Snapshots: a Christmas of surprises-intensive

Photo: Céline Philippe
It didn’t look very good.

Year-end gift to the reporters of “Duty”, the series of Snapshots proposes that fictional texts inspired by archival photos of the Holiday season sent by readers to the editors. Today, a text by Guillaume Lepage and a picture of Céline Philippe.

Christmas usually happens the same way for me. Each year, the counters of the kitchen clutter, the dining table extends to accommodate our tablecloth red and green, and the bed of the room of my parents disappeared under the coats of the guests the evening of new year’s eve.


Not to mention the Christmas music that comes back to haunt — the largest dam of mom — the speakers of the malls and the radio in our minivan.


But the tradition that I love above all ? The advent calendars that my parents buy, to my sister, Rosalie, and me. A chocolate for every day of December, until the father Christmas vienna and drop the gifts under the tree ! Rosalie is unable to hold more than a few hours. She swallows it all, after which my mother buys him a new calendar while the warning that ” this is the last ! “


Me, I prefer to stretch the pleasure. I savored my chocolate in the evening, after the meal, and after my “first” dessert. I am well-kept and divulging this discovery, especially with Rosalie who would not have hesitated to shout in all parts of the house.


A few days before the evening of the eve, my father had asked the joke to my mother if she had sliced between the pie and the meat pie. Mom had made the big-eye before you switch somewhat the head to the rear and to say that she reserved for us a surprise with a smile. “Really ?” replied my father, leaving behind her journal, obviously intrigued. What she had refused to answer, laughing eyes.


“You’ll see !” she finally dropped.


The last day of school, it was freezing cold. It should not be very far from the temperature that it must be at the North pole at this time of the year, I thought. I also remember me being asked if father Christmas took his vacation in Florida after his distribution of gifts. I would have to phone to grandpa John and grandma Read them to tell them to keep their eyes open when they leave to spend the winter in the South. Of a sudden he would be crossing to the beach in a bathing-suit…


It’s his dad who came and picked us up at school that day. As is my habit, I opened quietly the door on the passenger side for me to install it in the front seat, while dad was busy buckling the seat belt Rosalie. When he sat behind the wheel, I was looking at my boots full of snow dripping on the rubber mat. I stared at without flinching, hoping that it starts the car without saying anything. Rosalie was talking about the snow fort that she had built during recess. No luck, dad turned toward me, letting out a slight sigh.


“Charlotte, how many times have I told you ? You can’t sit there. You’re not big enough “, he puffed, adjusting the rear-view mirror on the windshield.


“But there ! I have seven years and three-quarters, almost eight ! I’m sure I can !, ” I tried, with all my conviction.


“Allez ouste, behind, with your sister ! “


To tell you the truth, I liked to sit at the back of the minivan, to count the yellow cars that one crossed on the way back or to draw on the glass full of ice. Thus, I had peace, my sister being too busy to explore with her index boudiné the corner of her nose that she did not know already — a feat.


Arriving home, I noticed a funny smell. Dad also felt, I believe, because he immediately asked : “Sweetheart, are you there ? “Silence, and then head to mom appeared behind the wall of the kitchen. “Yes, I have finished the work earlier than expected,” she replied, a cheerful tone.


Dad, Rosalie and I removed our boots and our coats, but as soon as mom and he yelled to us not to move, disappearing into the kitchen in a rustle of aluminum.


Then she reappeared, her hands gloved mitts oven filled with flowers, a lock of hair was falling on the face. It was a huge dish with something very big on it. “Worse ?” she said, dropping heavily to the plate on the dining table before turning around to face us.


No one has blown word. “I bought it of a friend at the office who has a small farm near Saint-Jérôme. It’s a pig for the dinner on new year’s eve ! “My father had the air of being on the verge of collapse, but he suddenly began to laugh. “I’ll get the Kodak ! “


Rosalie and I we are close together. It didn’t look very good. And then, I told myself, anyway, even if I don’t eat, I will always have the last chocolate from my calendar.