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Roasted Chestnuts

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Mitch had always loved Christmas. Everything about it seemed so perfect and magical. His teammates made fun of him when he started singing Christmas songs at the beginning of November.

“Have you ever eaten a roasted chestnut?” JVR asked as Mitch broke into The Christmas Song on the bus. “They’re kind of mealy and gross.”

“That can’t be true,” Mitch scoffed. “They wouldn’t be in the song if they weren’t good.”

“I’ll buy you a bag next time we’re in New York,” JVR promised laughing.

 

“Mitch,” Auston scolded as Mitch dropped several boxes of Lucky Charms into the shopping cart.

“They’re Christmas edition!” Mitch said enthusiastically. He grinned and Auston just shook his head and they kept walking.

“Is there anything else we need?” Auston asked as they headed back towards the front of the store to pay for their stuff.

Mitch stopped short as they passed by a display of chestnuts, mesmerized by the shiny brown shells. He hurriedly shovelled some into a bag and rushed to catch up with Auston who had stopped several feet ahead. “I need these,” Mitch said dropping the bag into the cart.

Auston laughed at him but didn’t say anything and they made their way through the register.

Back at the apartment Mitch got the oven preheating and started scoring the chestnuts shells, having googled how to cook chestnuts on the drive back.

“They smell good,” Auston said once the chestnuts had been in the oven for a few minutes.

“Yeah,” Mitch agreed pleased that another Christmas tradition was about to be vindicated no matter what JVR said.

A few minutes later they were taking the chestnuts out of the oven and peeling them once they’d cooled a little. Mitch popped the first chestnut into his mouth and chewed vigorously. A second later he was spitting the nut out onto the tray. “What the hell is this?” he demanded, the mealy vaguely sweet taste clinging to his tongue. He edged the tray away from him and stood up. “Time for a new Christmas tradition!” He grabbed one of the boxes of Lucky charms from the cupboard and poured some into a bowl to munch on.

“I’ll get rid of these,” Auston said dumping the contents of the tray into the garbage.

Mitch nodded. “But if JVR asks we loved them!” He was not going to give him the satisfaction of being right.

 

They were playing the Rangers a couple of days before Christmas. Mitch and Auston were out enjoying the city when JVR came bounding up to them, a small brown paper bag clutched in his right hand.

“Hey Mitch,” he said cheerfully. “I got you something!”

“Really?” Mitch took the paper bag and cringed when he opened it and saw that it was full of roasted chestnuts. Beside him Auston started to laugh.