Chapter 37 – Yarekh (ירח ) (moon) – July 2028
The DiNozzo and McGee families were at Tim's cousin's beach condo in New Jersey for the week of the Fourth of July, the same place they'd been for the long holiday weekend two years earlier. It was a full week of fun, with the holiday and Tony's birthday, and the July full moon half way between.
Tony had told the kids about seeing the full moon rise over the docks in Philadelphia when he'd been a beat cop in the City of Brotherly Love. He'd described the large orange-colored orb in detail and all of the kids wanted to see the full moon rise over the Atlantic. Ziva and Delilah had promised the kids they could go on the beach on the night of 6 July to witness the moon rising over the ocean.
The day started out overcast with the threat of rain in the gray clouds that loomed over the beach and ocean. Despite the clouds, Tim and Tony took the kids on the beach for their regular morning swim. All of the kids had body boards to play in the surf. Tony and Tim sat in beach chairs near the water's edge and supervised the seven children who ranged from six and one half to fourteen years in age.
Both fathers noted how Anthony and Katie stayed together and John and Rivka were near each other constantly. LJ stayed by Tali and Beth tagged along with them.
"Anthony and Katie are always together, aren't they?" Tim commented. "Seems as though they are destined to be a pair."
Tony nodded, "He's been fascinated with her since she was born when he was about six months old. They always say they are going to get married one day. Now, John and Riv, I would not have guessed that pairing…" he nodded in the direction of his middle Ninja. "But they are nearly as close as the other two."
"Do you ever think about the future, Tim? I mean like our kids all grown and having kids of their own? Grandkids for us…" Tony trailed off when he realized how OLD that sounded.
Tim was about to respond when LJ came running over followed by Beth.
"Abba, Uncle Tim, come quick; Tali wants you to see the dogfish sharks," the two children grabbed the adults hands and tugged as they spoke. The men followed the kids to the water and waded to where the others were looking at something in the water.
Tali pointed to the four dark shapes in the ocean water, "Dogfish sharks; four babies…" The kids watched in fascination as the quartet of cartilaginous fishes wove among the legs of the family. They were about eighteen to twenty inches long, but the distinct dorsal fin gave their identity away.
The smallest of the creatures paused next to Tony's leg; he reached down and grabbed hold of it with both hands. He held it up briefly, grinning a full on DiNozzo grin as a stunned Tim managed to snap a picture with his phone.
"I caught a shark," he boasted. "And we got the proof on the Probie's phone cam." He lowered the fish into the water and released it to swim in the tides. "Another one off the bucket list!"
"How did you do that, Abba?" Anthony tried to grab one of the small sharks as it swam past him. "They move so fast, I can't even get close to one."
"Skill, kid, NINJA skill, learned from your Ima," the father teased his son. "Lots of years of practice…"
Tim cleared his throat; "Dumb luck is more like it." He smirked at his brother of the heart when Tony glared at the younger man. "Come on, Tony; you didn't catch a thing when we went out on that fishing cruise the other day. Not even a sea robin… You can't be serious that catching that shark was nothing but pure luck and maybe a bit of the element of surprise."
"Whatever; I caught a shark. That's my story and I'm sticking to it," Tony glanced at his watch as the kids rode the waves with the body boards again. "Hey, it's almost 1100," he called out to the kids. "Ride one more wave and then we head up to the condo for lunch."
The group walked back to the condo, which was three houses from the beach, ready for lunch and some time inside. The kids all rinsed off in the outdoor showers and put on dry swimsuits as Tony and Tim put up the body boards and beach chairs. Upstairs Ziva and Dee had lunch meat, cheeses, bread, sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and condiments ready for sandwiches for lunch. Each person made their own sandwiches and took a seat at the table with a plate of food and a can of soft drinks. Several large bags of potato chips, corn chips, and pretzels were on the table to be shared.
"Ima, Abba caught a shark!" Rivka informed her mother as the two were side by side preparing their sandwiches. "With his bare hands!"
Ziva looked over at her husband; he grinned at her as she spoke. "How much did you bribe the child to tell this story?" Ziva narrowed her eyes as she tried to gauge his reaction.
