The dream of Patrick, the moose(Elk)

 

Patrick was a moose living in Munich, Germany. Since his childhood he dreamed to do great things in his life: to be a hero, to be able to help many people and, above all, fulfil his great dream of pulling Santa’s sleigh.

His friends made fun of Patrick because of his dream and told him that a moose could not pull Santa’s sleigh, only the reindeers could do that. Patrick always told them that he did not see the difference between a moose and a reindeer: “We are almost cousins” and all his friends laughed at his words.

When he came back from school, Patrick, the moose, told his mother he had a dream and all his friends teased him. His mother gave him a kiss and said:

“My son, if you have a dream, you must believe in it and do everything to fulfil it. No matter how long it takes you, the important thing is to fight for your dreams”.

Patrick grew up and became a great and strong moose, he stood out for his joy, joviality and, above all, because he sought always to do good for others. He never forgot the advice of his mother to fight for his dreams, and that is why he made a big decision: to make a great trip to the North Pole.

Patrick the moose started to make all the preparations for this great adventure. With a map in his hand, he traced all the way he had to travel from München to the North Pole: München – Frankfurt – Hamburg – Copenhagen – Gothenburg – Stockholm – Tromsø – Kaffekluben Island, and from this island to go over a distance of 707 kilometers till the North Pole. Patrick prepared his backpack with tender stems, carrots, hazelnuts and a good ration of chocolate.

Hmm… Do moose eat chocolate? Well, Patrick loved chocolate! Oops! I almost forgot, Patrick also took his passport, his mother always told him that it is very important for a traveler to have his documents updated. But do moose need passport? Oh yes! Patrick, the moose, had his passport in order, a fully packed backpack and all the enthusiasm to achieve his dreams.

He left his home with his mother’s blessing. She, as always, told him to be very careful, and to be attentive to his heart, so he could know how to choose his friends:

“My son, the heart never fails. Follow your heart and you will find your dreams”. This made Patrick start the trip with more confidence.

He went to the train station and bought the ticket to get to Frankfurt. Once on the train, he took out his travel map. A child was watching him from the front seat, but Patrick continued studying his map, until the child got near him and asked him where he was going. Patrick told him about his dream and the child gave him some chocolate cookies for the trip:

“You will need them” the child’s mother said, greeting Patrick and she wished him good luck for his journey to the North Pole, and then they parted and the moose continued his journey to Frankfurt.

When he arrived in Frankfurt, Patrick took a walk around the city and began to look for his friend, who lived there, whose name was Igor and who was a moose like him. Patrick told him everything he had planned to reach the North Pole. Igor was so excited that he also wanted to join him and, after having hesitated whether to let Igor come with him or not, because his friend was very naughty, Patrick had no choice and had to accept it, because Igor insisted very much.

In the early morning they took the train to Hamburg. Igor wanted to see the itinerary on the map, and they studied the best way to reach their destination. A train officer approached them and asked them for the ticket. Patrick showed his but Igor, in the excitement of the trip, had left his at the station. The officer stopped the train and they both got off, because Patrick was not going to leave his best friend alone:  this is why  you have friends, in good times and in not so good ones.

They walked to Hamburg, by luck there were only a few kilometers left. Igor was very hungry and thirsty, but Patrick still had some chocolate cookies left, so he offered him some and they both tasted them with pleasure. After that, with  stomachs refilled, they found the station and discovered that they still had three hours until the next train to Copenhagen, Denmark, would leave.

They strolled through the city, visiting its wonderful harbour, and enjoying the pleasant walk to get to a place where they could see the city’s motto: “That freedom, achieved by ancestors, can be kept by descendants with dignity”, which greatly inspired Patrick to follow the path towards his dreams.

It was now time to board the train and this time they both had passports and tickets in their hands and got prepared to jump on the train. The journey lasted five hours and twenty-eight minutes, so the two friends could catch up on their adventures along the way. The train started and Patrick drew a portrait of his mother, who always supported him in all his dreams and would not let him give up. Igor told Patrick that he was working on a tourist site, where he guided children around the city, that it was very fun, and the children treated him very well. Patrick said he wanted to spend the rest of his life in the North Pole helping Santa Claus, even if that would surprise his mother very much. But for him, helping Santa Claus was one of the best things he could do for children’s sake.

The hours went by and they reached the Neumünster station, then passed through Flensburg, Fredericia, and finally they reached Copenhagen, Denmark. The official stamped the passports: “Prum” you could hear the stamping noise, and with a smile on his face he told them:

“Welcome to Denmark, enjoy your stay, even if I don’t know what you two moose are doing here”. So Patrick explained his dream to the officer, and he said that he knew a friend who could help them, and gave them the directions and wished them good luck.

The two moose went to the place where they had to wait for the

officer’s friend to arrive. When they arrived, they rang the bell and a burly man with a very hoarse voice came out and asked them:

“Who are you?”

“We are Patrick and Igor, the train officer sent us here to speak to Mr. Bär”. He let them inside into a waiting room and after few minutes, a huge white bear very hairy with a red vest appeared.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen” said Mr. Bär, to whom the two moose answered:

“Good afternoon!”

“I heard that you need help to go to the North Pole.

“It is so” answered the two moose.

“And what is the purpose of your trip?” asked the bear. Patrick said he was going after his dream, which was to help pull Santa’s sleigh. Mr. Bär could not help it and made a great exclamation:

“What! A moose pulling Santa’s sleigh!! It’s very odd and unexpected. You’re mistaken, boy. I think you have made a long journey in vain­­” and he could not contain himself and started laughing.

