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Latkes by Just_Ruth - Not a rock, I'm just Ruth
All Me, no apologies
Latkes by Just_Ruth
Title: Latkes
Author: Ruth
Characters: Original
Rating: G
Warnings/Kinks: discussion of religion
Notes: Mary is attempting to explain Hanukkah to a five year old. Any of her errors are mine.
Word Count: 817
Symbols: _italics_

"But why are we going _there_?"

Really, I was getting ready to lose my temper with James. Not Jimmy, _James_ , my brother-in-law made sure I knew that. Matt keeps telling me that Luke means well. I find that hard to believe. All the same, with Lizzie so sick after the twins, taking James off her hands for awhile while she recovered seemed like a good idea at the time.

"Because the Morgensterns are good friends," I explained as I made sure the yellow casserole was wrapped. "I went to college with Leah and they helped me when I got lonely for my family."

"Daddy says they aren't Christians." I shot Matt a look and he looked up at the ceiling. Luke was a happy lapsed Catholic like Matt until he discovered the Leading Light Evangelicals and he proceeded to become thoroughly indoctrinated to the point of being a pain in the ass. James, at all of five, was parroting what he was learning at home and it was enough to make me cry. My baby, which I hoped was going to come after New Years, was going to be raised differently.

"People can have friends that aren't Christians and they can be very good friends too. " I said a little sharper than I intended. "The Morgensterns are Jewish. They believe in God and the Ten Commandments just like Jesus did long ago."

James small brow furrowed up. "Jesus was born in Bethlehem."

"Yes, he was, and when he was twelve, he went into the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Now, get your coat on."

That kept him quiet until we actually got to the house. Mama Ada met me at the door with a big hug and a crow of delight at the size of my belly. My coat was snatched off my back and I was promptly dragged into the kitchen to be patted and cooed over by Grandmama, Aunt Sadie and Aunt Miriam and Aunt Gertrude and Esther and introduced to Sarah-the-Rabbi who had been brought home by Ira and didn't I remember Yassil's fiancé Alice and Leah and Leah's-ah- Sophie.

"I brought the latkes for Uncle Leo," I managed to get a word in edgewise. The casserole was promptly whisked away to warm in the oven.

"Oho, Mary, you spoil him, you do," chuckled Gertrude.

"What spoil? She makes them better than I do." Leah wormed over to my side.

"This is not saying much," sniffed Leah's older sister Esther.

"Who is this boy you brought along, Mary?" asked Mama Ada.

"My nephew," I said. "Matt's brother's son; his mother had twins and is sick and I thought I'd help."

"Aunt Mary!" James ran in. "They put a hat on me!"

"It's called a yarmulke and its to show respect for the people here," I said sharply.

"That's what Uncle Matt said," he grumbled, stomping off.

"And you wonder why," said Leah to Mama Ada. Mama Ada appealed to the ceiling and let out a sigh of infinite patience sorely tried. It never ceases to fascinate me the amount of meaning
Ada can put into one sigh. Leah appealed to the ceiling herself.

Sophie, the color of dark chocolate, chuckled. "Come on, Marty, let's find a seat on the couch." Leah mouthed an exaggerated "no!" at her but Sophie steered me out, leaving Leah to the mercy of her female relations.

"Mary!" Papa Howard kissed me on both cheeks. "Mazel tov! When is the baby due?"

"After New Years," I said. Papa Howard promptly ousted Uncle Sidney and Cousin Karl to get me a seat on the couch. James rushed by with two of Leah's nephews and her youngest brother Jake. I sighed softly, this was what I loved about this house.

James stood frowning as we gathered for the prayers and the candle lighting.

"Many years ago," I explained, "there was a war. The people of Israel were left with very little. They only had enough oil to light the scared lamp of their temple for one day, but there was a miracle and the light stayed lit for eight days. So now, every year, the Jews celebrate that miracle by lighting a candle every day for eight days."

I watched him try to work this out.

"Did Jesus celebrate Hanukkah?" he asked me.

"Yes, I think he did," I said.

"But he was Jesus!"

"So? He was also born Jewish," I shot back. James gave me a funny look. "Don't worry about it now, James, just eat dinner and have fun, okay?" I leaned against the wall and rubbed my stomach as the baby kicked. "Oy." I said.

"And you wonder why," said Leah.

"I don't wonder about you," I snapped. "I'm worried about me!"

"Feh! You'll do fine, _that_ I am sure of," Leah nodded. She gave me a hug. "I'm so glad you came."

"I am too," I sighed.



2 comments or Leave a comment
okaasan59 From: okaasan59 Date: December 6th, 2007 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
This was nice. I really like your characters. And I can recall having similar conversations, trying to explain to children that Jesus was Jewish. ^_^
cindyg From: cindyg Date: December 6th, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is absolutely beautiful. It reminded me of one of my friends in grade school. Her name was Sandra, and aside from being a classmate, she lived a couple of streets down from mine. She was also Jewish - but thankfully, it never bothered my Catholic parents. Nor were her parents bothered by my having been firmly raised a Catholic - I was invited to Sabbath dinners, Sandra dropped by for afternoon tea.

Until the family was posted elsewhere two years later, it was a wonderful friendship. Wherever she is, I hope she is blessed with love and peace.

::hugs you::
2 comments or Leave a comment