teach me how to complete them myself. There is Soozie, who I met freshman year in college. We have laughed through good times and bad and have continued our mutual adoration society for oh so many years. She and her husband Jeff were Jordan’s Godparents. Sadly, Jeff died over twelve years ago and we still miss him everyday. Happily, Soozie introduced me to Jane, who lives pretty close to us in Va., and has become the person I call every time I need a laugh, a meal, a confidante, or company for the theater.
Then there are the women I met in politics, Kim, (who was actually my student before she became my political protégé) Marthena, Sidney, Deborah, Sarah, Sara, and Kat. They are all totally unique. When you meet people in campaigns or politics, you form the same kind of relationships you do in camp.— they are fast, furious and forever. Even when you don’t see one another for years, you remain connected by something unexplainable, almost magical – and part of that has to be the shared desire to make the world a better place to live.
My newest of these sisters is six feet tall and not Jewish, except in her sensibilities and her heart. And what a heart she has. I have only known her for a few months. When we met, however, it was like we had known one another all our lives. As part of the story, you need to know my husband and I produced a documentary called "The Gefilte Chronicles.” (yum, maybe) It's a remarkable film and you should take a look at the website www.gefiltefishchronicles.com
Anyway, there I was at a Public Diplomacy conference at White Oak in Florida. It is a gorgeous facility, but unlike most other conference centers, this one has a wildlife preserve attached. There I was scoping out some big ugly lizards, and my phone ran out of film --or power or whatever it is that allows your phone to document your day. "Oh, Crap!" I said. And this tall beautiful woman (also scoping the reptiles) said, "What is it?"
I shared my camera woes with her and she took a picture for me, and that led to a discussion of fish. (Don't ask it just did). I spoke about gefilte fish and she about lutefisk (she being of Scandanavian extraction from the northern mid-west.) Jews aren't privy to information about lute's, and Scandinavians aren't usually conversant about gefiltes but that was soon remedied. I told her about combining the White and Carp fish and she told me about the best way to make lutefisk.
The most important thing to know about gefilte fish is that you have to 'hock' (like chopping) until it becomes so glutinous that it doesn't require any bread or matzo to hold it together. The most important thing about lutefisk is "it important to clean the lutefisk and its residue off pans, plates, and utensils immediately. Lutefisk left overnight becomes nearly impossible to remove. Sterling silver should never be used in the cooking, serving or eating of lutefisk, which will permanently ruin silver. Stainless steel utensils are recommended instead."
No need to go on and on. The most important thing to know about these amazing women is that despite our cultural, religious, age, and physical differences, we are all ‘fish’ sisters in our souls. We’re just sayin’…. Iris