But Patrick, very determined, stood in front of Mr. Bär and said:

“Have you ever had a dream when you were little? Have you ever had to follow your dreams even if they seemed impossible?”

Mr. Bär remained silent and thoughtful for a moment, looked at Patrick and with a smile on his face said:

“Yes, boy. I also had big dreams and didn’t fight for them, so I’ll help you to fulfil yours. I’ll give you a map that will take you to the North Pole.”

“I already have a map” Patrick said and showed him his map. The bear said:

“This is a map that will take you to Greenland, but the North Pole isn’t on any map, it’s a magical place, which only certain travelers have seen and known. There Santa Claus lives with his wife and all the magic elements of nature: fairies, gnomes, elves… They help him to spread magic in the celestial chariot, that’s his magic sleigh,  pulled by the best reindeers, chosen by Santa personally. There’s the Snow Queen with the Spirit of Christmas, helped by the Lord of the Winds, who is responsible for sending  snow with magical star dust, the invisible spirit of love that fill the world with magic at Christmas time.

The two moose were left open-mouthed listening to every single word of Mr. Bär, who, after these explanations, took a map of medium size out from one of the drawers of a desk that was in the waiting room, and when he opened it, the aurora borealis’ lights came out, and the two moose jumped back in surprise. The bear told them that when they needed light on the road, they should open the map, and this would show them the right way to go. He also gave them some tips on how to get there faster, as time was passing quickly and Christmas was getting closer.

Mr. Bär wished them good luck on reaching their destination, and told Patrick that if he believed in his dreams, he could fulfil them:

“Never give up believing in yourself, boy”  the bear told them, and he said goodbye to the two moose.

Patrick and Igor set off to catch the ship to Gothenburg. The two moose got on board and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. It was getting colder and colder, so Patrick pulled the scarf his mother wove more tightly. When they arrived at Gothenburg, they had to wait for the next ship, which would take them to Stockholm, Tromsø and finally to the Kaffekluben island.

They passed by each of these cities, and although passengers stared at the two moose with strange looks, sometimes asking if they were lost, and the moose told them the destination of their journey. Some smiled, while others said they were two crazy moose chasing after an impossible dream, but this did not stop Patrick because he believed in his dreams and, above all, had the blessing of his mother to get to his destination. Igor wanted to give up many times, but Patrick would not let him, and as he did not want to leave his friend alone, remained with him.

They were already near Kaffekluben, which they could see from the ship, and the captain announced that they would be arriving in a few minutes. Immediately after stepping on the ground, the two moose walked into a cafe for a delicious cup of hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies, because the cold was becoming more and more intense.

The two moose were very happy to be close to their destination: there were only 707 kilometers from reaching the North Pole, and Patrick’s dream  coming true. They filled his backpack with more chocolate, carrots and cookies, and prepared to travel following the map given to them by Mr. Bär.

They walked on the ice, and when they seemed lost, Patrick opened the map where the aurora borealis’ lights indicated to them where to go. After traveling half a day and tired of walking, they decided to take a break and eat some chocolate bars to regain energy. Patrick told Igor that it would be better to resume the journey to arrive as quickly as possible to their destination.

After they took a few steps, they found Pingüi and Mingui, the twin penguins, who were back home after a long journey from Patagonia to the North Pole. Igor said hello and the penguins gave them a funny greeting waving their fins. Pingüi told the two moose:

“Hello fellows, where are you going with such determination, and what is the purpose of your trip?” Patrick told them his dream and the entire journey they had done so far. Mingui said they knew someone who could help them to reach their destination faster. Both the moose and twin penguins headed toward a pine forest. But how can a pine forest exist in the middle of this frozen territory? Well, when you enter Greenland, many magical things happen, as long as you believe in it. And all who were there believed in magic.

They walked for about twenty minutes and arrived in front of a huge pine tree with a hole in it. In that hole there was a door carved with symbols that the moose did not know. Pingüi said they were runic symbols which had been there for a long time, he could not say how many years. They knocked on the door, and, when it was opened, a black wolf came out to deal with them. Mingui asked for Lupus Freilan and the black wolf let them into a brightly lit room and asked them to wait for a moment. Five minutes later, a huge white wolf entered the room and greeted them:

“Good evening, gentlemen”. The two moose and the twin penguins answered in unison:

“Good evening!”

Lupus Freilan asked what their visit was for, and Patrick told him all about his dream and the great journey on wich they had been. The white wolf remained silent for a few minutes while he was thinking, then he looked at the visitors and, especially to Patrick, said:

“Well, boy, what I can do for you is to help you through the forest of white pines, where time and distance are not measured. You’ll do in hours what it would normally take you many days. That’s the magic that surrounds this forest, where only those who believe in the Great Magic of Christmas Spirit can come in”. After that, the white wolf made preparations to leave immediately, because it would be very soon be Christmas, and there was no time to lose.

Everybody was ready for the new adventure: Patrick, Igor, Pingüi, Mingui and Lupus Freilan. They walked into the depths of the white forest with the feeling that their steps were faster than they seemed to be. The white wolf explained that there everything was much faster and within a few hours they would come out of the forest. When Patrick opened the map to find out where they were, the light indicated that they had reached the North Pole. Lupus Freilan and the penguins said goodbye to both the moose and wished them good luck.

