compliment by my sister's extended family. They are not readers. I doubt if any of them apart from my brother-in-law and my two nephews and one of the nine first cousins have read a book since they left school unless it was a text-book. They are not interested in fiction.
Yesterday they needed to write something. They needed to write the eulogy for their mother's (and grandmother's) funeral.
It was a strange thing to be doing on Christmas Day but they had decided they were going to get together and, even if it was subdued, the Christmas greetings were given. Food was shared and there was even some laughter as we sat around the table.
After lunch one of them came to me and said, "Cat, we need some help. We have to write something about Mum. We want to do it today and we want to make it the way she would want it. Will you help?"
"But, it's none of my business," I told her.
"But you knew her too and you can write," she told me.
And so we sat there after the Senior Cat had gone for a post-prandial nap and we talked and one of them took down ideas in the modern computerised way so that it could be shared later. We shaped it into simple language because there will be people at the funeral whose English is very limited and others who speak no Greek.
It will take no more than a couple of minutes to read. That too will be the way their mother would have wanted. She would accept the lengthy church service because that was part of her tradition but she would not want a lengthy eulogy.
It was the strangest thing to be doing on Christmas Day and yet, somehow, it was quite fitting. Christmas is also about motherhood. Their mother was being remembered with respect, with laughter as they remembered funny incidents and foibles and small moments of silence as they remembered a particularly precious time.
And afterwards her husband, who had been almost silent throughout, beckoned to me and I went to hold his hand for a moment only to be enveloped in a hug of great strength.
"I think we have that about right Cat," my sister's sister-in-law told me. I hope we have. I'll never be sure about this writing business but at least I can try to get it about right.