Puck’s cover of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline on Glee is the loveliest ballad I’ve heard in a long time. The song brings to mind one afternoon during my second summer trip to Israel. I was a 17-yr-old volunteer on Kibbutz Mishmarot, located near Pardes-Hanna-Karkur, and not far from the sea at Cesaerea. And was quasi-miserable harboring regrets that I’d backed myself into a corner on the kibbutz; I would rather have been free to kick around the country. I didn’t regret the work: had I not labored in the chicken coops I would’ve missed the hallucinatory conversations with 10,000 chicks being scooped up for market. Another story.
Every weekend I took off for my friends in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. This particular Friday I was in a rush to reach Dizengoff before the people I knew left for a house by the beach in Netanya. But first I had to make two or three connections from Mishmarot to the city. The second bus hadn’t shown up and I was increasingly despondent. I put out my thumb. A car stopped. The cute driver (young, dark, Israeli…) blaring Sweet Caroline out the VW’s speakers. Life was about to begin. And then…
The driver got me to Tel Aviv in the nick of time. Wished he hadn’t.