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chanukah & christmas

“Chanukah had either the good or bad fortune of being close to Christmas.” – Rabbi Jonathan Kligler

spending the holidays in woodstock
the town looking like fairytale
all covered in white snow
the cemetery is quieter than usual

christmas eve
the entire town gathering at the main square
anticipating the arrival of santa claus
who for the past seventy years
has been making notable entrances
once he arrived riding a real elephant
in a different year he was shot into town
as a living cannonball

parade starts marching up tinker street
firetruck with santa-looking woman
throwing candies to the crowd
behind the firetruck fairies
walking on high stilts
followed by big truck with live band

city hall decorated with christmas lights
in the shape of the peace sign
behind the building tall crane turning
towards the crowd
giant dove is hanging from the crane
flipping its white wings
moving its head from side to side
blinking red lights from its eyes
there’s noticeable movement inside the dove
red hand reaching out from the inside
waving at the crowd that at this point begins
screaming “santa, santa”

santa is emerging out of the dove
floating in the air above the audience
when the dove decides to poop

christmas miracle
mechanical dove expressing bodily needs
long white foam strips are excreted
and finding their way down to the ground

the dove is descending
letting santa out onto the top of the truck
with the live band

santa taking electric guitar and starts rocking
until cable from the crane lifts him up again
carrying him in the air towards the Christmas tree
where he begins giving out stockings to the kids

christmas day party at a jewish woodstock home
mezuza on each and every door
lots of drinks and food
big decorated tree near the fireplace
non-stop christmas songs in the background
then chanukah menorah lighting
with blessings and songs

cold and rainy outside
we promised the woodstock chabad rabbi
to join him for outdoor lighting of
the first chanukah candle
in a beautiful wood menorah that a local artist
built in the shape of a guitar

small number of people standing in the rain
klezmer saxophone player from crown heights
making us dance in the snow around the menorah
chanukah latkes and hot beverages are served
the hearts full with joy

the chanukah lighting taking place
in the same square where santa did his thing
less than 24 hours ago

as we’re leaving woodstock we find out
that the santa guy is jewish

© 2005. All Rights Reserved.
Zemach Zohar Wilson, Woodstock, December 2005