Jacob sat on the three legged stool in the kitchen watching his wife Roha prepare super; their son and his wife coming over. With a speed that belied her age, the seventy two year old woman moved round the kitchen getting the stuff ready. They were going to have fish and boiled barley for supper.
As he watched her, Jacob marveled at how active his wife was. In all the years they have been married he has never seen Roha slow down; she always had something doing . “You want me to help you clean the fish?” Jacob offered. “No thanks Abba” She started calling him Abba the day they got married and has not stopped in forty years.
Most of their friends agreed that Jacob has indeed been a father to his wife and many of them came to this couple for marital counseling and mediation in their private conflicts. Indeed Jacob and Roha had always been popular in Idumea a small town of about eight hundred residence.
Jacob got up and went to the cupboard; there was a jar of raisins on the top drawer he reached for it. “I don’t think those raisins are still good” Roha said “They have been there since last fall” Jacob opened the jar and brought it close to his nose, he grimaced. “They are bad”. “Get rid of it” Roha said “You know you grandson, when he comes he will be reaching into everything”
Jacob chuckled and shook his head among all his grandchildren, Joseph’s son was the most interesting of them all. The boy was a whirlwind, he was just one year old but full of energy. “You know that boy takes after you” Jacob said grinning . “What do you mean by that?” Roha said feigning anger. “Well he has your energy, he can’t just seat still”
Roha grinned and began to cut the spinach she had just finished washing. “I think what that boy needs is a good spanking” Jacob said. “You are right” Roha agreed “I don’t know why they let him get away with all the crazy stuff he does. You know the last time they came he broke my ceramic bowl, the one I store the cheese in”
Jacob shook his head in disapproval. “I am going to talk to Joseph when they come tonight. He is spoiling that boy rotten, I did not raise him like that” “Please not tonight” Roha said quickly “Tonight I would want you to be of your best behavior” “Hey I am always in my best behavior” Jacob said defensively.
Roha turned and silently began to cut the spinach. Inwardly she prayed that the evening would go smoothly without any fireworks. For a long time now there has been a tension between Jacob and his son. It all started when they found out that the woman their son was planning to marry was already pregnant.
In a strong term Jacob had warned his son against marrying the woman. “How are you sure the child is yours?” His father had asked and Joseph had insisted that the child was his. For six months after their wedding Joseph’s father did not speak to him, it took Roha’s constant crying and threats of killing herself to get Jacob to forgive his son and to grudgingly accept Mary as part of the family.
When Jesus was born, everyone said he looked like Jacob. “He has your nose, Oh he smiles like you” Jacob was not deceived, he knew the baby did not look like anyone in the family, he also knew that the neighbors were just trying to be nice. Behind his back they talked about his son’s stupidity.
After a while it never bothered Jacob what people were saying. If Joseph want’s to raise another man’s baby who was he to protest. He and Roha had made up their mind to love and threat Jesus like they would any of their other grandchildren. After all it was not his fault that he was conceived outside wedlock and even though Jacob would not openly say it, deep in his heart he was glad to be Jesus’ grandparent.
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