I am missing Marian. She died January 23rd, 2012, and this will be the first Christmas we celebrate without having her visit.
Last year she was in palliative care, but still up for a party and presents, with family gathered at her side.
In previous years, she would come to stay at our house for a week, a Snowbird up for a quick visit from Florida.
Christmas morning Santa left us all stockings – Rob, Alex, Marian and me. Each stocking would have an orange in the toe, a candy cane, a little toy, and sometimes a book. A couple of years ago, Marian’s held The Final Confession of Mable Stark.
I had picked it up because of it’s colourful and interesting cover. It reminded me of childhood or years gone by.
After she finished it, my mother-in-law observed, “you haven’t read this, have you?” I admitted I hadn’t. She said I likely wouldn’t have picked it out for her had I known it had such questionable content. “Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I'm not quite sure what to think of it." Then she returned the book to me and asked me to read it so I could tell her what I thought. The book went back on my shelf, and I forgot all about it. Just last week it's colourful cover pounced back out at me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Marian, with Christmas coming, so I finally pulled the book off the shelf and started reading it.
It’s entertaining, and involves a series of misadventures with men and tigers. It turns out the novel is written by a fellow Torontonian and based on the life of a real circus pioneer.
I feel like we're sharing the story, even though we may not have actually discussed the book. I wish I’d read it sooner, it would have made for an interesting conversation. Questionable content and all.