It was just a typical day in a local Vermont TV newsroom: people crashed their cars because every year they forget how to drive in the snow and some wayward cows in the road created more traffic delays.
Enter: Handsome Stranger.
His name was Andrick. With blue eyes, a massive smile and a hockey player’s build, he caught my eye on his first day at the station.
Toiling in TV news, I thought all traces of romance had disappeared, thanks to the Grim Reaper-self that emerges when you work in an “if it bleeds, it leads” field. But I thought to myself: “I’m going to marry that guy…maybe he’s Jewish?”
He wasn’t. Cue heart quandary.
A week later, he brought his dog to work. Cue heartbeat skip; I’m a devoted dog person.
“We got him three years ago,” he said.
Cue heart crashing to the floor.
We. There was someone else.
As I was already pretty miserable reporting on other people’s tsuris, I did what any sensible person would do: sold all my stuff, quit my career of six years, and moved to Israel to teach English.
Two months later, after a day spent wrangling fourth graders the way one wrangles wayward cows, I got a Facebook message from Unavailable Andrick.
“Feel free to write me off as a creep,” it began, “but I broke up with [the other girl], and always thought you and I had a connection. Would you want to talk on Skype?”
The next day I was Skyping with this gorgeous, definitely not Jewish guy.
“What did you have for lunch today?” I asked. ‘Smooth question, moron,’ I thought. But living in a land without cheeseburgers made me miss American food in ways that bordered on inappropriate.
“There’s a great deli nearby,” he said. I knew the place. Every Jew in Vermont knew the place. It was the only spot to get a decent knish north of Massachusetts. “I got a pastrami on rye and a cream soda. It’s the best cream soda ever. Do you know about Dr. Brown’s?”
The man had just eaten the lunch of Jewish champions. There went my heart quandary; he embodied the simplest and best parts of being Jewish. With that one “lunch,” I realized he was the perfect Jew for me.
We talked on Skype for seven more months. When I came home, he met me at the airport with pastrami on rye. It was the most “Jewish” love I’d ever felt. It was beshert.
Six years later, after our at-home wedding where I told this story in my vows, we went to a campsite, grilled cheeseburgers and drank Dr. Brown’s.
Rachel Feldman and Andrick Deppmeyer live in the woods of Vermont with their two dogs and an absurd number of houseplants. They enjoy reading, music, snowboarding, hiking, exploring the world, acting, cooking, and stacking wood — usually together. After six years of dating and nearly two years of marriage, Andrick still brings Rachel a pastrami on rye to break fast every Yom Kippur.
Top photo: Rachel and Andrick’s wedding on June 30, 2018.