House sitting in Stoneville is a regular pleasure for me – while Warren and Lisa travel to different parts of the world, sharing their lives with family and friends. One Christmas, they were on their way to Canada while I was holding the fort from my own house, just down the road in Stoneville.
I don’t actually remember who was in residence for them at the time and I see some irony in the fact that the recent photo album put up on Stories My Nana Tells on Facebook called “The Plumber Comes” was for the same house as the one mentioned in my poem, in which I now live with my Dad.
The Fragrance of Christmas
Crabtree & Evelyn Christmas Oil
Blended spices and tangerine,
evergreens, amber and incense.
Environmental Oil, with Dropper
says the box, imbued with the exotic
heady bouquet of foreign lands
Tucked away in my bedside table
A joyous fragrance of northern winters
Each time I open the drawer.
Now, the eyedropper is melted and
the glass holds nothing but little
molten drops of pure essence.
For twelve years this gift allays
my fears while your dreams take you
and your wife to Canada.
Help! The tenants phone for a plumber.
But the landlord and his wife
are on their way to see you, my son.
From the bedside drawer, I take the CD
with their travel notes and numbers.
No friendly plumber listed!
I search the Yellow Pages and scan
your brother’s sparse notes while I telephone,
juggle emails and open web pages.
Frustrated by unanswered phones
and wrong numbers, I fan the CD cover.
A warm and gentle aroma teases me.
I search my memory, and suddenly
I remember with a smile.
It is the fragrance of Christmas, my sons.