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The Eighth Day Of Christmas (Hallie)

written by Shannon Bryan

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Published: 1997 | Size: 7 KB (1242 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13

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based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Well, the Eighth Day of Christmas is already here. And Hallie Lowenthal has something to say about it.


You're asking a Jewish girl from Texas about *Christmas*?

Actually we were the only Jewish family in like the whole *county*, so it's not like I wasn't exposed to Christmas.  In fact we usually had a Christmas tree even.  None of those lame fake ones.  A real one.  I guess we always sort of combined the Jewish and Christian holidays.  So that's what exactly?  Christukah?  Hanumas?  One time when my Dad was really whacked on egg nog he tried to plug in the Menorah and almost set fire to the tree.

Our poor trees always got the worst treatment.  We always got a fresh tree, but sometimes that worked to our disadvantage.  Woof-Bonk got ornery in his old age and sometimes got confused and thought that our living room was actually the outdoors.  Woof-Bonk was our dog.  His real name was Rascal.  He was a miniature poodle.  And as he got older, his eyes got all milky and he lost his sight.  Like most little dogs, he was really neurotic and nervous.  So when anyone came to the door he would always freak out and bark and run towards the front door.  Unfortunately, he could never see where he was going and he was always running into things.  Really hard too.  You'd think he would have learned to run slower.  So, I started calling him Woof-Bonk and the name just stuck.  But he loved the tree that last year, before we put him to sleep.  A bathroom in the living room?  So he didn't have to drag his old bones outside?  A Merry Christmas for Woof-Bonk.

What else?  I remember snickering whenever we sang "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" in school.  But then, I like the idea of religious orgies.  It's not that I don't like Christmas, or that I resent it, but Christianity was sort of forced down our throats at my school.  The other dozen or so non-Christians felt that way too, I know.  And it wasn't just in school.  It was the whole town.  The town I lived in had a cross on the city building and a creche that it displayed on public property.  And no one seemed to understand how that made us feel.  Nowadays that maybe wouldn't fly.  But in Texas I wouldn't be willing to take bets either way.

The most annoying of all was this guy named Tobine, who owned a Pizza Place.  He had this little billboard on the side of his place that lit up and usually advertised his specials.  But for December it also always said "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". Well, we got sick of it one year and went there late at night with a ladder and changed the sign so it read, "Jesus is the Reason for the Lesion".  I know it makes no sense, but it's the only word we could spell from the letters we had to choose from.  He was scandalized and so was everyone else.  Even if it didn't make sense.  And *that* was sort of the point.  My parents acted all upset when I told them, but I know they thought it was funny.

Another great Christmas was the first I spent with Brad.  He came to Texas for college, and for some reason he didn't go back to Pennsylvania for the holidays, so I spent a lot of time with him.  On Christmas Eve, long after he had left and my parents went to bed, I heard something downstairs and went down to check it out, in my nightgown.  And there was Brad, dressed up as Santa, waiting for me.  So, I did what anyone would do.  I got on his lap and told him what I wanted.  I told him that red velvet and fur made me chafe like a bear, so he should lose the suit.  Needless to say, that year Santa came early.  And often.

The problem with this little exercise, of course, is that you re asking me about Christmas just *before* the holidays.  Ask the average person just before the holidays, and you're bound to get rosy idealistic answers.  Ask them just *after* and you'll get different answers, like from the dissatisfied:  It boiled down to me spending money on and time with people I had no desire to see anyway. Or from those separated by distance--or circumstances--from their loved ones:  It was a reminder of all that is missing in my life. Or, worst of all, from those that are lost, or are alone:   It felt like any other day of the year.  Because, let's just face it, for a lot of people the holidays are a time of depression and anxiety.  They just don't put that on the prepackaged card sets.

And I've had some lonely Christmases myself.  Last year wasn't great.  In fact it was pretty bad.  After college I moved away from everything I knew to be with Brad.  But last year Brad and I were fighting.  About a lot of different things.  And I realized that I had no one to turn to.  I had just plugged myself into Brad's world.  And the people around us were *his* friends, not really mine.  And it's still really close to me right now, the *hurt*.  But one day I might look back on last Christmas fondly too.  With the passage of time.  Because dog urine all over our presents really wasn't the greatest.  And, I mean, I must have been pretty angry to climb a ladder and deface some poor Pizza Man's property.  But I look back now and see the humor in it all.  Maybe I can look back at last year that way someday too.  Maybe I can remember it fondly, even if I was miserable at the time.

And I have no idea if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  Just that it *is*.

Of *course* I hope this Hanukkah will be wonderful.  So wonderful that I'll be able to think it's wonderful just *after* it's over.  But even if I can't have that, I also hope that maybe I'll have a *moment*.  Even if it's a small one.  A moment I'll be able to look back on later.  A moment of joy, or peace, or love, or even insanity.  As long as it can make me laugh.  Because laughter can heal.

That's what I wish most for myself.

And that's what I wish for everyone.


Okay everybody, sing along!
That's right, even you guys sitting in the back!

(music = ON)

On the eighth day of Christmas the Chases' closet gave to me
...eight flapper dresses...

seven swans of origami,
six pairs of handcuffs,
five cotton swabs,
four invisible cats,
three yummy lollies,
two free Dead tickets,
and one out of state fake ID.

So, like, that Krakow kid is scheduled to go next. Or something.

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The Ninth Day Of Christmas (Brian) by Shannon Bryan and E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)
Published: 1997 | Size: 6 KB (1055 words) | Language: english english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.6/5   4.6/5 (7 votes)

Read this story now: The Ninth Day Of Christmas (Brian)

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“And, you know, with your hair like that? It hurts to look at you.”

Rayanne Graff, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"