About 36 years ago, on a snowy winter evening in the city of Courtenay, BC, the Captain and I walked through the downtown area. It must have been a Friday night because the stores were open late. Nearly Christmas, they had Christmas carols pouring out of the speakers on some of the street corners. It was all very festive and the best part was that someone had a 45-gallon drum set up with a charcoal barbecue, roasting chestnuts. He had a bit of an accent that lent some old-time culture to the scene.
“Get your hot a-rrroasted a-chestnuts. Hot a-rrroasted a-chestnuts,” he called.
I was so cold, and when the Captain presented me with a newspaper cone of these hot a-rrroasted a-chestnuts, they warmed me right from my stomach to my heart. They were the best chestnuts I’d ever eaten.
I decided to plant two Italian chestnut trees – the edible kind. They had little chestnuts – too tiny to eat that first year – and each year they got bigger. But the trees have wide-spreading branches, and between the windstorms and the heavy snowfalls we had once or twice, the branches broke and the trees were beyond saving.
I love this photo I took in the early days. It reminds me of those few chestnuts those trees provided in the fall, and of that fine winter day with the hot a-rrroasted a-chestnuts.