But here I am. I think there was something about driving down Park and slowing when I approached Holy Rosary because the extra Christmas Eve traffic and their street parking required it. The gleaming golden doors caught my eye the way they always do when I’m in Memphis. A family made their way through the doors to celebrate the Eucharist this late afternoon on the eve of Christmas.
The mother of the family was dressed in a black wool knee-length frock, its quietness underlying the festive air I had just experienced at Whole Foods, where Shiner was on special. It’s all so East Memphis, in a way that I cannot pinpoint and describe without getting nostalgic about my hometown. At some point, I gave up my proclivity to scorn this place. And the thing is, so did B, which is more miraculous than you could know. We both grew up here and bonded in college over the disdain we felt for the nicety-cloaked Jim Crow mentality and our desire to just get away.
But here we are. We walked up and down Tall Trees this afternoon with C. B recollected his stories of the inhabitants of the homes we passed and we mused over how much the houses cost. And we weren’t joking.
At some point I wanted to move back here. This place is somehow mine, as much as I trash talk it. Enough time has elapsed since I lived here that I see it with fresh eyes – the eyes of a parent who just wants one place. One place.
Today has been draped with sentimentality. It’s overcast and cool and I’m tired from sleeping in beds that aren’t my own. The baby has met people who I adore and I finally feel like I’m able to check off things on her life to-do list. So maybe that’s why I’m wanting this place. Maybe it’s because it’s Christmas and my desire to wrap myself in that East Memphis religion is hitting me right in my heart.
I don’t know. But I do know that it all stems back to the Waiting. I don’t know what I’m waiting for, but that’s OK. I’ll let you know when I find it.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. May you all find what you’re looking for this holiday.