The two moose remained alone in the middle of nowhere, because there was absolutely nothing there, so they opened the map again and again the map indicated that they had arrived at their destination. But there was no trace of  Santa Claus’ house, fairies, gnomes or elves. Nothing. There was not a soul there, it was a just desert of ice.

Igor’s disappointment was very great, and he told Patrick:

“Such a long trip for nothing! We’re in the middle of nowhere! Patrick, I can’t believe that we have travelled thousands of kilometers to get nowhere”

Patrick replied:

“We’ve done something wrong, the map indicates that we’re at the North Pole”.

They consulted the map again, but this still indicated the same thing. Igor began to get nervous, he was very cold and very tired, so Patrick told him he would make a fire with magic sparks, which they had received from Mr. Bär and could be lit up even on a block of ice, and they would have to spent the night there waiting for some miracle to happen. He felt in his heart that they were in the right place and that they should wait.

Night came and the aurora borealis was becoming more intense. Patrick was fascinated by the spectacle of nature: energy, lights, colours and, above all, a special magic that started to surround the place. At midnight, the moose prepared to rest, but with so much light they could not. Unexpectedly they heard a tinkling of bells over and over again, they looked around and saw how the glow of the aurora borealis permeated the whole place, and how a few small lights spun around and went from one place to another. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, some beautiful and colourful houses decorated with Christmas arrangements, lights and lamps, began to appear. Beautiful houses with their chimneys appeared increasingly, and gradually a beautiful little village, all adorned with the wonderful Christmas Spirit, became visible. Igor could not help being astonished and was jumping with joy to see the small village of Santa Claus in front of his eyes. Patrick went walking into the middle of the village until he arrived in a place, where there was a sign saying: “Only for Santa’s reindeers”.

He went into the barn and saw three elves caring for six big, beautiful and strong reindeers. He approached them and said hello to elves Weilly, Wailly and Willey. The three elves were responsible for the special care of the reindeers who would pull the sleigh this Christmas. The sleigh was in care of the great elf Wunorse Openslae, who was the designer of  the magic sleigh and took charge of ensuring that everything was in its exact spot for Santa Claus’ big trip on Christmas Eve.

Patrick was very excited and told the three elves all about his dream and his journey to the North Pole. The elves started laughing nonstop, and every time they saw Patrick, looked at each other and said, “A moose who wants to be a reindeer!”. In that moment Wunorse came and asked what was going on, so the elves told him Patrick’s story. The great elf looked at him and said:

“Oh boy! I designed Santa’s magic sleigh myself, and this is pulled by reindeers, who are chosen for having received  special preparations. A moose is not ready for this trip, so I’m sorry, your trip was in vain”.

Patrick and Igor stayed silent at those words and could only give up, but when they left the barn, they went to Santa Claus’ house, in a last attempt to achieve his dream. They knocked on the door and a gnome opened it. He was a gnome who had a hat with red tips, round face and long beard down to his knees. He wore a green jacket and a red pants with white boots. Patrick asked permission and entered a room, where there was a large fireplace fully decorated with garlands, lights, stars and wild pine’s flowers. There was a staircase that lead to the second floor, where you could see Santa Claus on a wooden desk. The gnome, called Reunald, told them to wait a moment, the Santa would meet them in a few minutes. The two moose sat in a huge green armchair, and Patrick began to observe the wonderful place: the lights, the garlands, the coloured candles and a huge crystal chandelier. The whole house was wooden and there was a delicious scent of cedar, besides the scent emitted by the pine and wild fruits below. That beautiful Christmas tree reminded him of his home in München. While Patrick was flying with his thoughts, they heard some footsteps descending the stairs, it was Santa Claus who greeted the two moose with a huge smile.

“Good evening, boys. I was waiting for you. My great friend, Mr. Bär, told me you would come today. How can I help you?”

Although Santa knew Patrick’s dream, he would rather prefer that he prefered that Patrick personally tell him about it. So, Patrick told him everything, about his dream and the journey to reach the North Pole. Santa Claus listened carefully and said there was the tradition that his sleigh had to be pulled by reindeers, that he had never had a situation of this nature before, and so that he had to think about it and take this to the North Pole Council, where he would convene an emergency meeting.

All the North Pole was in a huge uproar, because there was little time until Christmas and this assembly was not of the plans. However, everybody respected Santa’s decisions, so in the blink of an eye everyone was seated in Santa’s huge hall. The last ones to arrive were Patrick and Igor, while Santa Claus seated with Mrs. Clause at his side.

Santa Claus began the assembly and, as they all knew what it was about, they resolved to vote. The elves approached Waldemir, the chief toys’ maker, and told him that this had never happened, but since it was a dream, they had to give him a chance.

Gnomes spoke with Hirandiall, his counselor and magical guide, and agreed with Waldemir.

Fairies shook their wings and went to talk to Sarabella, their princess, and said they should take into account that it was Patrick’s dream.

Wunorse, sleigh’s designer, said it was impossible:

“The sleigh was constructed to be pulled by reindeer. It’s impossible! A moose can’t do that. This’s my last word”.

Gutemfulgor, the guardian of the secret of Santa Claus’s village, thought about it for a moment and said:

“If the moose’s able to pull the magic sleigh, we should grant his wish”.

Santa Claus intervened and said:

“Christmas Spirit is to fulfil  dreams, so we must give an opportunity to Patrick, the moose”.

