Belle is 92, almost blind and so hard of hearing, you have to shout to make yourself heard. Visitors rarely come to see her but Belle is resilient. She has two imaginary friends- Edith, the woman with no feet, and Jeff, Edith's father. The three of them have been talking, Belle says. They want to know where the wreath is I bring every year to hang on her door. Belle can't remember breakfast, but she remembers that tacky, fiber-optic wreath with the singing reindeer, elves and Santa.
"I told Jeff all about it," she says, leaning forward in her wheelchair and gesturing up at the top of her wardrobe where Jeff lives. "He said he knew you'd remember it this week."
And I do. But this year, during a move, the wreath was "misplaced," along with quite a few other treasured items, so I no longer have it. I try to explain this to Belle but she can't or won't hear me. I've tried to find a replacement, but when it's that gaudy, it's appeal is limited. You can't buy a fiber-optic wreath with animated, singing figures anywhere this year and believe me, I've tried.
"Edith," Belle says, calling up to the empty space above our heads. "Wait til you see what she's a gonna bring us. When it gets here, we are going to sing all night and if someone don't like it, they can kiss where the sun don't shine!"
I imagine that wreath, stuffed in its box, packed away in someone else's attic and hope this year it brings as much pleasure to its new home as it brought to Belle's. Somehow I doubt it will.