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Home for Christmas - Pt.8 - Christmas Morning.
Christmas morning treat
Christmas morning - Early Breakfast
‘Merry Christmas, rise and shine,’ Leonie and the boys were ringing the crystal bells and calling through the house at 6.30 am. ‘Merry Christmas, up, up,up, everyone.’
‘All right already,’ called out Fleur from her bed while her father came yawning out of his room and her Grandma laughed aloud. Yves and Christian couldn’t be wakened before 9 am when they were home, and here they were, waking up the dead with their noise at cockcrow!
‘Breakfast!’ called out Madeleine.
‘Gracious, is it the end of the world?’ Fleur called down.
‘No, just Christmas and it’s a treat from us for all your kindnesses through the year!‘ Madeleine teased.
‘Hurry on, we want to see what Father Christmas brought.’
‘Oh drat, that’s the reason for your “treat”, your varmints.’ But there was the tantalising smell of bacon and pancakes wafting upstairs, and one by one Grandma, Don and Fleur emerged with dressing gowns over their night clothes. The table had been set and food was warming in the oven. ‘Wow, you kids got up so early?’
‘We planned last night to surprise you. And Leonie set the alarm for us. I did most of the cooking,’ Madeleine said proudly. ‘Now sit down and let’s serve you.’ And they did, and it was the best Christmas breakfast they had ever had, said Don and Grandma.
‘Well, these kids aren’t bad at all,’ said Fleur, and Madeleine and Leonie hugged her.
Christmas Music Boxes
What Santa brought.
‘It’s 8 o’clock, and if we’re making the 9am Mass, we’d better get dressed’, announced Don when half the den was littered with wrapping paper and everyone was gushing over the gifts they had received from one another. Leonie’s ‘special something’ from Madeleine was a painting she had done of both of them with their Cabbage Patch dolls when they were both seven and spending a summer at their Grandma’s house in Brittany. Her cousin had become a really impressive artist, she realised. She was glad she had got her a set of the most expensive brushes she could afford from babysitting for a couple of neighbours.
‘We’ll leave Mom’s presents till she comes home.’
The wrappers were soon in the recycle bin and one and all went to dress for Church. Don remembered to bring the turkey out of the fridge.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
It was a cold morning. They walked the 15 minutes to the little village church, waving to friends driving past. They met the Johnsons at the Church door and Don thanked them again for the perfect Christmas tree and invited them to come by later if they could for a Christmas drink. ‘We’d like that, lad, if we can make it, otherwise we’ll come another day, thank you.’
The Mass was well attended; those who had not gone to midnight service were all there. It being a small flock, there were not the three or four Masses that the city people had. The choir sang the Latin Gloria and Credo though the service was in English. Many joined in who could remember the old Latin Masses, changed to the vernacular so many years ago.
The little Church resounded to the many carols that all the congregation sang, ending the Mass with ‘Angels we have heard on high’.
Father O’Keefe was outside the front door wishing every parishioner a Merry Christmas and was given the news about the baby’s birth. He was also invited to drop in later if he had the time. ‘We got plenty of trifle, Father,’ Leonie told him . ‘Ah, lass, how could I refuse trifle?’ he grinned.
A Special Dinner Service
Back home again, they all spoke to Renee to wish her a Merry Christmas and to tell her they’d be along after lunch. They did not know she was dressing the baby.
To the accompaniment of the tantalising smells of meat and vegetables cooking, the table was laid for Christmas dinner. Renee’s special dinner set was lovingly placed on mats on the polished oak table, the silver utensils took their place, and the lovely glasses carefully arranged. Don was making the gravy preparatory to taking the turkey out. It was 2pm, almost time for dinner, the rolls were warming, the potatoes were browning nicely, and the vegetables were just started.
‘Oh, dear,’ said Fleur. ‘I forgot the bubbly grape juice for the kids. Let me make a quick trip to A&P.‘
Her father looked up. ‘ Don’t be long, honey, dinner’s ready in half an hour.’