【A Christmas Memory】
The wind is blowing, and nothing will do till we’ve run a pasture below the house where Queenie① has scooted to bury her bone (and where, a winter hence, Queenie will be buried there, too. There, plunging through the healthy waist-high grass, we unreel our kites, feel them twitching at the string like sky fish as they swim into the wind. Satisfied, sun-warmed, we sprawl in the grass and peel Satsumas② and watch our kites cavort. Soon I forget the socks and hand-me-down sweater. I’m as happy as if we’d already won the fifty-thousand-dollar Grand Prize in that coffee-naming contest.
“My, how foolish I am!” my friend③ cries, suddenly alert, like a woman remembering too late she has biscuits④ in the oven. “You know what I‘ve always thought?” she asks in a tone of discovery, and not smiling at me but a point beyond. “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, such a shine you don’t know it’s getting dark. And it’s been a comfort:: to think of that shine taking away all the spooky feeling. But I’ll wager it never happens. I’ll wager at the very end a body realized 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.”
This is our last Christmas together.
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