Don’t you hear it? she asked & I shook my head no & then she started to dance & suddenly there was music everywhere & it went on for a very long time & when I finally found words all I could say was thank you.
Two Wise Men
My great-aunt Clara told us once about the time she was one of the wise men in the church play & when it came to her part she said we’re here bearing frankincense, gold & myrrh, heavy on the frankincense because of that camel smell & after that her father always called it the story of the Two Wise Men & that other guy & we laughed so hard we had to pee.
There is no one who comes here that does not know this is a true map of the world, with you there in the center, making home for us all.
Too Many Words
Does Santa get to do as much PlayStation as he wants? he said & I said nobody gets to do as much of anything as they want, or the economy would grind to a halt & he looked at me & said, That was a simple yes or no question, Dad.
I asked her why she never told us about the Ten Commandments & she said she wasn’t ever that good with numbers so she loved everything as best she could & I remember thinking who needs all those rules anyway with a mother like her around.
Rules for a successful holiday: 1. Get together with the family 2. Relive old times 3. Get out before it blows
Some Kind of Ride
feels like some kind of ride but it’s turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly
I don’t know if I really believe in all the saints, she said, but I pray to them anyway. It makes every night feel more like a slumber party.
Each night, all the years we were growing up, she sat in the big yellow rocking chair & pieced together our lives with countless stitches of her silver needle.
Side by Side
We sat side by side in the morning light & looked out at the future together.
The secret is not in your hand or your eye or your voice, my aunt told me once. The secret is in your heart. Of course, she said, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.
Season of Joy
She asked me when the season of joy was supposed to end & I said I didn’t really think there was an exact date, so we left the tree up till June that year.
There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other’s cooking & say it was good.
One time on Hollywood Boulevard I saw a young girl with a baby. It was a crisp winter morning & her hair shone dark purple in the sun. She was panhandling outside the Holiday Inn & the door clerk came out & told her to be on her way & I wondered if anyone would recognize the Christ child if they happened to meet. I remember thinking it’s not like there are any published pictures & purple seemed like a good color for a Madonna so I gave her a dollar just in case.
I have to buy all my presents at the last minute, she said, or I get too excited & just give them away.
How do you know? she said & the answers fell like feathers, or the first snowflakes of November, light & without words. I looked in her eyes & smiled. You just know, I said.
I’m only comfortable when it’s hot, she said & I said what about winter?
& she said I argue a lot so it makes up for it
Giving a Damn
My grandfather used to say nobody gives a damn anymore & the thing I remember most about him is the way he never let that stop him from giving a damn all the days of his life.
He told me about Jesus & Arizona & the best way to make beer & I said you’re a funny kind of preacher & he said it’s a funny kind of world & I still remember his eyes clear as a desert morning.
Flying Naked With Jesus
When I was younger, I used to fly a lot in my dreams. I used to dream I was naked too. My grandma said it was all because of original sin & that if I lived a pure life that someday I would be able to fly naked with Jesus & then she looked at me & said many are called, but few are chosen & later on I thought it was a damn good thing too & I gave up pure living for a long time after that just to be sure.