Mrs. Claus approached Patrick, stroked his beautiful horns, looked at him tenderly and said:

“If you believe in your dream, you will achieve it. I believe in you Patrick” and gave him a kiss.

Wunorse grumbled, but accepted the decision of the assembly to give an opportunity to Patrick. The elves Weilly, Wailly and Willey took Patrck and Igor to the barn to prepare him for his first flight. Patrick was nervous, but happy to have this great opportunity.

Everyone went out into the village’s streets. Wunorse brought the magic sleigh, the three elves brought the six reindeers and Patrick, the moose, too. Everything was settled and the sleigh prepared. Santa Claus sat on the sleigh and asked the fairy princess, Sarabella, to cover Patrick with shooting stars’ dust, which would help him to fly. Mrs. Claus asked the reindeers:

“Are you ready?­­”

They answered with a yes all together. And Patrick answered affirmatively.

“Here we go!” Santa Claus gave the order. Randy, Landy, Wandy, Durtill, Furtill and Tristill began to move, and as Patrick was at the end, he also obeyed the order, but could not keep up with the reindeers’ rhythm and made Santa Claus brake abruptly and collide against a mound of snow. Santa Claus drove the sleigh to the village’s strip and told everyone:

“Let’s try it again!” and he gave the order of departure: “Fly!”

The reindeers began to pull the sleigh, and although Patrick did it too, they lost their balance and crashed, this time against the toy store. Mrs. Claus came over and stroked Patrick, gave him a portion of magic carrots she prepared herself and said:

“You must believe in yourself, don’t forget. If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t achieve your dreams” she smiled tenderly and Patrick felt very strong.

Wunorse approached Santa Claus and said:

“It’s not good that we’re endangering the reindeer for a moose and his impossible dream. This should be the last chance”. Santa knew that Wunorse was right and nodded. It would be the last chance. Igor got close to Patrick and told him:

“I believe in you, my friend. You can do it­­”. Randy, the most experienced reindeer, told Wunorse that, as Patrick was very strong, it would be better to put him in front of everyone. Wunorse did not want to listen to him, but Santa Claus accepted the suggestion of his big friend Randy and they did so. Now, Patrick went before all the reindeers and felt the great responsibility which was on him. He looked at the sky, the Great North Star, and asked with all his strength to Christmas Spirit to grant him the miracle of flight.

Everyone was back in position. Santa Claus held the reins of the sleigh, and the reindeers were ready, as was Patrick the moose was. Before Santa gave the order to Randy, he told Patrick:

“Have faith, my boy, you can do it!­­” and they heard Santa’s voice saying: “Fly, guys!”

Patrick began to run with all his strength, with his eyes looking at the North Star. Suddenly, he felt his body floating slowly, and going up more and more. And he did not stop to running …

Everyone in the village shouted with joy. Mrs. Claus and Sarabella smiled at the miracle. Santa Claus said:

“Very good, guys, keep going! Patrick, you’re doing it very well. You did it, my boy, you did it”. Patrick felt his body floating and freely flying through North Pole’s night sky, and in his heart he told his mother: “I did it Mom. I achieved my dream”.

Igor could not help jumping and screaming, so that Patrick could hear him:

“You did it, my friend, you did it!”

Santa Claus ordered Patrick and reindeers to go back to the village, and they did so. They slowly descended and landed on the white snow. Santa Claus said:

“It was a perfect landing, Patrick”.

Everyone ran to congratulate Patrick, the first moose to pull Santa Claus’ sleigh. Even Wunorse congratulated him and the three elves gave him an enthusiastic hug, while saying:

“We didn’t believe you could do it, but you did it!” Wunorse said:

“Now it’s good for you to rest, there’s much to be done and there’re only a few days till Christmas”.

The day before Christmas Eve came, and Santa’s sleigh was loaded with all the toys that children had asked for in their letters. He also took with him the shooting stars’ magic dust, to sprinkle it around the world and to make magic, love and faith stay in the world. The reindeers were at their positions and Patrick the moose was in the front. Santa Claus gave the order:

“Randy, Landy, Wandy, Durtill, Furtill and Tristill –and gave a smile to Patrick and said-: “Onward!”

The six reindeers, along with Patrick, started running with all their strength, and in an instant they were flying through North Pole’s night sky. The sleigh was lit by aurora borealis’s light that the fairies had placed on the reindeers’ and Patrick’s bells shooting stars dust, and as they were moving away, you could see them like shooting stars, traveling across the sky.

This was how Patrick, the moose, managed to fulfil his dream of pulling Santa’s sleigh, and so you can also achieve your dreams, even if you think they are impossible. You just need to have faith and be filled with Christmas Spirit. I invite you to look at the night sky on Christmas Eve. If you believe in it, you will see Patrick, the moose, pulling Santa’s sleigh.

 

Merry Christmas to you all!

El Milagro de las Galletas de Navidad

Estamos a final de noviembre y hoy vamos a visitar a mi nonna, Mimi, que es la madre de mi madre. Cuando la veo, pareciera que hubiera salido de un libro de cuentos, con sus ojos verde esmeralda que brillan como una aureola boreal, su sonrisa llena de dulzura y sus cabellos brillantes de plata que cuentan los años que han pasado, y “no en vano”, como ella siempre me dice. ¡Ah! Por cierto, soy Lily, y hoy les voy a contar por qué espero con tantas ansias la Navidad.

