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    Looking at Christmas from a Distance

    So, Herman and I go to our friends, Sue and Neal’s house for their annual Christmas Party. We were the first ones to arrive and as usual, Sue was in a tizzy of preparation. Nothing was done, according to Sue. So she put Herman to work setting up trays. She made her ever-famous Christmas pepper ball and as usual made one for us to take home as well.

    Let me describe to you this pepper ball. It’s a ball of cream cheese mixed with ranch dressing and rolled in black pepper. Now, I’m just guessing on the recipe. She told me once, but recipes just aren’t my thing. There’s no way in the world you would ever see me making a pepper ball.

    She also had a tray of candy ribbons. Something I’d never seen before. But she told me it was a traditional Christmas party item and Herman agreed.

    Did I ever tell you what Christmas was like for me as a kid growing up Jewish? First of all, my entire neighborhood was Jewish, so there were no such things as Christmas decorations. Mom would traditionally take us on a ride in the evening to see all the Christmas decorations in all the different neighborhoods. They were no where near us. That’s what I knew Christmas to be-looking at other people’s Christmas lights.

    We had Hanukkah and it was really beautiful lighting the candles on the Menorah for each of the eight days of the celebration traditionally known as the Feast of Lights. But to compare it to Christmas is not really fair. It’s as different as apples and oranges.

    Because Herman and I have totally different backgrounds (religion is only one of them) we celebrate the holidays by hanging holiday cards from friends and family as they come in. Herman especially likes to count them. The more the merrier. I think this year we got nearly 80 of them. We hang them along the stairs in the hall until we run out of room. It’s not only festive, but each one is special as it represents a person who cared enough to take the time and send it.

    I sent out over 100 cards each year. Herman thinks we shouldn’t continue to send to those who don’t reply, but I don’t look at it that way. That’s not why I send cards.

    So, each of us have our holiday traditions. Sue and Neal have their holiday open house, complete with pepper balls and we have our own tradition of hanging greeting cards. I hope your holiday was a good one however you celebrate it.

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"