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Christmas Magic

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer, and more beautiful.    Norman Vincent Peale


Plum Pudding

Each year, after the stockings, the presents, the squeals of delight,

after the carols, the playtime, the fancy salted nuts,

after the purple grapes with the chewy seeds

and the olives I never liked,

after the celery and carrot sticks,

the sautéed onions and the bright green peas,

after the rolls you could break into three equal parts

and the roast beef with its gravy in the fancy silver boat,

after the wee sips of Cold Duck in the red-stemmed glasses,

after the candles had melted and the china plates were scraped clean,

after all that, our father dimmed the lights

and our mother stood there above us holding the giant white platter

and she poured the brandy or the whiskey

or whatever you pour over an SS Pierce canned plum pudding

and suddenly, with the flick of a match,

she stood there on fire

or so it seemed to our Christmas-filled eyes,

our mother on fire with the flaming plum pudding

and then she spooned the fire-filled brandy

over that fire-filled pudding until the flames turned blue

and melted away and that’s when we ate it,

the pudding covered in our mothers homemade hard sauce,

that’s when we swallowed it, the mouthfuls of Christmas magic.

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