Aunque ahora se ha perdido gran parte del significado de la Magia de la Navidad, de su Espíritu, mi nonna Mimi se encargó de que yo comprendiera su importancia, y me enseñó a “sentir y vivir” la Navidad. A muchos les parecerá un poco cursi todo esto, pero no se apresuren, sigan leyendo, y luego me dirán si a ustedes también les atrapó la dulzura de la Navidad.

Cada primero de diciembre, mi familia, compuesta por mi padre, Giuseppe Brentano; mi madre, Giorgia Di Angelo; y por mí, Lily Brentano Di Angelo, vamos a hacer galletas a casa de mi nonna Mimi. Es una tradición que ella heredó de su mamma y de su nonna: “La Gran Familia Italiana”.

Nonna Mimi me contaba que los ingredientes para preparar unas galletas ricas y especiales debían de ser de “alta calidad”, y cuando se refería a “alta calidad”, no era cualquier cosa. Ella iba a las granjas de los alrededores de Nashville —¡ups!, se me había olvidado decirles que vivo en Nashville, Tennessee, y “Amo mi Ciudad”. Es un poco exagerado, pero los del sur somos así— buscando los ingredientes más frescos y saludables.

Nonna Mimi tiene una manera muy agradable de dirigirse a las personas y es muy querida por todos, y si aún no la conocen, ella se encarga de que lo hagan. A sus setenta años, tiene la fuerza de una dama de cincuenta y el carácter de un General de Estado Mayor —en guerra—. Lo siento abuela Mimi, no debería decirlo, pero yo te Amo y tú lo sabes, y soy tu única nieta, así que no te enfades.

A mis quince años, mis amigas y yo vamos de compras siempre acompañadas de mi madre Giorgia —una agente de la CIA—. No, no es una agente de la CIA, pero cuando salimos con mis amigas, actúa como si lo fuera, y siempre me repite lo mismo: “niña, en mi época tu nonna no me permitía esto”. Sin embargo, para mis amigas soy un poquito “especial”, y con especial me refiero a que prefiero ir a las librerías, sentarme en el piso y leer historias fantásticas de los libros más maravillosos, y poder transportarme así a lugares distantes, y formar parte de la aventura de cada libro que leo. A veces, cuando cierro un libro y miro a mi alrededor, me digo a mi misma: “¡Oh, no, estoy aquí —en la librería—!”, porque me identifico tanto con los personajes que a veces soy una princesa, una guerrera del pasado o un hada mágica. En fin… esa soy yo, Lily Brentano Di Angelo.

Mi padre, Giuseppe, es editor de libros infantiles. Viaja una vez al año a su natal Italia para asistir a la Feria del Libro de Bolonia, y a su regreso trae las últimas novedades de las librerías para “la hija que más quiere”. Yo siempre le digo, papà, soy tu única hija, se supone que debes quererme más que a nadie, y ambos soltamos una risa. Mi padre es mi gran amigo, mi cómplice y mi compañero de “aventuras literarias”.

Ahora sí, volviendo a las galletas, o mejor, a los ingredientes de las galletas de Navidad, hoy es sábado primero de diciembre y es el momento de buscar los ingredientes para las galletas —¡ups!, creo que esto ya lo había dicho, pero para que no se les olvide, lo vuelvo a repetir—. Imagínense por un momento un hermoso lugar en las afueras de Nashville, todas las granjas llevan sus mercancías para exponerlas, y así ofrecerlas a su clientela en The Nashville Farmers’ Market. Allí, los aromas de mantequilla fresca, panes, pasteles, pies, huevos, quesos y mermeladas se confunden. Hummm… perdón, por un momento me transporté hasta allí, ¿no les sucedió lo mismo?

Ahora de verdad que sí, continuemos. Ya habiendo escogido y comprado los ingredientes ideales, nos dispusimos a regresar, no sin antes saborear unos deliciosos croissants de Maison Chace. Mis Padres y yo somos fanáticos de estos croissants. Como dice mi papà, están veramente squisiti.

Después de la dulce parada, subimos al coche para la gran misión de las Galletas de Navidad. Llegando a la casa, mi nonna colocó los ingredientes sobre la mesa de la cocina y nos dio a todos, incluyendo a mi papà, unos graciosos gorros color verde con cuernos de reno, unos delantales rojos con el rostro de Papá Noel, y zapatos crocs también de color verde a juego. Mi padre, con cara disgusto, preguntó a mi nonna:

––¿Es necesario esto? ––y mi nonna, como toda siciliana, le dijo:

––O se hace como tiene que ser o no se hace, y aquí sólo hay una opción, hacerlo ––lo dijo con un acento tan firme de militar en guerra, que mi papà no volvió hacer una pregunta de ese estilo.

Ya todos con los uniformes puestos comenzamos, cada uno con su bol en mano y mi nonna en el medio, indicando el orden de los ingredientes:

260 gramos de harina: tamizamos la harina muy suavemente. Esto es muy importante, la suavidad con que lo hagamos, logrará que los milagros se cumplan.

100 gramos de azúcar moreno: la dulzura de la Navidad debe ir incluida en este ingrediente, porque para hacer unas galletas sin dulzura es mejor no hacerlas. Cuando mi nonna se refiere a la dulzura, es la proporción de cariño y bondad que cada uno puede depositar dentro de estas galletas.

