Waking early Christmas morning, Madame Quenelle set the table and put a cracker by the plate. A trip to the bakery for a baguette and then delicious odours of roasting meat and spicy sauces poured forth from the kitchen.
Opening the Burgundy her husband enjoyed so, to breathe, she continued tasting and adding “a little pinch of nothing” to get the meal just right, then laid it out beautifully on the table.
Raising her glass she said her toast her loved ones.
Her gruff, faithful husband who died 12 years ago in her arms. Her handsome son taken too soon by war and her wonderful mother who taught her all she knew.
Despite the tears she was not sad. She had loved and been loved by them all. Her Christmas gift was to remember them at their best and most beautiful. She picked up the 12 year old cracker and put it down again.
“Merry Christmas my darlings!” she said, and, with the smile that all who knew her loved her for, ate her Christmas dinner.
For some, Christmas is more a time of memory. We may have loved ones who are not there for so many reasons and the poignancy of their absence can be hard to bear. I hope you all have treasured memories of those you love best to treasure this Christmas.
This is a little story in honor of my Grandmother who brought such joy and kindness to our lives.
Many thanks too to Priceless Joy for the prompt photo below for her Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers which has given me such pleasure this year. The photo below is courtesy of Etol Bagam. The main photo is one I took early one spring morning on the Rue Mouffetard, Paris.
Best wishes to everyone this season! TJ