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The beautiful poem, A Cup Of Christmas Tea - the real meaning of the holiday.

Started 1324562821.107 in Viewpoints | Last reply 1324652221.63 by minkbunny

And if you are too busy to read it, you are too busy {#emotions_dlg.wub}


A Cup of Christmas Tea

~ By Tom Hegg ~

The log was in the fireplace, all spiced and set to burn.
At last the yearly Christmas race was in the clubhouse turn.
The cards were in the mail, all the gifts beneath the tree
And 30 days reprieve till Visa could catch up with me.

Though smug satisfaction seemed the order of the day,
Something still was nagging me and would not go away.
A week before, I got a letter from my old great Aunt.
It read: "Of course I'll understand completely if you can't,
But if you find you have some time how wonderful if we
Could have a little chat and share a cup of Christmas tea."

She'd had a mild stroke that year which crippled her left side.
Though house bound now my folks had said it hadn't hurt her pride.
They said: "She'd love to see you. What a nice thing it would be
For you to go and maybe have a cup of Christmas tea."

But boy! I didn't want to go. Oh, what a bitter pill
To see an old relation and how far she'd gone downhill.
I remembered her as vigorous, as funny and as bright.
I remembered Christmas Eves when she regaled us half the night.

I didn't want to risk all that. I didn't want the pain.
I didn't need to be depressed. I didn't need the strain.
And what about my brother? Why not him? She's his aunt, too!
I thought I had it justified, but then before I knew
The reasons not to go I so painstakingly had built
Were cracking wide and crumbling in an acid rain of guilt.

I put on boots and gloves and cap, shame stinging every pore
And armed with squeegee, sand and map, I went out my front door.
I drove in from the suburbs to the older part of town
The pastels of the newer homes gave way to gray and brown.

I had that disembodied feeling as the car pulled up
And stopped beside the wooden house
That held the Christmas cup.
How I got up to her door I really couldn't tell . . .
I watched my hand rise up and press the button of the bell.

I waited, aided by my nervous rocking to and fro
And just as I was thinking I should turn around and go
I heard the rattle of the china in the hutch against the wall.
The triple beat of two feet and a crutch came down the hall.
The clicking of the door latch and the sliding of the bolt
And a little swollen struggle popped it open with a jolt.

She stood there pale and tiny, looking fragile as an egg.
I forced myself from staring at the brace that held her leg.
And though her thick bifocals
Seemed to crack and spread her eyes,
Their milky and refracted depths lit up with young surprise.
"Come in!" "Come in!" She laughed the words.
She took me by the hand
And all my fears dissolved away as if by her command.
We went inside and then before I knew how to react
Before my eyes and ears and nose
Was Christmas past . . . alive . . . intact!

The scent of candied oranges, of cinnamon and pine,
The antique wooden soldiers in their military line,
The porcelain Nativity I'd always loved so much,
The Dresden and the crystal I'd been told I mustn't touch.
My spirit fairly bolted like a child out of class
And danced among the ornaments of calico and glass.

Like magic I was six again, deep in a Christmas spell
Steeped in the million memories the boy inside knew well.
And here among old Christmas cards so lovingly displayed
A special place of honor for the ones we kids had made.
And there, beside her rocking chair, the center of it all
My great Aunt stood and said
How nice it was that I had come to call.

I sat and rattled on about the weather and the flu
She listened very patiently then smiled and said, "What's new?"
Thoughts and words began to flow. I started making sense.
I lost the phony breeziness I use when I get tense.
She was still passionately interested in everything I did.
She was positive. Encouraging. Like when I was a kid.
Simple generalities still sent her into fits
She demanded the specifics . . . the particulars . . . the bits.

We talked about the limitations that she'd had to face.
She spoke with utter candor and with humor and good grace.
Then defying the reality of crutch and straightened knee
On wings of hospitality she flew to brew the tea.
I sat alone with feelings that I hadn't felt in years.
I looked around at Christmas through a thick hot blur of tears.