5 gramos de bicarbonato: este ingrediente es muy importante porque hará que las galletas queden suaves, en su punto. Es como las palabras de amor que podríamos decir a cada persona que necesite de nuestra ayuda, y así suavizarlas con nuestras palabras.

1 cucharadita de canela: hum, qué aroma, qué sabor, mi nonna dice que este ingrediente cura todas los dolores del año, cicatriza cualquier herida por más profunda que sea, en el cuerpo y en el alma.

1 cucharadita de jengibre en polvo: esta raíz es muy importante, porque como viene de la tierra, recoge toda la fuerza de la Madre Naturaleza y nos armoniza, de ahí que el toque de jengibre armonice a las personas, una característica principal de la Navidad.

1 pizca de sal: mi nonna nos explicó que si no hay equilibrio entre el rigor y el amor, nada puede funcionar, y este es el trabajo de la sal, equilibrar los sabores para así integrarlo todo mejor, en armonía, con paz y amor.

1 huevo: después nos dijo que cada uno batiera un huevo en un plato con un tenedor, que no lo hiciéramos con la batidora porque el calor de las manos y los movimientos del tenedor transmitían todo el entusiasmo y la alegría a las galletas. Seguidamente lo debíamos agregar a los ingredientes secos anteriores.

150 gramos de mantequilla: por último, el toque más importante, la mantequilla. Mi nonna nos explicaba que la mantequilla es el resultado de la transformación o mutación milagrosa de la crema de leche en algo superior. Con ello quería que entendiéramos que transformar una materia regular en nosotros en algo superior era muy importante, que nada cambia en nosotros si no lo transformamos, o sea, el odio en amor, el dolor en alegría, la impaciencia en tranquilidad, y así sucesivamente. La mantequilla debía de estar blanda y debíamos batirla con las manos hasta que quedara cremosa, y una vez cremosa, agregarla al resto de ingredientes, mezclándolos todos muy bien hasta lograr una masa suave y homogénea. Nos dijo que debíamos de amasar transmitiendo los anhelos más hermosos y elevados de nuestro corazón, y ella comenzó a cantar:

“Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel ha nacido el Rey de Israel.

Levantaron la vista y vieron una estrella

brillando en el Este, más allá del horizonte.

Y a la Tierra dio gran luz, y así continuó,

tanto de día como de noche.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel ha nacido el rey de Israel.”

Todos comenzamos a cantar con ella, y sentí en mi corazón como cada ingrediente iba haciendo efecto en mi familia. Mi nonna me sonrió porque comprendió lo que en ese momento estaba sintiendo. Ella nos dijo que acabábamos de colocarle el ingrediente más importante, los tres nos miramos porque no habíamos puesto ningún ingrediente más, pero ella se refería a ese momento especial que creamos con la canción.

Ahora debíamos de colocar un paño sobre la masa y dejarla en reposo para que el Espíritu de la Navidad pudiera impregnar la masa.

Mientras esperamos a que transcurriera una hora mágica, mi nonna nos hizo un delicioso chocolate con marshmallows, y lo disfrutamos en frente de la chimenea. Fue un momento muy especial, reunidos en familia.

Pasaron los sesenta minutos de magia, y cada uno con su rodillo nos dispusimos a estirar la masa. Mi nonna nos acercó los moldes para cortar las galletas: arbolitos, muñeco de nieves, reno, etc. Cada uno hizo su trabajo a la perfección, con las bandejas forradas con papel y mantequilla, y dispusimos las galletas para que pudieran ser horneadas.

Fueron colocadas en el horno a 180 grados durante 20 minutos, y después de eso, ya estaban prontas para ser enfriadas y decoradas. ¡Llegó el momento más divertido, la decoración de las galletas! La nonna preparó el glaseado con azúcar, claras de huevos y limón, y lo batió con tanto cariño que los tres nos quedamos mirándola, y ella nos dijo:

––¡Niños, despierten, es hora de decorar! ––soltamos una risa. Creo que todo el ambiente que habíamos creado era por el Espíritu de la Navidad que había rodeado la casa de mi nonna y las galletas.

Mi nonna rellenó las mangas con distintos colores, y cada uno fue poniéndole la fantasía de colores a las galletas. Cuando terminamos, y todas las galletas estaban listas para ser repartidas, mi nonna nos dio unas canastas de Navidad decoradas, y las colocamos en ellas con mucha dedicación para que no se dañaran.

Mi nonna nos dijo que primero las entregaríamos a sus vecinos. Cuando nos dispusimos a cambiarnos, mi nonna nos dijo que no debíamos hacerlo, que parte de la diversión de entregar las galletas era hacerlo con el uniforme de cocina, pero yo solté un muy alto:

––¡No! Nonna, por favor, no necesitamos salir con estos uniformes, por favor ––pero cuando a mi nonna se le mete algo en la cabeza, nadie se lo saca. En fin, ya saben, tuve que obedecer. Una chica de mi edad no tiene voz ni voto en su casa.

Al salir por el vecindario,  cada vecino agradecía la amabilidad de nuestra familia, pero ocurrió algo que no me esperaba. Llegamos a la casa de Michael Clawson, el chico más popular de la escuela, el cual siempre me molestaba por mis trenzas desde que era pequeña, cuando visitaba a mi nonna. Michael y sus amigos me llamaban “trenzas”, lo cual me molestaba mucho.

Le dije a mi nonna que me quedaría en el coche, pero esta no me lo permitió, dijo que debía de ser con todos por igual, y que la señora Clawson era una muy buena amiga y su hijo, un chico estupendo.

