Who knows what I have, but after two days of alternating between flood-of-odd-images half-sleep, World War II movies (for the book I’m writing), and episodes of Rosanne (first season, very sweet and funny), I suddenly found a small surge of energy and a great yearning to find all the Hanukkah stuff for this year. So down I went into the basement where looking for one thing necessitated moving and organizing other things, which led to delivering said other things to other locations, which made for more moving and organizing. I went through many boxes of much evidence of our lives: kids’ toys, children’s books I’m saving for my future grandchildren, old clothes of sentimental value, t-shirts I’m saving to make a great t-shirt quilt, tubs of old letters and clippings, school papers and camping gear, too many carry-on bags, and craft supplies for projects long abandoned.
I found the Hanukkah/Christmas stuff mostly and including the old menorah, the one my family used when I was growing up, which works well despite the music box bottom of it long having disappeared…..all but a new menorah my mother sent me a few years ago. It was gold or silver, large and heavy, and what did it look like? In my semi-feverish-or-not state, it was hard to tell, but I knew it was a menorah of substance.
By the time I reached full exhaustion saturation, not to mention overwhelming hunger, it was 2 p.m., and I hadn’t eaten anything yet. I reluctantly went back upstairs, and while preparing lunch, kept opening cabinets, peering in the back of closets, wondering where the special menorah was. As I ate cold meatloaf, toast and some Very Veggie juice, I started to remember that the new menorah was brass, and could it be that it was composed of dancers holding up the candle holders? Yes, that was it, and didn’t I not ever actually put it away next year but instead keep it above my desk, holding up one end of my long line of Holocaust books?
Yes, and there it was, of course right in front of when I spend most of my well time at this computer. I lifted it up, used a heavy copy of Stan Lombardo’s translation of the Odyssey to hold up those Holocaust books, and brought it to the dining room with the other Hanukkah stuff, including the best cat for living with when sick, Miyako, who loves to sleep in a top hat. Then I went to sleep for two surreal hours until now: the dog of the illness subsiding, the cat still sleeping, the deer outside moving across the field in twilight, and the menorahs right here: the old one and the new one, both bookends to the two halves of my life, and just in time for Hanukkah in a little over a week and my 50th birthday on Friday.