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30 Days of Christmas Day 27: Simon's Reply to the Queen



Your Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth (and, by your grace, 'Highness' between us two),


I was honored to receive your missive at this Christmastide, and humbled by your care for a mere subject of your great and prosperous realm. That you take interest in my life here on the outskirts of London is a source of pride to me, and I recall each single time we have met over these many year with great joy.

You speak of growing old, but if I may respectfully disagree, Gloriana cannot age. You are our nation's shining light, and when light fades, the world grows dark.
You spoke of holiday preparations at Greenwich, and though I have not been there, I think I can picture the stonework hung with greenery and the many candles lit for evening festivities.
Things are simpler here, but since you asked, I will tell you of our preparations.

My son Henry cut some holly to put over the doors, and my wife tied it with red ribbon. Its bright green leaves and red berries add a festive air to our simple home. For our Christmas dinner, Hannah is planning brawn with mustard from some pork I received in barter from a local farmer. She will roast it all day in the fireplace, and my old nose can almost smell it cooking now.
It is our custom to invite as many guests as we can manage on Christmas. There will be family, of course, my sister and your old soldier Calkin among them, but we ask the poor into our home as well, to follow as best we can the example of our Lord in feeding His sheep.

Susan is married now, but she and her family will help with the meal. Along with the roast I know we shall see souse, cheese, apples and nuts, and of course plum pudding.

After dinner we will have music. If it is too cold outside, Henry will push the tables in my shop into the corners so there can be dancing as well. Though I am too old and brittle to dance, I love to see the young ones whirling and twirling and hear the pipe and tabor.

It is my sincerest wish that your Christmastide will bring joy to you, for I know it is a burden on you to care for your subjects as much as you do. Know that we love you, and that your old subject (dare I say friend) Simon Maldon prays for your good health and great contentment, always.

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