Tea with Perry by Celeritas

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Story Notes:

For B2MEM 2011, Day 19: "Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven."

--Tryon Edwards.

Write a story or create a piece of artwork centred on meetings or reunions.

Perry hesitated only a moment before knocking on the door.  He’d been shocked when he learned that, in his time away, his little brother had grown up, courted, and married, and was now hoping to be a father.  He’d have visited him sooner, but Robin had removed to the Southfarthing, more than a day’s journey away, and starting up a business in the Shire, especially in Delving, was hard work.


Robin opened the door, and a wide smile spread across his face.  “Perry?” he said.  “Is that really you?”


Perry smiled, too, and gave Robin a big hug.  “Yes it is—look at you, all grown—and considerably fatter!  And you must introduce me to your wife.”


“She’s in the kitchen, making tea.  Although, now that you’re here, maybe you could do us the courtesy…”


Perry laughed.  “I get that request everywhere.  But ‘twill be a real pleasure doing it for family.”


“And as for fatter—you are hardly one to talk!”


Perry laughed and slapped his considerable girth.  “Well, there’s this saying Outside, among the Big Folk—‘never trust a lean cook.’”


Robin laughed as well.  In the kitchen, Perry met Mrs. Winkle, who was rounding out quite nicely, and insisted on making the cramson bread and biscuits that would accompany tea, while she worked on tea sandwiches for three—or four, as Robin was only too happy to point out.


After the meal, as they all leaned back, full-satisfied, and opened the windows for a bit of the fresh summer air, Robin asked the inevitable question.  “So, Perry, who did teach you how to bake so well?”


Perry looked as his brother gravely.  “Well, I’m sure you’ve heard the answer: a troll taught me.”


“Yes, I know that’s what you tell everyone else, but—”


“Do you think I’d lie?”


“No, I just—think you’re prone to exaggerating.”


“Ah,” said Perry, and he would not say anything more on the subject.  He stayed with his brother overnight, and stayed just long enough to pop a loaf of bread in the oven the next morning before settling back.


“I can see why he’s a baker,” said Robin, as they watched Perry go.


His wife nodded.  They both turned to each other, a confession on their lips.


She laughed.  “I’ve a feeling we’re both about to say the same thing.”


Robin nodded.


“You go first, then.”


“I’m afraid I’ve failed you in some way because I can’t bake half as well as my strange brother.”


“Me, too.”


He put his arm around her waist.  “Well, then, we’ll just have to make sure we invite Perry over here more often, won’t we?”

Chapter End Notes:

Perry-the-Winkle is a poem in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, about a hobbit from Michel Delving who goes to the hills of Faraway to be an old troll's friend and learns the art of cooking from him.  The poem is attributed to Sam Gamgee, who, if there was any historical Perry, would surely have met him or his descendants on Mayoral business in Michel Delving.  For me, I have written about a very famous bakery and tea shop in Delving, that's called The Winkle Shop by the locals, and have always believed that there was a historical Perry Winkle who set the place up.

Whether he did, in fact, learn his superior culinary powers from a troll, however, is up to debate.  Evidently Sam Gamgee was tickled enough by the local legends that he decided to turn it into a song.

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