As you can see, people did, in fact, come out out to hear Capote's A Christmas Memory, bless 'em. In addition to friends and former coworkers and the like, I had friends up from California this year, just to hear the reading, which was terribly flattering. Since my dear friend C. has been transformed, at 54, into a 14 year old girl by his new-ish smart-phone, he now texts and takes pictures all the time. (It's really rather charming, as it turns out, having a teenager to stay over Thanksgiving, but a teenager who drinks responsibly and picks up the tab on an expensive dinner for four at Salty's.) He took the picture below:
The Capote went well this time, if I do say so myself. (Someone pointed out that last year? I was desperately ill with a spell of the vertigo the night I read. Maybe that's the formula then; alternating sick and not, so that every other year at least sounds frankly better than I've "ever been.") Afterwards, a number of regulars did make a point of saying how much they'd enjoyed the reading: the Capote of course, but also the Ogden Nash poem with which I'd closed the evening out.
Well, the piece rather got away from me and ended up being considerably longer than I'd anticipated, more of a eulogy as it turned out, albeit a rather narrowly defined and very personal eulogy. That was fine for what it was, as an essay here, but was it something I wanted to read aloud, at the bookstore, as part of a Christmas event?
As it turned out, yes. I debated this with myself for a long time last night and again pretty much all day today, right up until it was time to get ready for the reading. I'd prepared a second story, a funny one. That's what I will usually read, something very light, to follow after the melancholy final note of A Christmas Memory. (Back into the file for next year.) But the thought that Bob's actual memorial, long if haphazardly planned, has yet to happen, and that anything I might have to say may not be appropriate to that more solemn celebration, I determined something more than just mentioning the man's name really was called for. My next thought was that I might still edit last night's piece down to something more manageable in length and still have time for a second story. Could not make that work. Finally had to make a decision, so I did. I read the eulogy. I closed with a funny Santa Claus poem by Ogden Nash. It all worked surprisingly well, despite my nervousness at reading what I did.
Dear P., my boss and fellow reader on more than one occasion, insisted that the Capote reading this time was the best I'd ever done. I mention this compliment because I really rather like her explanation of why that might be true.
"Your heart was already open."