“Ah,” said the crone slowly to the babe standing before her in diapers with a ribbon across his chest. “I see you are a newcomer to the crowd that we already know. What do you have to say to us, promises perhaps?”
But the babe said naught, just looked back at her with wide-eyed wonder. He had no history to call upon, nor any references of any kind. So in baby talk he murmured, “let’s just wait and see if I can go the distance.”
It was a busy pre-Christmas week at the fort even though we were stuck out in the wilderness surrounded by fields that lay fallow where beyond that the forests, full of a huge variety of trees, was found a gorgeous tree perfect for a Christmas celebration.
This was a new item added to a long list of traditions brought in by the assortment of people who immigrated from European countries, all of us seeking the freedom this country, still young in the mid –nineteenth century, offered in settling their far northwest.
For the last three days we were under siege by an angry tribe of natives although we had made peace with the tribes who lived in the region, enjoying and sharing what we had to offer including our stories from the old country about the Christmas season.
I was hoping and praying they would come to our rescue since we became personal friends with mostly everyone in the tribes as they were invited to come and go freely in our homes.
Our abundant harvest reassured us of holding out for a long time but our ammunition was quite another matter without a general store around the corner to replenish our supply.
All of a sudden the arrows and bullets noticeably lessened, so I gazed over the wall of the fort to see a vast number of blue uniforms atop thundering horses rising out of the horizon full of the sunshine lighting up the land at the river, knowing instantly that we were saved to live and share our Christmas Day with many guests of soldiers and natives at our tables.
My normal Monday morning routine was to make a deposit at the bank from last Saturday’s take, but this time I first slipped into my brother’s recently-opened Bistro kitchen on the way to see how he was adjusting to his new way of life. There is nothing like jumping into an unfamiliar field with lots of challenges to mend a broken heart or at least concentrate on something positive instead of moaning in sorrow. It didn’t surprise me that he went into the food business even though he didn’t know the difference between a hamburger and a pork chop when we were kids.
We came from a long list of family professional cooks who were now all gone, so he depended on me to remember Mom’s ways of cooking and the recipes she carried in her head. Professionally I was in the book business but started out working in a luncheonette while in high school and followed up working in restaurants and taverns for many years after that, loving that line of work. This morning he asked my opinion on placing particular items on his next Menu change as he wanted to keep it fresh, mouth-watering and exciting, so his customers would repeat coming often.