I was really despairing about the seaworthiness of our old sukkah for this recently inaugurated Jewish calendar year of 5770. With Sukkot approaching this Friday night, with my wife having been sick all last week with a (suspiciously pre-seasonal) flu and me juggling work and filling in as Mr. Mom (hence the earlier break from blogging), I had been worriedly aware that the sukkah frame in our backyard looked near collapse. It’s a frame of steel pipes linked by joints where the screw sockets in the joints that hold the pipes together had all rusted and been stripped out so that I could neither screw nor unscrew them. If I’d been more careful in previous years about disassembling the structure promptly before the Seattle rains, this wouldn’t have happened.
The whole frame, on which you drape a heavy canvas wall and a bamboo roof, was listing terribly to one side from kids swinging on it. Yes, we’ve had that same frame in the same place for the two years past. I know that’s not the respectful way to treat a holy item like a sukkah
. At least the canvas and bamboo had been safely stored in the garage since last Sukkot.
Anyway I assumed that I couldn’t tighten or loosen any of the joints. Under the weight of the canvas walls, something was bound to give. The whole structure would collapse and we’d be left without a sukkah to eat our festival meals in. It’s my favorite Jewish holiday so that would have really saddened me, along with my family.
But then the miracle happened!
When I went to see if I could somehow get those screws loose with the hex key and some WD-40, I realized that it wasn’t necessary. I found that the sockets in the screws hadn’t been stripped out after all as I very distinctly remembered and that, in fact, many of the screws actually turned if I inserted the key and gave a series of well aimed blows with a hammer. Sure enough the sukkah was soon straight and reasonably free of wobbles. This morning I got the canvas walls up and the roof. I found the tarp we use as a flooring for it in a little gully by our house where the kids had dumped it. More shameful neglect of a religious article by this blogger.
As you can see, I’m not a very competent householder. But all is now well and come the festival, we’ll all be crowding into our tiny but homey and cute sukkah.