On the horizon: a virtual seder

What kind of Pesach will we have this year?
I get word from one of my granddaughters in Pittsburgh that she is planning a virtual Seder. I, who am virtually non-tech, am trying to learn enough about whatever is necessary so that I can be part of it.
Everyone’s now making plans for online and/or virtual meetings, but I am still virtually clueless about how to participate. I have never wanted to be part of anything more “technical” than my trusty computer keyboard, but it looks like I must get with it; I cannot survive as the “Luddite” I am in today’s world of advanced communication. Kind folks are sending me instructions. I do not want them; I do not want to follow them; I have to follow them; I appreciate having them. Even I can change…
Oh, how I remember — and miss — the old Pesachs at home. The ones when I was a child, and watched Zeide make his fiery chrain, then test its potency in front of us kids to assure it was hot enough. He’d take a heaping spoonful into his mouth — swallow — throw his head back, and we’d be frozen in fascinated horror, watching his face turn as red as what he had just ingested. But after he brought his head back down to normal and the color receded from his face, he would proclaim that year’s condiment as just right.
The other day, I made a special trip to the kosher Tom Thumb just to buy some red horseradish for my jarred gefilte fish — something I can’t find in my local East Dallas groceries.
I remember being at a seder table at an aunt’s house – our family and hers together, with her very old father-in-law presiding at its head. Suddenly he was overcome by something terrible: he had choked on a bone still in the piece of homemade fish he was eating. Luckily my father the doctor was also at the table to take care of things quite speedily. However, it was a good decade before I was ready to eat gefilte fish again…
Times change. Traditions change. At your house, did adults hide the matzo for the kids to hunt and find? Or did the kids steal the matzo and demand payment for its return? I’ve been at both types of seders; the kids were always happy, no matter which, because they always got something for their efforts.
I remember a woman who grew up in Egypt telling me that their tradition used to be for children to pack little peckles on sticks and march around the seder table, shouting “We’re leaving Egypt! We’re leaving Egypt!” until one day one of them acknowledged reality and said “Wait a minute! We live in Egypt! Why do we have to leave?” But then, not too much later, although so many years after the Exodus, they were indeed forced to leave again…
I used to prepare family seders, but those days departed with my husband’s passing some five years ago. Now I’ve sent the seder plate that always graced our table to a cousin in Ohio, who craved something with family tradition attached. My dining room walls are still ringed with a collection of many seder plates, old and new, glass and metal, commercial and works of individual artists, traditionally shaped or so modern one must look twice or more to recognize what they really are. When I move from this home of many years to something more suitable for an advanced senior, where will they go? I hope they’ll find happy homes on other walls, or perhaps on tables…maybe on the same ones I’ve been invited to sit at as a guest for the past half-decade?
My two great-grandsons are growing up with new traditions like virtual seders. I’m happy that they are growing up with seders, no matter what kind. Despite distances and viruses, we can — and should — and must — be together for Pesach!

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