Lisa N's Reviews > A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
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Jan 05, 12


“Oh my…it’s fruitcake weather!” begins this story in a homey little kitchen in rural Alabama. Seven-year-old Buddy and his dotty, 60-something cousin begin their Christmas fruitcake-baking ritual foraging for windfall pecans in a nearby grove.

Based on memories from Truman Capote’s childhood where he lived with a family of distant, elderly cousins. This story has Deep South written all over it, from the blackberry jelly, to the fig branches, the moonshine whiskey, the flies in August, and the red clay roads. It took me back somewhat to my own childhood, chopping down Christmas trees, making homemade ornaments.

“When it comes time for making each other’s gift, my friend and I separate to work secretly. I would like to buy her …a pound of chocolate-covered cherries…‘I could live on them, Buddy, Lord yes I could’….She would like to give me a bicycle…‘If only I could Buddy. It’s bad enough in life to do without something you want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want them to have.’”

After Christmas breakfast, they go out and fly the kites they made for each other. “How foolish I am!...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….But I 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 seen, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes.”

A quick read, though I would not necessarily consider this a children’s story. It is a tear-jerker. (And personally, I’ve always thought fruitcakes get a bad rap.)
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