"It's true!" he protested. "Tim's got the evidence on his phone." He looked around for the younger man. "Help me out here, bro," he gestured for his brother to show the picture.
"What's it worth?" Tim joked as he pulled his phone out of his shorts pocket. He swiped the screen and showed Ziva and Delilah the picture of Tony with the small shark in his hands.
"Send that to me, please," Ziva asked her brother of the heart. "I will need it for backup when he starts making the shark larger in his telling of the story." She smirked at her husband as he grinned back at her.
The family finished lunch and Tali and Katie had clean-up chores for the meal. As they were wiping the counters down, a rumble of thunder shook the condo. Tim and Anthony ran downstairs to pull the beach towels off the clothesline; they were not completely dry, but damp from showers was better than soaked from a downpour. The two laid the towels on the drying racks in the garage before heading back upstairs. They left the swimsuits on the line figuring the rain would wash the saltwater from the fabrics.
The thunder continued and the skies darkened. Most of the kids were reading or playing games on their tablets. Tony had a movie on his, Tim was playing an online game on his laptop, Delilah and Rivka were working on a five hundred piece jigsaw puzzle, and Ziva had a book where she was curled next to her husband on one of the loveseats. After nearly thirty minutes of rumbling, the skies let loose in a torrent of rain. The wind picked up and blew the rain into the closed sliding doors on the south and east side decks of the condo.
"What time is the moonrise?" LJ asked his uncle when Tim paused from his game.
"I think your mother said 2036; we still have about seven hours," he replied. "This is just a typical afternoon pop-up storm. I'd bet it will be clear by dark."
Beth overheard most of the conversation as she walked to the kitchen to get a glass of water. "I sure hope so; I really want to see the moon rise over the ocean. I hope it's as big as Abba says it will be."
"We shall see," Ziva filled her own water bottle after her daughter filled ones for herself and two of the other kids. "Remember that your Abba tends to exaggerate his memories…"
The rain continued for another hour or so and then the skies began gradually clearing. By 1530, the kids were asking to go to the beach again. All of the adults decided to go as well, so Ziva and Delilah headed to the wheelchair access on the next street south of theirs and met the others on the beach. None of the lifeguards were still on duty because of the rain so the kids played in the shallow water.
Tony left the others to head back to the condo; he was making his spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and hoped to get most of the preparation done while the others were still on the beach. He browned the meatballs and sausage, and then set the meat in a tray in one of the ovens to keep it warm. He cut the garlic gloves, onion, and other vegetables for the tomato sauce and set the large pot on the stove to simmer. Finally, he spread the softened butter mixed with garlic and herbs on the split loaves of Italian bread and wrapped them in foil for popping in the oven closer to dinner hour.
He found a grater and grated a full two-pound block of parmesan cheese into a large bowl. For his family, there was no such thing as too much cheese. Some of the parmesan would also most likely end up on the garlic bread slices as well.
Dinner time came with sunny skies and hungry family. There were no left-overs at all; Anthony and Katie loaded the dishwasher as Tony washed the pot for the tomato sauce by hand. The others sat on the decks in the evening breeze. Soon the sky began to darken; around 2000, Ziva suggested that anyone going to the beach to see the moonrise get into some pants and a lightweight jacket.
By 2020, the family was headed to the beach with blankets and beach chairs to watch the moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean. The younger kids talked about what color it might be when the moon first appeared finally agreeing that it would most likely be orange or red-orange as their father had described.
Around 2030, a lightening of the skies in the east could be detected and shortly thereafter, the tip of the moon's orb peeked over the horizon. The orange sphere looked huge as more and more appeared in view. All of them commented on the size of the moon as it rose over the horizon, and Tim explained the physics of the illusion of the size to anyone who would listen.
John and Riv hung on every word he told them, while the others half-listened. Tali had learned some of the information in her Earth and Space science class the previous school year. LJ snapped many pictures with his camera, making sure the flash was set to off.
Ziva snuggled into Tony on one of the blankets. He wrapped an arm around her and kissed her softly on the lips.
"Not as impressive as the green flash, but still impressive," she spoke softly to him. "What is important is that we are sharing it with each other and the family."