The other day, having nothing better to do, I googled my grandfather, Grandfather Rabbi Pfeffer. Much to my delight, I found an entry about him in Orthodox Judaism In America: A Biographical Dictionary And Sourcebook.
Now I knew Grandfather Rabbi Pfeffer was an important rabbi and Talmudic scholar. Once or twice, I've been asked if I were related to him, even though he was dead more than a decade before my birth. But what I hadn't known was that my father, the last of the Pfeffer children to be born in the old country, was actually from Bitchkov*, Transylvania.
My father always said he was born in Hungary. He never said Transylvania.
My brother scoured Wikipedia, and assured me that Transylvania at that particular point in history was in Hungary. But still. You think you know a man, and he ends up coming from Transylvania.
Not to mention that this makes me one quarter Transylvanian. I remain uncertain which quarter, but I do like my hamburgers really rare.
Now if I were into genealogy, as many of my friends and relatives are, I could have found this Transylvania stuff a long time ago. No doubt Grandfather Rabbi Pfeffer is in Who's Who In Bitchkov, or Great Transylvanians I Have Known And Loved.
But while I really understand the appeal of genealogy, I've never been particularly curious about my ancestral geography. Bitchkov, Transylvania, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, it's all the same to me. Neither of my parents ever expressed any interest in returning to their birthplaces, so they don't have much aura of mystery to me.
However, the having nothing better to do is of interest and concern to me. I've been thinking about my life a lot lately, and it's occurred to me that I'm in need of a hobby.
As it happens, I have a lot of interests. I'm always reading articles online about new dinosaurs or ancient burial grounds. But an interest isn't a hobby. An interest is when you read an article. A hobby requires actually doing something. Maybe even leaving the house to do it.
Only I can't think of any hobbies that I really want to spend time (and possibly money) on. So I decided to turn to you and ask if you know of any good hobbies. Maybe one of your suggestions will be perfect for me. Maybe it'll get me thinking about something I've never considered before.
So do me a favor, and tell me about hobbies. Your hobbies, your friends' hobbies, some bizarre hobby you read about once. I'm open to all possibilities, except for those that involve spending a lot of time with the undead!
*My father never met a pun he didn't love, but I don't know how he would have felt about being called a son of a Bitchkov, which is why I'm putting this as a footnote.