I have a new friend. We met over a chestnut.
Yes, that's strange. A chestnut?
Well, the story is somewhat short. It turns out we had a mutual friend on Facebook who had never, ever in her entire LIFE eaten a chestnut.
Not chestnut stuffing nor chestnuts with Brussels sprouts with lemon and butter, nor the best - roasted chestnuts (over an open fire, just like the song.)
So, in her Facebook posting came many comments about chestnuts but one in particular stood out. It read in part:
"A roasted chestnut is best eaten from a street vendor on a cold night. It creates a memory that will never fade."
London. Winter. Years ago (many). I and my sweetheart were strolling along Cromwell Road on our way to some pub or event when we passed a vendor hovering over a charcoal fire roasting chestnuts.
If you have ever walked by a coffee shop roasting coffee, this is second to that. It's a delightful smell on a cold winter's night, full of sweetness and promise, not unlike squiring my sweetheart through the streets. Both delightful.
"Oh, chestnuts!" she said.
"I've never had them," I said.
"Oh, please, you'll like them!"
She had me at "Oh" so I bought a bag for 50p and we continued down the cold street cracking chestnuts and feeding them to each other like some kind of lovebird, so many years ago ... did birds eat like that?
Chestnuts. I loved them. I loved her. I loved the times.
The question remains. Are chestnuts good? Yes, they are. But more than the sweet, smokey, nutty taste of chestnuts is the taste of love past, present and future. Chestnuts are Dickens and Tiny Tim and cold nights, warm covers, hot fires and passions fulfilled.
Chestnuts are comfort and a link to past times when chestnuts were the promise of a future, safe from the cold and with the warmth of things to come.