Seasons Greetings — Features from Atonement, TN

Blessings of the Yuletide to you and yours!1925 Dec American Magazine

Welcome back to Atonement, TN everyone.  I hope the holiday season is bringing joy your way.

The truth is that I don’t make a big deal of this particular season.  However, I do enjoy giving little presents.  So I spent hours trying to think of something I could give you.  I was woefully unprepared.

What if I were to …

Oh! I’ll write a special short story. No — not enough time.

Well then, I could record a “sound bite” to read you something from “Atonement, Tennessee.”  But I didn’t allow enough time to learn all I needed to know for that either.  (It was an ill-fated, belated brainstorm.)

Is it re-gifting…?

Thursday I made an Atonement TN holiday video, meaning to use it as a greeting card. I don’t know what possessed me to put it on Facebook.  Is it re-gifting if  I share it here?

What if I did a really fast Three Things?

Okay then.  I just now took three things from the video card…  It came to me to let my Ralda Lawton character tell this tidbit from her first Christmas in Atonement, TN.  Here goes!

Three Atonement TN Holiday Things:

Christmas Tree, Hearth Fire, Pinecone.

I’ve had cats who made a flying leap for the top of the Christmas tree the moment they saw the tree.  The fact that it was artificial didn’t slow them down a bit.  Because of that, for many years I didn’t decorate at all — not so much as a string of lights.

Lilith had always been good about decorations.  She didn’t climb or eat them.  Yet this was our first Christmas in our new/old home.  In fact, it had only been a matter of weeks since we moved.  So I couldn’t be certain of how she’d behave after so much upheaval in her life.  However, everything was going pretty smoothly.  An ornament got loose.  Fortunately it wasn’t glass, because she chased it across the hardwood floor.

1925 La Vie Parisienne ChristmasThe ornament rolled to a stop at the fireplace screen.  There was no hearth fire.  I wanted to have the chimney inspected before I used it.  Sunhold was a very old estate, after all.  Sadly, I was having trouble finding a general contractor or chimneysweep who was available.

Gwydion — Guy Fabdon of Fae’s Flowers to the townspeople, was also the local handyman.  Most people would tell me to call on him. Unfortunately I had important reasons for avoiding Gwydion.  So even though it would have been cozy to light the fire, the hearth remained cold.

A knock at the front door startled my cat and me as well.  I peeped out the stained glass panel that surrounded the door.  I couldn’t see clearly, but it looked like Pete Mannix.  He had been hired as a private detective by my friend Lacey Hampton’s attorney when her husband went missing, but that’s another story.  And yes, if you were about to say something about his name — that’s another part of that other story.

I hesitated minutely before opening the door.  Someone I trusted with my life, did not trust Pete Mannix.  So I couldn’t help having doubts about the detective.  However, I was editing a massive report for Pete and the attorney.  I just wasn’t expecting Pete to be the one to bring the additional information I requested for the project.

When I opened the door my eyes widened at the sight of a box of paper files he carried.  He noted my surprise.1920s Vogue Christmas

“Didn’t anyone tell you how far this stuff dates back?” he asked with a chuckle.

Then he hit me with that thousand watt smile.  Did I mention that Pete Mannix was the epitome of the term silver fox?  “Leroy Jethro Gibbs” would have nothing on Pete Mannix in a contest for that title.

I gave a mental shove to my distrust and opened the door.

Then my fickle feline floozy noticed him.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that Lilith has an uncanny fondness for attractive men.  Mannix passed the calico’s test.  She twined around his ankles.  When I shooed her away, she came back, batting a pinecone decoration and chasing it as if it was a toy.  The detective was quite taken with her.  Lilith was entirely too susceptible to his thousand watt smile.

***

Now how can I possibly segue any of this into a recipe?  I doubt you’d want to eat pinecones. Oh, but wait!  Pine nuts!  But holy Hannah, pine nuts are expensive… and I know everyone has spent all their money on presents.  So I found this delightful dip at Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen.  Chitra describes it as “a traditional winter pesto made from parsley and mixed nuts instead of basil and pine nuts.” Please click the link below for the recipe.

Parsley-walnut-almonds-pecan nuts pesto/dip

Thanks for visiting Atonement, TN!  Wishing you every blessing and every joy throughout this season — from Ralda, Lilith, and all the characters from all my stories — and of course, from me.

Mega holiday hugs,

Teagan

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Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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