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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 4, December 2018
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Theresa A. Cancro
Wilmington, Delaware, USA


The Visit

My Italian grandmother sometimes spent Christmas with us. In addition to spaghetti, pizza, and eggplant parmigiana, she'd make tasty desserts for the holiday table. When I was old enough, I helped her cut cookies before placing them in an oil-filled pan to fry. As we worked, she talked about life in the old country. “La Befana put candy in our stockings if we were good, sticks or pieces of coal if we were bad." I licked my fingers as she continued. "La Befana was a skinny witch, a crazy lady from the village. She left good children sweets at night, like Santa." I was surprised that a wizened hag brought Italian kids the delights of Christmas, not a jolly fat man. I leaned away from the pan as Grandma dropped dough into the oil. "We never saw her. Mama said she had no teeth and wore black. On Epiphany Eve, we hid from her under the covers."

snow falling
through the night sky ...
a widow's shawl

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