Among all of his possessions, Yuhanna Abdel-Noor treasured one object above the rest: his gramophone. He kept the machine next to his bed on a small table that he bought for it in Damascus and played it everyday during his afternoon nap. On the rare occasion that he would allow it to be brought into the salon, he would have it placed beside him and forbid anyone else from touching it. He had even asked Afifeh to sew it a velvet cover like the one they used at Izhiman Café in Jerusalem to protect their music-maker from the evil eye.

“You must be crazy!” she replied. “No one is looking at your machine except you and your children, so stop acting like a superstitious old lady and please play something other than that dancer’s songs.”    

“Afifeh!” he warned her with his finger. “I will decide what we are listening to. Don’t bother me when I’m trying to relax.”