George and I have a routine we follow every time we drive up to Connecticut or Boston. We stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts near our house and fill our thermoses with coffee before we drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel. Saturday, at the start of our trip, George threw in the bonus of a jelly donut for me. Imagine my delight when I found it was in the shape of a star!
Being a writer, I immediately found my mind rummaging around for all my associations with stars. I think a star was the first cool thing I learned to draw. I am so pathetic an artist that once I handed a blank piece of paper to my art teacher in junior high and told her it was a snowstorm. I got a zero. But a star? Ah, I could draw beautiful stars that no one could find fault with.
Of course the star plays a central role in Christmas because of the star of Bethlehem that is believed to have shown over the stable where the Christ Child lay. So it isn’t a surprise that many Christmas cookies are in the shape of a star, just as my donut was. I remember cutting out ginger stars with my mother for Christmas every year. The star was not the most significant aspect of that memory. It was making Christmas cookies with my mother, but the star is a hook I can hang that memory on.
My freshman year in college, one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with leukemia. I wrote to her nearly every day that year to keep her spirits up, though Janet was the one who was giving comfort to all her friends, such was the mettle of this amazing young woman. The summer after my freshman year, after my family had just returned from two weeks of vacation, I told my mother that I was going to Janet’s house to check in on her. Before I left the house, the phone rang. I remember so clearly, as if it had just happened, seeing my mother at the ironing board watching me take the phone call, watching me as my shoulders sagged and then shook, feeling her arms around me, and hearing her voice saying, “There will be another star in heaven tonight.”
The older I get, the more stars I see with names on them, and one day I will have a star, too. I suppose we have a fascination with stars because they are mysterious and comforting at the same time. On the blackest of nights, the stars shine brightest, not leaving us in the dark. I think our faith can be like that, a star for the soul.
I am a fond of stars too. When we were still younger, my siblings and I usually looked up at the sky at night to watch the stars. Every December, we woke up early to attend the 9-morning mass (it’s a Catholic tradition where people go to mass early in the morning (4am) from Dec 16 – 24 to welcome the birth of Jesus). On our way to the church we often see stars and my most favorite of all are the shooting stars because I could make a wish. The feeling of seeing a shooting star is always amazing! Also, since we lived near the sea, going to sea at night to see a wider view of the sky and the stars was one of the activities I enjoyed. Stars always remind me of my wonderful childhood years.
It’s really great knowing you, Coming East. I am glad to have met you here in this blogosphere. Here is for you:
“And even though I know
how very far apart we are
It helps to think
we might be wishing
on the same bright star”
– excerpt from my favorite song of all time “Somewhere Out There”. If you hear this song may you will be reminded of Little Two Feet who is smiling because she’s able to know a wonderful woman named Coming East (by the way, I live in the East, your East, right?) *_*
Wow, Little Two Feet, what a sweet, sweet comment. I, too, am smiling thinking about us both wishing on the same star. As for whether or not we are both in the same east, it’s all relative, yes?
This is a touching post, Susan, obviously written from your heart.
Thanks, Patti. I guess it’s the time of the year.
You have brought joys, tears, comfort, thoughts, and laughter to your readers and graciously and eloquently shared your sentiment about people and nature. You have been my very shining star in the blog world, Suan!
OMG, Amy! What a kind and wonderful comment. It is like a gift. Thank you!
Thank you for venturing out to write this piece. I loved the flow of your thoughts and the stories. For the first time I have thought several times “I am glad to be here for another holiday season.” I didn’t used to have these thoughts. You have expressed so beautifully the meaning of stars throughout a lifetime. Ooo… I’m so glad to be here for another holiday season.
Thanks for your comment, Georgette. I don’t know when exactly that feeling comes that there are so many fewer years left to us than we’ve already had, but I’m like you. So very thankful for each year I have to spend with my family and dear friends.
I’m sad to hear about your friend. I like how you and your Mother think of her as a star in heaven. That’s such a comforting thought and a sweet way to think of the stars. I think I too shall think of my loved ones passed that way too. Thanks so much for sharing this bittersweet tribute to the stars.
Thanks, EC. It is comforting to think of those I’ve loved and who have died to somehow still be a part of this world by shining down on me.
Very lovely and gentle post…….I have some stars out there as well and this makes me smile and shed a tear too. Thanks.
Glad it brought a smile, Winsomebella, even though a tear accompanied it. I like to thinknofnour loved ones continuing to add light to the world.
Good morning Susan( although it should be your night now ) . I have been visiting your blog for some time, and find it a good way to improve my English, so I have to say thank you for that. I love this, it’s touching! What a pity that we haven’t endowed stars with such nice and warm meaning in our culture, and how lucky I am to realize that here in your blog. Bright stars in a dark sky —- this reminds me of the summer night I spent with my mum and sisters in a mountain far from city lights years ago , but it had seemed such a long time ago!
Thanks, Dana! I didn’t realize I’ve been helping you with your English, which is excellent, by the way. What is your native language? Do you have a website I can follow?
oh, I told you once. I do have my blog, but it’s not in your language. My native language is Chinese.
I forgot. I’m an old woman, Dana!
Comforting thoughts Susan. Thanks.
Thanks, HG. Glad they had meaning for you.
Lovely post, Susan. Tears sprang to my eyes. My cousin’s daughter identifies three stars in the sky: one for her father, one for her grandfather (my uncle), both of whom died before she was born, and a third for her great-grandfather (my grandfather), who died when she was six months old. But your good memories are beautiful, too. Thank you.
By the way, you’ve started me singing a Mendelssohn work: “There Shall A Star Come Out of Jacob.”
Oh, no…I hope it doesn’t become an earworm!
Nice to know that other people name stars, too! Thanks for sharing your story, SC.o
We all have those stars in the night sky, and you’re right, as we age, there seem to be more of them. Thanks for sharing the lovely story about what stars mean to you. I really liked this line: “I think our faith can be like that, a star for the soul.” Gazing at the stars is one of my most favorite thing about living out here in the country away from the city lights.
It’s been so many years, Mama, since I lived somewhere without city lights. I miss seeing the brightness of the stars, but I still remember what it was like.
This is so bittersweet….I have been thinking much about That star this year…
Thanks, KD. That star was special indeed.