Meaning of Xmas

I could track my Grandmother’s bizarre conversations with uncanny accuracy.

After having sat silent for a half hour staring at the TV she might suddenly pipe up and say something like, ‘And then he said it was NO GOOD!!’ Without fail, I knew who said it was no good, when he said it, and probably why he said it, too. I didn’t question our telepathy. It was as real to me as the tiny living room in which we sat.

We shared a spooky connection that my so-called normal friends simply could not comprehend. They had their own TVs, family rooms with a Pong game, and they went to Disneyland or Hawaii at this time of year. They lived in cool split level homes with wall-to-wall carpet, supplied by loving but mild parents of mostly Anglo heritage, who lacked an ESP connection with a short, Eastern-European woman with a mile-thick accent. She lived simply, frugally, and was of resilient, proud peasant stock. If she thought of me, even for a fleeting instant, I could sense it no matter where on Earth I was. And she thought of me often.

She left us a few years ago, nearly 100 and strong almost to the end. I still see glimpses of condensation dripping down the windows on a 30 below day as she made me chicken soup for lunch. I smell that tiny kitchen as Christmas approached, working like an armaments factory in wartime; her voice, a little croaky but sing-song anyway spouting pearls of wisdom such as ‘With Tomatoes ANYTHING can happen’, or patting my bulging stomach, eyes twinkling, and asking about my ‘Sputnik’. Years of head-scratchers of this sort gave to me the ability to appreciate the whimsical, the absurd and the sideways – simultaneously. All this is locked into my memory.

Clad in the most god forsaken, beat-up cooking apron she got from a White Elephant sale at the Eagles Hall in 1944, filling me with treats most people couldn’t pronounce, it is the echoing hilarity & deep, unquestioned love of a 60 inch tall Czechoslovak woman that is my truest Xmas.

How I wish I could still sense her thinking of me.

Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukkah & Fab 2018



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