25 December 2010

Beverly's Christmases Past

For someone who lives life with enthusiastic joy, who relishes celebrating with loved ones, who thrives on creating beautiful things for others, Christmas cannot come sooner each year. When Beverly and I spoke about her early years, she remembered to me Christmases past, each story lighting her face and animating her voice. There was the cardboard fireplace set up each year by her father, so Santa would have a ready entryway into the Eckert house. And the raucous holiday parties, the kids fueled by cookies and chips and bottles of pop cooled in a basement sink filled with ice. There were cherished presents, remembered forever, like a favorite doll, a trusty bike, a handy wagon. Always, there was music, loved ones gathered around the piano, singing carols in a close and familiar harmony tuned finely from years of practice.

One Christmas, Beverly put her artistic talents to full use, creating with her hands a set of Victorian carolers for her sisters' families, each family member carefully assembled -- from top hats and shawls, faces formed from clay, hair snipped from a reluctant Sean and others, and clothing and shoes painstakingly fitted together. Love is the things you do, you make, you pass along -- at Christmastime and all the year through. The group in the photo is the one Beverly made for her sister Karen and her family. Their heads are perpetually tilted up, singing in unison a familiar carol, just as Beverly and her loved ones used to do.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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