Solstice Party

In 1981 I was in Law Firm Limbo looking at a map of the world on the wall of one of the law partners and dreaming of far away places. In 1982 I was in a “faraway” place — China — dreaming of home (it was Christmas time, after all, and I had the flu). In 1985 I was in San Diego teaching the world. Crazy cascade of events and adventures. I loved teaching international students. It was as if the whole world had come to meet me.

That year I decided to have a holiday party — a solstice party. I invited everyone I knew — students, colleagues, friends. It was a great party. But the highlight was at about 9 pm when a taxi rolled up and one of my students came to my door — Mohammed Ali Assyri. He was dressed in his Toub and said, “Come Mrs. Martha. We are going back to Saudi tonight, but we wanted to say goodbye. Majda is in the car.” He and his family — his wife and two little girls — had been sent over by Saudi Airlines as were many of my students at the time. The Good X and I were especially close to Mohammed and Majda. We had done a lot of things together during their year in San Diego. I was really going to miss them. I knew they couldn’t attend the party, so seeing Mohammed suddenly appear made me happy. We lived in a beautiful 1920s apartment near the San Diego Airport, so it was on their way.

I grabbed a dish of cookies — the ones like my Swedish grandmother made and are made in some variation all over the world — little spherical butter cookies with nuts. The only ingredients are butter, flour, a little sugar. Mine are almond. Some cultures use pecans. Mexican Wedding Cookies have spices. I had nothing to give them for the trip, so I grabbed that dish.

I went down the steps to the street. Majda was sitting on the backseat of the taxi with the smallest little girl asleep on her lap. “This is for you, Mrs. Martha.” She handed me a small, weightless package.”

“These are for you,” I handed her the dish. She took one and bit into it, smiled at me, and said, “Like in my country. We have the same.”

We had a few moments together, and they had to leave. In the present were two beautiful glass Christmas tree ornaments.

6 thoughts on “Solstice Party

  1. Martha maybe it is the season but this made tears well up in my eyes. So much said in these small gestures.
    p.s. I got your card – very beautiful! I’m debating whether I should frame it!!

    • It was a very tender moment — we’d known each other two years, in and out of each other’s houses like family. Majda unveiled. Majda is Martha so we had the same name. Thanksgiving they came over and their oldest little girl (7 years old) came into the kitchen where I was cooking. I didn’t see her. Then I heard a little voice say, “Hey Martha, what’s up?” I laughed so hard. I’m very happy you like the card. ❤️

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