Many of you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for and a fascination with Julia Child. Some of you may remember the post I wrote in honor of her 100th birthday. Oh, you missed that one? Fear not, katz and keetenz, you can read it HERE.
I came to be captivated by Julia in much the same way as the millions who saw her portrayed by the incomparable Meryl Streep in the recent movie Julie & Julia. But that was more than just a movie to me, thanks to Mr. The Cheeky Diva, and since it involves my birthday, (which happens to be today) and the story is very romantic (It’s also Romantic Monday), I thought today would be the perfect time to tell you this charming little tale I’ve been saving.
A couple of years ago, after the Holidays, my darling husband, who was then my fiance, indulged my girly side by sitting down to watch Julie & Julia with me. The fact that Julie’s husband’s name is Eric was pretty cool. (Since that’s Mr. Cheeky’s name)
We enjoyed the movie very much, and I was enamored with Julia Child and her story. While we were watching it, as my birthday was on the horizon, Eric asked me what I would like for a present. Of course I wanted that book! Mastering The Art Of French Cooking! What a wonderful gift that would be!
The week before my birthday, Eric had to go out of town on business, and of course I was lonely, sad and bored. We would miss yet another Valentine’s Day together. (This year is actually the first time we’ve been able to spend it together) I was ready though, I went to the library, and got a copy of all of Julia’s cookbooks to read and enjoy in his absence. I also discovered at this time that The French Chef episodes are available to watch on Amazon.
Funny thing about Amazon, you can also buy stuff there, and a package arrived for Eric while he was gone. It was somewhat book shaped, but I was good. I didn’t touch it.
He arrived home on my birthday, and I had already made myself a birthday cake, using Julia’s famous Reine De Saba (Queen of Sheba) cake recipe. A delightful Bruschetta (from the movie) was also on the menu. What a nice birthday this was going to be!
After dinner, I opened my gift. Of course, I wasn’t exactly surprised, I had asked for it, right? But what did completely surprise me was the wonderful and romantic note Eric had written inside. I’m going to tell you right now, don’t ever miss an opportunity to make something special happen on one of those blank pages inside a book. That note still makes me melt every time I look at it, and will continue to for the rest of my life.
As a result of an embarrassing and careless mishap, I wasn’t the only one swooning over that note. I returned my books to the library, forgot about Julia for a while, and life went on. About a month after my birthday, I was all set to try one of the awesome recipes in my new cookbook, but it was nowhere to be found!
We live a fairly Spartan existence, and our house isn’t cluttered with shelves of knick knacks and stacks of books. I only have a handful of cookbooks at all, so it was evident that I had somehow scooped up my treasured book with the library books and slipped it in to the bookdrop. Oh the horror!
But, if I had done that, why didn’t they call me? It was returned with a whole stack of Julia Child books. They could have easily deduced who it belonged to, but they didn’t. So was it there? Had an evil librarian taken my wayward book home for her own ill-gotten kitchen enjoyment? I was embarrassed for losing my book and horrified that I’d been so careless.
After groveling with shrieked and tearful apologies to my darling note writer fiance, I called the library to see if my book was there. Much to my red-faced relief, it was. They had been keeping it safe until it’s reckless owner came looking for it. I still don’t understand why they didn’t just look up who’d had all the Julia Child books in recent weeks, but whatever, that’s not important. I live in a city of about 35,000 people, it’s not like there are hundreds of people streaming in and out of that library every day, okay, enough. I’m moving on.
I just live a couple blocks from said library, so I dashed over there as fast as I could to retrieve my lost treasure. I sheepishly told the librarian at the desk that I was the idiot who’d dumped my own book in the book drop, and could I please have it back.
With a raised eyebrow, she asked me what my name was.
“Julie” I said.
“There was an inscription in the book. Can you tell me the name of who wrote it?”
“Eric” ~*sigh*~ Really? How many cookbooks with love notes are you hording here! Come on lady, just gimme my book already!
“And the date the note was written?”
“February 18th, 2011” Are you kidding me?
“Good enough” she said and went to the secret librarian closet of doom or whatever, and came back with my book clutched tightly to her chest.
A wave of relief again washed over me as I saw her with it. She was holding it pretty snugly and for a minute I didn’t think she was going to give it to me.
“You know, that ‘s a pretty sweet note in there. All the girls were swooning. We couldn’t wait to find out who this book belonged to. We hoped you’d be back for it soon. In fact, one of the girls had to open it up and read it every time she passed through the office, and it always gave her a warm fuzzy feeling.”
“Yes, it’s a very sweet note. He’s a very sweet man.” I said, all the while thinking “Jeez! you read my note, with my NAME on it. How many people named Julie checked out these books lately? I would have come back sooner if you would have called me!!!”
“You’re a very lucky girl.”
“Yes, I am.”