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From the American Scene: The Good Life in Fayetteville

- Abstract

In September when the autumnal haze descends on the cliff dwellings of the Bronx, and the temple seats go on sale for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I get the urge to buy a round-trip ticket to Fayetteville, North Carolina, seat of Cumberland County. I would be home for the holidays. Better still, I would be magically eight again, wading in Cross Creek and feeling red mud ooze between my bare toes.

As children we lived the Brotherhood of Man. Moses’ band of Israelites boasted two Gentile members, Ella Mae and Josie, who were saved along with the rest of us Chosen when the Cape Fear River, which walled our town, ebbed during the drought period, and the red clay bank could be used for continuous deliverances from Pharaoh. The difference between Ella Mae and Josie and the true descendants of our “Israelite tribe” only became apparent when the sun set on late Friday afternoons, and we had to cut short our play to hurry home for the Sabbath.

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