Recap: Dovid was bitten by a snake and a Native American woman named Holata helped cure the bite. Yishai stayed longer to help his nephew. Eventually, he had to go back home and he hated leaving Dovid and he worried about his brother being involved with Aaron Burr.
I returned home on November 4. Father met me at the dock. “Welcome back, son. We missed you.”
“How is Mama?”
“The same but, baruch Hashem, no worse. How is Dovid?”
“Baruch Hashem, he’s fine now. The only thing left is two little holes in his arm. He loves to show it off to his friends.”
“You killed the snake.”
“Smashed it with a rock.”
“And Ezra? Is he listening to reason about this Mr. Burr?”
“I tried over and over. He is set on making a lot of money and riches and he says the plan is good and we shouldn’t worry.”
He’s young. He doesn’t realize what he’s getting himself into. “They’re coming for a visit. Your mother convinced them to come with a letter she dictated to me to send. She told them they have to come see their new niece and her before they head off to the wilds of the west.”
“It was hard leaving Dovid. When are they coming?”
“A date wasn’t fixed but it will be within the month, I think.” Father whispered as we drew near our house. “Don’t trouble Mama about Ezra’s not complying. Tell her the good parts but give her hope.” Father put his arm on my shoulder, “Keep davening with all your heart. Ezra and Miriam must see reason.”
Mama was sitting up in the rocking chair in the living room holding my new baby sister, Kayla. I kissed her cheek and the baby’s head.
Rafael and Gavriel rushed into the room. “You’re back. Come see the playhouse we made out back.”
“They took an old box and made a playhouse,” Mama said.
The twins looked bigger since I left. “You guys will love playing with Dovid when he comes.”
Funny to think Dovid was their uncle and he was a year younger than them.
That night, I helped Father with the chores. Rena, my 12-year-old sister, did a lot of the cooking. Father did the laundry. I helped Rena, and Father asked me to help with the sweeping and with bathing the twins.
“I’m sorry you all have to work so hard for me.” Mama sighed.
“Esther, we are happy to do it,” Father said. “Just get well.”
Three weeks later, we received a letter from Miriam stating that they planned to come and visit next week and which boat they would be taking.
We hurried to straighten the house and set up extra beds in the twins’ room. Ezra and Miriam would sleep in the living room.
“I wish I could help set things up,” Mama said.
When they arrived, the first thing Rafael wanted to see was Dovid’s snake bite. “Let’s go show it to our friends.” They took Dovid with them to visit some of their friends.
Father shook Ezra’s hand.
The visit started out fine, with no talk about Mr. Burr or asking them to change their plan.
It was fun watching the little uncle leading his nephews around the yard and playing tag with them.
It was while I was outside watching the boys playing that I first heard raised voices. The door was open and I saw the whole scene. It made my stomach flop, hearing the anger in everyone’s voices.
“Miriam, you have to think about Dovid. The influences,” Mother said.
“We appreciate what you are saying, Mother, but this is an incredible opportunity.”
Father’s boots clicked as he strode into the house. “Look at this article from the Philadelphia United States Gazette. Ezra, just please read it.”
Father began reading it aloud.
“How long will it be before we hear of Colonel Burr being at the head of a revolutionary party on the western waters?... How soon will Colonel Burr engage in the reduction of Mexico?”
Father’s voice rose. “Ezra, a revolution, a reduction. We are talking treason, son. There’s more. Listen to this article in the New York Commercial Advertiser.
”That he Burr has formed and that he is now employed in executing, a scheme highly injurious to the interest, the tranquility, and the well-fare of the U.S. We have the strongest ground to believe. From information recently received, we have been induced to believe that now powerful efforts will soon be made to sever the western states from the Union, connect them with Louisiana, and form a whole into a distinct empire with Col. Burr at its head.”
Father waved the paper at Ezra.
Ezra signaled Miriam and they both walked out the door. They walked past me and the boys and went on walking and talking together.
Father was pacing back and forth and Mother was crying. “We aren’t getting anywhere, Yehuda. Let’s let them be. I just want a good peaceful visit. They are determined.”
“Yes, they are determined on ruining themselves and our grandson.” Father stormed out of the house.
Later, Ezra and Miriam returned and Father came back. No one spoke about the subject again. It was like an invisible wall was erected and no one dared to penetrate it with even one word regarding the Aaron Burr scheme.
The rest of the visit was spent with carefully chosen words.
I was sad when they left. Dovid and I hugged and he said he’d send me drawings and I said I’d write. Mother kissed Miriam’s cheek. She hugged Ezra extra long. “Be careful, Ezra,” she said.
A tear trickled down her cheek.
Father shook Ezra’s hand and wished him good luck.
“You’ll see, it will be good,” Ezra said.
We all stood, waving, as their boat pulled away from the dock.
After they left, everyone was quiet – even the twins. “I wish Dovid could stay here,” Gavriel said.
“Me, too,” Mama said. “Me, too.”
To be continued…
Susie Garber is the author of A Bridge in Time (Menucha Publishing, 2021), Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers, 2020), Denver Dreams, a novel (Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials, and features in various magazines. Fiction serial Jewish Press Falling Star (2019).