And the candles and the holly she'd arranged on every shelf,
The impossibly good cookies she still somehow baked herself.
But these rich and tactile memories Became quite pale and thin
When measured by the Christmas
My great Aunt kept deep within.
Her body halved and nearly spent, But my great Aunt was whole.
I saw a Christmas miracle, the triumph of a soul.

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.



My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

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puglet1324563875.1132153 PostsRegistered 9/3/2011

I'm at work (shhhhhhhhhh!), but glad I made the time to read this. It made me cry. Thank you for posting it, minkbunny.

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. ~ Anatole France

scotttie1324564754.34337001 PostsRegistered 6/15/2006

Minky, that is beautiful. Absolutely wonderful. Thank you.

"Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as others see us!"
--Robert Burns



minkbunny1324567708.0526668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Every time I read it I get chills. My husband had a dear aunt (by marriage) in a nursing home for years and every time we walked down the hall to visit her, I thought of this poem. She has now passed but we spent many a day reminiscing with her about his early years. His first wife - of over forty years ago - was her niece so that made it fun. Smile

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

raven-blac­kbird1324570481.32714073 PostsRegistered 1/2/2009California

although the Night Before Christmas, is the standard xmas poem............I think this one should be added...........really nice and more fitting to the times.....................raven

"Polite conversation is rarely either."
Fran Lebowitz

minkbunny1324576419.9426668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007

I agree raven, it does convey what has happened in too many cases to the holidays today. Makes one stop and pause for just a second and remember what really matters. I just told my husband earlier that I have never in my life felt this stress-free a few days before Christmas. My favorite sugar cookie recipe is chilling in the fridge (Mary's Sugar Cookies), will have fun decorating them later, my Toll House cookies are in the oven and the peanut butter ones will be baked this afternoon. We are going out for pizza with friends a bit later tonight, perfect day, perfect season, perfect poem. {#emotions_dlg.wub}

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

Rap21324580133.35713235 PostsRegistered 5/24/2006

I remember when the book, the teacup and saucer were sold on QVC. I wish it still was.

I located the book and the teacup/saucer on Ebay and it's wasn't cheap. I finally located the book and teacup at a fairly reasonable price after searching for a while.

Twizzle1324583144.7035727 PostsRegistered 2/7/2011

A cup of Christmas tea:

Good Morning

Last edited on 12/22/2011

Last edited on 12/22/2011

It's Robinhood in reverse

possummink1324596194.7496150 PostsRegistered 9/7/2007Show Me State---MO

Miscellaneous Christmas Comments~~~ Minky, I hope you don't mind my dropping in on your beautiful thread, love this poem, but I wanted to wish you a very Happy and Merry Christmas and a New Year full of good health, wonderful memories to be made, Peace and Happiness.

I hope all is well with you and Butch. My best, Possummink, aka, MaryKay~~~~~decoration

minkbunny1324609870.63326668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007

possummink, of course I am very happy you stopped by. What a lovely picture. Thank you so much for the wonderful wishes, my same to you and yours. Hope we don't get a surprise February blizzard this year, huh? {#emotions_dlg.ohmy}

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

Local1324610580.421512 PostsRegistered 5/21/2006
On 12/22/2011 Rapunzel2 said:

I remember when the book, the teacup and saucer were sold on QVC. I wish it still was.

I located the book and the teacup/saucer on Ebay and it's wasn't cheap. I finally located the book and teacup at a fairly reasonable price after searching for a while.

Yes! They sold that book for years and then came out with the cup and saucer set. The author always came on and read it. Haven't the slightest idea why they would have stopped selling it. Guess it didn't fit in with their Madison Ave schtick. A pity.

minkbunny1324610882.68726668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007

Hi Rap and Local,

I might check it out on Ebay, I only have one cup and saucer, a set of four might be nice.

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

Local1324611009.1171512 PostsRegistered 5/21/2006

I meant to also add, thanks mink for printing it.

minkbunny1324611225.8726668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007
On 12/22/2011 Local said:

I meant to also add, thanks mink for printing it.

