In a slight twist to the Teaser Tuesday meme, where readers are invited to pick up their current read, turn to a certain page, and share a random paragraph, I like to take a moment on Tuesdays and share a meaningful passage from the book that’s currently propped open on my bedside table.
I’m a practicing musician, so my holiday is a frenetic mix of dashing off to rehearsals and dressing for concerts. The traditions of my season are more about carols than cookies, so I look longingly at the magazine spreads featuring the big family around the burgeoning table. And because our immediate family is so small, I do find myself nostalgic for the type of holiday I’ve only ever read about – the one where families gather to celebrate and share memories.
As often happens, books allow me to experience, if only vicariously, some of the emotional connection to the holidays I don’t always have in real life. This passage from Kate Jacobs Knit the Season, paints the kind of perfect holiday picture I covet.
There’d be presents, and chocolates, and fancy nuts still in their shells, the cousins’ little ones taking turns operating the heavy wooden jaws of the nutcracker until one of them dropped it on a toe and there’d be the requisite crying but no parent would get mad and say ‘I told you so.’ No, there would only be hugs, and little shared smiles among the adults, and no prohibitions on desserts. “It’s Christmas” someone would say every few minutes, justifying another snack or a catnap or just an excuse to give a peck on the cheek and a bit of a squeeze.
The family would rise up from lunch, and leave the dishes on the table as they gathered in th lounge for the Queen’s Address on the telly, and then clean up the kitchen before heading out en masse for a quick walk on the banks of the River Nith. As the darkness grew, even though it was afternoon, they’d make their way back to Gran’s cottage for a snack of smoked salmon and bread and butter, reveling in each other’s company and delighted to have an excuse to see one another and catch up.
They’d comment on who had changed, and who looked the same, and who was working at what job and whether it was suiting them all right. Gran looked forward to being complimented on her handknit cardigan by every member of the family, and she braved herself for the moment they’d all drink a toast to the loved ones who were gone.
It’s unrealistic, I suppose to expect real life in the 21st century to approximate this idyllic picture. But a girl can dream, can’t I? Afterall, it is Christmas…