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Réveillon for The Toll Road North


Many of my loyal readers have asked me if I have another book coming out....and well, that takes a while. It's in process, but in the meantime, I wanted to offer readers at least a short story with my characters from The Toll Road North.


Réveillon is a French-Canadian term meaning to stay awake, specifically on Christmas Eve as the family awaits the birth of Christ (at sunrise). Following Midnight Mass, the family gathers at the matriarch's home, has an elaborate dinner of once-a-year delicacies, drinks, sings, dances, and opens gifts.


My first experience with a traditional Réveillon was when I joined my husband's family celebration. Michel's parents emigrated here from Quebec and New Brunswick, and they kept the Réveillon tradition going at their home in Lewiston for many years. Family members from New Brunswick came, along with neighbors and friends who came for a cocktail or two before dinner. The dining room table was extended with a piece of plywood under the white lace tablecloth so that everyone could sit together and enjoy my mother-in-law's tourtière and six-ports (a stew of chicken, beef, pork, potatoes, and dumplings). We would open gifts after dinner, then the music would start. Keep in mind this is all happening AFTER Midnight Mass - so we would usually leave about 4 or 5 am to head home, our young daughters bundled up in their Christmas pajamas.


I got to thinking that the most likely generation to celebrate Réveillon in The Toll Road North would be the earliest one, Lucille, Frank, and Blackie as teens. I set the story in December of 1964, which means Jean-Luc has been born and is with the nuns at the orphanage while Lucille is home to finish high school. No one in town knows about her pregnancy, except for her own family, Frank and his mother. Readers will get to meet Lucille's grandfather and her mother, Therese, in this short story.


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