It may be unexpected for a gander to own a puppy, but that was nothing unusual on Geese Lane. When the milkman gets in the picture that crispy morning, his yelling disrupts the aunt who is knitting an ugly vest. Check out the whole story on Amazon and Kindle and read it to your children on Christmas Eve.
I could hear the cow’s bell in the barn when grandma Buna opened the shelter’s gate to milk the cow. It was the only one left after the communists took the other ones. It wasn’t very hard for me to move the chair by the window even though I was only a few years old.I wanted to see outside. The frost on the small glass was thick, but I knew how to scratch it off with my fingers to see outside.
The fire in the big bread oven in the courtyard was on, and grandma Buna was keeping it blinking playfully with dry corn stalks to bake the breads. The sweet bread dough was raising in the house by the warm black stove. There wasn’t much to see from where I was, but I could sense that that day was special. My grandparents’ voices were soft, the silence was long, they knew how to communicate without words.
By the end of the day I was already tired watching the preparations for the celebration to come. Buna put on her new black apron and the new scarf. Even Bunu, who wasn’t fun of new outfits, had a new hat. I was in my little bed already, with my long hair well brushed and a red bow on my head.
Then the carols started. They began in the front of the house, with neighbors singing loud and passionate about baby Jesus. After a while, the spectacle was moving inside the house, in the front room where I was, and where Bunu had built smoked pork sausages on a plate. There were other dishes with pickles, sauerkraut, and grandma’s walnut and poppyseed sweet breads. That was how people in Transylvania honored their visitors. Each household had to plan months in advance on how to manage their small resources in order to have what they needed for Christmas.
The joy and the sadness were both present in the carols,and I could see tears welling up in my grandma’s eyes. The songs turned into prayers. The despair couldn’t get deep roots.
It was Christmas Eve.
The red plague had taken people’s dignity and freedom, but couldn’t steal their hope.
(My grandparents’ house was like this in the picture.)