You're very welcome, it is just lovely. I never tire of reading it - so well written I can picutre the aunt, the house and everything in it. Smile

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

colliemom31324611766.0116036 PostsRegistered 9/7/2010

Lovely poem and the words spoken are so true. Sometimes the gift of your time is the greatest gift you can give someone, though often the most difficult to give. Thanks for sharing.

Anne0011324620676.071767 PostsRegistered 2/1/2008NE

Thank you Minkbunny. I could hear and see Cathy as I read this. Lovely memory.

Fade to black.

Chicklet and Cult Member

ratdog1111324650927.01314924 PostsRegistered 10/27/2008

I agree it is a beautiful poem and it communicates a sentiment about how we should treat our elders that everyone should heed.

I do not consider it the true meaning of the Christmas holiday though.

That would be that G-d sent his son and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Shelbelle1324651146.78334581 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

This was the poem that Kathy Levine would read every year when the Q signed off on Xmas Eve.

minkbunny1324651272.0526668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007
On 12/23/2011 ratdog215 said:

I agree it is a beautiful poem and it communicates a sentiment about how we should treat our elders that everyone should heed.

I do not consider it the true meaning of the Christmas holiday though.

That would be that G-d sent his son and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Exactly what I meant, the true meaning of Christmas is love. Smile

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

minkbunny1324651441.1326668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007
On 12/23/2011 Shelbelle said:

This was the poem that Kathy Levine would read every year when the Q signed off on Xmas Eve.

Hi Shel, Further down the page is a thread I started about Kathy reading this on Christmas Eve. See if you can find it and read the nice responses. I then posted this for those who might not know what I was talking about. Happiest of Holidays and New Year to you and yours.

minky{#emotions_dlg.wub}

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

minkbunny1324651442.56326668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007

Thanks to all who enjoyed it for your nice words. No matter how many times I read it, it makes me cry.

Last edited on 12/23/2011

Last edited on 12/23/2011

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

ratdog1111324651593.2814924 PostsRegistered 10/27/2008
On 12/23/2011 minkbunny said:
On 12/23/2011 ratdog215 said:

I agree it is a beautiful poem and it communicates a sentiment about how we should treat our elders that everyone should heed.

I do not consider it the true meaning of the Christmas holiday though.

That would be that G-d sent his son and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Exactly what I meant, the true meaning of Christmas is love. Smile

Got it! I can see that one would interpret it that way. {#emotions_dlg.wub}

Shelbelle1324651609.24334581 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 12/23/2011 minkbunny said:
On 12/23/2011 Shelbelle said:

This was the poem that Kathy Levine would read every year when the Q signed off on Xmas Eve.

Hi Shel, Further down the page is a thread I started about Kathy reading this on Christmas Eve. See if you can find it and read the nice responses. I then posted this for those who might not know what I was talking about. Happiest of Holidays and New Year to you and yours.

minky{#emotions_dlg.wub}

Linda, I just read the thread about Kathy's mom passing away yesterday, read the obit notice, she was quite a woman back in her day, her name was Pat Seinfeld. My very best wishes to you , dear Linda and to the Cowboy too, hope all is well, Love you, Shel

minkbunny1324652221.62726668 PostsRegistered 7/15/2007
On 12/23/2011 Shelbelle said:
On 12/23/2011 minkbunny said:
On 12/23/2011 Shelbelle said:

This was the poem that Kathy Levine would read every year when the Q signed off on Xmas Eve.

Hi Shel, Further down the page is a thread I started about Kathy reading this on Christmas Eve. See if you can find it and read the nice responses. I then posted this for those who might not know what I was talking about. Happiest of Holidays and New Year to you and yours.

minky{#emotions_dlg.wub}

Linda, I just read the thread about Kathy's mom passing away yesterday, read the obit notice, she was quite a woman back in her day, her name was Pat Seinfeld. My very best wishes to you , dear Linda and to the Cowboy too, hope all is well, Love you, Shel

Thanks so much.

I went and read Pat's obit in her hometown paper. What an accomplished lady. I remember well when she would be on with Kathy. I know Kathy and her family are hurting but hoping the wonderful memories will help sustain them.

My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.
_______________________________

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale”

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