I’m writing this much later, but I want to preserve some continuity for what will follow. I think this was my 21st year singing High Holy Days in Wichita. I don’t remember much about the singing, so it was either perfectly fine or perfectly awful, or somewhere in between. I do remember that I went to the Sedgwick County Zoo where I hadn’t visited in many years. It is a great zoo with a fairly new Gorilla exhibit which, this time, left me feeling a bit depressed. I also bought a new pair of cowboy boots at the place that used to be the iconic Shepler’s, and is now called the Boot Barn. One of the first years I came here, I remember getting a tour of the “largest western wear store anywhere” from the proud owner and congregation member, Lou Cohen. He wanted me to pick out anything I wanted, for me and my husband. I was at a loss, not yet appreciating the comfort and style of cowboy boots, or his great generosity of spirit. Now, all these years later, the Cohens have moved to Arizona, Sheplers is no more, and I am working on my third pair of boots.
The other notable thing about this year is that Buz Solomon, my Kansas Dad, as I liked to call him, died last December. I didn’t make it out for the funeral, but I did meet up with Marcia, my Kansas mom, in NYC in April for grand daughter Hannah’s senior violin recital at NYU – a sweet family event. Many members of this congregation have died or moved away, but being in Wichita with Buz finally gone, felt very sad. The Rabbi was also having some family challenges and health troubles. So overall, the flavor of the holidays this year was a bit depressed and muted. Many things are not as they used to be, and the inevitable march of change feels heavy.