Sometimes we hurt someone and never have the opportunity to say sorry. Has this ever happened to you? I am ashamed to admit that over the course of my life, the number of people I have upset or wounded by my unkind words has been too many to remember but there is always one incident that stands out… especially since it happened so close to Christmas time.
When I was much younger, My Mom asked me to buy a box of frozen raspberries which she was going to use to make a Christmas pudding. It was a few days before Christmas and I headed to one of the groceries situated beside a large shopping mall in the Philippines. You can imagine, a few days before Chrstimas, everyone trying to finish their last minute shopping – it was almost impossible to find a parking space! After almost twenty minutes in the parking lot, I finally spotted a free spot which I drove towards. At the same time, another car pulled up from the other side to try and park in that one slot.
There was no way I was going to let that slot go! I guess the driver in the other car had pretty much the same idea and was also determined to take that slot.
BEEEEEP! I honked my horn. BEEEEP BEEEEP!! He replied.
I was pissed and we both got out of our cars.
I knew immediately when I saw him that he was someone’s chauffeur. His shirt was a faded blue as if it had been washed too many times and there was a little hole that had been stitched up on his sleeve. He was much older than I was, or so he seemed, maybe 50 or so. His hair was grey and his face dark brown and wrinkled.
We argued for a few minutes and the conversation between us went something like this:
Me: What do you think you’re doing? I got here first!
Him: Of course not! I saw the parking slot first – and I am going to park here!
Finally, I was tired and cranky and decided to put this to rest. I told him something that I will forever regret.
“Get out of my way, you’re just a driver. I’m going to park in this slot whether you like it or not”
He looked at me shocked. As if I had slapped him. His face, although a deep brown, turned bright red. I could see he wanted to say something, to defend himself, to maybe hurt me as much as I had hurt him… but he didn’t. He shook his head and got into his car and drove away.
I had won! But I never felt more like a failure. I tried to justify my actions by saying he had tried to steal my parking slot. But whichever way I looked at it – I was wrong. How could I have said something so heartless… I don’t know.
How could I have hurt someone like that over a box of raspberries… I will never know.
Sometimes during the Christmas season I remember him and think of him as my “Ghost of Christmas Past”. The ghost that is there to remind me that words can hurt. There is no way that I can tell him how truly sorry I was and no way to make amends. As much as I try to forget, my actions will haunt me forever.
Who is your Ghost of Christmas Past?
Recipe – adapted from Quay Restaurant
- 250 ml milk
- 50 grams caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 1 1/2 sheets titanium gelatine (7.5 grams) soaked in cold water for 5 minutes
- 250 ml cream
- 70 ml egg whites ( about 2 eggs from 55 gram eggs)
- 125 grams caster sugar
- Heat the milk, 50 grams sugar and vanilla bean until just simmering.
- Squeeze water from the gelatine and whisk into the milk until dissolved. Cool slightly (15 to 20 minutes), strain into a bowl.
- Meanwhile, whisk the cream in a bowl until soft peaks form.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggwhites, gradually adding sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the cream and meringue gently through the cooled milk mixture.
- Place in a bowl and refrigerate until set (around 6 hours)
- 420 grams raspberry puree
- 35 grams caster sugar
- 1 1/2 sheets or 7.5 grams of gelatine leaves (titanium strength)
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.
- Heat the raspberry puree and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the puree comes to a boil.
- Remove the raspberry puree mixture from the heat.
- Remove the excess moisture from the gelatine and heat the gelatine in the microwave until it melts, around 15 to 20 seconds
- Temper the gelatine by adding a little bit of the raspberry puree to the gelatine and stir gently to combine
- Then add the raspberry and gelatine mixture to the rest of the raspberry puree.
Pipe some vanilla mousse on to a cup, add some raspberry gelee, top with more vanilla mousse and finish with fresh raspberries.