I am in what is commonly referred to as a “Mixed Marriage.” I’m Jewish, and my wife is crazy. This year, with the holidays approaching, I went to the closet and removed two menorahs – the “Burger Family Menorah,” and the “Union Street Menorah.” The Burger family menorah is an ancient, brass number. It appears in the background of old family photographs long before I was born. The Union Street menorah, my mother picked up when I was a kid. She loved that thing. She would put it in the window of our house on Union Street, and it always made her happy when the non-Jewish Uniontown people would wish us a Happy Chanukah. They even knew what night it was because of her. So I placed both menorahs on the mantle. Elapsed time: Four minutes. Now the Baltimore Mrs. Burger steps in. She carries in containers from the outside shed, carries up containers from the basement, and carries down containers from God knows where. When it’s all said and done, she’ll have put up a Christmas tree, and cover it with junk to the point that I’m not sure there’s actually a tree underneath it all, she’ll hang greenery stolen from various neighbors’ yards, bake cookies that neither of us will eat, and sew an elf costume for the cat. Tonight is the leading edge of her several-days public works project. Furniture will be moved, ladders will be necessary, power tools will suddenly appear. And for all these reasons, I’m at Neil Grauer’s house, drinking a Martini.
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