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The Kvetch

topic posted Wed, December 17, 2008 - 10:45 AM by  Fred
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THE KVETCH
by Jason Kravits
copyright 2008
Every Jew down in Jew-ville liked latkes and such.
The Kvetch on the mountaintop? Eh not so much.

The Kvetch hated Chanukah. Don't ask me why.
He'd always been known as that kind of a guy.
It could be his mother not raising him right.
It could be his yarmulke fit him too tight.

It could be the winter: The days getting shorter
Would trigger his Seasonal Affect Disorder.
Whatever the reason, he made it quite clear
That this was his LEAST favorite time of the year.

He'd look down on Jew-ville, a scowl on his face,
Reflecting on how much he hated the place.
And then he'd go into his annual spiel:
"Chanukah, Shmanukah. What's the big deal?"

"So, when is it this year, huh? Who can remember?
Sometime around Christmas? Sometime in November?
"And how do you spell it? There's too many ways.
A word shouldn't have all those H's and K's.

"Anddreidel," he kvetched, "I mean what kind of game?
You're teaching the children to gamble? For shame!

"A 'Nun'you get nada, a 'Gimel' you win,
A 'Hay'you get half and I don't give a 'Shin!'"

"But what I hate most," moaned the Kvetch, "are the lights!
The lights that they light every night for eight nights!

"Each night with the blessings...Each night a new candle!
That's seven more nights than my system can handle!
"It drives me meshugge! Have I got no rights?
I can't get to sleep with those lights, lights, lights, lights!"

And the more the Kvetch thought of the lights in the town
The more the Kvetch thought "I must shut this thing down."
He looked down on Jew-ville with utter disgust.
"Imust stop this Chanukah coming. I must!"

And then an idea popped into his noodleA way he could stop the whole
kit 'n' caboodle!

A scheme so conniving and so full of gall
It might just end Chanukah once and for all!
His miserable scowl turned into a grin.
He giggled obnoxiously, "Gimel, I win!"

He scampered inside with a bounce in his toes
And dashed to his closet of old ratty clothes

He found an old shmata he kept in the back
And grabbed an old hat and painted them black.

He fashioned a beard out of day-old spaghetti
Grabbed some old boxes and then he was ready.
"It's perfect!" he said as he eyed his disguise.
"I'll wait until night then I'll spring my surprise!"

So.
Once it was dark out he started his mission.
He put on his clothes to avoid recognition,

And clambered up into his '88 Lincoln.
(10 miles to the gallon? Oy, what was he thinkin'!)

He threw it in gear as he stepped on the pedal
And drove himself down to the heart of the shtetl.
When he arrived, he knew just what to do:
He picked out the house of an average Jew
Opened a window and dragged himself through.

Once he got in, the first thing that he did
Was look for the place that the presents were hid.
He crawled into cupboards, he rummaged in drawers,
He peeked under beds, and behind all the doors,
He crept under tables, he peered under chairs,
Then finally, the closet (the one by the stairs).

"Aha!" the Kvetch whispered, "So here's where they are!"
And schlepped all the gifts to the trunk of his car.
Then slinking back in, to the kitchen he crept
And reached in the icebox, where dinner was kept.

He scooped up the carrots! He stole all the beets!
He took the tomatoes and all kinds of meats!
Then out came the kugel! The kasha! The brisket!
(He'da took the whole fridge if he thought he could risk it!)

He pulled out the herring, the whitefish, the lox
And dropped all the food in a big cardboard box.
And then, feeling very much pleased with himself,
He took themenorah from off of the shelf!

He pulled out the candles, and making a fist,
He started to crush them. He couldn't resist.
They started to crumble=85but just as they did,
The Kvetch heard a voice. The small voice of a kid.

"So?" said the wee little child's voice, "Nu?"
The Kvetch spun around to see=85Avi Lou Jew!
A wee little boychick of no more than two,
Who stared at the stranger and asked, "Who are you?"

"Whome?" said the Kvetch, coming up with a story,
"Why child," he said, "I'm your great-uncle Morrie!

"Come on don't be silly, of course you remember.
I came for Yom Kippur the end of September.
I've been out of town and I'm just getting back.
It's been a long trip so=85I'm making a snack!"

