SO here begins the latest edition of these 12 Days of Christmas and what a thrill to have my delightful friend Meg Fleming to get us started! She is another of my USA-dwelling friends who I don’t get to see enough but when we do, it is a fantastic chattering catch-up time.
And like many of us – Meg has trouble isolating just one favourite (spelt the Aussie way) Christmas memory.
My favorite Christmas memory… You want me to pick my favorite Christmas memory?!
I’d have to choose between setting up a Thumbelina-sized Log Cabin that smokes a chimney of incense… or sneaking a snack (or five!) as I fill the branches on our gumdrop tree. I can’t do that.
I’d have to pick between the smell of cocoa, clam chowder and fresh baked cookies swirling together inside our warm galley kitchen… or the smell of crisp, frozen snow– of icicles and sled hills keeping me awake outside on a cold Chicago night. I can’t do that, either.
I’d have to decide between laying under the Christmas tree and inspecting each package with all of my senses (except for the tearing-it-open sense)… or painstakingly making hand-made presents for my family and desperately hoping that my brother and sisters wouldn’t lay under the tree and inspect my surprises and completely ruin Christmas! I just can’t!
For me, Christmas has always been a spicy blend of extreme temperatures, adventures and emotions. There were frozen toes in the snow and toasty toes by the fire. Stories of kind-hearted people dropping presents down chimneys… and grinchy heat-misers taking advantage of everyone. (Bah humbug!) There was “no fighting on the way to church,” “no fighting on the way to the ice rink,” and “no fighting running down the stairs”— so pretty much, it was Peace On Earth.
While I can’t single out one memory, if I squint my eyes at the lights on the tree, and try to look at how things were, there is one constant thread. My family. My Mom is always there stirring something in the kitchen. And my dad is there giving me a piggy-back ride home because it’s just too darn cold. And my sisters and brother, Page, Steve and Anne, are there too.
Sitting around the table, either fighting or not-fighting, playing games or procrastinating but always together.
And that’s the great thing about Christmas.
Meg Fleming is the author of I Heart You (Beach Lane Books – out just now Dec ’16), and the forthcoming Ready, Set, Build! (little bee books/April ’17), Sometimes Rain (Beach Lane Books/Spring 2018) and Ready, Set, Sail! (little bee books/March 2018). Also a voice teacher, Meg draws on her love of rhythm, rhyme and lyricism to create and imagine stories. She lives outside of San Francisco with her husband and three kids. Visit her at www.MegFleming.net.
More on the Carolinas later but Pam Vaughan (official photographer for the New England conference last weekend) has just sent me oodles and poodles of photos … so if you don’t want to see piccies of me in action – then look away now! There are photos of me with friends, of me panelling, photos […]