Coin du feu: a childhood memory from Arizona

Snow in the French Alps

le coin du feu (kwan dew fuuh) noun, masculine Download soundfile

    : fireside

"But there is another realm where we can always find something true, the fireside of a friend, where we shed our little conceits and find warmth and understanding." Mais il existe un havre où l'on peut toujours savourer une relation authentique: le coin du feu chez un ami auprès duquel on peut se défaire de ses petites vanités et trouver chaleur et compréhension. --Kressmann Taylor

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristin Espinasse
"Childhood Memories"

The words "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" meant little to the pint-size Phoenician who once sang them. More than thirty years later, and Jack Frost still is nowhere to be seen outside my window. (Though it is snowing in parts of Provence...)

One thing roasting "fireside" in my childhood home was a cheese crisp: grated cheddar over a flour tortilla (this, beneath the oven's grill). As for snug fireside seating, my mom got creative: she pulled a few chairs across the cramped linoleum floor, up to the oven's open door (on which we set our feet).

And there, early morning in the Arizona desert, feet resting on the warm oven door--a box of black licorice between us (or Orangettes, depending)--Mom read novels. And I, warm and toasty beside her, watched stories light up her beautiful face as she sowed the seeds of literature in my heart.

Postnote: After writing this post, in 2007, I received the following email from Mom:

My Dearest Kristi,
I loved today's story- vignette*, You are bringing back old beautiful memories - memories I had completely forgotten.  The most interesting aspect of your story for me was your interpretation of that moment in time.  If I recall correctly you seem to be zeroing in on your emotional and sensual memories at about the age of nine or ten. While I was reading your story, not only could I taste the orange sticks and feel the warm comforting heat on my toes, but I remembered that you were always my little Angel, always as close as my skin.  Our hearts beat together then-- as they do now. 
I always laugh when I think of you at that age.  You were as funny then as you are now.  You were always entertaining me with your stories and imagination...your stories never stopped...

As I have told you many many times - you had so many interesting things to say - I finally hooked you up to a recorder so you could talk into that and give me some quiet time.  I wonder what ever happened to those tapes, or did I just tell you to pretend to talk into the microphone?  Whatever, thank you for today's story, it has triggered many other memories that we must share at another time under the olive tree.


Heidi and kristi childhood
My sister Heidi and me. After our parents divorced, Dad came to visit us in Phoenix. This is his Corvette.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)