John made a soup the other day using some of the leftover bits from our Christmas dinner. He hates to waste anything and decided to dump a good many things into the big soup pot. He made soup instead of a curry because I don’t really care for curries in the same way he does. He thought he was being nice and thinking about me and in a very sincere way, he was but … isn’t funny how there’s a but here … so when he announced that he’d made a nice soup with the turkey leftovers I assumed for a half second that he had used the bones and the bits of turkey left on them. What I quickly discovered was that all the turkey in the house was now in little pieces floating in a mixture that I was not going to eat. At least not in a turkey sandwich which I was looking forward to having for lunch that day.
To say that I handled it well would be a stretch. As I went sulking off to my unfinished studio space grumbling to myself about how important that sandwich was to me and how could he use all of the turkey up and never ask me and how I was really looking forward it and why did he think I bought the white bread which I never eat except with turkey sandwiches and why couldn’t he have asked me and on and on and on …
Poor John was left there thinking … it’s only a turkey sandwich!
Right! Only a turkey sandwich is what I tried to tell myself too. We normally get along so well and I imagine no woman ever felt more loved and respected than I do so why was this turning into Turkey-Gate 2009? As I went off to think, I thought about what was it that made the loss of a simple thing like the sandwich so important. Frankly, I’m not even that fond of turkey and tend to think of it more as an accessory item for Christmas dinner than a necessary piece.
It turns out it wasn’t about the turkey sandwich, but rather the ritual of eating it with my family back home. Traditionally, it is almost like putting a period at the end of the sentence and closes out the family Christmas festivities each year. Missing my daughter and the rest of my family and friends back in America made it more painful in a way not to finish things up as we do there. After I had thought for a little while, I came out to talk with John who bless his heart listened quietly, hugged me while I had a little tear, and acknowledged my feelings without being the slightest bit dismissive.
I thought it was all behind us after that until yesterday when we went into town to pick up a few things at the grocery store. As is our way, we split up in the store with each going off in different directions to pick up the items on our lists with a plan to meet at the checkout line. Imagine my surprise to see him standing in a place he never goes, at the deli counter buying something he never buys, sliced deli meat. I knew immediately what he was doing … he was buying a few slices of turkey so I could put some closure on my Christmas in the way I would in America. I was so touched that I almost had a little cry right in front of everybody.
So you can see now why sometimes it’s not just a turkey sandwich, but instead a little gift of the heart.
As well as the best turkey sandwich I ever had.
Elizabeth! Happy New Year and a dear thank you for sharing your new traditional English/American Christmas! I cannot tell you how foreign yet intimate those shots of the pub Christmas were along with the locals in a beautiful artists rendering of the nativity. Makes me wish for a pub. Happy New Year too to John and Mary. I would never guess she is 87 years old. Tell her she looks great. ANd the Turkey sandwich, oh my how romantic is that Turkey sandwich. God Bless you and yours.
i LOVE this story! it’s the little things really!!
This post struck a chord with me. It’s not the sandwich but what the sandwich represents to you. I’ve done the same sort of thing so often in my life, unaware that it was not the sandwich but the feeling and memories behind it. Thank you for the reminder.
Aaaah, you’re a lucky woman Elizabeth Harper. Happy New year. Lots of love to you both, xX
How sweet is your John? I love that story…I hope you were able to put closure on your Christmas…
I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up on all your recent posts — Cornish Christmas, New Year’s in Paris with your daughter, and the lovely sentiment about coming home.
This post touched me most of all, and made me smile, too — I also only buy white bread for turkey sandwiches — and TOTALLY relate to the ‘little’ thing that can set our emotions reeling. Reading about John at the deli counter and your appreciation of his being there brought tears to my eyes.
Good on you both, Elizabeth and John.
Cheers and a happy and healthy 2010 to my favourite Cornwall couple 🙂