In the 1980’s, I lived in Minnesota and one Christmas, a little gift book came out written by a teacher in the Twin Cities, Tom Hegg. A family friend gave my mom this book and being an English major and in love with words and clever rhymes, I used to read this book over and over again the week before Christmas.
The poem tells the story of an extremely busy, guilt-laden nephew who keeps trying to push thoughts of his elderly great aunt—home alone for the holidays—out of his mind. Gradually, he finds he just can’t ignore the persistent nudge in his soul to visit her, even though he really doesn’t want to see how old she’s gotten; how ill and decrepit she is. He just doesn’t want the guilt and hassle of it all.
But, he goes. He drives to a broken down section of town and finds himself at her door. She, of course, is thrilled to see him and welcomes him into her living room.
Many memories flood his mind as he looks around and sees Christmas cards he’d made for her long ago in his childhood holding a place of prominence on her shelf. He begins to talk and in her presence, he finally finds himself relaxing and enjoying her company. She is encouraging and hopeful; inquisitive and wise--something he was not expecting. In turn, she tells him about her poor health but somehow remains positive and upbeat despite her difficulties.
Finally, “on wings of hospitality, she flew to brew the tea.” He’s now alone in her living room, overwhelmed with his thoughts—finding the depth of her soul a Christmas miracle.
The poem ends this way:
The triple beat of two feet and a crutch came down the hall,
The rattle of the china in the hutch against the wall.
She poured two cups. She smiled and then she handed one to me.
And, then we settled back and had a cup of Christmas tea.
This book is easily located on Amazon. If you love poems and tea, I highly suggest you get one. You won’t be disappointed. And, Merry Christmas!