Bite Size Memoir “Holiday Reads”

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

July 24, 2014

Bite Size Memoir for Carrot RanchHoliday consists of me cooking. What kind of holidays do I take? Camping trips mostly. I’ve traveled a fair amount for speaking engagements and always seemed to buy books while traveling to new places. And books are always stuffed into my travel bags, even my day bag for fishing.

These days it’s the Kindle that goes everywhere with me, even to the grocery store. Tomorrow morning the Hub will take me out to Stacy’s for breakfast because we do that every time he comes home from working out of town. He’ll pick up the nickle ads and I’ll pull out the Kindle.

To some people this might appear rude or send the wrong message that we aren’t able to tolerate each others’ company. But it’s the opposite. We’re comfortable enough to read together. And that was one of the first things that drew me to the Hub when we met.

This week, Lisa Reiter of Sharing the Story has challenged bite-size memorists to share their holiday reads. What keeps coming to mind is that first dinner the Hub ever cooked for me. It’s not a holiday so I’m stretching the prompt.

Books After Dinner by Charli Mills–USA

We were set up by well-intentioned friends.

We liked each other enough to go duck hunting the next day, and two days later he invited me to his small house for duck dinner. He’d been working so let me in and said he needed to shower. I could smell roasting duck as I settled into the only chair in his living-room/kitchen. I always had a book with me and I sat down to read, “Daughters of Cameron,” an historical romance novel.

His bedroom door didn’t sit right in the frame so I remember looking up to catch a glimpse of his nude body as he passed by after his shower. Back then, he was a rugby-god-army-ranger-farm-boy. I almost bolted from the house; romance better left to books. I stayed. We ate dinner, he noticed my book, grabbed his hardcover classic and for the rest of the evening we read together.

The Hub & Charli 1987

The Hub & Charli 1987

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  1. Norah

    Lovely story Charli. How romantic!

    • Charli Mills

      It still is…thanks! 🙂

      • Norah


  2. TanGental

    Gosh. Not expecting that from holiday reads! Brings a whole new meaning to erotic literature…. Beautifully captured moment and I we’ll understand those shared heads down moments.

    • Charli Mills

      Good moments to share with the right person.

  3. Annecdotist

    Love this story, Charli. Who wants sex when you’ve got a book to read?
    And I admire you for sitting reading as you would at home when you go out for breakfast. Although my husband’s literary interests are very different to mine I do appreciate living with another reader. There’s a line in Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy) when the young woman Bathsheba is being courted by a much older and boring man who proposes saying something like “When I look up there will you be and when you look up there will I be” which sounds really deadly to her (and to me when I read it, and I hope I’m not misquoting too much) but now comes pretty close to my ideal: an old married couple sitting together of an evening reading their books!

    • Charli Mills

      There will always be room for books in this relationship! Thanks for sharing the quote and the ideal!

  4. Wednesday_Elf

    There’s nothing better than being comfortable reading together. Great story.

    • Charli Mills

      It has a lasting quality.

  5. Lisa Reiter

    Wow wee! A super bite – sounds like we’d all like a nibble of that young rugby-god-army-ranger-farm-boy, Charli! I can see any stretch you make with these prompts might end up with food involved and I like that I feel I know that about you 😀

    I love the companionship of reading side by side – do you think a brain on reading mode gives off a certain vibe because it sure feels better than watching telly (and probably having sex for some!)

    Sorry I am so very late getting to this lovely post. There’s barely been time for sleep in my week and I’m going to be taking some possibly regrettable action to cope with the rest of the summer. So sorry I didn’t make your flash either, this week – I’ve not been home for much of the time. Aghh!

    love Lisa xx

    • Charli Mills

      I went back and posted an old Polaroid from that time–when we were more youthful and he certainly was a good nibble! Still is, just more of him to love. 🙂 And yes, food is always involved; another thing the Hub and I share in common. I think there is something to the vibe that the brain gives off when reading which is a kind of intimacy.

      Ah, we all do the best we can with time. I very much enjoyed the tweets about the Tower of London and the armory. Felt like I got to share in the excitement of summer discoveries, and your history is even older than the stuff that gets me going over here!

      Some prompts are harder. I was so surprised by all the water responses! But I understand music can come embedded with memories. Have you ever tried taking a memory and twisting it with a “what if…”?

      Enjoyed this prompt and thanks for letting me stretch it!

      • Lisa Reiter

        Thank you Charli! What a lovely photo – you gorgeous couple! How old/young are you here?! I suspect you have a young face but this is lovely!

        The water prompt was indeed amazing – just never know what’s going to get people’s brain cells most fired up. I like the tip here on twisting to a ‘what if’ – I think I’m suffering a little from trying to keep my brain around ‘what actually..’ If you have any tips for bite size the door is now open

        May be blog suicide but I’m having to take a bit of a break 😐

        Will still see you around but my few spare hours need to capitalise on the ‘gifts’ I’ve been given – namely free editor ! 😀

  6. Sherri

    Oh I love this ‘bite’ Charli. What can be sexier than reading together…and having just read Lisa’s reply I totally agree with her too! You captured the scene so well. Isn’t it amazing what can be written in so few words? So much more there between the lines…and I won’t go any further with that one! Great post, love it 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Funny how it’s still our romantic moment even 27 years later! Except he’s trying to tell me I remember it all wrong, that I was peeking at the door! I was not! 🙂 Thanks!

      • Sherri

        Haha…I believe you Charli 😀

  7. Morgan Dragonwillow

    Oh I love when people are comfortable to read in the same room together! What a magical first dinner indeed! I love your description of him, “rugby-god-army-ranger-farm-boy” and I bet he was quite relieved to know that he could be quiet and read with you instead of having to come up with conversation when he probably just wanted to relax. Sometimes quietly reading together is so much more intimate.

    • Charli Mills

      He certainly won me over that first dinner! When our eldest daughter met her husband-to-be, they took up reading aloud to each other. They just celebrated 5 years of marriage and some crazy number of words that they’ve shared. There’s something about the intimacy or reading together.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Irene!


  1. Holiday Reading | Lisa Reiter - Sharing the Story - […] Charli Mills – USA  – Books After Dinner […]

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