I recently found the Ever So Humble Pie Company in Walpole, Massachusetts, quite by accident. I happened to be in the building and was lured in by the wonderful smells of freshly baked goods. I was therefore quite surprised, and somewhat disappointed, when told that the company is a frozen pie company. As in, you cannot purchase a slice of pie or a fresh whole pie to take home. You can purchase a thaw and serve pie, or a ready-to-bake frozen pie, and there are a few fresh scones or donuts if you simply cannot wait for your dessert treat. Still not understanding why they couldn't just sell me one of the delicious-smelling pies that just came out of their giant ovens, I decided on a thaw and serve individual chocolate cream pie and took it home to defrost.
I must say, it was definitely worth the wait. The crust was a true graham cracker crust, quite tasty and of good consistency. The chocolate filling was delicious. I had never had anything quite like it; it reminded me of chocolate cake batter, and it was quite decadent to be eating a pie filled with it. The topping was a sweet cream that tasted like a cross between whipped cream and sweet heavy cream, with a sprinkling of chocolate shavings. I thoroughly enjoyed my pie from the Ever So Humble Pie Company, despite the fact that I had to wait to eat it!
In our current world of instant downloads and the anytime, any day, anywhere availability of practically everything over the internet, there are few things we actually wait for these days.
Santa is something that we do wait for. I believe a child's excitement over Santa's arrival is probably still the same now as it was years and years ago. I still remember my excitement over Santa's impending arrival, that butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling upon going to bed on Christmas Eve and the joy of bounding out of bed when morning finally came.
One year, however, Santa showed up early.
I was five years old. We had recently moved from the Bronx and the family was having Christmas Eve in our house in the suburbs. I remember that at some point during the night my father said that he thought there was a knock at the front door. No one ever used our front door, so this, in and of itself, was surprising. We gathered near the front door and heard someone outside. The door opened and, quite unbelievably, there was Santa.
I still remember the awe and surprise and shock. Santa came in with a big ho ho ho and someone grabbed a chair for him. He sat down and talked to my brother and I, and he knew our names. He gave us each one present, which he pulled out of a big sack, and told us that he was just making a quick stop on our street, but that he would be back while we were sleeping. And then he waved to everyone at our house, and he left.
It was positively unexpected and incredible. Santa had actually knocked on our door, had visited our house! Why had he chosen us? Maybe it was because we were in our new house. Maybe the timing was just right. Maybe we had been extra good that year. Either way, it was magical.
I remember listening for the doorbell or a knock at the front door in subsequent years on Christmas Eve, but I don't remember Santa coming back while we were awake. And for that, I am kind of grateful, because it was really special. It remains, forever in my memory, The Year that Santa Knocked on My Door.
The best things, the special things, are often one of a kind. Fast forward to a different decade, a different time and place. I was visiting the Vatican in Rome. I had been to the Vatican once before, but this time, there was a special prayer space set up behind some curtains. People waited in line to go in and say a prayer. We were running out of time, but I really wanted to go into the prayer space. We took the time, waited in line, and finally went in. And inside that space was a sense of peace and grace that I cannot describe.
When we came out of the prayer space a little while later we met up with our tour guide. "There's something about that place," she said. "People leave things there, I don't know what it is, but there's something about it." It was somehow reassuring, and confirming, that someone else was echoing what I felt. I was grateful that I had been a part of it. That I had waited for it.
May this holiday season provide you with moments of magic worth waiting for.