Sunday, December 26, 2010

put your feet up...

I’ll tell you a wee little Christmas story. A fantasy? Or, maybe reality, but slightly touched up for the telling? Or a statement of true facts? You decide.

It’s Christmas morning. I’m the first out of bed – or out of couch this year. I bake the cinnamon rolls...


...and yes, the bacon. No eggs, just bacon. Twice a year I'm happy to fill the kitchen with the smell of cooked bacon and this is one of them. Bacon and cinnamon.

Everyone is up now, we exchange presents, with some apologies on my part. Fragments of gifts are somewhere in a suitcase that presumably is squashed between countless other displaced suitcases at the Paris airport.

And now comes the unhurried time. The second cup of coffee, another cinnamon roll broken off..

It’s nearly lunch time and I excuse myself for a while to retrieve something from the condo. At home, I half-heartedly dial the Air France baggage claim number. It’s been refusing calls all week long (“due to an unusually large volume of calls, we are unable....”), but here we are, noon, Christmas, and I break through the stalemate. Well, sort of. I get a different recording (“please wait and an agent will be with you...”) I wait. And wait. And then I cannot wait any longer. Lunch at my daughter’s place. I need to go. I sigh and am about to put the phone down, except I'm hearing a buzz sound on the phone, which tells me that someone is buzzing the intercom downstairs.

I have the delivery of a suitcase for you...

And so there you have it: no warning, no call, in the minute that I happen to be there, I am reunited with the bag that has all that I need to sustain me on a winter’s day. And gifts for others.

So, believable? No, except that it happens to be true.

In the evening, I do the dinner that nearly always sets the smoke alarm shrieking (a high-heat baking of cornish hens). It’s a fairly easy meal – almost southwestern in its spiciness and flavors. My girls tell me that many of our Christmas eating habits are very retro-seventies. Fondue on Christmas Eve, cornish hens on Christmas Day. Well of course! They were created during the earliest years of married life for me. Neither my ex nor I had parents who were kitchen fiends and so we had to start from scratch. I grew addicted to cooking magazines  – the hens come from a Gourmet of the early 80s. The yule log, too, is from there, though I’ve changed recipes here many times, whittling away layers of buttercream and replacing them with something lighter, easier to love after a day of eating.

DSC04952 - Version 2

We finish the day in the same way we always finish Christmas – with me lasting only a few minutes into the carefully selected movie for the late evening. Some holiday habits cannot change.

The Rutter music from the Cambridge choir falls quiet. Shut down for the year. The next day the tree comes down.  It was quick this year -- all of it. But wonderful. Except taking down the tree. (Rushed this year because everyone's dispersing soon.)