Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Christmas Baba"

A tale well worth reading, from Fr. Tobias' Second Terrace:

It was hard for her to remember many things, especially what she had for lunch that day, and maybe, once in a while, just where she was going in the hall. Sometimes – maybe it was yesterday? – she didn’t even know which hall she was in.

For years, she had no difficulty remembering the old Christmases with her mother, her father, her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and her ten brothers and sisters. What a big family she had. That was just the way back then. Families had lots of children. They don’t do that anymore.

Memory after memory unveiled scenes of brightness and magic. She and her brothers and sisters, huddled by the window, looking carefully for the first star of the Holy Night. “There, there it is!” she remembered, her own little girl pudgy finger pointing at the joyous glimmer in the cerulean night.

That was the signal for Christmas Eve to begin, and the mystical, magical Holy Supper. How the scenes of those Holy Nights gleamed brightly, like picture slides on a screen, in her mind. Straw tied in bunches and strewn on the table. Candles and wine, honeyed fruit and delicacies prepared just once a year.

She closed her eyes, so she could see and hear. Yes, there was her mother, dipping her finger into the honey, tracing a cross on each forehead. There was her father, with his words of the toast every year, “And above all, my Little Jesus, born this day, bring peace, health and happiness!”

But one day, the picture was not complete. She could not see the other faces – the faces of her aunts and uncles. This time, the carols were not sung. She could not taste the dishes. And she could not remember her brothers and sisters’ names.

She opened her eyes to the harsh fluorescent light of the nursing home where she stayed, where everything was clinical and made to look like a store, where every hall and every room and every meal looked the same.

For the next few times, when she tried to remember, another detail would be lost. More faces would be nameless, more voices fell into silence. The last thing left was the evening star, her finger still pointing, her voice still whispering, “There it is!”


The tale is continued over here.

- V.

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