Friday, November 23, 2007 11/23/07-A Christmas Memory

In today's encore excerpt, seven-year-old Truman Capote, abandoned by his parents and raised by dirt-poor relatives in Alabama, with his closest friend a distant cousin--an elderly, simple minded, and slightly crippled woman named Sook. On a cold, bleak and empty Christmas afternoon with the two of them alone together, she exclaims to him:

" 'My, how foolish I am!' she cries, suddenly alert, like a woman remembering too late she has biscuits 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 shining through, such a shine you don't know it's getting dark. And it's been a comfort: to think of that shine takes away all the spooky feeling.'

" 'But I'll wager it never happens like that. I'll wager at the very end a body realizes 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, our dog, pawing earth over her bone-- 'just what they've always seen, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with just today in my eyes.' "

Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory, Modern Library, 1996, originally published in 1956, pp. 26-7.


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