Why, hello my dear! What a nice surprise! Come in, and little Georgina as well! I expect you’ll be looking forward to Christmas won’t you my dear? You know, it’s a little bit early, but I think we ought to have a nice piece of my fruitcake don’t you? We were decorating the church for Christmas this afternoon and I’ve only just come in myself and I was just about to have a cup of tea and thought I ought to make myself wait for Christmas Eve to get the fruitcake out, but here you are, and oh, before I forget I’ve got a little present for Georgina. It’s not much. It’s under the tree there dear. You go and get it. No, not that one dear, that’s a bottle for Fr. O’Driscoll. Yours is the one next to it with the little snowmen on the paper. Yes, that’s the one. Now you mustn’t open it until Christmas morning you know. Here– is that piece of cake too big? Of course not, you can finish it. No problem. You should try some Georgina. I know it doesn’t look as cheerful as those cupcakes from the Piggly Wiggly, but believe me, it’s much tastier. Ahh, the kettle’s boiling. That’s a cheerful sound isn’t it? I must just tell you what Fr. O’Driscoll said a few years ago when he was visiting me at Christmas time. Well, I gave him a piece of my fruitcake, and I don’t know if you know it, but I’m rather famous for my fruitcake at Christmas. I make it from an old family recipe. You mix up all the raisins and currants and cherries and cranberries and pecans and cashews and almonds and you bake the cake oh, sometime in October and then you put it in the kitchen cupboard and every Sunday you get it out and add a cup of sherry or port. Oh my goodness, by Christmas time it’s quite something! It was a favorite of Fr. O’Driscoll’s and he said one year, “You know, Mrs Brady, this cake is a bit like the Catholic Church.” He was always finding homely connections was dear old Fr O’Driscoll. “The Catholic Church is full of fruits and nut cases and a fair bit of alcohol too, but it’s still a mighty sweet thing, and there’s a mystery in all that you know.” Then he was thinking a bit more and munching on the cake and Alfie was on his lap purring away like a little motorboat and Fr. O’Driscoll said, “And furthermore, you know how you keep the cake in the dark for three months and keep working on it, and then you bring it out when the time is right and it’s a beautiful thing? Well, I reckon that’s a bit like the way the good Lord works on you and me. He keeps us in the dark much of the time and we’re not sure what he’s doing with us, and he just gently keeps adding the Holy Spirit and then, when everything is about at the right time he brings us out and it’s a beautiful thing.” Yes, I know dear. Fr. O’Driscoll had his problems, but don’t we all? I can remember one time he came back from the cathedral and was quite put out at the sermon the young parochial vicar preached. The young fellow told everyone not to give money to the beggars outside the cathedral because they would only spend the money on drink. Father said, “What does the young scamp know about anything? If I was a poor beggar on the streets on a cold winter night there’s nothing I’d like better than to have a good stiff drink.” Oh, I did laugh at that one! Oh, he’s all right. Don’t you worry about Fr. O’Driscoll. He doesn’t much like that retirement home for priests, but I stop by once a week and take him out to lunch and it cheers him up some. Yes, he’s coming here for Christmas again this year, and I expect he’ll fall asleep in front of the fire with his rosary after Christmas dinner. It doesn’t matter that much does it dear? I often fall asleep saying my prayers, and I don’t expect the good Lord minds too much. Wasn’t it the Little Flower who said the good God is happy to look down on his sleeping child just like any loving Father does? I’ve always thought that was rather nice. Now where’s Georgina? I’ll wonder if she’d like to play a game of checkers.