Ma set up her same old dusty, dwarf plastic Christmas tree in the coldest corner of her steamy coffee shop again this year.
"You promised you were going to put up a bigger, better tree this year," I cried as the first pot of coffee slowly dripped on the worn out counter.
Ma placed her hands on her slender hips and scolded me. "White people all same. Think bigger better every time. No time for tradition. Tree is good. Instead of buy new tree I give money to charity. Instead of big tree in corner whole village in Africa having goat for dinner this Chistmas plus money left over. Look what I buy with money left over."
Ma reached beneath the counter and pulled out a forty pounder of rye. The lights on the little tree made the bottle sparkle a little more than a bottle usually sparkles at six in the morning. She poured us each a cup of rye and topped it up with a little coffee.
We clinked glasses and Ma said to me, "When we finish coffee tree look much bigger!"