Sunday, September 30, 2012

Polly and Dorothy

So I'm finally siting down to write some thank-yous to people who were especially comforting or helpful or thoughtful during this sad month. Here's a note from Beverly, Michael's sister, that came when I got home to SLC which I wanted to share:

"I had only a few occasions to be around Polly, but they were so memorable and she made a big impression on me–I always felt welcomed, and cared for, and that she really knew I was there despite the full room. There was one Christmas when I was at our family's home and it was a big crowd–even though I knew everyone I was feeling a bit awkward and was by myself (I can't remember why!) and maybe was feeling a little sad. Your mother came up to me and said, "Come with me!" and she grabbed a book off a shelf, thumbed to a page and said, "Read this." It was the Maid-servant at the Inn by Dorothy Parker.
It was a wonderful moment. The poem was touching and your mom was so sensitive and observant to make a connection with me. I can feel it like it was yesterday–it's my Christmas ritual–I read it by myself and your mom introduced me to one of my favorite writers that I would enjoy for years to come.
I can only imagine how lovely and lucky it would be to spend more time with her. I have a feeling it was an ordinary moment for her and how she lived her life. She seemed to live fully and she enjoyed the things in life that really matter–family & friends, good food, good literature and more. (And she taught me that liberal politics and gracious living are not incompatible.)
Your mom was a very special person and I'm happy I got to know her, even just a little. She inhabits a place in my heart and that's how we live on–I hope she and Dorothy are having a good laugh.
Love, Beverly

Here's the poem:  

The Maid-Servant At The Inn

"It's queer," she said; "I see the light
As plain as I beheld it then,
All silver-like and calm and bright-
We've not had stars like that again!

"And she was such a gentle thing
To birth a baby in the cold.
The barn was dark and frightening-
This new one's better than the old.

"I mind my eyes were full of tears,
For I was young, and quick distressed,
But she was less than me in years
That held a son against her breast.

"I never saw a sweeter child-
The little one, the darling one!-
I mind I told her, when he smiled
You'd know he was his mother's son.

"It's queer that I should see them so-
The time they came to Bethlehem
Was more than thirty years ago;
I've prayed that all is well with them."

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