Mort Laitner
Mort Laitner

Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate — Even on Christmas

Christmas day, this nice Jewish lad drove to the Baton Rouge home owned by some guy named David.

For some unknown reason, a friend of a friend of mine, invited me to David’s Christmas party.

I had never been to David’s home, nor had I met David or his family.

But I thought, “An invite is an invite. I’ll give it a go. I’ll show my face, eat a cookie, have a drink and be on my way. ”

Driving there in my red and white Mustang, I listened to Taylor Swift sing “Shake It Off.”

I sang.

I shook.

I weaved to the Taylor singing, “And the haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

I thought, “Probably not the right tune for the holiday season.”

But as I turned on a corner, I saw this gigantic blow-up Santa covering an eighth of David’s lawn.

I heard a sound system blasting, Irving Berlin’s ¬†“White Christmas.”

The wind danced with Santa.

I danced with Taylor.

A Christmas wreath festooned with silver stars and gold bells adorned the front door of the house.

On entering the house, the scent of sugar cookies and hot chocolate brought a smile to my face.

As Yule logs burned in the hearth, I munched and sipped in a living room filled with holiday guests.

The colors of Christmas— red, green, gold, blue and white—decorated the house.

A mantelpiece covered with scented pine cones brought back memories of my Catskill Mountain home.

I thought, “This house is filled with the spirit of Christmas.”

So when we firmly shook hands, David seemed like a pretty nice old guy until he gave me a look of, who-the-hell-invited-you-to-my-Christmas party.

My hot chocolate went cold.

My sugar cookie lost its flavor.

David’s face kinda looked familiar but I couldn’t place it.

Had I seen it on TV?

But I continued to mingle, to smile, to laugh until I approached the Christmas tree.

My eyes fixated on the porcelain ornaments.

I was looking at a Auschwitz-themed Christmas tree.

I stared in disbelief.

My stomach retched.

For the second time, the hot chocolate burned my throat.

The tree was covered in rough-edged Magen David shaped ornaments bearing photos of Auschwitz’ barracks and their electrified fences.

Christmas bell-shaped ornaments, bearing pictures of the railroad tracks leading to the concentration camp’s main railway building, adorned the tree.

I had read in the Times of Israel, that Amazon had pulled the items from its electronic shelves.

The folks from the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum emailed Amazon to say the ornaments were “disturbing and disrespectful.”

So I never thought I would ever see them.

Then it hit me.

I had placed a name on the face that I couldn’t remember.

My stomach shouted, “You idiot. You’re in David Duke’s home.

I ran out the door, and puked on his Santa.

In the car, I wiped my mouth with my handkerchief and I wondered about this Christmas memory, “Would I ever be able to shake it off, shake it off.”

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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