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.











About browning26

mystery author, former English teacher, former newspaper reporter, former legal secretary

Posted on December 24, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. It’s good to be reminded of things like this once in a while. We all need it. I make a point never to schedule any chores on holidays. Those are fr family and relaxing.

  2. Awww . . . that’s beautiful, evocative, and just plain wonderful. And the merriest of Christmases to you, too — and to all whom you hold dear.


  3. Soothing post, Pat. I like the photo, but I like older homes and buildings. Merry Christmas.

  4. Dana, Tim — wishing you both a couple of best-sellers in 2012 (at least two, why stop at one, right?)


  5. Oh Pat, I want to have tea with you at this very lovely spot. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful memory with the rest of us.

  6. Nice. It is good to just sit back and enjoy. So glad you were able to do that one Christmas Eve,

  7. Vivian, Jackie, Maryann —

    Thanks for stopping by. I keep trying to recapture the peace and quiet of that Christmas Eve! That inn is still in business — at least I have friends in Hanford who go there for special occasion lunches. From what I hear, that particular location has not changed much, with businesses locating in some of the wonderful old houses.

    Happy New Year to all of you!


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