Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Christmas Walk

None of my favorite Christmas memories involves a gift, eggnog, home-made cookies, a shiny, clean house or a credit card deduction. They are moments that stand out because of beauty or closeness.  They could not be bought, staged or anticipated.

It's Christmas Eve and I am with my two sisters going to midnight mass at a church in downtown Cleveland.  It's crowded and we have to sit in the narrow choir loft with a dozen other people.  I'm excited to be out so late.  I love the greenery draped over the pews and the mixed scent of perfume and candles and incense.  I'm also growing at a fast pace ( by the end of the year, I will have gone from a short girl to the second tallest in my class) Sitting between my sisters is agony for me and annoying to them.  They might as well have put a pony in that pew.  No matter how often they nudge me, my legs, entirely on their own, jump and kick.  I try, but cannot sit lady-like as they do.  Between kicks, I nod off. It's late and the church is too warm and I'm wearing a second-hand, wool coat and I'm allergic to wool.  At last, the mass is over. I feel relief but also regret at leaving the lovely scene.

Outside, we link arms for the long walk home.  Snow is falling, there is no wind and no cars are on the road.  We don't talk but we share the experience.  I feel special to be part of this trio; my beautiful, smart sisters and I.  At home there will be neither presents nor a big Christmas dinner; such things are beyond our means.  But the magic and comedy of that night and the love we felt for each other and our family is a gift that has lasted for years.  And ... a Christmas touchstone ... I like recalling that growing girl who had no sense of future and lived entirely in the moment.


MtC said...

I could see it, hear it and feel it. Beautiful and poignant. I'm glad you are back, I've missed your reflections on the world.

Sharon said...

What a lovely Christmas memory Bridget. The snow falling, no cars, and the 3 of you together.

Bridget said...

Thanks, MtC. Nice to hear from you also.

Bridget said...

Hi Sharon,
Long ago and far away but cherished.

Aileen said...

Thank you Aunt Bridget for writing that scene. It will stay with me.