Tag Archives: Christmas

Joy Street

When I was a young girl my father gave me two books. When he brought home the first book and held it out to me, a gesture accompanied with his usual silence, I accepted it gratefully. Until that day, I had not known that my father appreciated my love of reading. Up until then, I was not aware that he saw me that clearly.

I do not remember if I spoke, if I thanked him, but the look on my face must have been thank you enough, because later on he brought me another one.

These books became treasures to me and I guarded them reverently. To me they held a meaning beyond their story. They were proof of what could be done with words; evidence of what intricate power could be woven between two simple cardboard covers.

There was no greater gift, besides his love, that he could have given me, because you see, these were not store-bought books. They were books salvaged from someone else’s trash can. My father’s job was to drive a garbage truck. And I imagine that before he was “promoted” to driver, he was one of the men who picked up the trash cans and dumped them into the back of the truck.

How he noticed that there were books amidst the trash from his perch inside the cab, I don’t know. But just as he’d noticed that his little girl loved to read, so he espied those books and brought them home to her. I read and reread these books countless times, though one was missing the last half of its last page. It would be many years before I knew the ending to that story.

And as they gradually fell apart in my hands, these books served as propellant for my own writing. I accumulated notebooks full of stories, stories that my English teachers praised and led them to encourage my endeavors. I dreamed of going away to college to study journalism. For hours at a time, I would disappear into my own little world dreaming up stories, and reading and writing.

My mother did not understand or accept this as there were four younger children she needed my help with. One day when I was fifteen, I came home from school to discover that everything had been thrown out. All my writings were gone, and worst of all, my books.

The loss left me devastated and I stopped writing, for decades. And what made my pain worse was the thought that my mother had probably coerced my father into helping her discard my things. The irony of him having to return those books to the trash heap made me laugh, as well as cry.

I took this assault on my psyche in stoic silence. I was my father’s daughter and I said nothing to no one. Since then, I’ve never been able to talk or write about this and few people know about it. I bore this event in my life as a mark of shame, though I don’t know why. And as a result, I have never gotten over it. It has hurt to this day.

A few months ago, I did manage to relate this story to my daughter-in-law, with my voice only breaking once or twice. I didn’t realize how intensely she’d listened until I opened my Christmas gift from her.  It is an exact replica of one of my missing books, the one that had the last page ripped off, Joy Street by Frances Parkinson Keyes.

The last page on this copy is intact, however, and now, so am I.

I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and may joy street always find you.

I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and may joy street always find you.

 

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Tequila Turkey

It’s that time again. Time to figure out what to serve on Christmas Day. I go through this every year, the pondering, the planning.

It’s the same thing every Thanksgiving; I’m always wanting to tweak the usual fare. This year I did. While visiting my son, I became acquainted with the Food Network. Seems it was always on so I watched. This particular chef caught my interest. As did her recipe for the aforementioned tequila turkey.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/apricot-and-tequila-glazed-turkey-recipe/index.html

The results of this recipe were in one word, scrumptious. The turkey was moist to the point that chewing was practically optional. Everyone raved. That turkey made the quickest disappearing act ever. Leftovers, what leftovers?

I debated whether to repeat this recipe for Christmas, but I’m just not in a turkey mood. After some thought and discussion we came up with an idea. The one ingredient we’ll carry over from Thanksgiving to Christmas will be the tequila. We’ll need it to make the Margaritas that will add the finishing touch to the Mexican spread we will serve.

Come to think of it, my red serape will look great as a tablecloth . . .

My Love is Enclosed

So I missed a day on my self-imposed assignment to post daily. I may be wearing myself thin with all there is to do this month. Ironic since I’m also fighting the battle of the bulge or as it is sometimes called, middle-aged spread. In a way, I didn’t choose this month; fate chose it for me. It is my birthday month and I wanted to mark it somehow. It’s the end of a decade for me; then my age will no longer begin with a five, but a six.

I can’t believe I’m that old and I can’t believe Christmas is next week. It seemed so far away. But I’m on track, sort of, with my gift plans. Namely the blankets I’m making. Three are done and one was conceived of two days ago, an addition to my long list that bumps two others down the list.

And now, one of my sons asks me for a baby blanket for his friend who is having his fourth child. Luckily I already have one made, crocheted in white; I will add some pink trim for the new baby girl that is soon to be born.

Apparently, the oldest boy of this friend still has the blanket I made for him when he was born. Seems he won’t go anywhere without it and after six years it’s kind of raggedy, my son reports. Lo and behold, I still have the rest of the fleece fabric I made it from, a Winnie the Pooh print in white and blue. He will get a replacement blanket and since I can’t give to only two of the four, I will make a blanket for the other two children as well.

Therefore, in between the speed-making of an afghan in my older son’s alma mater colors, I will sneak off to Jo-Ann’s, my favorite fabric shop, for more fleece, and then steal some moments at my sewing machine to whip up two more little blankies.

It warms my heart to do this, to give away something I worked on, made with my own two hands. I’ve lost count of the number of quilts, afghans and fleece blankets I have given away. Some I remember distinctly and can visualize the making of still. These particular ones remain with me because of who their recipient was, is. Enmeshed within fabric, yarn and thread is my love, enclosed in each stitch.