We didn't realize it would be our last sukkah, did we? It was full of our children, grandchildren, guests, young and old… And decorations – eight big wooden walls of them! As if we didn't have enough already, each year, you gathered the youngest capable children, and later, grandchildren, all around you, just before Sukkot started, to have them help you make brand new, long, multi-colored chains from strips of construction paper to hang below the sukkah's flimsy roof. Oh, did they love doing that with you!

The old wooden sukkah boards seemed to stretch with timeAnd the grandchildren were so excited to have their newly made decorations hanging in our bright sukkah – along with the decorations that their own father or mother had crafted when they were three or four or five years old! Yes, you, now known as Zaydie [Yiddish for "Grandpa"], had saved them all throughout the years!

The old wooden sukkah boards seemed to stretch with time, as our family kept growing. It wasn't a particularly wide sukkah, so it was kind of squishy in there sometimes, but that only added to the cozy ambiance, we felt. And although the piles of decorations kept sprouting as our family did, thank G‑d, you didn't seem to mind a bit. You just put twenty-eight unique drawings of the lulav and etrog, along with everything else, into cardboard boxes and later big plastic storage bins to hold onto them from year to year. Each one was precious to you.

There were special Sukkot songs that the children learned in their schools and then taught us, and you kept adding to this medley of songs as time went on, until we had quite a bountiful collection. And some of the songs came with hand motions as well – or we made them up. And during the later years, you even typed up song sheets so that new guests could join in and sing along, even if it was their very first time in a sukkah, which it was for quite a few.

Then there were the ridiculous skits. We hung sheets in part of the sukkah, and we would open the makeshift stage curtains after one child stuck his head out, announcing which show was coming up next. They were corny routines that the children would repeat year after year, and we usually couldn't even hear the punch lines because we were laughing so hard all the way through. Forgetting their lines was part of what made it so funny, and the children would even draft new guests, who had no idea what they were getting themselves into until they were already "on stage" – and it was way too late to back out!

You gave short presentations about the holiday that reached inside of each person seated by our long table in the sukkah, absorbed in his or her own way. You also went around the entire table, not leaving anybody out, encouraging boisterous toddlers through reticent elderly neighbors to contribute their own thoughts and feelings about Sukkot, even if it was their initial experience of it.

Our fragile house of hope truly held upAnd every year, we would tell the story of how we first met each other inside a sukkah in Jerusalem, and how the sukkah slowly transformed into a wedding canopy. Like the Children of Israel, who wandered through the desert, trusting that G‑d would lead them to where they needed to go, it was a miracle that we trusted each other, and trusted that G‑d would lead us together to where we needed to go.

And now over thirty years have passed. Our fragile house of hope truly held up.

We didn't grow up with sukkahs in our childhoods. There were a lot of Jewish holidays that our parents hadn't known how to celebrate. So I guess you could say that we started our family's trend. May it never end.

Now, when Sukkot comes, we travel to where our married children live with their families, and we go to their sukkahs. Our old wooden sukkah boards and the bins of overflowing decorations just stay in storage. We didn't think it would be our last sukkah when we put it up a few years ago.

But I just realized something, Zaydie. It wasn't our last sukkah. It was really just our first one – G‑d willing – in a long chain, with many more to come.