Dixie Darr

My Literary Advent Calendar, the Last Day

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2016 at 4:18 pm


Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Christmas Memory

When I was almost four, and my brother was five, we celebrated our first Christmas in Denver. Santa came to visit us driving a convertible and bringing oranges. Until we were in our late fifties, and Dad explained it to us, we thought this had happened in Des Moines. Santa, it turned out, was our neighbor, Jack. Even with the mystery revealed, That is my favorite Christmas memory.
In his short story, A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote writes of his most cherished childhood tradition, making fruitcakes with his best friend, a distant cousin in her sixties who is still a child herself. Money is scarce during the Depression, so they hold rummage sales, sell jars of homemade jam, jelly and preserves, enter contests, and once held a Freak Museum in the backyard woodshed. The freak was a three-legged chicken. All this money they put into the Fruitcake Fund, which they keep hidden under a loose floorboard under the bed.

When fruitcake weather arrives, they set off with a dilapidated baby carriage to gather pecans. The next day they set off to buy “cherries and citron, ginger and vanilla and canned Hawaiian pineapple, rinds and raisins and walnuts and whiskey oh, so much flour, butter, so many eggs, spices, flavorings: why, we’ll need a pony to pull the buggy home.”

They make thirty-one cakes for friends and “people who’ve struck our fancy. Like President Roosesvelt. Like the Reverend and Mrs. J. C. Lucey, Baptist missionaries to Borneo who lectured here last winter. Or the little knife grinder who comes through town twice a year.”

Reading this story on Christmas Day has been one of my traditions for twenty or more years. I have two books, one illustrated, and a cassette tape of the story. You can also find audio and video versions on YouTube.

Speaking of traditions, I’m making chili for my supper tonight and then I’m headed to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at my church.

Merry Christmas everybody.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: