Hanukkah this year saw us having two gatherings instead of our usual one. For the first, on Friday, my Aussie pal Sally from Corvallis arrived with her friends and neighbours Tal and Miriam, who graciously agreed to guest host Shabbat (Sabbath) and Hanukkah both. It was lovely hearing the blessings sung so joyously and beautifully (and correctly!) by Tal and Miriam. Tal hails from Israel, and Miriam, Ohio. We all enjoyed meeting them and having their company on such a festive occasion. Plus, they brought amazing latkes!
Saturday night, Trent, Carla and daughter Jess joined us. It started raining the previous evening, and 24 hours later, it was still raining, and raining hard. We'd had over 2.5" by then in total, but in the Northwest, this is just another winter's night, nothing all that special. We enjoyed the evening as well as we did Friday's gathering, and were especially flattered that Carla joined us commoners. After all, it's not often one gets to host a person of her stature in the community. You see, Thanksgiving week her and Trent flew to Washington DC so that Carla could hobnob with the residents and staff of some fancy house, I think the address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Way back earlier this year, Carla had applied to be one of an elite crew of 75 people from all over the United States to come and decorate the White House for Christmas. She was one of 100 Oregonians who applied - and the ONLY one selected! HGTV filmed it from start to finish and it has aired several times, plus they sent Carla a DVD of the episode, which arrived the day of the gathering. So we got to see the edited version of what she did for the 9 days she was there! And she was even shown at least 3 times as well, which made it all the more special. We were so proud of her here in Bellfountain that the church organized a fundraiser for her and Trent's trip - yes, only some of the meals were included, everything else was paid for by the people selected - to help offset the cost of the trip. It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience that Carla didn't even hesitate to say she'd do again.
Hanukkah commemorates a joyous period of Jewish history (see www.chabad.org for the full story) and there's nothing more joyous than spending the time with special friends and family during it. Too bad Hoke got too hot in his Santa suit and had to ditch it before pictures, but he and daughter Sybil still had a good time schmoozing with everyone (and hoping to score some treats at the same time).
Carla and Hoke, getting some quality chest rub time in