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December 24, 2006

A Christmas Memory



In my rush, I forgot to include my favorite passages from A Christmas Memory in yesterday's It's Fruitcake Weather post. It's been a year or two since I last read Capote's short story, so early this morning while the house was still quiet, I poured a cup of coffee and settled in to reread this favorite Christmas story.

Favorite passages:

We eat our supper (cold biscuits, bacon, blackberry jam) and discuss tomorrow. Tomorrow the kind of work I like best begins: buying. Cherries and citron, ginger and vanilla and canned Hawaiian pineapple, rinds and raisins and walnuts and whiskey and oh, so much flour, butter, so many eggs, spices, flavorings: why, we'll need a pony to pull the buggy home.

and

Now, with supper finished, we retire to the room in a faraway part of the house where my friend sleeps in a scrap-quilt-covered iron bed painted rose pink, her favorite color. Silently, wallowing in the pleasures of conspiracy, we take the bead purse from its secret place and spill its contents on the scrap quilt. Dollar bills, tightly rolled and green as May buds. Somber fifty-cent pieces, heavy enough to weight a dead man's eyes. Lovely dimes, the loveliest coin, the one that really jingles. Nickels and quarters, worn smooth as creek pebbles. But mostly a hateful heap of bitter-odored pennies.

and

The black stove, stoked with coal and firewood, glows like a lighted pumpkin. Eggbeaters whirl, spoons spin round in bowls of butter and sugar, vanilla sweetens the air, ginger spices it; melting, nose-tingling odors saturate the kitchen, suffuse the house, drift out to the world on puffs of chimney smoke. In four days our work is done. Thirty-one cakes, dampened with whiskey, bask on window sills and shelves.

From Amazon.com:

A Christmas Memory is the classic memoir of Truman Capote's childhood in rural Alabama. Until he was ten years old, Capote lived with distant relatives. This book is an autobiographical story of those years and his frank and fond memories of one of his cousins, Miss Sook Faulk. The text is illustrated with full color illustrations that add greatly to the story without distracting from Capote's poignant prose.

7 comments:

  1. Could we have timed our posts any better, Les? We had been out all day finishing up last minute errands; and with all the "must do's" accomplished, I settled in at dusk with a cup of tea and A Christmas Memory. This morning, the eggbeaters were whirling in my kitchen, and now the house is filled with the aroma of cookies cookin'. Kids have already checked in to see what time they should arrive tomorrow...another Christmas memory in the making!

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  2. I reread this yesterday myself. It is my favorite Capote story (so far) and is so heartwarming, yet sad too. He was a fantastic writer and I'm planning on reading more by him. He had quite a way with words.

    I hope you and yours have a good holiday. I expect we're in the same boat, with still painful heartaches in the backs of our minds. I'll be thinking of you.

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  3. Marcia - Isn't it funny we both posted about Capote's story?! I hope you had a lovely Christmas with your family.

    Heather - Great minds think alike! It's my favorite Capote story, too. I didn't really care for Breakfast at Tiffany's and while In Cold Blood was good, it certainly wasn't heartwarming like A Christmas Memory.

    Thanks for your kind words. I hope your Christmas celebration was filled with love and good memories. You were in my thoughts, too.

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  4. I'm looking forward to reading my first Capote book. My husband and I watched Capote the movie the other night. Quite an interesting character. I'll have to remember to look into this book, too.

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  5. Joy, the copy I have is actually combined with Breakfast at Tiffany's. Personally, I'd skip that one and go for A Christmas Memory by itself. Looking forward to your thoughts. I think it's one I'll read every Christmas morning.

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  6. This one's been on my wish list for quite a while. Hopefully, I'll have it in time for next Christmas. I think I'm done with Christmas reads, now that the day has passed. Did you review Breakfast at Tiffany's? It's the combined version I'm trying to get my mitts on.

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  7. Nancy - I have one more Christmas book I want to read even though the day has come and gone. I gave my hubby a copy of Dave Barry's The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog. He just finished it and said it was very good (and quick). I don't want to wait until next December, so I'll try to squeeze it in over the weekend.

    I don't have a review for Breakfast at Tiffany's on my blog. However, I did find the following in my reading journal. Not much, but here it is:

    Rating: B (6/10 Enjoyed parts)

    This certainly wasn't a difficult/challenging book to read, but it lacked whatever I needed to really get engrossed. I've seen the movie once or twice, but want to watch it again to see how closely it follows the book (which I thought was rather depressing).

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