12.24.2008

Merry, Merry


From "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote

Well, I'm disappointed. Who wouldn't be? With socks, a Sunday school shirt, some handkerchiefs, a hand-me-down sweater and a years subscription to a religious magazine for children. The Little shepherd. It makes me boil. It really does.
My friend has a better haul. A sack of Satsumas, that's her best present. She is proudest, however, of a white wool shawl knitted by her married sister. But she "says" her favorite gift is the kite I built her. And it "is" very beautiful; though not as beautiful as the one she made me, which is blue and scattered with gold and green Good Conduct stars: moreover, my name is painted on it, "Buddy."
"Buddy, the wind is blowing."
The wind is blowing, and nothing will do till we've run to a pasture below the house where Queenie has scooted to bury her bone (and where, a winter hence, Queenie will be buried, too). There plunging through the healthy waist-high grass, we unreel our kites, feel them twitching at the string like sky fish as they swim into the wind. Satisfied, sun-warmed, we sprawl in the grass and peel Satsumas and watch our kites cavort. Soon I forget the socks and hand-me-down sweater. I'm as happy as if we'd already won the fifty-thousand-dollar Grand Prize in that coffee-naming contest.
"My, how foolish I am!" my friend cries, suddenly alert, like a woman remembering too late she has biscuits in the oven. "You know what I've always thought?" she asks in a time of discovery, and not smiling at me but a point beyond. "I've always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when He came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as colored glass with the sun pouring through, such a shine you don't know it's getting dark. And its been a comfort: to think of that shine taking away all the spooking feeling. But I'll wager it never happens. I'll wager at the very end a body realizes the Lord has already shown Himself. That things as they are" -her hand circles in a gesture that gathers clouds and kites and grass and Queenie pawing earth over her bone- "just what they've always been, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

How touching. Thanks for the lovely
painting posted of snowy pine trees.
Missing Colorado! Enjoy Christmas.
Carol W.

AngelCatPainter said...

Thanks for a bit of beautiful literature. How sweet and true...

Judith

David Roberts said...

Coni...besides being such a lovely, Christmas-perfect painting, I've used this work as a learning tool. Namely, that small gorge area at the top of the mountain has just the right hint of detail with those small dabs of darker paint here and there which effectively gives scale and distance to the entire mountain. How darn effective is that?! Thanks!...David, San Diego.