Monday, December 3, 2007

Latkes and Sounds of the Season

'Tis the season of joy--and I'm happy I'm sane!

I was busy making 150 latkes, a daunting task, with four frying pans crackling oil around the piles of potatoes. As I was transferring some crispy pancakes onto the cookie sheet to be warmed tomorrow for our Chanuka party, I thought I was hallucinating.

I heard what sounded to be a small boy singing.

My son was sleeping on the couch nearby. He had indeed been known to talk in his sleep....but now that he's hit puberty and his voice has changed, how could he be singing like a child? I thought my mental age was skyrocketing. I thought somebody slipped something into my soy "Nog."

Then I realized: The Christmas Ship! Every year, the Argosy cruise company, the one that ferries tourists to islands in Puget Sound and around Lake Washington, strings a large ship stem-to-stern with white lights and a huge white star. Each evening until December 23, blasting the voices of carolers, it glides with a colorfully-lit flotilla to different ports of call, where it anchors while the singers give a 20 minute concert. Many of its stops feature bonfires, and Starbucks offers free coffee drinks
to all who come for the festivities.

Tonight, as I fried up my dozens of latkes, the Christmas Ship anchored at Clam Lights at Coulon Park. Though the park is about three miles across
Lake Washington, I jumped up, grabbed my parka and binoculars, and let my slippers soak up the puddles on the patio. The harmonies were beautiful, though rather distorted over the distance. The ships illuminated the black span of water, and when the announcer thanked the event sponsors--all proceeds from passengers' rides go to charity--I heard a strong cheer.

Sounds of the season had blended with the snap of Chanuka oil. As the ship departed, its music fading up-lake, it was nice to know I was sane after all. And all I could think was, "Aren't we lucky to live in a place like this?"

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