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"We always start at Old Log, Annie," Lincoln says, giving me the look.
I give him one right back. "This year I'm in charge," I announce. "And this year we're starting at Turtle Rock."
It's the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah and we're on our way to do tashlich. That's when you go to a place with flowing water – a lake, a river, or creek – and you throw in pieces of bread that represent mistakes you've made in the last year. My friend Franny who lives in New York does it in the fountain at Lincoln Center, and my brother's friend Matt says he once did it in a toilet. My family has its own tradition.
"Is everything we need in your backpacks?" Mom asks. "Apple?"
"I've got the pocketknife," Mom says.
"Follow me!" I say, leading them into the woods behind our house. This time of year the trail is lined with trees changing color. I've planned four stops along the way: Turtle Rock, Billy Goat's Bridge, Gypsy Landing, and finally Old Log.
"Okay, everyone!" I announce. "While you're walking, think of one really good thing you want to remember from last year." We hike quietly while everyone thinks.
When we get to Turtle Rock, I find four stones that can "write," and give one to each person.
"Okay. What good thing did you remember?"
Link goes first. He writes B-U-S on Turtle Rock. "I learned how to ride the bus by myself," he says, "and it's really cool. I can go anywhere!"
Then Dad gets up. He scratches the letters K-O-R-O-S-T-Y-S-H-E-V on the rock. "This year, Grandpa and I went to Ukraine. We visited the little village where he grew up. It's a trip that I'll always remember."
Mom goes next. She uses her stone to draw a picture of a lady with long hair. "I made a new friend this year," she says. She means Paula, who is also a writer. "We help each other write, read each other's work, and talk about books. I am so grateful for Paula."
Excerpted from Tashlich at Turtle Rock by Susan Schnur, Anna Schnur-Fishman, Alex Steele-Morgan. Copyright © 2010 Susan Schnur and Anna Schnur-Fishman. Excerpted by permission of Kar-Ben Publishing.
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