We all sat tonight in the flat, me – husband and daughter. The tree is up the gifts are wrapped and Ashley has been boiling apples, pears and some cinnamon cocktail for a compote that she is serving tomorrow. The house really does smell like Christmas.
She is making some elaborate dish involving her famous panna cotta as a dessert and there is beef or lamb in the main course. I am lucky to have such a gifted child.
I washed all the dishes and cleared out the kitchen in preparation.
It reminded me of my first ever Christmas with my husband as a couple. We weren’t married, we were just engaged and it was exciting to be together.
We lived with my old grandfather and his wee kitchen hadn’t seen a Christmas dinner cooked there for many years. I made roast chicken and vegetables.
I had cleared the big table in grand dad’s living room and husband (who was then my 17 year old boyfriend) came through to the small kitchen to get the cutlery. He pulled open the drawer and there was nothing there…not even a teaspoon.
I was baffled, I had just acquired a whole set of good cutlery from boyfriends dad’s local pub that he owned. I had great sharp knives, loads of spoons and a beautiful unusual white handled cutlery service. I started searching the tiny flat for the cutlery and finally asked my granddad if he knew where it may be.
“You’re Auntie Rita may have borrowed some of it” he muttered.
His daughter Rita was my mum’s sister and she lived with her father in law, husband and brother in law not far from our street. I put the oven down low and went running out of the door and headed down to Rita’s flat.
My head was full of questions, what the hell was she thinking of taking my cutlery?
Did she really have my cutlery? Why would granddad say such a thing?
So finally I arrived at Rita’s door and after a good banging she opened it. Her face was surprised but in her right hand she was clutching my entire canteen of cutlery!
“Rita, that’s my cutlery, why do you have every single spoon, fork and knife that I own?” I gasped.
Rita looked at it then said “No they are mine, I got the cutlery as a wedding present” She pointed the clutch of cutlery at me and shouted “This is mine!”
“Rita, they are white handled, I got them from the bar my boyfriend’s dad owns, they are mine and you know it, we are sitting up there without a fucking spoon to stir our tea, and your dad can’t eat his Christmas dinner with his fingers can he?” I shouted back.
She just held out the cutlery to me, shoved them into my hand and slammed the door!
I laughed my ass off and ran back to the flat to explain the mystery of the missing forks.
My boyfriend was bamboozled as to what kind of family he was marrying into, who are these people that steal each others cutlery on Christmas Day?
We sat in our bedroom with dinner on our knees, granddad was drunk as usual and I didn’t want to eat with him.
We were so happy, just him and me eating a hot chicken dinner on Christmas day.
Sometimes when you have so little in life you appreciate it more. I seem to have everything I need today, but something is lost along the way.
I miss the hungry years._