Chapter 1 is here. Gulp. I think I like it. Sort of. Maybe.
I’ll add pictures later.
And this is the only chapter I think I will post on this blog. The rest will come solely on my novel blog.
Here is the chapter summary for those of you who are too lazy to read the entire post (yes, I’m guilting you into this)~
As his daughter twelve-year-old daughter Abihail watches, Jairus carefully finishes spinning a vase for her on his potter’s wheel. After completing this and closing up his shop just before sundown, Jairus and Abihail return to the adjoining house for Sabbath dinner and discussion with Keturah. In the circle of candlelight, in the home Jairus has provided his family by the work of his hands, the untamed Galilean Sea outside isnonexistent.
Carefully, carefully, Jairus’ wet, calloused fingers moved to draw out the lip of the clay vase as it spun on his potter’s wheel. There – it was perfect. The potter of Capernaum took his hands off of the masterpiece, wiping them on his apron, and lifted his foot off the pedal. Reaching over, he picked up a thin piece of wire, deftly slipping it along the base of the soft clay and cutting it off the wheel.
“Oh,” breathed his twelve-year-old daughter, Abihail, from her stool nearby where she sat, absorbedly watching her father’s every motion. “It’s beautiful! And it will look so lovely when I fill it with lilies!”
Her delight and his own satisfaction in his handiwork spun a smile on his lips as Jairus set the unhardened piece gently, ever so gently, onto the canvas-covered shelf to dry.
“And it will be more beautiful still when I fire it and glaze it for you next week,” he responded to his daughter’s comment.
“Can’t you do it tomorrow, Father?” Her brown eyes brimmed with pleading enthusiasm.
“Abbi,” Jairus turned to face her, untying his apron, “tomorrow is the Sabbath.”
“Oh,” she returned, a little embarrassed at her mistake.
Jairus hung up his apron on its peg. “And speaking of the Sabbath, we had better get home. It is almost sundown, and your mother is waiting for us to get back for supper.”
“Yes!” Abihail picked up the broom in the corner. “And I helped Mother make the challah for tonight, so I can’t wait to try it.” She pulled the bundle of stiff grasses along the floor, sweeping crumbs of clay and dirt into a pile by the door.
Jairus picked up a pail of water and a rag sitting on the tabletop, rinsed his hands, and began to methodically clean the clay off work area.
The red sun was stooping to kiss the western horizon when the father and daughter exited the ordered workshop. There was a simple courtyard and garden between the shop and the house which stood just next door. Before stepping across the threshold, both Jairus and Abihail reached up to touch the mezuzah in the doorframe, the child innocently, the father, more reverently.
“Barukh attah Adonai eloheinu nelekh ha-olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav ve-tsinavu lehadlik ner shel Shabbat – Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Sabbath candles.” Half an hour later, as the sun set and shofar blew the start of the seventh day, Keturah, the mother of the house, reverently lit the two Sabbath candles. The ancient Hebrew blessing and pool of light radiated an awed hush as the family gathered around the low table on the floor. Setting down the lamp she had used to ignite the twin flames, Keturah beckoned the Sabbath, waving her hand over the flickering candles. The day of rest had begun.
“Father?” Abihail asked Jairus as he poured water in a clay bowl. “Who is going to read the Scripture tomorrow morning at synagogue?”
As ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum, Jairus was in charge of determining who would read from the sacred Torah on the Sabbath. Jairus rinsed his fingers in the bowl of water, dried them on a cloth, and passed the bowl to his wife. “I think Rabbi Simeon will read to us from the book of Jeremiah tomorrow.”
“And Mother!” The girl’s mind turned like a skylark. “Father made the vase today! He says he will fire and glaze it next week, and then I can put my lilies in it!”
Keturah smiled at her daughter’s joyful exclamation as she dipped her hands in the ceremonial bowl of water. “Yes! And maybe I will even give you some of the sweet peas to put in it.
“Here,” she added, handing Abihail the bowl.
“The pink and the white will look simply beautiful together in Father’s vase, won’t it?” Running on like a brook, Abihail took the water from her mother and absently washed her small hands. “Father’s pot, Mother’s sweet peas, and my lilies – our whole family in one handful.”
Jairus nodded quietly, used to his daughter’s happy ramblings. Rising to carve the fish, he turned to his helpmeet. “Your brother came by the shop today.”
“He did? Did Mordecai say anything about the sandals?” inquired Keturah.
“Yes,” Jairus returned. “That’s why he came. He says that he will trade the pair of sandals for a water jar. I have one I finished this afternoon, so I will take that to his shop the first day of the week. Mordecai said he will have the sandals ready then, too.”
“That’s good,” his wife affirmed, brushing a strand of graying, coffee-brown hair behind her ear. “Abihail has been needing those sandals this past moon.”
And the evening passed. ‘The contented, peaceful conversation of my contented, peaceful family,’ Jairus mused. In this circle of sacred lamplight, in the home he had provided for them by the work of his hands, the untamed Galilean Sea outside was nonexistent.