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The Last Night of Chanukah

The Last Night of Chanukah

Aunt Susan lit the Chanukah candles while the whole family watched respectfully. All four generations were there, as always—Delenn; David and Noorenn; their son, Jeffrey, and his wife, Sakai; and Jeffrey’s and Sakai’s young son, John. After the candles were lit, they all sat down to a feast of latkes—potato pancakes fried in oil—a traditional Chanukah dish that Susan remembered from her Russian Jewish childhood. For dessert, they ate sufganiyot, Israeli Chanukah donuts. But the best part of the meal was what they drank with the sufganiyot. All her life, Susan had had a not-so-secret vice—she’d loved real coffee, and had been known to bend the rules a bit to get some. But, on Chanukah, even the coffee was special—this was the only time of year that Susan served the coffee from her father’s samovar. It was one of her most cherished possessions, one of the very few things she owned that connected her to her long-gone family. Delenn and her family knew what that meant to Susan: It was her way of telling them that THEY were her family now.

While they sat drinking coffee, Susan told the story of Chanukah, as she did every year. Young John sat with rapt attention, drinking in the tale of how a man named Judah, from an Earth Religious Caste called Ko’henn, had led a resistance army of guerilla fighters called the Maccabees to victory in a great and terrible war for religious freedom.

Then it was Delenn’s turn to tell the story that SHE told every year at Susan’s Chanukah party. “John—your great-grandfather—came to me one day, a few months before he ‘went to the sea,’ to remind me that a new leader for the Anla’shok would have to be chosen. It was hard for me to face that fact, but he insisted. He suggested that the decision should be mine, since I was president of the Interstellar Alliance and would have to deal with whoever succeeded him. ‘Just think about it,’ he said. ‘And, if you could just let me know…well, I would just like to be sure that the Rangers will be in good hands.’ I should have known better than to believe that he could just walk away from such an important decision. John was always strategizing, up to the very day that he ‘went to the sea.’ He could not possibly have stopped himself from strategizing about something this serious. He started to leave the room, but then, he turned back. ‘She has to be a real leader, someone who can inspire people to action. And she has to be someone who would willingly risk her life for what she believed in. But she cannot be heartless—she has to care about individuals, too.’ Well, I could not help but notice that every qualification he suggested for a new leader began with the word ‘she.’ So I told him that his advice was very helpful, and that I would like to hear more of it. And, since he knew that Minbari do not lie, he continued. ‘Maybe you should think outside of the box, take an unusual approach. After all, you yourself were an unusual choice—a member of the Religious Caste leading a group that had always been led by a member of the Warrior Caste. Maybe you should consider making another unusual choice, especially now. How do you think the other members of the I. A. would take it if both the president of the I. A. and the head of the Anla’shok were Minbari? Maintaining the balance of power is essential—you know that from your experience with the Grey Council. Maybe you should think about choosing, say, a human. She has to be a good diplomat and a good bureaucrat, but…even more than that, she has to be someone who…who needs to do more than just shuffle papers and shake hands, someone who needs to do something meaningful with her life, who needs to serve others and to serve a cause. Why are you smiling?’ How could I not have smiled when it was so obvious that he was talking about our dear friend Susan? So, being a good Minbari, I told him the truth: ‘I think I know the perfect person to lead the Anla’shok.’”

The whole family smiled, including Susan. They’d heard that story every Chanukah for many years. It was one of the family’s favorites. And it made Susan feel good to know that both John and Delenn had thought so highly of her that they’d never even considered another person for the job. Of course, that was exactly why Delenn told the story

Susan yawned. “Sorry, but you know how it is with us humans. You Minbari may live to be 120 or so, but we humans are already old at 75. I’m afraid this old human is just going to have to go to sleep, whether she wants to or not. It’s way past my bedtime.”

“And yours, too, young one,” said Delenn to young John. “It is time to put you to bed and let Aunt Susan get some sleep.”

Susan walked her family to the door and said goodbye. Not goodnight, goodbye. She watched them until they were out of sight, treasuring each moment, knowing that she might never see any of them again. She was over 100 years old—and it was way past her bedtime.

When you see what you want, don ' t be afraid -- all love is not unrequited.

Marcus lives!
Aww! That was so cute!

EntilZhaDelenn, Future portrayer of Ambassador Delenn

"There is always hope. It is the one thing no one has figured out how to kill... yet." Galen.

"Untied we stand, divided we fall." P. Diddy What's Going On?

I live for the Pepsi, I die for the Pepsi.
BRAVO! A new creative Chunakah story. Thank you!!!

*...and so sweet that Delenn is included in the story telling since Mira is actually Jewish!
Thank you, again!

"...abso-FRAGGIN-lutely, damn it! I have been studying your use of lauguage since our last discussion. Do you approve?"
Thank you, Ranger Shoshanah.

[This message has been edited by Lennier (edited December 14, 2001).]

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