A yearly tradition, I pull Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” from my bookshelf just before Christmas.  If I am in a foul mood from fighting for parking spaces in the local mall, I remember what is real and important each time I read this wonderful story.  Here is a portion:

“A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window.  She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched.  Her face is remarkable – not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid.  “Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather.”  The person to whom she is speaking is myself.  I am seven; she is sixty-something.  We are cousins, very distant ones, and we have lived together – well as long as I can remember.  Other people inhabit the house, relatives and though they have power over us, and frequently make us cry, we are not, on the whole, too much aware of them.  We are each other’s best friend….”

Copyright 1956 by Truman Capote, published by Random House