In "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote, what does buddy's friend discover after flying her kite on their last Christmas Day together?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Truman Capote's memoir of a his childhood Christmases with his colorful, if not quixotic, older relative, whom he calls his "friend," flood the reader with curious, but loving episodes as she and Buddy (she calls Capote this in memory of her best friend) begin their annual custom of making fruitcakes.

As trek through a grove of pecan trees, they fill a baby carriage with the sweet nuts and count their money and clandestinely procure whiskey, a friendship is forged between the two social outcasts who are chided by relatives for their supposed shenanigans. Later, Buddy confides,

...we are champion kite-fliers who study the wind like sailors; my friend, more accomplished than I, can get a kite aloft when there isn't enough breeze to carry clouds.

On their last Christmas Day together after kite-flying, Buddy's old friend speaks to him as they sprawl on the grass, sun-warmed and content. Suddenly more alert in such comfort than should be expected, she tells Buddy of her epiphany:

"I've always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when He came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as colored glass with the sun pouring through....

However, she adds, that is not so. Such a vision probably does not occur, as at the end of one's life, she explains in her realization that the "Lord has already shown Himself." In this subtle, metaphoric manner, Buddy's friend has quietly told Buddy that she is dying. For, in the next paragraph Capote writes simply, "That was our last Christmas together."

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