— Eye on Everett —

Josh Resnek with the Blue Suit talking about everything Everett


The Blue Suit returned to Everett after spending a week in the White Mountains in the town of Bethlehem. He loves Bethlehem, which has become a town populated almost entirely by Hassidic Jews. For two weeks, he studied the Talmud, the Jewish law. He also ate Jewish food and followed all Jewish customs and rules. The Hasids, as they are known, are extremely devout, almost radically devoted to their religion and to God.

Needless to say, the Blue Suit got a real kick out of these religious people. Truth be known, the Blue Suit is Episcopalian. Franklin Roosevelt was Episcopalian. I had always thought the Blue Suit was Roman Catholic. What a surprise to me that he has taken an interest in the Jewish law, the Talmud.

It goes back several thousand years and has the substance for nearly all the law that has come down to humanity since five centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.

What law does the Talmud discuss at length?

It embraces laws of purity, chastity, property, contracts, negligence, damages, domestic relations, crimes, evidence-m short, the gamut of basic jurisprudence. The Talmud has had a long and turbulent history and much has been written about it.

“What the hell are you doing studying the Talmud?” I asked the Blue Suit as we drove around the city Tuesday afternoon.

He looked at me with contempt. Scowling a bit.

“Is there something wrong with me studying different religions, Josh? Do you have a problem with me studying the Talmud?” he asked me.

“No,” I answered abruptly. “this is America. You can study what you want. What is it you are trying to learn?” I asked him. “Someone at city yard told me he thought I needed to get closer to God,” he admitted.

“I took the guy seriously. I want to know about God,” he said to me sincerely.

“Well, that’s nothing to joke about,” I added.

“I don’t know that I’d be much help to you in discovering God. I was brought up to believe that you have to do that alone. No one can teach you how to get to God, if you know what I mean. Not even reading the Talmud gets you closer to God”

“I know that, Josh. I’m just reading the Talmud to have a wider understanding of things like greed, avarice, hatred and human nature among a wide number of subjects all connected like those I mentioned.”

“That’s powerful reading you’ve been doing. I couldn’t do it. I mean, I have lots of questions about religion, about the ancient books, the Old Testament, the New Testament and even the Talmud,” I added.

“How many people in Everett right now are discussing the Talmud with a Blue Suit?” I asked him.

“Two,” he answered.

“You and me out of about 50,000 people.” Then he laughed. We passed through the square. It was Tuesday afternoon, a bit overcast, the weather trying to warm up. There was a chill perpetually in the air that we couldn’t shake.

“Boy, it is a good day for a nice bowl of beef stew,” the Blue Suit said to me.

“Where the hell are we going to get that in Everett?” I asked. “Nowhere,” the Blue Suit replied.

“Roger that,” I said.

As we passed the Central Fire Station, several people standing on the sidewalk saw the Blue suit in the passenger seat of my car.

They shouted and waved at him. He opened his window and stuck a clenched fist outside the car.

They all high five one another when they saw that.

We turned right at the end of Broadway and went partly around Santilli Circle.

We headed for the Teddie Peanut Butter factory.

“You know Teddie Peanut Butter just won number 1 best natural peanut butter in the United States,” I asked the Blue Suit.

“Do you think I don’t read the New York Times. Do you think you’re the only one in Everett who reads the New York Times, Josh?” he asked me.

“People here are a lot better read than you can imagine,” he said to me sternly.

“During my time working here and getting around the city, I’ve met lots of people who are really really smart – and not all of them went to college, Josh. Smart people are smart people with a college degree or not,” he said

“You think I don’t know that?” I responded. “Are you claiming there is snobbery in how I think?” I asked him.

We passed buy the Teddie Peanut Butter factory. We came to the near end of the street by the city’s DPW yard. We turned right, went down that street and then turned left heading overt the railroad bridge then onto Main Street.

We passed by the Sunset Restaurant at 320 Broadway.

The Blue Suit was smacking his lips.

Thank God the Sunset was closed. I can only imagine what the Blue Suit would have eaten there if it had been open.

As we approach Councilor Al Lattanzi’s hardware store, the Blue Suit told me to stop. “I want to see if Al is inside. Al and I go way back. We are very good friends. We know and shared confidences with a whole lot of Everett people who matter,” he gushed with pride. “You know what I mean, Josh?” he asked me.

“Yes I do,” I said to my good friend the Blue Suit.

Stop here right in front. I want to go in and see him,” he asked.

I stopped the car.

“Don’t worry. Al will take me home. He knows where I live,” he said.

The Blue Suit gave a wink of the eye. “Thanks for the ride,” he added.

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