D.E. Stevenson wedding photo 1916
This evening Alice, Mike, Nathan, Bo, Andy and I gathered in the kitchen by candlelight, having moved the little round table with the advent wreath on it and lit many candles as the only light in the room for our traditional Christmas Eve ceremony. Even though so many things have changed, this remains very similar to what it used to be when Alice, Emily and Andy were young children, growing up. At one point, when we could see that Nathan was very eager to see his presents, Andy read the nativity from St. Luke and after a few more songs Baby Jesus rang the bell to let us know that he and his angels had finished leaving gifts under the tree. So we went into the living room and opened our gifts with much happiness. I won’t list all our presents, but I had two hand made gifts from Alice and one was a three dimensional model of Nathan’s hand. It hangs on the entry to the family room now, but I’m not sure that is the best place for it yet….And Andy and I gave their family a play station 3 with two games and an extra controller so two could play together. One game was Little Big Planet. Or Big Little Planet? They tried it out on our tv. I think everyone was having lots of fun, but I was becoming very sleepy!
Alice took pictures during the singing and dinner and I only recalled later that I had left my camera upstairs…….There was a sort of golden look to everything because of the candlelight.
And for those who know our family, the day began with a phone call from my oldest sister in law, Isa, who lives in Budapest and one of the last phone calls was from my Emily who is in Germany right now with Ingmar and my two granddaughters, Sofia Maus and Clara Maus.
Earlier, when I was taking a break, I wrote a poem about some of the characters in DEStevenson books. She is my favorite author, not the least bit literary but when read closely full of both fun and a distinct moral vision of the world which fits quite well with my own and others in the discussion list which has been going strong for 12 years now. The poem was a sort of simple gift to my fellow list members and if you don’t know her books, it won’t mean much to you. If you do, it will make you smile, I hope…..
They come to me when I am half asleep,
Drowsy over a book
These people I have known only in books:
David shifting vegetables in Covent Garden,
Sarah picking up pearls in Lottie’s house,
Anna’s daughter choosing her attic,
And Bel gardening on a London rooftop.
Mamie playing piano for Jock,
Rhoda painting the colorful snow,
Kit traveling around the world,
and Iain being boatman down by the loch.
What a gift they all have been and are!
Barbara transforming into Elizabeth,
Charlotte buying a Buddha
Katherine cleaning out her cupboards
and Sue searching in Leiden.
Here is Guy tripping over a footstool
And Mrs. Hetherington-Smith giving gifts,
Another Charlotte writing letters to someone she doesn’t know
and Julia murmuring “Hiawatha” to Uncle Ran.
Mrs. Tim beginning her diary,
And Tim himself, escaping from France.
Markie is disarming a sleeping soldier
and Sal is making a pot of tea
While George practices magic
And Sam rejoices in Elizabethan clothes.
Tonia and Mr. Smilie walk to Melville House in the dark
And Nell meets a baby in the chaos of Carlisle station.
What a lovely gifts, enduring treasure
Leading us to that harbor
Where we wish to be.
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