Christmas Eve — what’s my hurry?
I first posted this on my old blog, Morning’s At Noon, on December 24, 2004. I re-post it somewhere every Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve. What’s my hurry? I keep looking at my watch.
I’m sipping Prince of Wales tea from a real china cup, poured scalding hot from a real china teapot. Prince of Wales is my favorite tea, a “full-bodied blend with a hint of black currant,” but I keep looking at my watch.
The Sweet Tea at the Irwin Street Inn, a landmark in downtown Hanford, California, comes with little sandwiches, scones, thick cream, lemon curd, strawberry jam. It’s cold outside, even with sunshine breaking up the fog. Inside, there’s a fire in the fireplace, and through the bayed window I can see the wandering limbs of a century-old camphor tree.
I look at my watch. It’s 11:45. I have to mail a letter, pick up a prescription, be at the beauty parlor by 12:30. I ask the old Zen question: Where am I?
Where am I? Sitting on a ladder-back chair, in the quiet elegance of a Victorian parlor, sipping Prince of Wales tea, admiring a camphor tree planted sometime between 1901 and 1909. In summer, shade from the old tree makes the yard a popular place for wedding receptions. On this winter day, leaves on the top branches are still green, and the lower limbs are wrapped with strings of tiny lights.
I break open a cranberry scone and spoon cream over it.
It’s Christmas Eve. What’s my hurry?
Photo: THE OLD CAMPHOR TREE, planted during the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), dominates the yard at the Irwin Street Inn, an historic landmark in downtown Hanford, California. Copyright 2004 Pat Browning.