Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

Holiday Memories

by Dee Schaefer, Becketwood Member 

Dee delves into her holiday memory bank in search of past celebrations as she contemplates a quiet COVID-19 season.


A Winter Solstice: The Longest Night

A smoldering log glows dimly in my neighbor’s fireplace.

His freshly cut Frasier Fir welcomes hand-crafted straw birds.

Swedish candles on sturdy branches radiate points of light in velvety blackness.

Fleeting thoughts of Stonehenge and Newgrange connect us to the past.

Ephemeral visions of life and death invite us into the future.

Now we encircle the tree watching the candles go out one by one.

In silence, we wonder if this is a beginning or an end.


A Holiday Memory: Christmas in Tubingen

My German ancestry didn’t prepare me for my first European Christmas in Tubingen, a hilly medieval university town on the Neckar River.

My college friend Hannah’s parents, she, and I trudged through a snowy night to St Johannes the Evangelist Catholic Church for midnight Mass.

We were cold. We were hungry.

Once back in the family’s three-story narrow house, we waited.

Hannah’s father disappeared behind a thick, oriental carpet covering an opening to the living room.

In a dramatic gesture, he pulled it aside.

Before us glowed a large evergreen covered with lighted candles.

Beneath it were four high-sided plates filled with fruit, nuts, and candies.

Shadows disappeared. Words disappeared. Tears flowed.




Leave a Reply

  • Anonymous December 16, 2020, 5:32 pm

    Always love your writings Dee

  • Antra Pakalns December 16, 2020, 7:36 pm

    Written from the heart; stories of light which chase away the “velvety” Minnesota “blackness”. Thank you, Dee for bringing in much needed light.
    You have a gift with words.

  • Anonymous December 20, 2020, 9:14 pm

    My wonderful sister! Thanks for the shared memories.

  • Audrey and John December 21, 2020, 9:23 pm

    Thanks for including us, Dee, in sending out this beautiful memory of Tubingen. In this pandemic lock-down, we fondly remember Christmas holidays with you in Minnesota and even one here in Washington.

  • Jean A Byhardt December 22, 2020, 7:16 pm


  • dgamm December 24, 2020, 6:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing these memories, Dee! I loved the image of your friend revealing the tree lit with candles… Diane

  • Joanne Day December 25, 2020, 3:01 am

    I love this! Thank you for sharing parts of your “past life”. So inspirational and interesting.
    Love and hugs, Joanne

  • Janet Ghattas December 27, 2020, 8:21 pm

    Thank you, Dee for this Christmastide memory which you hold so dear. May the light of Christmas continue to light your heart and those around you. Love, Janet and John

  • Helen Gilbert February 14, 2021, 7:26 pm

    Dee, I loved your Christmas memories. I once spent a Christmas in Tubingen with my family when we were living in London and touring around. I remember being in the square by the church, with snow falling, and as it became dark, a choir of young boys walked out of the church singing. It was magical, like living inside a Christmas card. Thanks for helping me re-live that memory with your lovely description.