Updated: Oct 15
After cleaning the house for a party, the party, the clean-up, the movie afterwards, and the driving of relatively young people (e.g. old enough to party but still the kids to Ken and me) to town, I’ve landed in this sweet cusp of the changing of the years, leading me to these realizations:
When in doubt, mix holidays. They blend like latkes with ham and bean soup on the side. Tonight we combined Hanukkah (having falling naughtily right over the wide angle lens of Christmas) with New Year’s Eve for New Yanukkah. We lit the menorah, singing the Hebrew prayer, followed by Auld Lang Syne. Our friends and family sang with us, and I loved how naturally “Baruch atah adonai” led into “Should old acquaintances,” like they’ve been paired together for centuries, old drinking and praying buddies of tunes.
If drinking to be done, it’s best done at home in excessive moderation. Or not.
The same goes for dessert, which seemed to multiply over the evening (thus the price for having a potluck).
However many latkes you plan to make, double that, and have extra potatoes on hand.
Cold medicine — the kind you need to show your driver’s license for — can turn an ordinary woman into a potato shredding machine. It also diminishes nasal congestion and makes doing the dishes a joy ride.
Two bottles of cheap champagne is enough for 30-40 people to have a toast at the weary hour of 8 p.m. (close enough to midnight for me). The first toast was “No more death,” but after discussion by the crowd, we rejected this because of the long-term implications, then toasted to “No more injustice” and some other things specifically related to one specific Kansas politician.
My daughter never heard the version of “When Shepherds Watch Their Flocks at Night” that goes, “When Shepherds Wash Their Socks at Night.” She also didn’t know about how “Sooooooooooooolar Power. Inexpensive energy” as the chorus to “Angels We Have Heard on High.” I’m glad I remedied that lack in her education.
“The Grass is Greener,” a 1960’s British film starring Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum, is the perfect thing to watch after a New Yanukkah party because of its witty banter. Who knew?
If everyone spins their dreidel at once and then tries to half away the M & M’s in the center at once, it’s very confusing, but if we spin at once and then reach in to add or subtract M & M’s around the table, all works out grandly, and there are always enough M & M’s despite this game being “the gateway drug to gambling for Jews,” according to my children.
Tracy Chapman’s “Talking about Revolution” (currently on radio) is timeless, especially if the Mayans are coming after all.
What’s been most to clear to me is how, to steal a great bumper sticker, we really are the ones we were waiting more (even more so than Mayan reincarnated extra-terrestrials. So here’s to the friends of near and far, the ones I’ve felt like I’ve known forever but just met as well as the ones who have been through it all with me and me and them: I love the sparkling angles of new and old light we swim through together, and love who you are in the darkness and in the light. Let’s keep crossing over together.