Sundown Monday night signaled the beginning of Passover, so my wife and I gathered a group of friends for our first seder in years. We truncated the traditions, focusing mostly on food ones; meanwhile, our friends delivered, potluck-style. Besides good fun and the breaking of (unleavened) bread, the night treated me to one vivid memory of my grandfather.
Growing up, I sat around numerous dinner tables where he occupied the head. I remember how he would slowly look around the gathering, before the meal was served, making eye contact with each person there. (This proved easy when it was just my brother, me, and our grandmother for a casual Friday-night dinner; more challenging at, say, a bar mitzvah with a roomful of a hundred people.) Then he would say the same seven words. "I'm glad everyone who's here," he'd proclaim, pausing once more to sweep the room with his eyes and a small smile, "could come."
Looking around our table last night, those words felt apt -- as they always have. I kvelled (my grandfather's word) that his memory could come, too.