Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy
cathy_edgett

A Pause -

We in CA have been inundated with storm warnings.  The schools have sent out alerts of phone chains when the power goes out.  People have sand bags in place, and our neighbor has diligently dug out the gully that runs along the side of our fragile road.  Batteries, candles, water, food - we are prepared.  I think of the old days.  Storms came.  One time we were without power for five days.  We used candle and firelight.  It was fun.  We'll see what now comes.  I just hope all the warnings haven't frightened the storm away.  Our local reservoirs are filling.  This will be icing on the cake.

I have been pulling out decorations and Christmas books.  This memory from Truman Capote catches my eye in National Wildlife's December Treasury.  He and his adult friend are out in the woods to cut and bring home their Christmas tree.

His friend inhales the pine-heavy air.

"We're almost there; can you smell it, Buddy?" she says, as though we were approaching an ocean.

And, indeed, it is a kind of ocean. Scented acres of holiday trees, prickly-leafed holly. Red berries shine as Chinese bells; black crows swoop upon them screaming.  Having stuffed our burlap sacks with enough greenery and crimson to garland a dozen windows, we set about choosing a tree.  "It should be," muses my friend, "twice as tall as a boy.  So the boy can't steal the star." The one we pick is twice as tall as me. A brave handsome brute that survives thirty hatchet strokes before it keels with a creaking rending cry. Lugging it like a kill, we commence the long trek out. Every few yards we abandon the struggle, sit down and pant. But we have the strength of triumphant huntsmen; that and the tree's virile icy perfume revive us, goad us on. Many compliments accompany our sunset return along the red clay road to town; but my friend is sly and noncommittal when passers-by praise the treasure perched in our buggy: what a fine tree and where did it come from?  "Younderways," she murmurs vaguely.  Once a car stops and the rich mill owner's lazy wife leans out and whines: "Giveya two-bits cash for that ol tree."  Ordinarly my friend is afraid of saying no; but on this occasion she promptly shakes her head: "We wouldn't take a dollar."  The mill owner's wife persists.  "A dollar, my foot!  Fifty cents.  That's my last offer.  Goodness, woman, you can get another one."  In answer, my friend gently reflects:  "
I doubt it. There's never two of anything."

Truman Capote, 1956

You can find the full text of Truman Capote's, A Christmas Memory on-line. It's one of my favorite stories.
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