So many wonderful days coming up in these two months! East Indians will lead us into the season with Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Then there’s Thanksgiving, of course, to be followed by more lights, and this year – because of the vagaries of the lunar calendar — all Jews will be kindling the first candle of the eight-day Hanukkah holiday on Christmas Eve! This is an unusual, happy conjunction that none of us is likely to see ever again…
So, how do you get ready for the holiday season? Locating the old, once-a-year turkey baster? Bringing ornaments down from the attic or up from the cellar? Polishing the menorah? Well, I start by sweeping my front stoop. Oh, how I hate this job! But I have to get rid of what’s collected in that large area leading up to my front door.
The problem is the ilex filling the adjoining enclosed patio. Its bushes sprout beautiful, glossy-green leaves in their their season, but in the fall, they shed their sharp, pointy selves. Then, brittle and brown, they blow easily toward my door in every prevailing breeze. Only once did I make the mistake of going outside in bare feet to pick up my newspaper; that was a lesson to last a lifetime!
I put off this thankless task for as long as I can, doing it only when I know I’d be ashamed to have people come to my front door. This pretends to be such simple work, but it never takes less than an hour. Mostly, much longer. And it wears me out, because new leaves keep blowing in to occupy the places I’ve just swept. But I press on, until I say to my exhausted self, “Enough is enough!” Then I pull from the large plastic trashcan the large plastic bag with which I’d lined it, filled almost to overflowing with my “gleanings.” This will now wait in my garage, next to the old broom and the big dustpan I’ve hung up again between sturdy nails on the garage wall, until the nearby dumpster has enough space to accommodate it. And my “reward,” as always, is a good hot shower.
This isn’t festive at all, but when it’s over, I’m in the holiday mood. My door is waiting to be adorned with something brightly seasonal, and the welcome mat in front of it is truly ready to welcome guests. Whatever now blows in, I’ll just ignore as I go about locating that old turkey baster, dusting off the artificial green wreath for another season, and polishing up the menorah. So much light now awaits me, and all of us! I hope November and December both shine brightly for you!