“¡Qué! ¿Estupendo? Si es el chico más burlón de toda la escuela, además de creerse que puede tener a cualquier chica que quiera. ¡No! ¡Definitivamente, no! Pero mi nonna siguió insistiendo y la puerta de los Clawson se abrió, y allí estaba él. El chico popular, Michael Clawson, con esos ojos azul cielo, su pelo castaño claro y esa maravillosa sonrisa que me… ¡qué! ¿Qué estoy diciendo? ¡Lily Brentano Di Angelo! ¿En qué estás pensando? Es Michael de quien estás hablando. ¡Despierta ya!”

No pude seguir con mis pensamientos porque Michael nos saludó a mi nonna y a mí:

––Señora Di Angelo y… trenzas, ¿cómo están? ¿En qué les puedo servir? ––antes de que pudiera modular alguna respuesta a la ofensa de Michael, mi nonna le dijo a Michael que venía a traerles las galletas a su madre, y este llamó a su mamá. La señora Clawson saludó con tanta efusión a mi nonna que no tuve la oportunidad de responder a Michael.

Yo no veía la hora de que acabase la conversación entre mi nonna y la señora Clawson, pero cuando finalizaron, mi nonna tuvo la magnífica idea de invitar a Michael a visitar The Children`s Hospital at TriStar Centennial. En un arranque de locura momentánea, le dije a mi nonna que no necesitábamos ayuda, que los cuatro podríamos hacer las entregas, y que seguramente el señor Clawson tendría muchas tareas con su madre estos días. Y él, muy petulante, me sonrió y dijo que con mucho gusto lo haría. Yo quedé en estado de shock, y mi nonna sonrió gustosamente, lo cual no me hizo ninguna gracia. Era un atentado familiar en contra de mi dignidad y de mis trenzas. Michael fue por una chaqueta y sus accesorios, me preguntaba a qué se refería cuando dijo accesorios. Luego de quince segundos Michael regresó con la misma gorra verde de reno, el delantal de Papá Noel y los zapatos a tono en verde. No podía creer lo que estaba viendo, mi propia nonna lo planeó todo en mi contra. Esto era definitivamente una traición, y no podría ser perdonada. Mi indignación era tal, que solo giré y fui directamente al coche. Mi nonna, viendo mi actitud, se dirigió con Michael también al coche.

Mi padre manejaba el coche, mi madre iba a su lado y mi nonna, la traidora, iba detrás conmigo y el petulante.

Llegamos al hospital y mi papà nos dijo que no debíamos olvidar los cuentos infantiles que estaban en la baulera. Ya con la caja en las manos, llegamos a una habitación donde había un niño muy pequeño con problemas de doble infección de oído, dificultad para respirar y mucha tos. Se llamaba Denver y su madre Amber, quien nos relató que Denver llevaba varias semanas enfermo, que se recuperaba pero luego recaía. Ella era la empresaria de las famosas camisetas Native In Nashville, de las cuales yo era fan, pero lo dejaba todo por su niño. Mi nonna me dijo que el Amor de una buena madre era incomprensible, que Dios bendice a todas las madres con ese gran Amor y Fuerza para sobrellevar cualquier dificultad.

Mi nonna me pidió que le leyera un cuento a Denver, y su madre lo agradeció mucho. Se me ocurrió leerle una adaptación para niños del Cuento de Navidad de Dickens. Comencé a leerlo, y Denver sonreía con los gestos y caras que ponía. Me movía de un lugar a otro tratando de que el pequeño Denver pudiera entender a su corta edad lo que le quería transmitir. Al pasar a la siguiente página, Michael continuó la lectura sin previo aviso. Yo quedé en shock nuevamente, no podía creer lo que veían mis ojos: Michael Clawson, el petulante de secundaria, leyendo un libro de cuentos infantiles, y por cierto, lo hacía de maravilla. Quedé con la boca abierta, observándolo tanto que mi nonna me dijo:

––Lily, cierra la boca ––en esos momentos, mi rostro comenzó a arder como un tomate frito. No podía creer que me estuviera sucediendo esto, ¿a mí, Lily Brentano Di Angelo?

Michael terminó su relato y todos los presentes, enfermeros, mi nonna, Amber y hasta Denver, dieron un aplauso por tan buena lectura. Michael se me acercó y me dijo al oído:

––¿A qué no te esperaba esto, trenzas? ––en esos momento sentí un sacudón en todo mi cuerpo y respiré profundo para que ni Michael ni mi nonna se dieran cuenta, pero creo que ya era tarde. Estaba sonriendo como una tonta enfrente de todos, y dando un espectáculo de niña adolescente. Solo quería desaparecer en ese momento.

Esta era la última sala. La señora Amber y su niño Denver nos agradecieron la visita y la lectura, y nos dijo a Michael y a mí:

––Chicos, son estupendos, y hacen muy buena pareja como lectores ––yo solo di una media sonrisa, mientras que Michael fue todo agradecimientos. Al salir del hospital, Michael apoyó su brazo sobre mis hombros y me dijo:

––Ves, trenzas, tú y yo somos buenos en algo ––y luego se dirigió al coche.

