Teaser Tuesdays: Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

– Grab your current read
– Open to a random page
– Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
– BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
– Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I’m cheating this week, because I’m so tired of ads hawking everything from the best cigar deals to new cars that come with free iPads right out of the box. While I’m not particularly religious, I do think the commercialism of Christmas is way overdone. It’s exhausting, and somewhat repulsive.

It was with intention, then, that I pulled from my shelves earlier today, a couple of the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This excerpt, then, is from the chapter entitled “Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus,” from the book Little House on the Prairie, because I’m feeling wistful for a time when something as simple as a cup of your very own meant you had an incredible Christmas. It’s a bit longer than teasers are meant to be, but it’s important to me to share it.

Something was shining bright in the top of Laura’s stocking. She squealed and jumped out of bed. So Did Mary, but Laura beat her to the fireplace. And the shining thing was a glittering new tin cup.

Mary had one exactly like it.

These new tin cups were their very own. Now they each had a cup to drink out of. Laura jumped up and down and shouted and laughed, but Mary stood still and looked with shining eyes at her own tin cup.

Then they plunged their hands into the stockings again. And they pulled out two long, long, sticks of candy. It was peppermint candy, striped red and white. They looked and looked at that beautiful candy, and Laura licked her stick, just one lick. But Mary was not so greedy. She didn’t even take one lick of her stick.

Those stockings weren’t empty yet. Mary and Laura pulled out two small packages. They unwrapped them, and each found a little heart-shaped cake. Over their delicate brown tops was sprinkled white sugar. The sparkling grains lay like tiny drifts of snow.

The cakes were too pretty to eat. Mary and Laura just looked at them. But at last Laura turned hers over, and she nibbled a tiny nibble from underneath, where it wouldn’t show. And the inside of that little cake was white!

It had been made of pure white flour, and sweetened with white sugar.

Laura and Mary never would have looked in their stockings again. The cups and the cakes and the candy were almost too much. They were too happy to speak. But Ma asked if they were sure the stockings were empty.

Then they put their arms down inside them, to make sure.

And in the very toe of each stocking was a shining bright, new penny!

They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny.

There never had been such a Christmas.

Book Review: Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas, by John Baxter

Immoveable Feast: A Paris ChristmasImmoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas
John Baxter
Get it at Amazon

John Baxter has long been one of my favorite essayists, and not just because he writes about life as an ex-pat living in Paris.

In his most recent offering, An Immoveable Feast, (and yes, the title is a reference to a certain Hemingway publication) Baxter is his usual charming self, as he writes of his adventures in planning the Christmas Feasts to end all Christmas Feasts, for his wife’s very picky, very French family.

While the entire book is incredibly amusing, my favorite chapters involve the hunt for a whole pig, still in its own skin, to be roasted for dinner. Apparently, it is not the custom to serve pork in its skin, in France, and only something extremely un-French will be able to really impress the family. Baxter relays the expressions of butchers and other vendors so well that you can hear the accents and see their gesticulations.

The flaw in this book? It made me so hungry I had to keep putting it down so I wouldn’t drool on the pages.

Goes well with: Bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. And a slice of mince pie.