Monday, December 26, 2016

Home for the Holidays (Again)

     I walked home from work on a Tuesday night. The snowfall was heavy but not unbearable, and silenced the world around me, aside from the sound of my crunching footsteps. Then, out of nowhere, I was stampeded by what appeared to be a group of teenagers dressed as the Grinch! They were running high-kneed across the snow-covered street. The plow hadn't yet come. They cackled and grabbed wreaths off of doors, carrying them across the way and suspending them from tree branches. One of them even had a scruffy little dog with him, and he kept yelling "Max! Max, come here boy! Max!" Soon, they had disappeared around the corner.
     It wasn't five minutes later when I began to smell latkes. I paused and took a deep breath. There had been a town in La Paz, a stop off the coast of the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, where a jewish woman lived. She had owned her own latke stand, and she would give me one every time our ship ported there. I decided to buy one, and carried it up the stairs to my apartment. I had a magnificent tree in the corner. I got one every year, kind of trying to make up for the many years of not having a tree on board Grey's ship. He wasn't a religious man, as his lifestyle may have hinted, but even though I hadn't been raised to believe, I found it exciting to pitch a tree each year. Most of the people in Winthrop were Christian anyways, so all I had to do was copy them.
     I went back to the front hall to check my mail. Stuffed into the P.O. box was a cardboard box wrapped several times over in plastic. Yanking it out of the small space, I pulled my pocket knife from my the back pocket of my jeans. Working to open the package as I climbed up the stairs, I finally pulled out its contents. A sparkling red menorah. Quickly, I searched the package for a return address. It was written in small letters in the corner, almost unrecognizable under the dirt. My jaw dropped open. The package was from La Paz.