We’re a family of mutts. On Mom’s side, we know that we’re Holland Dutch. Except we’re really German Friesian. And that’s just what one of us was when he landed back in the 1600’s. Since he left New Amsterdam, however, some non-Friesians have joined the clan. On Dad’s side, we came from south of Mason-Dixon, but somehow around the 1860’s there’s a dearth of records. Almost as if they were all lost or burned or something due to some upheaval in the South at that time.
We do know enough about Dad’s side to surmise that there’s both French and English in there, which is perhaps why my left hand not only doesn’t know what my right hand is doing, it occasionally tries to cut it off. Fortunately, my right hand just surrenders and the fight is over.
On Mama’s side, she’s half English–to the point that they settled in New England and haven’t left since. The other half is eastern European Jewish, but not on the side that counts. However, as Andy noted in Weeds, it does count in Reform Judaism, and those are the Jews you want to hang out with anyway.
This means that around the holidays we have a wide array to choose from. One of those German Friesians ran afoul of the (by then English) law when he celebrated Christmas on the day his tradition called for, which wasn’t when the King called for it. So, we could pick the Friesian Christmas, the English Christmas or Hanukkah.
Being good mutts, er…Americans, we compromise and celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. For the latter, we go somewhere that’s usually freezin’, which is close enough to Friesian for me.
However, perhaps because we are jacks of all holidays, we are truly masters of none, which is how Hanukkah crept up on us yesterday. Mama called me at work to ask me to pick up a gift for 3B on my way home, since she was already on her way from work to pick him up at school. She was going to get candles for his menorah on the way home, and ended up getting a treat for him as well, which we decided would serve as his first night gift, since it duplicated the candy I got him.
Mama wasn’t convinced that it was a traditional gift, but I assured her that it most certainly was. After all, wasn’t it that most famous of all Maccabees, Marie Antoinette who declared, “Let zem eet zee pink polka dot cake!” Besides, it’s what Mama’s Grampa Doc would have served…even if it wasn’t Hanukkah.