I love reading because sometimes you come across a book, story or poem that perfectly communicates something you know or feel deep down inside. Truman Capote's short story A Christmas Memory did just that for me. I have known about it, but for some reason have never read it. What was I waiting for? My children and I were charmed by the character Buddy, a young boy living with his elderly cousin, and his preparations for Christmas. Although they don't have much, they seem to have everything that really matters. I don't want to give too much away - but the story is both heart warming and heart breaking and such a sweet reminder of all the ways we can make our own magic at this time of year.
Capotes writer's eye focuses on small and sensual details; his rhythm and frequent, chatty asides make the story roll off the page with ease. It is absorbing and a provides a perfect evening's read in front of a fire.
A little taste from the book:
On decorating the tree they just cut down and hauled back home in a baby carriage a long ways:
"A trunk in the attic contains: a shoebox of ermine tails (off the opera cape of a curious lady who once rented a room in the house), coils of frazzled tinsel gone gold with age, one silver star, a brief rope of dilapidated, undoubtedly dangerous candy-like light bulbs. Excellent decorations, as far as they go, which isn't far enough: my friend wants our tree to blaze "like a Baptist window," droop with weighty snows of ornament. But we can't afford the made-in-japan splendors at the five-and-dime. So we do what we have always done: sit for days at the kitchen table with scissors and crayons and stacks of colored paper. I make sketches and my friend cuts them out: lots of cats, fish too (because they're easy to draw), some apples, some watermelons, a few winged angels devised from saved-up sheets of Hershey-bar tin foil. We use safety pins to attach these creations to the tree; as a final touch, we sprinkle the branches with shredded cotton (picked in August for this purpose). My friend, surveying the effect, clasps her hands together. "No honest, Buddy. Doesn't it look good enough to eat?" "
( I have the edition illustrated by Beth Peck and the watercolors are lovely!)