My Aunt L., she of the recent 80th birthday and head prefect of Sturdy Gal Academy, gives all her adult nieces and nephews Christmas presents. I will point out, there are a lot of us. Win had 4 daughters, my mother 3 daughters and 1 son. But every year Aunt L. wraps and delivers to everybody.
The best present she ever gave, which, in retrospect, may be one of the best ever given or received in my family, was a net bag of chestnuts and a chestnut roaster.
Since we tend more, as a group, to irreverence than nut roasts, when the time came to go home one family hid the chestnuts in the car of another. And so a Christmas tradition developed. Every time we saw each other we’d strive for stealth transfers of ownership. My brother-in-law dominated play.
However, in the final round, I won. Damn that feels good to say. One year we gave their daughter a big stuffed dog for Christmas, and sewed, yes, sewed, the chestnuts into its belly. Afterwards, I refused restart the game, knowing to retire on a big score.
This year I gave my aunt her present early. Yes, I do reciprocate. Like a suburban elf, I left the box at her doorstep. But it’s just a small token, as there is no way I will ever be able to give her anything as wonderful as those storied nuts.
Anyway, I remembered the Nut Wars because I got an early present in the mail yesterday. Nope. No roasters. Remember the talismanic jewelry of Mark Defrates and his wife Pamela? Pam sent me an extra-small yellow gold pentagram.
I mean to wear it on my wrist with a leather string but right now it’s sharing neck chain space. I had to put it on right away, and I don’t really plan to take it off. Please feel free to scoff, I’m old enough not to mind, but I swear I feel some kind of energy emanating. Something about artistry, craftsmanship, and women who would be witches.
I imagine Sturdy Witches, dressed in navy, or a killer pair of cordovan loafers. Well-tailored robes, perhaps, to flatter broad shoulders. Sturdy Witches do something to ordinary things, we don’t know what. They roast chestnuts without fire. Now that I think about it, my aunt has a wonderful voice, perfect for the casting of spells. Perhaps Sturdy Gal Academy is Hogwarts’ State, practical in every sense.
The phrase, “holiday magic,” takes on new meaning.
Have a wonderful weekend. Pam, Mark, thank you so, so, so much for the pentagram. Seriously. I never want to take it off. Everyone deserves a symbol of their own special powers.