Monday, December 26, 2011

One For Each Night ~ Hanukkah 2011

candles always face the street
No matter what your stripe, the winter holiday season presents its challenges. For me, it’s still hard not having Steve singing the Hanukkah brachot in his perfectly tone deaf manner.  I loved the way he lit the candles; it always made us laugh. But I also happen to know that he really liked lighting the Hannukiah because it was the only time guys lit candles.  He thought that was cool.

This year, I decided that Shabbat Hanukkah would be the big family dinner. I invited the machetunim and planned for a nice table of nine.  Then the junior son called and mentioned the maid-of-honor was in town…and that he invited her to join us. “That’s great! I was hoping you would!” said I.

He wasn’t done. “Well, E and J aren’t doing anything, so I invited them, too. I hope that’s okay.”

“Y’know,” I countered, “if E and J are coming, don’t you think E’s folks should come, too?”

“Uh, yeah.”

So the table of 9 turned into two tables….a grown up table and a kiddie table. I made a vast vat of applesauce, cheated like hell on the latkes and used Ore-Ida shredded potatoes instead of shredding my own, and made sufganiyot and ruggelach. I broke down and used disposable roasting pans for the chicken. The daughter-in-law came to help, and by 6:00, we were ready for cocktails.

The kiddie table
I was so glad I did this. It was fun. I got to see not just one full table, but two, and to hear laughter ringing throughout the house was just the best medicine for me. One of the sweetest moments came before the guests, when the daughter-in-law and I stopped to light Hanukkah candles followed by Shabbat candles right at sunset. Never having had a daughter of my own, standing beside her and reciting brachot together was a blessing all its own.

There were kids, in-laws and close friends. The junior son brought his brand new toy helicopter given to him by his most understanding and indulgent wife, and everyone got to fly it....through my house...around the two chandeliers. I just avoided looking up. 

Of course, two were missing from the kiddie table. Senior son and his lady were in Milwaukee, and heading to her family in Chicago.  This I understand. I cannot count the number of family events we all missed because we lived here and everyone else was on the East Coast. All the same, they were greatly missed…but discussed at great length anyway…especially since senior son is busy in the studio cutting a new free-blues symphony. I’m not completely sure what means “free-blues” but I have a pretty good inkling. Not to worry, I’ll let everyone know when the CD is released. Trust me on this one. You’ll all know.

So as we sail off into the sunrise of a secular new year, I shall reset my opti-meter to full, my bog-o-meter to zero, and my snark-o-meter to just 50%. It just wouldn’t be me if that one is at zero.

May you keep all your resolutions, may congress work and play well with others, and may this year bring good health, good adventures, and a clean, honest, thoughtful, illuminating presidential campaign.*

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Homemade applesauce is always an appropriate party favor, 
especially when paired with gold Hanukkah gelt.

*And yes, for the record, I do believe in Tinkerbell. 


  1. I should have showed up at your doorstep....I missed a great night!

  2. Like they say,"Let all who are hungry come and eat."

  3. And let us all say, "Amen!"

  4. Sounds like a lovely and meaningful evening :):)