Note: You sent me so many positive responses to the Hansje story of two weeks ago, I am posting another excerpt from my children’s story style autobiography. It is set in Nazi occupied Holland at Christmas, 1944, when I, Hansje, was six years old. (With this post I’m taking a blogging break until the New Year. See you then!)
One day, Hansje’s Papa told him that he had a surprise. “I bought some special cheese called Slide cheese. We will have it for our Christmas feast.”
Hansje thought he maybe, sort of, remembered tasting cheese once before, and liking it very much. He didn’t know what a Christmas feast was, but it sounded really good, so he could hardly wait for Christmas.
On Christmas Eve Papa closed the blackout curtains and Mama lit the candles on the tiny Christmas tree. They sat close to the coal heater and sang some Christmas carols. Then Mama laid three slices of bun on top of the coal heater to warm up while Papa read the Christmas story from the Children’s Bible. When the buns were warm, she put them on a plate on the side table. Then Papa pulled a small, flat package from his jacket pocket and laid it on the plate, too.
Hansje could hardly wait, but first they folded their hands, closed their eyes, and Papa thanked God for the food and asked Him to bless the special Christmas feast.
Then he took the flat package, opened it carefully, and there on his hand lay a piece of Slide cheese just the right size to cover a slice of bun. He laid it carefully on a bun and said, “Now watch closely so you’ll know how to eat this special Slide cheese.”
He held the bread and cheese to his nose and sniffed it. Hansje’s mouth watered just watching him. Then he held the bread and cheese in front of his mouth, and slowly and carefully put it into his mouth. But, just as it was going in, his front teeth caught the edge of the cheese and slid it back. Then he took a bite, not of the cheese, just the bun. He chewed it with his eyes closed, obviously enjoying it a lot.
Next it was Mama’s turn. She did the same thing, sliding the cheese back and eating only a bit of bun. At last it was Hansje’s turn. Both Mama and Papa hovered near to make sure he did everything right. He sniffed the cheese, slid it back with his teeth, bit off a piece of bun, and chewed it with his eyes closed.
Then it was Papa’s turn again. By the time they finished those three slices of bun, the candles had almost burned out, and at the end they still had the piece of Slide cheese.
“Tomorrow is Christmas Day and we will do this again,” he said, “but with the last piece of bun we will cut the Slide cheese into three pieces and actually eat it!”
And that is what they did.
It was the best Christmas feast Hansje could remember!