Altamont, Nov. 28, 2013

There was a time, not too long ago, when we could tell some of the days of the week just by walking down the street. Monday was washday and lines would be filled with the laundry, letting the sun and wind freshen and dry the clothes.  Sounds easy but if laundry is not taken care of regularly it will build up quickly. It requires gathering, washing, drying, folding, and putting it away.

Tuesday was ironing day and all of the clean clothes that tend to wrinkle, would wind up in the basket to be ironed. My father always said that he never had to worry about me because I would be able to get work in any laundry ironing clothes. I must confess, that is one household chore that I enjoyed. When I finished ironing a basket full of laundry, the sharp creases and neat pleats looked great and gave me a feeling of achievement. Well, anyway, you get the idea. Other days included baking, cooking, shopping, and going to church.

Today, everyone is on a more hectic schedule and you cannot tell the days of the week in the same way anymore. As a matter of fact, there is very little that you can tell about people from what you see on the outside. We have four churches in the village of Altamont and you cannot tell who goes to which church just by looking at them. Much like the saying of Samuel Johnson, British author and linguist, “When man is at prayer with his God, we all look alike.”

But, we are not all alike. We come in all shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs and have more differences than we can imagine. In most cases those differences just do not matter. There is no place I can think of that people live with as many differences and show, through their lifestyle, that the differences do not matter.

We have neighbors who share recipes, play cards, and car-pool their children who may go to a different house of worship on Sunday. Some of these neighbors may not attend any church but have their own feeling about and way to worship their God.

Just down the street you may have a couple of neighbors, who work together, shop together and go to Lodge meetings together. These same neighbors may not belong to the same political party and can be seen handing out flyers for different candidates. However, after the election they go back to their same routine and are the true friends everyone knows them to be.

This year we are experiencing a rare concurrence of religious holidays which has been labeled by some, as Thanksgivukkah! Both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall at the same time. It really is a time to celebrate. It has never happened since Thanksgiving was named a legal holiday in 1863 and experts say that it will not happen again for another 78,000 years. A friend said, “They both are about the same thing, religious freedom.”

Thanksgiving is about religious freedom in the United States, and Hanukkah is freedom from the Greek oppression.

Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication. It is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

This festival is observed by the lighting of the lights or candles, of a nine-branched Menorah. One light is lit on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight lights on the final night. The Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch called a Shamash or attendant. It is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the attendant is to have a light available for practical use, such as lighting the Hanukkah lights themselves.

The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, dates to commemorate the death of a relative, and daily Psalm readings, among many ceremonial uses.

Because of the roughly eleven-day difference between twelve lunar months and one solar year, the length of the Hebrew calendar year varies in the repeating 19-year cycle of 235 lunar months. With the intercalary month added according to defined rules every two or three years, for a total of seven times per 19 years. Even with this intercalation, the average Hebrew calendar year is longer by about 6 minutes and 25+25/57 seconds than the current mean solar year, so that every 224 years, the Hebrew calendar will fall a day behind the current mean solar year; and about every 231 years it will fall a day behind the Gregorian calendar year.

The Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar, is internationally the most widely accepted and used civil calendar. It has been the unofficial global standard for decades, recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union.

This Thursday, on the second night of Hanukkah, Jews across the United States will be lighting menorahs after their feasts, playing the dreidel game between forkfuls of pumpkin pie and exchanging gifts after the football game is over.

Some people plan to decorate their tables with a blue and orange color scheme to bring both the Hanukkah and Thanksgiving colors to the forefront. One friend is planning a traditional Thanksgiving meal complemented by both plain potato latkes and sweet potato latkes. “God gave me one day to eat fried foods, so I’m going to use it,” she said.

She also recommends apple latkes, a light twist on the potato latke that can be served as a side dish or dessert, and also plans to serve pumpkin donuts and maybe some pumpkin cupcakes.

Whether you are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Thanksgivukkah we know that you will be sure to thank all who have preceded us to give us all the freedom to celebrate as we choose.

Don’t eat too much and have a very happy holiday!

St Andrew’s Society

Members of the St. Andrew's Society of Schenectady will gather for a St. Andrew's Night on Nov. 30 at the Celtic Hall, 430 Karner Rd. in Colonie.  For additional information contact Rick Munro at richard.munro@verizon.net. Highland attire is encouraged.

Underclothing drive

Members of St. Lucy/St.Bernadette Church  are collecting underclothing for neighbors in the Hilltowns.  If interested in helping with this drive, please pick up a slip in the church's Gathering Space. The donated items should be brought to the church no later than Dec. 8.

Food pantry

We all have so much to be thankful for.  At this wonderful time, please remember the Altamont Community Food Pantry housed at St. Lucy/St. Bernadette's parish center. Food donations can be left in the Gathering Space at the church.  Monetary donations are always welcomed. 

PTSA

You still can become a member of the Guilderland High School PTSA.  To obtain a membership form go to the GHS website under PTSA.  Membership supports all of the PTSA  activities throughout the school year which includes the concession stand at the school plays, the staff appreciation luncheon and open house. Your membership dues also help the PTSA provide numerous college scholarships to deserving seniors.

Schools closed

The schools in the Guilderland School District will be closed Nov. 27 through 29 for the Thanksgiving holiday.  

Lunch with Santa

Again this year, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary will hold their annual lunch with Santa on Dec. 14, from 10 to 4 p.m.  Reservations must be made by calling Janet Nopper at 861-3669 by Dec. 1.        

Evacuation drill

There will be a bus evacuation drill  on Dec. 4, at 9 a.m. at the Altamont Elementary School.

Birthdays

Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:

— Scott Boyce, Troy Miller and Bud Munroe on Nov. 30;

— Laurel Breitenbach and Nolan Vincent on Dec. 2;

— Jim Gaige, Brenda (Armstrong) Goodknight, and Becki (Armstrong) Harris on Dec. 3;

— Bryan Raymond Trestick, Jillanna Vincent and Holly Wifler on Dec. 4; and

— Dennis Gardner, Steve Suriano Sr. and Pam Vona on Dec. 5.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

More Correspondents

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