"Then why," glowered Avi Lou, smelling a rat,
"Why are you holding our candles like that?"
"What, these?" the Kvetch stammered, "These candles are broken!
I'll just take them back to my shop in Hoboken.

"The white ones are fine you just need a few blue ones.
I'll hurry right back with a whole box of new ones!"
He gave the young boychick a pat on the head,
And Avi Lou, warily, went back to bed.
The Kvetch watched him go, and as soon as he left
He rolled up his sleeves and got back to his theft

He took the potatoes, the soup from the pot,
The dreidels, the matches, he took the whole lot!
To finish he poured out the tea from the kettle
And then did the same to each house in the shtetl.

He cleaned out the place! And then, wiping his brow,
He muttered, "Let's see them have Chanukah now!"
He jumped in his car, with a snort and a huff.
And he drove out of Jew-ville with all the Jews' stuff!

The very next night, peering down from his hill,
The Kvetch could be found standing perfectly still.

For hours and hours he lingered and lurked
To see if his devious strategy worked.
He searched for the least little hint of a spark,
But all he could see from his hill top was dark!

Nothing but blackness and bleakness and gloom.
The whole world, it seemed, was as dark as a tomb.

"It worked!" yelled the Kvetch, that despicable vandal.
"You can't light a light if you don't have a candle!"
There would be no candlelight, that much was plain,
And what's even worse was it started to rain!

"How perfect!" he chortled, "This keeps getting better!
This Chanukah's not only darker, it's wetter!"

He leaned back and laughed and unbuckled his belt
As he downed the last piece of the choc-o-late gelt.
And that's when he heard it, A strange little sound
The Kvetch sat up straight and he looked all around

A quieter sound than the rain's pitter-patter.
A mutter. A mumble. A low chitter- chatter.
He ran to the window and, squinting his eyes,
He could barely make out, to his utter surprise

Some movement in Jew-ville! The people were stirring!
Then something remarkable started occurring
Each person in town, every man every lady,
Each uncle and aunt, every bubbe and zeyde,

Each mother and father, each sister and brother,
Came out of their homes just to be with each other!
They brought out their prayer-books and, turning the pages,
They said all the blessings! They sang Rock of Ages!

And that's when it happened a break in the weather.
And down shone the moon on the Jews all together.
The whole world was lit by the glorious light.
The Kvetch watched in awe as it pushed back the night.

And slowly it dawned on him Chanukah came!
Despite all hismeddling, Chanukah came!

Without a menorah or one single flame,Without any latkes, it came just
the same!

And what happened next? Well, there's some people figger
His yarmulke grew just a leeeeeetle bit bigger.
Without all that pressure, without all that strain,
The blood from his heart could get up to his brain.

And that's when the Kvetch started thinking more clearly.
He wasn't so Kvetchy. I mean that sincerely.

He gazed down on Jew-ville his heart full of promise,
Then up to the moon, shining bright, like a shamus,
Then glanced 'round his mansion, as cold as a stone,
And started to feel. well he felt so alone

He sprung into action, not wasting a minute.
Got into his car, with the boxes still in it,
Shifted to neutral and, pointing it down,
Hecoasted his way to the middle of town!

He rolled to a stop and he opened his door,
So happy to not be alone anymore.
"I'm back with your things!" Said the Kvetch with a shout.
The Jews stopped their singing and gathered about,

Just standing and staring, with puzzled expressions,
At the Kvetch and his car-full of all their possessions.
The Kvetch stood in silence unsure what to do,
When out of the crowd toddledAvi Lou Jew!

The little boy gave him a cynical look,Then smiling, he said, "Happy
Chanukah, schnook."

Then, oh, with the cheering and oh, with the yelling!
The singing, the dancing, the crying, the kvelling!

And though the Kvetch knew he deserved it the least,
The Jews asked him in for their fabulous feast.
They gave him a seat at the head of the bench.
For who knew a kvetch could become such a mensch?

He feasted on kishka and kugel and knishes
And tzimmes and brisket and all kinds of fishes,
With latkes and blintzes and soup by the ladle!
And the Kvetch yes the Kvetch, well
He spun the first dreidel!
posted by:
Fred
Washington, D.C.
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