I hope you’ve been having a wonderful Thanksgivikkah. Well, for those of you who celebrate U.S. Thanksgiving. I’m realizing that I’ve collected readers all over the world. And for those of you who celebrate Chanukah. This coincidence of holidays hasn’t happened since 1888 (I missed that one somehow – actually, I think all of my grandparents missed that one), and it won’t happen again for about 78,000 years, so I’ll probably miss the next one, too. I mean, I don’t think I’m being pessimistic or anything, but unless a madman in a blue box shows up at my door (and so far I’ve had no TARDIS sightings) I’m fairly confident in the odds. So this is a big deal, and I hope you’ve been enjoying it.
It’s been a unique holiday for me for other reasons, as well. This is the first Thanksgiving, and the first Chanukah without Don. He would really have gotten into the spirit of Thanksgivikkah. Fortunately, We have a big and loving family, and we do still have much to be thankful for. And there are always miracles.
Thanksgiving and Chanukah are great holidays to combine. One is all about thankfulness. Sure, there’s a big meal, and there’s the harvest festival component to it, but thankfulness is a big part of any harvest festival. Chanukah is about miracles. The miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days when it should have lasted for one. God’s faithfulness to God’s people, and the people’s faithfulness, as well. A lot to be thankful for.
Each holiday has foods associated with it. And memories. And memories associated with the foods. Ever since I was about 10 years old, I’ve been making the apple pie for Thanksgiving. I’ve been making it the way our housekeeper taught me, and now it’s a thing. I’ve been passing it along to my 20-year-old, so that she’ll be able to carry on the tradition. This year, she was responsible for buying all the apples at the farmer’s market.
There’s cranberry sauce. Easy enough to make. Tasty. But it’s Chanukah. So there need to be some Chanukah foods, too. Twenty-year-old and I made the latkes. They’re a bit labor intensive, because it’s best to grate the potatoes and onions by hand. It really is. But Thanksgivikkah, right? So I didn’t just make the homemade apple sauce – it was apple-cranberry sauce. Since I had the cranberries, anyway. Yum.
Pregnant daughter, who was hosting the shin-dig this year, made pecan pie rugelach. Rugelach with pecan pie filling. YUM!
And there was the regular Thanksgiving fare. The apple, pumpkin, and chocolate pies. And a jello pie. This was a concoction of my granddaughters’. Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and all that. Good stuff.
I brought along one of my Chanukah menorot to introduce my grandchildren to Chanukah. It would have been so lovely to have Don with us, but his spirit certainly was, and even so, what a blessing to be able to share this with my family. Nine-year-old granddaughter did the honors – I taught her how to light the candles and she did, and then 20–year-old and I said the blessing so they could hear it, and we sang, “Rock of Ages,” (the Jewish Chanukah song, not the Protestant hymn), and the grandchildren tried to sing along. I gave them all some Chanukah gelt after dinner, which brought back many memories for me.
Before we ate, we each wrote down what we were thankful for on a paper leaf. After we’d had enough of dinner, we pulled the leaves out of their box and tried to guess who wrote what. The greatest gift of all was that 40-year-old daughter had saved Don’s leaf from a previous year and we got to hear his words again. So he was with us, after all.
So perhaps that was the miracle this year. Don remains with us, all the time. We have each other. We have memories. The grandchildren keep growing. In number and individually, I might add. And we have great times together, even while we miss husband/father/grandfather.
There won’t be another Thanksgivikkah in our lifetime – perhaps ever. What a wondrous gift this year. I am reminded of my blessings, and that is a great miracle.
May you be thankful for all you have and all you are and all you may become. May the miracle of the lights shine upon you throughout the year, and may you keep the light burning.
That’s all I’ve got.