A Christmas Memory: Truman Capote


This story, "A Christmas Memory," is a nonfiction reminence of one fond
memory of Capotes\'.

A distant relative of Truman Capote\'s, Sook Faulk, took care of him
through his childhood. Sook dubbed Truman with the nickname "Buddy," after a
former best friend. During one November morning, when Buddy was seven, Sook
decided it was fruitcake weather. She called him to get their buggy and her hat
to go pick pecans. Queenie, their terrier who has survived illness and snake
bites, follows them on their errand. After picking pecans for three hours,
Buddy and Sook began hulling their buggyload. The discussion during dinnertime
was the need of materials to make the cakes, and the lack of funding to do so.
Sook and Buddy begin reminiscing about how they managed to gather their meager
sums. People in the house donate a dime or two. Buddy and Sook make some money
by selling jams and jellies, rounding up flowers for funerals and weddings,
rummage sales, contests, and even a Fun and Freak museum. The secret fund is
hidden in an old beaded purse under a loose board in the floor. They never
remove the purse from under Sook\'s bed unless making a deposit or a ten-cent
withdrawal on Saturdays. She allots Buddy ten cents to go to the picture show
each Saturday. Sook has never visited one before, but asks Buddy to go instead
to come back and tell she the stories of the picture show. After dinner, Sook
and Buddy retire to a room in a faraway part of the house where her sleep\'s at
night, to count their treasure. When finished counting, Buddy declares the
total was thirteen dollars. Sook, being a very superstitious person, throws a
penny out of the window. The next morning Sook and Buddy go to town to purchase
the necessary ingredients for the cakes. Whiskey, the most expensive and
hardest to obtain ingredient was needed to complete the day\'s shopping. Since
whiskey sale was forbidden by law, they had to travel to Mr. Haha Jones for it.
Mr. Haha owned a "sinful" bar near the river. When Sook receives a bottle of
whiskey in exchange for a fruitcake, she decides to add an extra cup of raisins
in his cake. The two go home and begin to make their cakes. These cakes where
intended for friends or acquaintances, not necessarily neighbor friends. They
sent most to people they have met once, or maybe not at all. The thank-you note
cards sent in return made them feel connected to the world. After sending the
fruitcakes off and spending all of their savings, Sook decides to celebrate with
the two inches of whiskey left in the bottle. The thought of drinking straight
whiskey somewhat bothered them. Since they have never experienced it before,
they began tasting. Prancing around the kitchen, giddy and happy, two angry
relatives enter. They began to scold Sook and blamed her for corrupting a child
of seven. As Sook looks down and blows her nose on her flowered skirt, she runs
to her room to cry. Buddy follows her and tries to comfort her. He reminds her
of tomorrow\'s plans, finding a Christmas Tree and Holly. Sook promises to find
the best tree and the best holly for them. The next day they walk around the
forest in search of a tree on Christmas Eve afternoon. They picked a tree that
was twice as tall as Buddy and very strong. Buddy and Sook wheeled the large
tree home in their buggy to decorate. People passing by complimented them on
such a wonderful tree, and some even offered to buy it. They made ornaments to
decorate the tree out of colored paper, crayons, and tin foil. They each made
kites for each other, and bought Queenie a beef bone. During the night, Sook
could not sleep. She woke-up Buddy and they talked until the sun rose. Sook
wanted so badly to buy Buddy a bike for Christmas, but couldn\'t afford one for
him. She told him that she made him a kite, and he confesses that he made one
for her, also. When day breaks, they hurry downstairs to make noise, and awaken
the other relatives. Buddy was disappointed in the gifts he received from his
relatives. Sook points out to him that the wind is blowing and they should fly
their kites together.
This was their last Christmas together. Buddy was sent to military
school, prisons, and camps. He had a new home, but felt that it was incomplete
without his friend. Sook