Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Return of Hanukkah Coolie

There aren't too many places in the world that can throw a graduation party like the Southside of Chicago.  Sure, New York might offer swanky affairs at The Plaza and there are plenty of  honky hoe-downs in the Southwest, but Beverly celebrates with gusto. As a gaggle of neighborhood kids on the same block graduated from local schools, cousin Peg's street got together and decided to throw a block party style graduation.  There were bands, tents, basketball nets, and cuisine to die for (the Mexican food bar...mmmm).  A real barn burner.  Except there weren't any real barns.  Chicago has been a tad sensitive about those since 1871.  Mrs. O'Leary's cow and all.

As our minivan pulled down a street that was a few blocks from cousin Peg's house, my kids instantly went into overdrive.  They can smell a block party from 1,000 feet.  They know the freedom that is allocated at these events.  Their tightly-wound mother loosens the reins and a world of scooters, bikes, and bouncies opens up to them.  Joe and I didn't see the children for most of the party. 

There was one instance though when Joe had to reprimand some kids for throwing some pop and watching them explode.  For those who have never met Joe, I am finding his response rather hard to explain.  When Joe yells, there is a certain element in his voice, a certain cadence, that causes kids and grown-ups alike to wet themselves.  It's like getting yelled at by a father, a policeman, and an executioner all in one.

The kids immediately dispersed.  Probably to go find new pants.  Danny came running over and grabbed his father. Conspiratorially, he whispered into his Joe's ear:

"I warned them about you, Dad.  I warned them."

Which now brings us to a joyous moment of discovery.  As the temperature began to dip, people would come inside the house and go directly to a specially-designated drawer in the dining room.  And inside that drawer?  Beer coolies!  By the dozens!  It was like the mothership had landed in Peg's dining room.  Peg's husband, Steve, began to merrily dole them out:

Who needs Christmas?  I got Kwanzaa here. Elvis one!  And what about Hanukkah?

Did he say Hanukkah? Before Steve could even identify the next coolie, I raced over and grabbed an exact replica of the extremely rare Hanukkah coolie.  It was all I could do to fight back tears of joy.  We had missed this one so.  Not that the others weren't loved, it was just that Hanukkah coolie do you say....the chosen one?

I told Steve about my quest to replace our departed coolie and he told me to keep it.  I  promised he'd receive the reward posted on this blog of a case of beer.  It's the least I can do.

I left the party early with Joey to get Hanukkah coolie situated in his new home.  While I am certainly grateful for this near-perfect replacement, there's something slightly off with our Hanukkah coolie.  He's just a little cooler than the rest.  More distant.  It's like he knows he's our favorite.  What do you think?

Those would be kosher Cheerios he's enjoying.


  1. This is awesome! Way to let me know about the sstrep confirmation by the way!

  2. Love it! I'm glad the coolie brings you so much joy, and I'm pretty sure Joey would have stayed all night if you let him.

  3. Healthy Momma - oops. I knew this blog would get me in trouble. Let's just assume from this point on (last week of school) that on any given day, one of my kids either has something or has been exposed to something recently.

    majkapeg - I slept with Hanukkah coolie. Don't tell Joe. Joey wants to come over again soon and "hug dat doggy." I can't believe he's the brother of "Dogs-Scare-The-Crap-Out-of-Me" Jack. Goes to show you. Had a GREAT time - thanks for inviting us!

  4. Glad I was on route to the lanai while you were receiving your Hanukah cozy. The look on your face was priceless. While you were distracted, your boys took over the drums under the Big Tent. Jack does a mean air guitar.

  5. MJ - thanks! I had no idea what they were doing all day. Good to hear they were having a nice time. (;