A Visit from St. Mishegas


‘Twas the fifth night of Hanukkah, when all through the house

Came the faint sound of beeping (heard not by my spouse

Who, though totally youthful–attractive, endearing–

Has grown just a wee bit–okay, a lot–hard of hearing).


The teen had been nestled atop of her bed

With laptop and iPhone and “homework” (she said),

While Jack with his Kindle and I with my ‘Pad

Had just settled our brains from all the booze that we’d had

(While raising our cups to the anniversary [sixth]

Of our very first date, which is why we had fixed

The candles so late in the menorah that eve

And then done what you shouldn’t, which was to get up and leave).


When out in the hallway there arose such kvetching

I sprang from our bed! I jumped up! Without stretching!

‘Twas the teen–with a shriek–down the stairway a’tripping

The peals of the smoke alarm steadily ripping!

Away down the staircase I followed—I flew!

Forgetting my glasses (cause I’m stupid, nu?).


And what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Not much; sans lenses, I’m blind, I fear.

Smoke billowed and pillowed; what tsuris! What horror!

Were those flames rising up from our gorgeous menorah?

“Oh my God!” the teen yelled; “Oh my God!” I repeated.

She grabbed up a towel and on the menorah she beated.

“Is that a towel?” I asked. “Why are you doing that? Why?”

“To smother the flames!” “But you’ll catch fire, and die!”


She pulled the towel back, and we huffed and we puffed

And within a few moments the flames we had snuffed.

Then there in the ruins I searched for the roots of

A fire of such force, of such holiday chutzpah.

“Did the candles fall over? Did they set fire to the matches?”

“Good God, Mom, go back up and put on your glasses!”

Away to my bedroom I flew like a yutz

To snatch up my lenses and wipe at their shmutz.


“Come, PeePaw,” I cried to my husband, “Come, Jack,”

“The menorah caught fire! It’s a schanda! Ack!”

And then in a twinkling we raced down the steps

(After time out for tinkling; the distance’s a schlep!).

Jack spoke not a word but went straight to the sector

Where the beeping still rose from our brave smoke detector

And laying a ladder aside of the wall

He knocked the thing down! (I couldn’t! I’m small.)


Then ‘round the menorah our family we clustered

To gaze at the mess that this fire had mustered.

We shook when we looked, like a belly unbelted!

Begosh and begorrah! The menorah had melted.

The candle-holders themselves made no claim to astonish,

Each still intact, from Night One to the Shamus.

But the Lucite base was the object most damnable

Because Lucite is plastic. And plastic is flammable!


“Good golly!” I sang out, in spite of myself,

“Where’d we get this piece of garbage?” “Be quiet, you elf!”

Said my husband, who was obviously feeling defensive:

This product, so schlocky, had been quite expensive.

And then he explained, once he’d thought theruponukkah,

That he’d bought it online for our first married Hanukkah.


So let me exclaim while I’m still feeling furious:

Don’t order your menorah from a source that is spurious!

Don’t order at all! Get off your tuchas, all right?

Online Hanukkah can kill you! Oy vey and good night!

But I’ll leave with a message from this Meanopause half-goy:

There’s still three nights to go. And then Christmas. Oh boy.





About Heather Aronson

Heather Aronson is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona way back in the 1980s and has put it to scant use ever since, publishing a few short stories in now-defunct magazines (including American Short Fiction) and storing a handful of novels in now-defunct boxes. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, in a new house with some of her children, her new husband, and a bunch of old stuff that totally doesn’t go together. Especially the cow creamers.

7 responses to “A Visit from St. Mishegas”

  1. Jolene McIlwain says :

    You are a master! Of craft and of laughter!
    So glad you are safe! Happy Holidays!

  2. elkairys says :

    Oh Amazon, Oh Amazon,
    I have always loved your Prime Shoppe offers promising cheer.

    But hark…what is this cautionary tale I hear?

    That I should be mindful of cheap trinkets, toys
    No matter how enticing.

    Oh Amazon, Oh Amazon
    ’tis always a cost to all your low pricing.

  3. mbishop2013 says :

    Heather, this is just fantastic. I’m sharing with a bunch of peeps who will love it. Is it okay if I post the whole thing on FB? Or should I just post a link to Meanopause and hope they click? Thanks. It’s brilliant, truly.

  4. mbishop2013 says :

    I know you wrote it a while ago. I only just read it now.

    • Heather Aronson says :

      Aww, thanks, Melanie! It’s not even a week old, so don’t worry about not having read it earlier (and, unfortunately, it’s totally true). I would be honored to have you repost it! I think you can hit “share” from my facebook post of the blog (should be on my timeline). Or whatever is easiest! You’re the best!

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