Tomorrow, December 23, there will be a double funeral for my Aunt Veloy and Uncle Wayne. Uncle Wayne served in WW11 and Aunt Veloy served as a missionary in war torn England. Five children and more than 60 years later, they died within hours of each other.
My aunt practiced her faith with fierce devotion. My first real memory of her is when we were visiting her home. I was sitting on my dad’s lap on the family room sofa watching TV and Aunt Veloy walked in, became offended by the commercial, and turned off the TV. This was in the sixties. In the seventies she helped me buy a prom dress I intensely disliked (long sleeves, an abundance of fabric and lace.)
They lived in Utah and since my marriage I’ve lived in Connecticut and California. I haven’t seen them in years. I wonder if they ever watched TV, and if so, what they would think of the commercials, what would they think of today’s prom dresses?
Nathan and Adam are home for the holidays and they brought two friends from the university. Moses is from West Africa and Schorch is from Nepal. While I bake gingerbread, Schorch makes us curry for dinner (the smells of cumin, turmeric and garlic mixing with allspice and nutmeg.) While I frost gingerbread, Schorch dices vegetables and sings in the Middle Eastern minor tones in a language I don’t understand. Moses clicks his tongue at the dog and has more rhythm than Schorch’s song. I don’t know their faith, although I do know they don’t share mine. I don’t know what they know of Bethlehem, the Christ child, or the star.
Bethany is in Portland. Jared is on a mission. Our girls shop, go to parties, and are too busy to decorate the tree. The advent calendar, a highlight in years past, never made it out of the closet. Our Christmas’ are evolving and I wonder how many evolutions will there be? How will Christmas change year to year? Our family is like elastic, stretching and shrinking to accommodate those who come and those who go.
Aunt Veloy and Uncle Wayne spent more than 60 Christmas’ together, but each holiday must have brought something, or someone, new. Did they adapt to the world slipping and sliding around them? Or did they stay firmly fixed, stalwart and unchanging? In time, did the world seem as foreign Schorch’s music or Moses’ rhythm?