Louis XIV

Christmas with Asps 13: Carol with Louis XIV

There’s a picture in our family’s photographic archives featuring my Aunt Carol at Christmas. She’s in the living room of her parents’ (my grandparents’) house in Jamestown, North Dakota. And she’s holding a box that holds an image of the bust of King Louis XIV of France, cut-out from wood and fringed by wool or carpet or something like that. Just behind her to her right, on the same couch, her husband Arlen is smiling with his eyes towards Carol. And behind her to her left, on the other side of the couch, her son Nate is smiling with his eyes towards King Louis XIV.

I don’t know when exactly this photo would have been taken. Nate looks like he might be in his teens, which would have been the late-1980s. All three of these relatives have died since then, but it’s fun to remember them as they were. Photographs are kind of amazing like that.

My understanding is that Carol made it as a visual aid for a HS history project, and it was so awful that it was passed around between them (or maybe just back to Carol every time) as a white-elephant-style gift disguised as an actual present. And it rotated year after year, sometimes disappearing and they would forget who had it, but then re-emerging. That’s the legend.

Christmas Eve at the Bryce House

Well, back in 2021, my brother Jay decided to revive the tradition. He and his wife Brandi made a new version of Louis XIV, and they designated me as the first recipient of the gift. Unfortunately, that ended up being the Christmas when we all came down with COVID (separately, not from each other). So, we never got to have the grand unveiling at the big family Christmas Eve gathering. Instead, Jay shipped it to me a couple of weeks later. And then, honestly, I forgot about it… until this year.

I ended up wrapping up Louis XIV and marking it “To Anna, from Santa.” When my sister opened the gift at our big family Christmas Eve gathering (which included our Texas relatives for the first time in perhaps a decade), we all got to recall the legend together and laugh about things. It was fun. Nothing says “Christmas” like a wooden cut-out bust of Louis XIV, right?!? Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

This entry was posted in Family, Nostalgia, Photography, The Dakotas, Traditions. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *