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Monday, November 29, 2010
Aunt Sophie's old-fashioned customs traveled with her. A place you will read about: Latvia, a land in northern Europe.
Christmas in Latvia
As I finished my last crumb, I felt Ricky nudge me under the table. Together we escaped into the kitchen to do the dishes, in no hurry to get back to Aunt Sophie. After a while, Mom came after us. "Aunt Sophie has traveled a long way. You must be especially nice to her," she said. "She's not especially nice to us," Ricky said. "She hasn't smiled once since she arrived," I added. "She's frightened, Andrea," Mom said. "This is her first trip outside Latvia. Coming here wasn't easy for her. A couple of good-night kisses might help."
"Edmund, my Edmund, it has. been twenty years!" It was one gloomy meeting. Suddenly, Dad smiled. "All day I've been remembering Christmas in Latvia: the snow, the special bread, and Christmas Man. How I would hide when he burst into our house! And then, how we would sing and dance for him!" "Dad and Aunt Sophie dancing?" Ricky yelped, giving us away. "Come down, you two," Dad called. "Now that Aunt Sophie is here, let's have an old-fashioned Latvian Christmas."
But I wanted my kind of Christmas, with just my own family. Dad went on excitedly. "You kids better prepare something for Christmas Man and rehearse it until it's good. If you don't entertain him properly on Christmas Eve, you'll get brushwood switches instead of toys." "I'll play my guitar," Ricky offered. "Could you teach me Latvian songs, Aunt Sophie?" "Of course," Aunt Sophie beamed, meek no longer. From then on, she and Ricky were always together, humming and plucking out Latvian melodies.
Riga, Latvia: Snow scene
I wasn't happy about it, but I knew she was right. So I asked Ricky and Aunt Sophie if I could rehearse with them. In her funny Latvian-style pronunciation, Aunt Sophie welcomed me. Then the hours flew by in a busy blur as she kept us singing, dancing, and making Latvian tree decorations. Finally, we baked sweet-sour bread, and it was Christmas Eve.
Dad worked late, but we decorated the tree and loaded the table with homemade treats. Snow started to fall, and our house looked, smelled, and felt like an old-fashioned Latvian home. Dad's car pulled up and we stopped talking while he opened the front door. His face glowed and kept on glowing as we ate, read the Christmas story aloud, and sang carols. "What a beautiful Christmas," Aunt Sophie sighed. "Let's do it every year," Ricky said. "Stay with us, Aunt Sophie." Aunt Sophie shook her head and answered, "Latvia is my home. All my family and friends are there, except for you."
For a moment, Aunt Sophie looked so sad I knew she was missing being in Latvia. Suddenly, I realized how much she had given up to visit us. And I'd been thinking only of what I'd given up! I jumped up to hug her, and the room became a blur before my tear-filled eyes. "I wish they all could have come here, Aunt Sophie," I said. And I meant it.
1. Most of the year, Andrea's house was ___________
2. On Christmas day, Andrea's family liked _____________
3. When Aunt Sophie first arrived, she was ____________
4. Aunt Sophie taught Ricky and Andrea _____________
5. On Christmas Eve, the children had to entertain ____________
6. When he burst into the house, Christmas Man was _____________
7. Andrea's favorite present that Christmas was ______________
8. Latvian Christmas customs _________
9. Another name for this story could be _____________
10. This story is mainly about __________________
Christmas in Riga, Latvia from Youtube:
Posted by John Robinson at 11:32 AM