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.