Fleur de lis sure can tell a story. I’m not talking about a made up, fiction kind of story…I mean one of those true life stories. Most of her true life stories are from her childhood. Something will trigger a memory, and she’ll just start talking.
The other day she told me a story about a favorite aunt and uncle. She said that when she was a child she thought they were so rich. Unlike her family who had to save every penny they always had extra pennies for taffy from the Roman candy man or a jello cup from the corner store. And her aunt kept peanut butter cups in the refrigerator! Always. When she would stop at their house she was allowed to open the refrigerator and get one peanut butter cup as a treat. She told me that back then peanut butter cups weren’t packaged like they are today. They were layered in a candy box. After eating all the peanut butter cups on top a thin piece of cardboard was removed to reveal a second layer. Fleur de lis went on to describe the kitchen and what else would be found in the refrigerator on a regular basis. She just got lost in the memory.
I love when she does this. She describes the scene with just the right amount of detail to transport me there. She will finish her story, notice my silence, and apologize for reminiscing. I’m sure that at times she thinks I’m bored, but what she doesn’t realize is that I’m usually still lost in her childhood. Feeling the humidity as I sit on the stoop of the house of her youth. Sitting at the kitchen table watching the condensation bead up on the can of Jax beer her uncle is drinking. Walking down the street with a little 5 year old girl on her way to her first day of school. For a moment I am there.
Another thing I love about her stories is that when she talks about growing up the thick accent that is normal for people from that area of the country returns slightly. Not with every word, but certain words do stand out. Most people probably wouldn’t even notice it, but having lived in that area once upon a time myself I hear the difference. Like yesterday. Yesterday when she told me about those peanut butter cups the way she said those words…peanut butter cups…sounded different than any other time I’ve ever heard her say them. She had no idea and just kept right on talking. I liked it.
Later that evening, long after the story had been told, Fleur de lis found a picture of this aunt and uncle to show me. It was taken on her grandmother’s 80th birthday, and it happened to be taken in the kitchen. She was focused in on the people in the picture, telling me who was who, and I was looking around the room she had described. I saw the refrigerator, the table, and a picture of the Last Supper hanging over the window in the room. Then I glanced down at the table. There was a birthday cake with candles. And I saw something else at the very edge of the picture. Something that most people would probably overlook. An opened box of peanut butter cups. When I pointed them out to Fleur de lis she gasped and laughed and almost cried. She had never noticed them in the picture before. Seeing the peanut butter cups that made such an impression on her all those years ago was like a gift, and it made my heart smile. It was the perfect ending to the story.