I havenšt ever found the black and white photograph. The faded picture with the strange message on the back. I remember other images of the woman for whom I was named, but not the one in this photograph. I remember the picture of her standing by the front door at Christmas - the candy-cane decoration behind her head, arms overwhelmed with packages. Looking at me from a movie still from Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street. Christmas. The first great tradition. I could survive the whole year, knowing Christmas was coming. I hadnšt realized that my dadšs tradition of starting Christmas in October was his way of making the holiday come to him. As long as the traditions were there - celebrated - re-created with excrutiating accuracy - we would make it. Christmas traditions became strangely sacred. And not the Biblical parts, necessarily. Even though they had to be properly observed. No, my greatgrandmotheršs fruitcake. Carefully re-created each year, in the sticky, happy tub. Enough liquor to make you appreciate the man-colored cherries. Edible perfection in a fruitcake. And it was perfection. It is yet my favorite Christmas food. Except the green beans - my motheršs green bean casserole . . . Nobody can touch it. To this day, she