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We Can Rebuild Her…

By “we”, I mean “I”, and by “her” I mean “Aunt Jemima.

Those of you who have been reading my stuff since the beginning (Ten years! Thanks!) will remember that an old glass Aunt Jemima bottle that was stuffed full of twinkle lights at some point back in the 1960s is one of my most-prized family heirloom holiday decorations. That says a lot, by the way, because if you’ve been here a while you also know how much Jim and I despise decorating for holidays. (Exhibit A: one of my very first blog posts, back in 2007. Wait, don’t read it. It’s horrible.)

Aunt Jemima is one of my favorite things when it comes to Hanukkah because she’s so fun to look at. She says “warmth” and “Hanukkah” and “happiness” and sometimes, “syrup”. I made a video to show her off and provide an explanation about her back in 2008, and you can watch it here. Anyway, back in 2008 I said that some of the blue lights were out and I wasn’t going to pull the antique/vintage lights out of her until they all died. Well, last year they all died. Forty-plus years of twinkle is nothing to sneeze at, by the way. Good job, old girl.

Sidenote: when the boys were here last weekend I pulled out the two huge plastic bins that contain all of our Hanukkah decorations–mostly menorahs–and proceeded to sift through them with the goal of getting down to only one big bin. I was mainly interested in getting rid of some of the cheaper and more gaudy decorations that I picked up along the way and just haven’t been interested in displaying over the past few years, but I parted with a couple of menorahs too (the boys claimed those). While I was unwrapping things to decide whether I wanted to keep them or not, Jason said, “Mom, if you’re getting rid of Aunt Jemima, I’ll take her!” I may have said “Over my dead body,” maybe. But I’m so happy that he wants it…someday. 

So off to Target I went this morning, to purchase a new set of twinkle lights for Aunt Jemima. This afternoon I did a lightectomy™ and then, immediately after that because a glass bottle needs virtually no recovery time, a lightoplasty™. As I shoved the 24.7 foot string of Seven-Color Multi Lights in through her head, it occurred to me that I didn’t even plug them in first to make sure they worked. “Never mind,” I thought, “THEY WORK.”

Sidenote: I had an outlet within arm’s reach. Still didn’t check midway through the procedure.

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The lights started to clog up her head and chest (I mean, TWENTY FOUR FEET), so out of impatience naturally I continued not being delicate in how I was managing the task. I grabbed a wooden spoon and jammed the handle into her head (don’t forget I’m talking about a glass bottle and not a real person, folks; this is no horror show!) and started pushing the wads of wires and bulbs down. It was only after a few seconds that it occurred to me that there was a distinct possibility I could break some lights that way, so I slowed down a little bit. At some point, I started hearing what sounded like someone screaming swear words, and then, after hearing “Get in there, you little bastards,” I realized it was me.

I finished with the lights and then it was the moment of truth: plugging her in. Remember how the blue ones in the old light string didn’t work? Guess what. Aunt Jemima either has an aversion to the color blue or, probably more likely, I knocked something loose with the end of that wooden spoon. Most of the blue lights don’t work. Whatever: I choose to frame it as maybe I gave her a vintage look. Work with what you have, Aunt Jemima. Work it.

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