Yo subí también al coche sin dirigirle la mirada, mi nonna estaba en medio de los dos y tomó nuestras manos, las unió y nos dijo:

––Gracias chicos, fue todo un detalle hacer la lectura para esos niños. Hemos llevado Magia, Amor y Alegría a estos pequeños, y eso es lo más importante. Ese es el Milagro de la Navidad, la Fuerza del Espíritu de la Navidad que va impregnando los corazones ––mi nonna tenía una manera muy dulce de expresarse. Ya se me había pasado lo de su traición y ahora entendía que todo era por el bien los niños. Yo tengo el privilegio de pasar la Navidad con mi familia, pero muchos no podrán hacerlo.

En cuanto a Michael, ya no me parecía tan petulante, hoy lo había visto de otra manera. Es un chico muy agradable, de buen corazón, y tiene una maravillosa forma de leer los cuentos infantiles. Oh, no, ¿qué me está pasando, estoy hablando de Michael Clawson, el petulante de secundaria…?

Mi nonna nos dio unas galletas a Michael y a mí, y los dos disfrutamos en el coche sin decir una palabra, el sabor de cada bocado como decía mi nonna, eran como alas de mariposas que nos llevaban a mundos mágicos para disfrutar de la libertad. Michael dijo que nunca había probado unas galletas tan deliciosas, y que sentía un cosquilleo en la garganta cada vez que tragaba. Mi Nonna le respondió que esa era la magia de las galletas de Navidad, que cada persona las sentía de diferente manera, porque a cada uno le daba lo que necesitaba.

Cuando llegamos, mi nonna invitó a Michael a una taza de chocolate. Él aceptó gustosamente y, extrañamente de mi parte, me agradó la idea de que pudiera compartir con nosotros. Ya no me conozco, hace unas horas no podía ni verlo y ahora hasta me parecía un chico agradable. Serán las hormonas que me hacen cambiar de parecer tan rápidamente. Bueno, es comprensible, estoy en esta etapa conflictiva y emocionalmente cambiante, y si tú que lees tienes quince años, sabrás a qué me refiero.

Nos colocamos frente a la chimenea y mi nonna nos trajo las deliciosas tazas de chocolate espumoso con canela. Estuvimos conversando de los viajes de mi papà, la Nonna nos relató sus historias en Italia, y mi madre, como siempre una agente de la CIA en acción, pero menos contraída, creo que a ella también le agradaba Michael, pero no quería admitirlo, al igual que yo.

De repente, se hizo de noche, y Michael pidió permiso para retirarse. Yo aún quería que se quedase, ¡de verdad! “¿Qué me está pasando? ¡Lily Brentano Di Angelo, quién te entiende!” Michael me dijo si lo podía acompañar hasta el portón, a lo cual accedí muy gustosamente. “¡Hormonas, paren ya, me están traicionando!”. Llegamos al portón y aún estábamos disfrutando de las galletas de Navidad, cuando Michael me tomó de las manos, las cuales estaban heladas por el frío de la noche, y me dijo:

––Gracias, Lily, he pasado una tarde maravillosa junto a tu familia, y especialmente junto a ti ––mis piernas me temblaron y mis rodillas se doblaron. En esos momentos, Michael me sostuvo entre sus brazos y me dio un beso en la mejilla. Sin previo aviso, mi instinto de supervivencia o no sé qué, me hizo reaccionar automáticamente y le di una bofetada. Él se me quedó mirando perplejo por lo que acababa de hacer. Mi nonna y mi mamma estaban espiando por la ventana, y mi madre, con un grito de triunfo, dijo:

––¡Esa es mi hija!

Entonces, Michael, mientras yo estaba tragando el último bocado de las Galletas Mágicas de Navidad, me dio un dulce y maravillo beso en la boca, y mi Nonna dijo:

––¡Ese es mi vecino!

Yo quedé paralizada, y solo sentía cómo iba tragando pedacitos de galletas, y sus delicados labios en los míos. Luego me miró y dijo:

––Lily Brentano Di Angelo, ¿quieres ser mi novia? ––con una sonrisa tonta en la cara le respondí que sí. “¿Cómo? ¿Has dicho que sí, Lily? No te confíes, son tus hormonas”, me repetía a mí misma, pero había algo que no me dejaba articular ni una palabra: esos ojos azules y esa maravillosa sonrisa. Michael se acercó nuevamente y me dio un beso en la frente, y me dijo––: Fue el beso más delicioso con sabor a galletas de Navidad ––dio media vuelta y se dirigió a su casa.

Yo quedé como un muñeco de nieve, pegada al suelo, sin poder moverme, y mucho menos, sin poder creer lo que había pasado. Mi nonna se acercó a mí, me dio un abrazo, y me susurró al oído:

––¿Ahora crees en los milagros de las Galletas de Navidad? ––yo la miré y le dije:

––Nonna, creo que tus Galletas son Mágicas y que hoy hicieron varios milagros, no solo en mí, sino en toda la gente que pudo saborearlas. Gracias, nonna, hoy he aprendido muchas cosas buenas y mágicas gracias a ti.

Creo que por hoy basta, solo quería contarles porque para mí las Galletas de Navidad son tan especiales, y cómo a veces estamos equivocados con respecto a otras personas. La Navidad, como dice mi nonna, es tiempo de Amar, Perdonar, de nuevos Cambios y nuevas Oportunidades. Déjate llevar por el Espíritu de la Navidad, y te invito a que hagas estas deliciosa Galletas de Navidad, receta de mi nonna. En cuanto a Michael, aún estamos juntos, pero eso se lo contaré en otro momento.

¡Feliz Navidad para Todos!